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A train of phantoms in wild order rose,
And join'd, this intellectual scene compose. 10
I stood, methought, betwixt earth, seas, and
The whole creation open to my eyes : '
In air self-balanc'd hung the globe below,
Where mountains rise and circling oceans flow;
Here naked rocks, and empty wastes were seen,
There tow'ry cities, and the forests green : 16
Here failing ships delight the wand'ring eyes;
There trees, and intermingled temples rise :
Now a clear sun the shining scene displays,
The transient landscape now in clouds decays. 20.
O’er the wide Prospect as I gaz'd around, Sudden I heard a wild promiscuous sound, Like broken thunders that at distance roar, Or billows murm’ring on the hollow shore: Then gazing up, a glorious pile beheld, Whosetow’ringsummit ambient clouds conceal'd.
Ver. 11. etc.] These verses are hinted from the following of Chaucer, Book ii.
Tho' beheld I fields and plains,
Now hills, and now mountains.
Now valeis, and now forestes,
And now unneth great bestes,
Now rivers, now citees,
Now towns, now great trees,
Now shippes sayling in the sech. P.
High on a rock of Ice the structure lay,
Steep its ascent, and slipp’ry was the way;
The wond'rous rock like Parian marble shone,
And seem'd, to distant sight, of solid stone. 30
Inscriptions here of various names I view'd, i
The greater part by hostile time subdu'd;
Yet wide was spread their fame in ages past,
And Poets once had promis’d they should last.
Ver. 27. High on a rock of Ice, etc.] Chaucer's third book, of Fame.
It stood upon so high a rock,
Higher standeth none in Spayne
What manner stone 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 niste redily;
But at the last espied I,
And found that it was every dele,
A rock of ise and not of stele.
Ver. 31. Inscriptions here, etc.)
Tho’ saw 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 so,
That of the letters one or two
Were molte away of every name,
So unfamous was woxe her fame;
But men said, what may ever last.. P.
What of them, almon or out of
Some fresh engrav'd appear'd of Wits renown'd;
I look'd again, nor could their trace be found. 36
Critics I saw, that other names deface,
And fix their own, with labour, in their place:
Their own, like others, soon their place resign’d,
Or disappear'd, and left the first behind. 40
Nor was the work impair’d by storms alone,
But felt th' approaches of too warm a sun;
For Fame, impatient of extremes, decays
Not more by Envy than excess of Praise.
Yet part no injuries of heav'n could feel, 45
Like crystal faithful to the graving steel :
VER. A1. Nor was the work impair'd, etc.]
Tho gan I in myne harte cast,
That they were molte away for heate,
And not away with stormes beate.
VER. 45. Yet part no injuries, etc.]
For on that other side I sey:
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
The self day, or that houre
That I on hem gan to poure :
But well I wiste what it made;
It was conserved with the Nade
(All the writing that I fye)
Of the castle that stoode on high,
And stood eke in so cold a place,
That heate might it not deface. P.
The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade,
Nor heat could melt, nor beating storm invade.
Their names inscrib'd unnumber'd ages past
From time's first birth, with time itself shall last;
These ever new, nor subject to decayš,
Spread, and grow brighter with the length of days.
So Zembla’s rocks (the beauteous work of frost)
Rise white in air, and glitter o'er the coast ;
Pale füns, unfelt, at distance roll away; 55
And on th’impassive ice the lightnings play;
Eternal snows the growing mass fupply,
Till the bright mountains prop th’incumbent sky:
As Atlas fix'd, each hoary pile appears, . .
The gather'd winter of a thousand years. 60 .
On this foundation Fame's high temple stands ;
Stupendous pile! not rear’d by mortal hands.
Whate'er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld, ..
Ör elder Babylon, its frame excell'd.
Four fáces had the dome, and ev'ry face
Of various structure, but of equal grace:
Ver. 65. Four faces had the dome, etc.) The Temple is dea scribed to be square, the four fronts with open gates facing the different quarters of the world, as an intimation that all nations of the earth may alike be received into it. The wesa tern front is of Grecian architecture : the Doric order was
of the earth mar the world, as an open gates fac
Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high,
Salute the diff'rent quarters of the sky.
Here fabled Chiefs in darker ages born,
Or Worthies old, whom arms or arts adorn, 70 i
Who cities rais’d, or tam'd a monstrous race;
The walls in venerable order grace.
Heroes in animated marble frown,
And Legislators seem to think in stone.
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear’d,
On Doric pillars of white marble rear'd, 76
Crown’d with an architrave of antique mold,
And sculpture rising on the roughen'd gold.
In shaggy spoils here Theseus was beheld,
And Perseus dreadful with Minerva’s shield : 80
There great Alcides stooping with his toil,
Rests on his club, and holds th' Hesperian spoil.
Here Orpheus fings; trees moving to the sound
Start from their roots, and form a shade around :
Amphion there the loud creating lyre 85
Strikes, and beholds a sudden Thel
peculiarly facred to Heroes and Worthies. Those whofe ftatues are after mentioned, were the first names of old Greece in arms and arts. P.
VER. 81. There great Alcides, etc.] This figure of Hercules is drawn with an eye to the position of the famous statue of Farnese. P.