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Here glittering turrets rise, upbearing high
(Fantastic misarrangement,) on the roof
Large growth of what may seem the sparkling trees
And shrubs of fairy land. The chrystal drops
That trickle down the branches, fast congeal'd
Shoot into pillars of pellucid length,


And prop the pile they but adorned before.

Here grotto within grotto safe defies

The growing wonder takes a thousand shapes

The sun-beam. There emboss'd and fretted wild

Capricious, in which fancy seeks in vain

The likeness of some object seen before.
Thus nature works as if to mock at art1,
And in defiance of her rival powers;
By these fortuitous and random strokes
Performing such inimitable feats

As she with all her rules can never reach.

Less worthy of applause though more admired,

Because a novelty, the work of man,

Imperial mistress of the fur-clad Russ!

Thy most magnificent and mighty freak,

✦ 'Twas nature's will; who sometimes undertakes, For the reproof of human vanity,

Art to outstrip in her peculiar walk.

The pillar'd vestibule,

Expanding yet precise, the roof

Excursion, p. 263.

Might seem design'd to humble man, when proud

Of his best workmanship by plan and tool.

Wordsworth. Second Sonn. on Staffa.

The sport of nature, aided by blind chance
Rudely to mock the works of toiling man.

Excursion, p. 101.




The wonder of the north. No forest fell

When thou would'st build; no quarry sent its stores

To enrich thy walls: but thou didst hew the floods,
And make thy marble of the glassy wave.
In such a palace Aristæus found
Cyrene, when he bore the plaintive tale
Of his lost bees to her maternal ear.
In such a palace poetry might place
The armoury of Winter, where his troops

The gloomy clouds find weapons, arrowy sleet3
Skin-piercing volley, blossom-bruising hail,
And snow that often blinds the traveller's course,
And wraps him in an unexpected tomb.

Silently as a dream the fabric rose.

No sound of hammer or of saw was there.
Ice upon ice, the well-adjusted parts

Were soon conjoined, nor other cement ask'd
Than water interfused to make them one.
Lamps gracefully disposed and of all hues
Illumined every side. A watery light





Gleamed through the clear transparency, that seemed
Another moon new-risen', or meteor fallen
From heaven to earth, of lambent flame serene.
So stood the brittle prodigy, though smooth
And slippery the materials, yet frost-bound
Firm as a rock. Nor wanted aught within

5 Sharp sleet of arrowy showers. Par. Reg. iii. 324. Iron sleet of arrowy shower.



6 There was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house while it was in building. 1 Kings, vi. 7.

7 As when the sun new risen. Par. Lost, i. 594.

That royal residence might well befit,

For grandeur or for use.

Of flowers that feared no

Long wavy wreaths enemy but warmth,

Blushed on the pannels.

Mirror needed none


Where all was vitreous, but in order due

Convivial table and commodious seat

(What seemed at least commodious seat,) were there, Sofa and couch and high-built throne august.

The same lubricity was found in all,


And all was moist to the warm touch, a scene

Of evanescent glory, once a stream,

And soon to slide into a stream again.

Alas! 'twas but a mortifying stroke
Of undesigned severity, that glanced
(Made by a monarch,) on her own estate,


On human grandeur and the courts of kings.
'Twas transient in its nature, as in show
'Twas durable. As worthless as it seemed

Intrinsically precious: to the foot


Treacherous and false, it smiled and it was cold.

Great princes have great playthings. Some have played

At hewing mountains into men, and some
At building human wonders mountain-high.
Some have amused the dull sad years of life,
Life spent in indolence, and therefore sad,
With schemes of monumental fame, and sought


See Kircher's description of the Grotto of Antiparos, in Goldsmith's Nat. vol. i. c. 8.

In several places magnificent columns, thrones, altars, and other objects appeared, as if nature had designed to mock the curiosities of art. &c.

By pyramids and mausolean pomp,

Short-lived themselves, to immortalize their bones.
Some seek diversion in the tented field,

And make the sorrows of mankind their sport.
But war's a game, which were their subjects wise,
Kings should not play at. Nations would do well
To extort their truncheons from the puny hands
Of heroes, whose infirm and baby minds
Are gratified with mischief, and who spoil
Because men suffer it, their toy the world.

When Babel was confounded, and the great
Confederacy of projectors wild and vain
Was split into diversity of tongues,
Then, as a shepherd separates his flock,
These to the upland, to the valley those9,
God drave asunder and assigned their lot
To all the nations. Ample was the boon
He gave them, in its distribution fair

And equal, and he bade them dwell in peace.






Peace was awhile their care. They plough'd and sow'd
And reap'd their plenty without grudge or strife.
But violence can never longer sleep
Than human passions please. In every heart
Are sown the sparks that kindle fiery war,
Occasion needs but fan them, and they blaze.
Cain had already shed a brother's blood;
The deluge wash'd it out; but left unquenched
The seeds of murder in the breast of man.
Soon, by a righteous judgement, in the line

They to their grassy couch, these to their nests.

Par. Lost, iv. 601.


Of his descending progeny was found
The first artificer of death; the shrewd
Contriver who first sweated at the forge,
And forced the blunt and yet unblooded steel
To a keen edge, and made it bright for war.
Him Tubal named, the Vulcan of old times,
The sword and falchion their inventor claim,
And the first smith was the first murderer's son.
His art survived the waters; and ere long
When man was multiplied and spread abroad
In tribes and clans, and had begun to call
These meadows and that range of hills his own,
The tasted sweets of property begat
Desire of more; and industry in some
To improve and cultivate their just demesne,
Made others covet what they saw so fair.
Thus wars began on earth.

And those in self-defence.



These fought for spoil, Savage at first

The onset, and irregular. At length

One eminent above the rest, for strength,
For stratagem or courage, or for all,

Was chosen leader. Him they served in war,

And him in peace for

Reverenced no less.

sake of warlike deeds



Who could with him compare?

Or who so worthy to controul themselves

As he whose prowess had subdued their foes?

Thus war affording field for the display

Of virtue, made one chief, whom times of peace 10,
Which have their exigencies too, and call

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No less renowned than war. Milton. Sonnet xvi.



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