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(What time the morn mysterious visions brings,
While purer slumbers spread their golden wings,)
A train of phantoms in wild order rose,
And join'd, this intellectual scene compose.
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and skies
The whole creation open to my eyes :
In air self-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rise, and circling oceans flow.
Here naked rocks, and empty wastes were seen,
There towering cities, and the forests green;
Here sailing ships delight the wandering eyes;
There trees and intermingled temples rise :
Now a clear sun the shining scene displays,
The transient landscape now in clouds decays.
O’er the wide prospect as I gaz'd around, Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound, Like broken thunders that at distance roar, Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore : Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld, Whose towering summit ambient clouds conceal'd High on a rock of ice the structure lay, Steep its ascent, and slippery was the way: The wond'rous rock like Parian marble shone, And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone. Inscriptions here of various names I view'd, The greater part by hostile time subdued; Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past, And poets once had promis'd they should last. Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of wits renown'd; I look'dagain, nor could their trace be found. Critics I saw, that other names deface, And fix their own, with labour, in their place: Their own, like others, soon their place resign’d, Or disappear'd, and left the first behind. Nor was the work impair'd oy storms alone, But felt the approaches of too warm a sun; For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays Not more by envy than excess of praise.
Yet part no injuries of heav'n could feel,
Like crystal faithful to the graven steel:
The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade.
Their names inscrib'd unnumber'd ages past,
From time's first birth, with time itself shall last ;
These ever new, nor subject to decays,
Spread, and grow brighter with the length of days
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost)
Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast;
Pale suns, unfelt, at distance roll away,
And on the impassive ice the lightnings play;
Eternal snows the growing mass supply,
Till the bright mountains prop th' incumbent sky:
As Atlas fix’d, each hoary pile appears,
The gather'd winter of a thousand years.
On this foundation Fame's high temple stands;
Stupendous pile ! not rear'd by mortal hands.
Whate'er proud Rome or Artful Greece beheld,
Or elder Babylon, its frame excell'd.
Four faces had the dome, and every face
Of various structure, but of equal grace:
Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high,
Salute the different quarters of the sky.
Here fabled chiefs, in darker ages born,
Or worthies old, whom arms or arts adorn,
Who cities rais'd, or tam'd a monstrous racc,
The walls in venerable order grace :
Heroes in animated marble frown,
And legislators seem to think in stone.
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd, On Doric pillars of white marble rear'd, Crown'd with an architrave of antique mould, And sculpture rising on the roughen'd gold. In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld, And Perseus dreadful with Minerva's shield: There great Alcides, stooping with his toil, Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoi!
IIcre Orpheus sings; trees moving to the sound
Start from their roots, and form a shade around:
Amphion there the loud creating lyre
Strikes, and behoido a sudden Thebes aspire !
Cythæron's echoes answer to his call,
And half the mountain rolls into a wall :
There might you see the lengthening spires ascend,
Thc domes swell up, the widening arches bend,
The growing tow’rs, like exhalations, rise,
And the huge columns heave into the skies.
The eastern front was glorious to behold,
With diamond flaming, and barbaric gold.
There Ninus shone, who spread the Assyrian fame,
And the great founder of the Persian name:
There in long robes the royal magi stand,
Grave Zoroaster waves the circling wand :
The sage Chaldæans rob’d in white appear'd,
And Brachmans, deep in desert woods rever'd.
These stopp'd the moon, and call’d th’unbodied shades
To midnight banquets in the glimmering glades;
Made visionary fabrics round them rise,
And airy spectres skim before their eyes;
Of talismans and sigils knew the power,
And careful watched the planetary hour.
Superior, and alone, Confucius stood,
Who taught that useful science-to be good.
But on the south, a long majestic race Of Egypt's priests the gilded niches grace, Who measured earth, described the starry spheres, And traced the long records of lunar years. High on his car Sesostris struck my view, Whom scepter'd slaves in golden harness drew : His hands a bow and pointed javelin hold. His giant limbs are arm'd in scales of gold. Between the statues obelisks were placed, And the learn'd walls with hieroglyphics graced.
Of Gothic structure was the northern side, O'erwrought with ornaments of barbarous pridc.
There huge Colosses rose, with trophies crown'),
And Runic characters were graved around.
There sat Zamolxis with erected eyes,
And Odin here in mimic trances dies.
There on rude iron columns, smear’d with blood,
The horrid forms of Scythian heroes stood:
Druids and Bards (their once loud harps unstrung)
And youths that died to be by poets sung.
These and a thousand more of doubtful fame,
To whom old fables give a lasting name,
In ranks adorn'd the temple's outward face;
The wall in lustre and effect like glass,
Which, o'er each object casting various dycs,
Enlarges some, and others multiplies :
Nor void of emblem was the mystic wall,
For thus romantic Fame increases all.
The temple shakes, the sounding gates unfold,
Wide vaults appear, and roofs of fretted gold :
Raised on a thousand pillars wreathed around
With laurel-foliage, and with eagles crown'd:
Of bright transparent beryl were the walls,
The friezes gold, and gold the capitals:
As heaven with stars, the roof with jewels glows,
And ever-living lamps depend in rows.
Full in the passage of each spacious gate,
The sage historians in white garments wait;
Graved o'er their seats the form of Time was found,
His scythe reversed, and both his pinions bound.
Within stood heroes, who through loud alarms
In bloody fields pursued renown in arms.
High on a throne with trophies charged I vicw'd
She youth that all things but himself subdued ;
His feet on sceptres and tiaras trod,
And his horn'd head belied the Lybian god.
There Cæsar, graced with both Minervas, shonc;
Cæsar, the world's great master, and his own
Unmoved, superior still in every state,
And scarce detested in his country's fate.
But chief were those, who not for empire fought,
Rut with their toils their people's safety bought:
m.ho'er the rest Epaminondas stood;
u moleon, glorious in his brother's blood;
Bold Scipio, saviour of the Roman state;
Great in his triumphs, in retirement great;
And wise Aurelius, in whose well-taught mind
With boundless power unbounded virtue join'd,
Ilis own strict judge, and patron of mankind.
Much-suffering heroes next their honours claim,
Those of less noisy, and less guilty fame,
Fair virtue's silent train : supreme of these
Here ever shines the godlike Socrates ;
He whom ungrateful Athens could expel,
At all times just, but when he sign'd the shell:
Here his abode the martyr'd Phocion claims,
With Agis, not the last of Spartan names:
Unconquer'd Cato shows the wound he tore,
And Brutus his ill genius meets no more.
But in the centre of the hallow'd choir, Six pompous columns o'er the rest aspire; Around the shrine itself of Fame they stand, Hold the chief honours, and the fane command High on the first, the mighty Homer shone ; Eternal adamant composed his throne; Father of verse! in holy fillets dress'd, His silver beard waved gently o'er his breast; Though blind, a boldness in his looks appears ; In years he seem'd, but not impair’d by years. The wars of Troy were round the pillar seen; Here fierce Tydides wounds the Cyprian queen; Here Hector glorious from Patroclus' fall, Here dragg'd in triumph round the Trojan wall. Motion and life did every part inspire, Bold was the work, and proved the master's fire; A strong expression most he seem'd t' affect, And here and there disclosed a brave neglect.