Page images
PDF
EPUB

The vast parterres a thousand hands shall make,
Lo! Cobham comes, and floats them with a lake:
Or cut wide views through mountains to the plain,
You'll wish your bill or shelter'd seat again.
E'en in an ornament its place remark,
Nor in an hermitage set Doctor Clarke.

Behold Villario's ten years' toil complete,
His quincunx darkens, his espaliers meet,
The wood supports the plain, the parts unite,
And strength of shade contends with strength of
A waving glow the bloomy beds display, slight:
Blushing in bright diversities of day,
With silver-quivering rills meander’d o'er-
Enjoy them, you! Villario can no more:

Tired of the scene parterres and fountains yield, · He finds, at last, he better likes a field.

Through his young woods how pleased Sabinus Or sat delighted in the thickening shade, [stray'd, With annual joy the reddening shoots to greet, Or see the stretching branches long to meet! His son's fine taste an opener vista loves, Foe to the dryads of his father's groves; One boundless green or flourish'd carpet views, With all the mournful family of yews; The thriving plants, ignoble broomsticks made, Now sweep those alleys they were born to shade.

At Timon's villa let us pass a day; Where all cry out, 'What sums are thrown away! So proud, so grand; of that stupendous air, Soft and agreeable come never there. Greatness with Timon dwells in such a draught, As brings all Brobdignag before your thought. To compass this, his building is a town, His pond an ocean, his parterre a down :

Who but must laugh, the master when he sees,
A puny insect shivering at a breeze!
Lo, what huge heaps of littleness around!
The whole a labour'd quarry above ground.
Two cupids squirt before : à lake behind
Improves the keenness of the northern wind.
His gardens next your admiration call;
On every side you look, behold the wall! ..
No pleasing intricacies intervene,
No artful wildness to perplex the scene;
Grove nods at grove, each alley has a brother,
And half the platform just reflects the other.
The suffering eye inverted Nature sees,
Trees cut to statues, statues thick as trees;
With here a fountain never to be play'd, -
And there a summer-house that knows no shade;
Here Amphitritè sails through myrtle bowers,
There gladiators fight or die in flowers ;
Unwater'd see the drooping seahorse mourn,
And swallows roost in Nilus' dusty urn.

My lord advances with majestic mien,
Smit with the mighty pleasure to be seen:
But soft—by regular approach—not yet-
First through the length of yon hot terrace sweat;
And when up ten steep slopes you've dragg’d your

thighs, Just at his study-door he'll bless your eyes.

His study! with what authors is it stored ? In books, not authors, curious is my lord; To all their dated backs he turns you round; These Aldus printed, those Du Suëil has bound! Lo, some are vellum, and the rest as good, For all his lordship knows,--but they are wood ! For Locke or Milton 'tis in vain to look ; These shelves admit not any modern book.

And now the chapel's silver bell you hear,
That summons you to all the pride of prayer:
Like quirks of music, broken and uneven,
Make the soul dance upon a jig to Heaven.
On painted ceilings you devoutly stare,
Where sprawl the saints of Verrio or Laguerre,
Or gilded clouds in fair expansion lie,
And bring all Paradise before your eye.
To rest, the cushion and soft dean invite,
Who never mentions Hell to ears polite.

But, hark! the chiming clocks to dinner call;
A hundred footsteps scrape the marble hall:
The rich buffet well-colour'd serpents grace,
And gaping Tritons spew, to wash your face.
Is this a dinner? this a genial room?
No, 'tis a temple and a hecatomb.
A solemn sacrifice perform’d in state,
You drink by measure, and to minutes eat.
So quick retires each flying course, you'd swear
Sancho's dread doctor and bis wand were there.
Between each act the trembling salvers ring,
From soup to sweet wine, and God bless the King,
In plenty starving, tantalized in state,
And complaisantly help'd to all I hate,
Treated, caress’d, and tired, I take my leave,
Sick of his civil pride from morn to eve;
I curse such lavish cost and little skill,
And swear no day was ever pass'd so ill.

Yet hence the poor are clothed, the hungry fed; Health to himself, and to his infants bread, The labourer bears : what his hard heart denies, His charitable vanity supplies.

Another age shall see the golden ear Imbrown the slope, and nod on the parterre,

Deep harvests bury all his pride has plann'd,
And laughing Ceres reassume the land.

Who then shall grace, or who improve the soil ?-
Who plants like Bathurst, or who builds like Boyle?
'Tis use alone that sanctifies expense,
And splendour borrows all her rays from sense.

His father's acres who enjoys in peace, Or makes his neighbours glad if he increase; Whose cheerful tenants bless their yearly toil, Yet to their lord owe more than to the soil; Whose ample lawns are not ashamed to feed The milky heifer and deserving steed; Whose rising forests, not for pride or show, But future buildings, future navies, grow: Let his plantations stretch from down to down, First shade a country, and then raise a town.

You, too, proceed! make falling arts your care, Erect new wonders, and the old repair ; Jones and Palladio to themselves restore, And be whate'er Vitruvius was before : Till kings call forth the ideas of your mind, (Proud to accomplish what such hands design’d) Bid harbours open, public ways extend, Bid temples worthier of the God ascend, Bid the broad arch the dangerous flood contain, The mole projected break the roaring main ; Back to his bounds their subject sea command, And roll obedient rivers through the land : These honours peace to happy Britain brings; These are imperial works, and worthy kings.

EPISTLE V.

To Mr. Addison. OCCASIONED BY HIS DIALOGUES ON MEDALS. See the wild waste of all-devouring years! How Rome her own sad sepulchre appears! With nodding arches, broken temples spread! The very tombs now vanish'd like their dead! Imperial wonders raised on nations spoil'd, Where, mix'd with slaves, the groaning martyr Huge theatres, that now unpeopled woods, (toild: Now drain’d a distant country of her floods; Fanes, which admiring gods with pride survey, Statues of men, scarce less alive than they ! Some felt the silent stroke of mouldering age, Some hostile fupy Asome religious rage : Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire, And papa piety, and gothic fire. Perhaps, by its own ruins saved from flame, Some buried marble half) preserves a name : That name the learn’d with fierce disputes pursue, And give to Titus old Vespasian's due.

Ambition sigh’d: she found it vain to trust The faithless column and the crumbling bust; Huge moles, whose shadow stretch'd from shore

to shore, Their ruins perish'd, and their place no more! Convinced, she now contracts her vast design, And all her triumphs shrink into a coin. A narrow orb each crowded conquest keeps, Beneath her palm here sad Judea weeps. Now scantier limits the proud arch confine, And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile or Rhine;

« PreviousContinue »