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In air felf-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rife, and circling oceans flow;
Here naked rocks, and empty wastes were seen
There towery cities, and the forefts green:
Here failing fhips delight the wandering eyes;
There trees and intermingled temples rise;
Now a clear fun the fhining fcene displays,
The tranfient landscape now in clouds decays.
O'er the wide profpect as I gaz'd around,
Sudden I heard a wild promifcuous found,
Like broken thunders that at distance roar,
Or billows murmuring on the hollow shore:
Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld,
Whose towering fummit ambient clouds conceal'd.
High on a rock of Ice the structure lay,
Steep its afcent, and flippery was the way;
The wonderous rock like Parian marble fhone,
And feem'd, to diftant fight, of solid stone.
Ver. 27. High on a rock of ice, &c.] Chaucer's third book of Fame.
It stood upon fo high a rock,
Higher ftandeth none in Spayne-
What manner ftone this rock was,
For it was like a lymed glass,
But that it shone full more clere;
But of what congeled matere
It was, I nifte redily;
But at the laft efpied I,
And found that it was every dele,
A rock of ice, and not of stele.
Infcriptions here of various Names I view'd,
The greater part by hostile time fubdued;
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'd again, nor could their trace be found.
Critics I faw, that other names deface,
And fix their own, with labour, in their place :
Their own, like, others, soon their place refign'd,
Or disappear'd, and left the first behind.
Nor was the work impair'd by storms alone,
But felt th' approaches of too warm a fun ;
For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays.
Not more by Envy, than excess of Praise.
Ver. 31. Infcriptions here, &c.]
Tho' faw I all the hill y-grave
With famous folkes names fele,
That had been in much wele
And her fames wide y-blow;
But well unneth might I know,
Any letters for to rede
Their names by, for out of drede
They weren almost off-thawen fo,
That of the letters one or two
Were molte away of every name,
So unfamous was woxe her fame;
But men faid, what may ever last ?
Ver. 41. Nor was the work impair'd, &c.]
Tho' gan I in myne harte cast,
That they were molte away for heate,
And not away with stormes beate.
Yet part no injuries of heaven could feel,
Like crystal faithful to the graving steel :
The rock's high fummit, in the temple's fhade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade.
Their names infcrib'd unnumber'd ages paft
From time's first birth, with time itself shall laft;
Thefe ever new, nor fubject to decays,
Spread, and grow brighter with the length of days.
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost)
Rife white in air, and glitter o'er the coaft;
Pale funs, unfelt, at distance roll away,
And on th' impaffive ice the lightnings play;
Eternal fnows 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,
Ver. 45. Yet part no injuries, &c.]
For on that other fide I fey
Of that hill which northward ley,
How it was written full of names
Of folke, that had afore great fames,
Of old time, and yet they were
As fresh as men had written hem there
That felf day, or that houre
That I on hem gan to poure:
But well I wifte what it made;
It was conferved with the fhade
(All the writing that I fye)
Of the caftle that foode on high,
And flood eke in fo cold a place,
That heat might it not deface.
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 structuré, 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 monftrous race ;
The walls in venerable order grace :
Heroes in animated marble frown,
And Legislators feem to think in stone.
Weftward, à fùmptuous frontispiece appear'd,
On Doric pillars of white marble rear'd,
Crown'd with an architrave of antique mold,
And sculpture rifing on the roughen'd gold.
In fhaggy spoils here Thefeus was beheld,
And Perfeus dreadful with Minerva's shield:
There great Alcides, ftooping with his toil,
Rests on his club, and holds th' Hefperian (poil:
Here Orpheus fings; trees moving to the found
Start from their roots, and form a shade around :
Amphion there the loud creating lyre
Strikes, and behold a fudden Thebes afpire!
Cytheron's echoes anfwer to his call,
And half the mountain rolls into a wall:
There might you fee the lengthening fpires afcend,
The domes Twell up, the widening arches bend,
The growing towers 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 fhone, who spread th' Affyrian fame, 95
And the great founder of the Persian name :
There in long robes the royal Magi stand,
Grave Zoroafter waves the circling wand:
The fage Chaldæans rob'd in white appear'd,
And Brachmans, deep in defert woods rever'd.
These stopp'd the moon, and call'd th' unbody'd fhades
To midnight banquets in the glimmering glades;
Made vifionary fabrics round them rise,
And airy spectres skim before their eyes;
Of Talismans and Sigils knew the power,
And careful watch'd the Planetary hour.
Superior, and alone, Confucius ftood,
Who taught that useful feience, to be good.
But on the South, a long majestic race
Of Egypt's Priests the gilded niches grace,
Who measur'd earth, describ'd the starry spheres,
And trac'd the long records of lunar years.
High on his car Sesoftris struck my view,
Whom scepter'd flaves 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 plac'd,
And the learn'd walls with Hieroglyphics grac❜d.
Of Gothic ftructure was the Northern fide,
O'erwrought with ornaments of barbarous pride.