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Back to his bounds their subject Sea command, And roll obedient Rivers thro' the Land : These Honours, Peace to happy Britain brings, These are Imperial Works, and worthy Kings.
NOTE Š. were ready to fall, being founded in boggy land (which is saa tyrically alluded to in our author's imitation of Horace, Lib. ii. Sat. 2.
“ Shall half the new-built Churches round thee fall) others were vilely executed, through fraudulent cabals between undertakers, officers, &c. Dagenham-breach had done very great mischiefs; many of the Highways throughout England were hardly passable; and most of those which were repaired by Turnpikes were made jobs for private lucre, and infamously executed, even to the entrance of London itfelf. The proposal of building a Bridge at Westminster had been petitioned against and rejected; but in two years after the publication of this poem, an Act for building a Bridge passed through both houses. After many debates in the committee, the execution was left to the carpenter above-mentioned, who would have made it a wooden one ; to which our author alludes in these lines,
" Who builds a Bridge that never drove a pile? - “ Should Ripley venture, all the world would smile." See the notes on that place. P.
E PIS.T LE V.
To Mr. ADDISO N. Occasioned by his Dialogues on Medals.
CEE the wild Waste of all-devouring years!
How Rome her own fad Sepulchre appears, With nodding arches, broken temples spread! The very Tombs now vanish'd like their dead!
THIS was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of Medals; it was sometime before he was Secretary of State ; but not published till Mr. Tickle's Edition of his works ; at which time the verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude the poem, were added, viz. in 1720. P.
Epist. V.] As the third Epistle treated of the extremes of Avarice and Profufion; and the fourth took up one particular branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expence in people
Imperial wonders rais’d on Nations spoild, 5 Where mir’d with Slaves the groaning Martyr
toil'd: 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! 10
NOT E s. of wealth and quality, and was therefore a corollary to the third ; so this treats of one circumstance of that vanity, as it appears in the common collectors of old coins; and is, therefore, a corollary to the fourth.
Ver. 6. Where mix'd with Slaves the groaning Murtyr toild:] The inattentive reader might wonder how this circumstance came to find a place here. But let him compare it with Ver. 13. 14. and he will see the Reason,
“ Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
" And Papal piety, and Gothic fire.” For the Slaves mentioned in the 6th line were of the fame na
tion with the Barbarians in the 13th ; and the Christians, in f the 13th, the Successors of the Martyrs in the 6th: Provi.
dence ordaining, that these should ruin what t'ofe so injuri
ously employed in rearing : for the Poet never loseth sight of · his great principle.
Ver. 9. Fanes, which admiring Gods with pride survey,] · These Góds were then the Tyrants of Rome, to whom the Empire raised Temples. The epithet, admiring, conveys a strong ridicule; that passion, in the opinion of Philosophy, always conveying the ideas of ignorance and misery.
“ Nil admirari prope res est una, Numici,
“ Solaque quæ possit facere et servare beatum.” Admiration implying our ignorance of other things ; pride, our. ignorance of ourselves.
Some felt the silent stroke of mould'ring age,
Ambition figh’d: She found it vain to trust
NOTE s. VER. 18. And give to Titus old Vefpafian's due.] A fine infinuation of the entire want of Taste in Antiquaries; whose ignorance of characters misleads them supported only by a name) against reason and history.
VER. 25. A narrow Orb each crouled Conquest keeps.] A ridicule on the pompous title of Orbis Romanus, which the Romans gave to their Empire.
VER. 27.- the proud arch) i. e. The triumphal Arch, which was gencşally an enormous mass of building.
A small Euphrates thro' the piece is roll'd,
The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
NOT e s. Ver. 35. With sharpen’d sight pale Antiquaries pore,] Microscopic glasses, invented by Philosophers, to discover the beauties in the minuter works of Nature, ridiculously applied by Antiquaries, to detect the cheats of counterfeit medals. • Ver. 37. This the biue varn $h, that the green endears,] i. e. This a collector of silver ; That, of brass coins.
VER. 41. Poor Vadiu.,] See his history, and that of his Shield, in the Memoirs of Scriblerus. · VER.43. Ana Crin, rejiles, &c.] The most extraordinary instance of this Virtuoso-taste we have in the Historian Dio. He tells us, that one Vibius Rufus, who, in the reign of Tiberius, was the fourth husband to Cicero's widow, ferentia, then upwards of an hundred, used to value himself on his