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Convinc'd, 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;
A small Euphrates through the piece is roll'd,
And little eagles wave their wings in gold.
The medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
Through climes and ages bears each form and name:
In one short view subjected to our eye,
Gods, emperors, heroes, sages, beauties, lie.
With sharpen'd sight pale antiquaries pore,
Th' inscription value, but the rust adore.
This the blue varnish, that the green endears,
The sacred rust of twice ten hundred years!
To gain Pescennius one employs his schemes,
One grasps a Cecrops in ecstatic dreams.
Poor Vadius,1 long with learned spleen devour'd,
Can taste no pleasure since his shield was scour'd ;
And Curio, restless by the fair one's side,
Sighs for an Otho, and neglects his bride.
Theirs is the vanity, the learning thine :
Touch'd by thy hand, again Rome's glories shine;
Her gods and godlike heroes rise to view,
And all her faded garlands bloom anew.
Nor blush these studies thy regard engage;
These pleas'd the fathers of poetic rage;
1 See the Memoirs of Martinus Scriblerus, ch. ii.
The verse and sculpture bore an equal part,
And art reflected images to art.
Oh, when shall Britain, conscious of her claim,
Stand emulous of Greek and Roman fame?
In living medals see her wars enroll'd,
And vanquish'd realms supply recording gold?
Here, rising bold, the patriot's honest face;
There warriors frowning in historic brass:
Then future ages with delight shall see
How Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's looks agree;
Or in fair series laurell'd bards be shown,
A Virgil there, and here an Addison:
Then shall thy Craggs (and let me call him mine) On the cast ore another Pollio shine;
With aspect open shall erect his head,
And round the orb in lasting notes be read,
"Statesman, yet friend to truth; of soul sincere,
In action faithful, and in honour clear;
Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end,
Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend;
Ennobled by himself, by all approv❜d,
And prais'd, unenvied, by the Muse he lov'd."
ODE FOR MUSIC ON ST. CECILIA'S DAY.
DESCEND, ye Nine! descend and sing;
The breathing instruments inspire,
Wake into voice each silent string,
And sweep the sounding lyre!
In a sadly pleasing strain
Let the warbling lute complain;
Let the loud trumpet sound,
Till the roofs all around
The shrill echoes rebound;
While in more lengthen'd notes and slow
The deep, majestic, solemn organs blow.
Hark! the numbers soft and clear
Gently steal upon the ear;
Now louder, and yet louder rise,
And fill with spreading sounds the skies:
Exulting in triumph now swell the bold notes,
In broken air, trembling, the wild music floats⚫
Till by degrees, remote and small,
The strains decay,
And melt away
In a dying, dying fall.
By music minds an equal temper know,
Nor swell too high, nor sink too low.
If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,
Music her soft assuasive voice applies;
Or when the soul is press'd with cares,
Exalts her in enlivening airs.
Warriors she fires with animated sounds;
Pours balm into the bleeding lover's wounds:
Melancholy lifts her head,
Morpheus rouses from his bed,
Sloth unfolds her arms and wakes,
Listening Envy drops her snakes;
Intestine war no more our passions wage,
And giddy factions hear away their rage.
But when our country's cause provokes to arms,
How martial music every bosom warms!
So when the first bold vessel dar'd the seas,
High on the stern the Thracian rais'd his strain,
While Argo saw her kindred trees
Descend from Pelion to the main :
Transported demigods stood round,
And men grew heroes at the sound,
Inflam'd with glory's charms:
Each chief his sevenfold shield display'd,
And half unsheath'd the shining blade;
And seas, and rocks, and skies rebound
To arms, to arms, to arms!
But when through all th' infernal bounds,
Which flaming Phlegethon surrounds,
Love, strong as death, the poet led
To the pale nations of the dead,
What sounds were heard,
What scenes appear'd,
O'er all the dreary coasts!
Fires that glow,
Shrieks of woe,
And cries of tortur'd ghosts!
But hark! he strikes the golden lyre.
And see! the tortur'd ghosts respire;
See, shady forms advance!
Thy stone, O Sisyphus, stands still,
Ixion rests upon his wheel,
And the pale spectres dance;
The Furies sink upon their iron beds,
And snakes uncurl'd hang listening round their heads.
By the streams that ever flow,
By the fragrant winds that blow
O'er th' Elysian flowers;
By those happy souls who dwell
In yellow meads of asphodel,
Or amaranthine bowers:
By the heroes' armed shades,
Glittering through the gloomy glades;
By the youths that died for love,
Wandering in the myrtle grove,
Restore, restore Eurydice to life;
Oh, take the husband, or return the wife:
He sung, and hell consented
To hear the poet's prayer :
Stern Proserpine relented,
gave him back the fair.
Thus song could prevail
O'er death and o'er hell,
A conquest how hard and how glorious!