« PreviousContinue »
Ev'n the rough rocks with tender myrtles bloom,
And trodden weeds fend out a rich perfume.
Bear me, fome God, to Baia's gentle feats,
Or cover me in Umbria's green retreats ;
Where western gales eternally reside,
And all the seasons lavish all their pride:
Blossoms, and fruits, and flowers together rife,
And the whole year in gay confufion lies. .
Immortal glories in my mind revive,
And in my foul a thousand pastions strive,
When Rome’s exalted beauties 1 defcry
Magnificent in piles of ruin lie.
An amphitheatre's amazing height
Here fills my eye with terror and delight,
That on its public fhows unpeopled Rome, |
And held uncrowded nations in its womb :
Here pillars rough with sculpture pierce the skies : |
And here the proud triumphal arches rife, * |
Where the old Romans deathless acts display'd, |
Their bafe degenerate progeny upbraid :
Whole rivers here forfake the fields below, |
And wond'ring at their heighth through airy channels flows
Still to new scenes my wand'ring muse retires ; -
And the dumb show of breathing rocks admires ;
Where the smooth chifel all its force has shown,
And foften'd into flesh the rugged stone,
In solemn filence, a majestic band,
Heroes, and gods, and Roman consuls stand,
Stern tyrants, whom their cruelties renown,
And emperors in Parian marble frown ;
While the bright dames, to whom they humbly fu'd,
Still show the charms that their proud hearts fubdu’d.
Fain would I Raphael's godlike art rehearfe,
And show th' immortal labours in my verse,
Where from the mingled strength of shade and light, |
A new creation rises to my fight, -
Such heav'nly figures from his pencil flow, |
So warm with life his blended colours glow. -
Tom theme to theme with secret pleasure tost,
Amidst the soft variety I'm lost :
pleasing airs my ravish'd foul confound
" circling notes and labyrinths of found;
Here domes and temples rife in distant views, And opening palaces invite my muse. How has kind heav'n adorn'd the happy land, And scatter'd bleffings with a wasteful hand ! But what avail her unexhausted stores, Her blooming mountains, and her funny shores, With all the gifts that heav'n and earth impart, The fmiles of nature, and the charms of art, While proud oppression in her valleys reigns, And tyranny ufurps her happy plains ? The poor inhabitant beholds in vain The red’ning Orange and the swelling grain : Joyless he fees the growing oils and wines, And in the myrtle’s fragrant fhade repines: Starves, in the midst of nature's bounty curst, And in the loaden vineyard dies for thirst. 4 , O liberty, thou goddess heav'nly bright, | Profufe of bliss, and pregnant with delight ! Eternal pleasures in thy prefence reign, And fmiling plenty leads thy wanton train ; Eas'd of her load subjection grows more light, And poverty looks chearful in thy fight; Thou mak’st the gloomy face of nature gay, Giv'st beauty to the fun, and pleasure to the day. Thee, goddefs, thee, Britannia's isle adores ; How has she oft exhausted all her stores, ' How oft in fields of death thy presence fought, u Nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly bought i On foreign mountains may the fun refine The grapes foft juice, and mellow it to wine, With citron groves adorn a distant foil, And the fat olive íwell with floods of oil : We envy not the warmer clime, that lies In ten degrees of more indulgent fkies, Nor at the coarseness of our heav'n repine, Tho' o'er our heads the frozen pleiads fhine : 'Tis liberty that crowns Britannia's isle, * i And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains fmile. Others with tow’riug piles may please the fight, | And in their proud aspiring domes delight ; | A nicer touch to the stretcht canvas give, Or teach their animated rocks to live :
'Tis Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate,
And hold in balance each contending state,
To threaten bold presumptuous kings with war,
And answer her aflićted neighbour's Pray’r.
The Dane and Swede, rous’d up by fierce alarms,
Bless the wife conduct of her pious arms :
Soon as her fleets appear, their terrors cease,
And all the northern world lies hufh’d in peace.
Fir'd with the name, which I fo oft have found
The distant climes and diff’rent tongues refound,
I bridle in my struggling muse with pain,
That longs to lanch into a bolder strain,
But I've already troubled you too long,
Nor dare attempt a more advent'rous fong,
My humble verse demands a fofter theme,
A painted meadow, or a purling stream ;
Unfit for heroes ; whom immortal lays,
And lines like Virgil's, or like yours, shou'd praise.
There is a fine spirit of freedom, and love of liberty,
display’d in the following letter from lord Lyttleton to Mr.
4 Letter from the Right Honourable the Lord LYTT LE ToN - .to Mr. PoP E.
- From Rome, 173o.
Immortal bard! for whom each mufe has wove The fairest garlands of th' Aonian grove ;
serv'd, our drooping genius to restore, When Addison and Congreve are no more; After fo many stars extinct in night, o , he darken a ages last remaining ihti
othee from Latian realms this verse is writ, inspird by memory of ancient wit ; "
For now no more these climes their influence boast,
Fall'n is their glory, and their virtue lost;
From tyrants, and from priests, the muses fly,
Daughters of reafon and of liberty.
Nor Baiae now, nor Umbria’s plain they love,
Nor on the banks of Nar, or Mincia rove ;
To Thames’s flow’ry borders they retire,
And kindle in thy breaft the Roman fire.
So in the fhades, where chear'd with fummer rays
Melodious linnets warbled sprightly lays,
Soon as the faded, falling leaves complain
Of gloomy winter's unaufpicious reign,
No tuneful voice is heard of joy or love,
But mournful filence faddens all the grove.
Unhappy ltaly / whose alter'd state
Has felt the worst feverity of fate :
Not that barbarian hands her fafces broke,
And bow'd her haughty neck beneath their yoke;
Nor that her palaces to earth are thrown,
Her cities defert, and her fields unfown ;
But that her ancient spirit is decay'd,
That sacred wisdom from her bounds is fled,
That there the fource of science flows no more,
Whence its rich streams supply’d the world before.
Illustrious names ! that once in Latium fhin'd,
Born to instrućt, and to command mankind;
Chiefs, by whose virtue mighty Rome was rais'd,
And poets, who thofe chiefs fublimely prais'd !
Oft I the traces you have left explore,
Your afhes vifit, and your urns adore ;
Oft kifs, with lips devout, fome mould'ring stone,
With ivy's venerable fhade o'er-grown ;
Those hallow'd ruins better pleas'd to fee,
Than all the pomp of modern luxury.
As late on Virgil's tomb fresh flow’rs I strow'd,
While with th' inspiring muse my bofom glow’d,
Crown'd with eternal bays, my ravish'd eyes,
Beheld the poet's awful form arife: . '
Stranger, he faid, whose pious hand has paid
These grateful ritg my attentive fhade,
when hou shalt bi åthe thy happy native air,
To Pope this message from his master bear.