« VorigeDoorgaan »
Bid Harbours open, public Ways extend,
MORAL ESSAY S.
E PISTLE V.
To Mr. ADDISON.
Occasion'd by his Dialogues on MEDALS.
EE the wild Waste of all-devouring years !
SEEwe ume her ow of fad fepulchire appears,
With nodding arches, broken temples spread !
EPISTLE V.) This was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of Medals; it was some time before he was Secretary of State ; but not published 'till Mr. Tickell's Edition of his works; at which time the verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720.
As the third Epistle treated of the extremes of Avarice and Profusion; and the fourth took up one particular branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expence in people of wealth and quality, and was therefore a corollary to the third; so this treats of one circumftance of that Vanity, as it appears in the common collectors of old coins; and is, therefore, a corollary to the fourth.
Imperial wonders rais'd on Nations spoil'd,
5 Where mix'd with Slaves the groaning Martyr toild: Huge Theatres, that now unpeopled Woods, 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 filent stroke of mould'ring age, Some hostile fury, some religious rage. Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire, And Papal piety, and Gothic fire. Perhaps, by its own ruins sav'd from flame,
15 Some bury'd marble half preserves a name; That Name the learn'd with fierce disputes pursue, And give to Titus old Vespafian's due.
Ambition sigh'd : She found it vain to trust The faithless Column and the crumbling Buft:
Ver. 6. Where mix'd with paves the groaning Martyr tcild:} The inattentive reader might wonder how this circumstance came to find a place here. But let him compare it with 13, 14 and he will see the Reason,
Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
And Papal piety, and Gorbic fire. For the Slaves mentioned in the 6th line were of the same na. tion with the Barbarians in the 13th: and the Chrißians in the 13th, the Successors of the Martyrs in the 6th: Providence ordaining, that these should ruin what those were so injuriously employed in rearing: for the poet never loseth fight of his great principle,
Huge moles, whose shadow stretch'd from shore to
shore, Their ruins perish'd, and their place no more ! Convinc'd, she now contracts her vaft design, And all her Triumphs shrink into a Coin. A narrow orb each crouded conquest keeps, 25 Beneath her Palm here fad Judæa weeps. Now scantier limits the proud Arch confine, And scarce are seen the prostrate Nile or Rhine; A small Euphrates thro' the piece is rollid, And little Eagles wave their wings in gold. 30
The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
Th'inscription value, but the rust adore.
45 Touch'd by thy hand, again Rome's gicries fhine ; Her Gods, and god-like Heroes rise to view, And all her faded garlands bloom a-new.
Nor blush, these studies thy regard engage ;
Oh when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
VER. 49. Nor bluff, these Studies thy regard engage;] A lenseless affectation which fome writers of eminence have betrayed; who when fortune, or their talents have raised them 10 a condition to do without those arts, for which only they gained our efteem, have pretended to think letters below their Character. This false fname M. Voltaire has very well, and with proper indignation, exposed in his account of Mr. Con. Greve: “ He had one Defect, which was, his entertaining too
mean an Idea of his first Profession, (that of a Writer) tho' " 'twas to this he ow'd his fame and Fortune, He spoke of « his Works as of Trifles that were beneath him; and hinted
to me in our first Conversation, that I should visit him upon
50 other foot than that of a Gentleman, who led a Life of " plainness and fimplicity. I answer'd, that, had he been so 66 unfortunate as to be a mcre Centleman, I would never “ have come to see him; and I was very much disgusted at " so unreasonable a piece of vanity.” Letters concerning the Erg/ish Nation, xix.