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Occafioned by his DIALOGUES on MEDALS.
EE the wild wafte of all devouring years!
How Rome her own fad fepulchre appears,
With nodding arches, broken temples spread!
The very tombs now vanifh'd like their dead!
Imperial wonders rais'd on nations spoil'd,
Where mix'd with flaves the groaning martyr toil'd:
Huge theatres, that now unpeopled woods,
Now drain'd a diftant country of her floods :
Fanes, which admiring gods with pride survey,
Statues of men, fcarce lefs alive than they!
Some felt the filent ftroke of mould'ring age,
Some hoftile fury, fome religious rage.
Barbarian blindness, christian zeal confpire,
And Papal piety, and Gothic fire.
This was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of Medals; it was fome time before he was fecretary of state; but not published 'till Mr. Tickell's Edition of his works; at which time the verfes 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; fo 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. VOL. I. Yy
MORAL ESSAY S.
Perhaps, by its own ruins fav'd from flame,
Some bury'd marble half preferves a name;
That name the learn'd with fierce difputes purfue,
And give to Titus old Vefpafian's due.
Ambition figh'd: fhe found it vain to trust
The faithlefs column and the crumbling bust:
Huge moles, whose shadow stretch'd from shore to fhore,
Their ruins perifh'd, and their place no more!
Convinc'd, the now contracts her vaft design,
And all her triumphs fhrink into a coin.
A narrow orb each crouded conqueft keeps,
Beneath her palm here fad Judea weeps.
Now fcantier limits the proud arch confine,
And scarce are seen the proftrate Nile or Rhine;
A fmall Euphrates thro' the piece is roll❜d,
And little eagles wave their wings in gold.
The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
Thro' climes and ages bears each form and name :
In one fhort view fubjected to our eye
Gods, emp'rors, heroes, fages, beauties lie.
With sharpen'd fight pale antiquaries pore,
Th' infcription value, but the ruft adore.
This the blue varnish, that the green endears,
The facred ruft of twice ten hundred years!
To gain Pefcennius one employs his fchemes,
One grafps a Cecrops in extatic dreams.
Poor Vadius, long with learned fpleen devour'd,
Can tafte no pleasure fince his fhield was fcour'd:
And Curio, reftlefs by the fair-one's fide,
Sighs for an Otho, and neglects his bride..
Their's is the vanity, the learning thine :
Touch'd by thy hand, again Rome's glories shine;
Her gods, and godlike heroes rife to view,
And all her faded garlands bloom a-new.
Nor blush, these ftudies thy regard engage;
These pleas'd the fathers of poetic rage:
The verfe and fculpture 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 fee her wars enroll'd,
And vanquish'd realms fupply recording gold?
Here, rifing bold, the patriot's honest face;
There, warriors frowning in hiftoric brass:
Then future ages with delight shall see
How Plato's, Bacon's, Newton's looks agree;
Or in fair feries laurell'd bards be shown,
A Virgil there, and here an Addison.
Then fhall thy CRAGGS (and let me call him mine)
On the caft ore, another Pollio, fhine;
With aspect open shall erect his head,
And round the orb in lafting notes be read,
"Statefman, yet friend to truth! of foul fincere,
"In action faithful, and in honour clear;
"Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end,
"Who gain'd no title, and who loft no friend;
"Ennobled by himself, by all approv'd,
"And prais'd, unenvy'd, by the Mufe he lov'd."
He flood convinc'd 'twas fit
Who conquer'd Nature fhould prefide o'er Wit. 81
III. Let wreaths of triumph now my temples twine, &c.
IV. Bodies chang'd to various forms by fpleen.
V. Ah wretch! believ'd the (pouse of God in vain, &c.
VI. Millions of fuppliant crowds the shrine attend,
And all degrees before the goddess bend.
VII. Hope humbly then, with trembling pinions
VIII. The proper study of mankind is man.
IX. Self-love ftill ftronger as its object's nigh.
X. See fome fit paffion every age fupply, &c.
XI. Know then this truth, (enough for man to know)
XII. The love of pleasure, and the love of sway.
XIII. What brought Sir Vifto's ill-got wealth to