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Bid harbours open, public ways extend,
Bid temples worthier of the God ascend;
Bid the broad arch the dangerous flood contain,
The mole projected break the roaring main ;
Back to his bounds their subject sea command,
And roll obedient rivers through the land:
These honours peace to happy Britain brings ;
These are imperial works, and worthy kings
Occasioned by his Dialogues on Medals.
This was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison intended to publish his book of medals; it was some time before he was secretary of state; but not published till Mr. Tickell's edition of his works; at which time his verses 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 ook up one particular branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expense in people of wealth and quality, and wag therefore a corollary to the third ; so this treats of one circumstance of that vanity, as it appears in the common collectors of old coin; and is, therefore, corollary to the fourth.
SEE the wild waste of all-devouring years! How Rome her own sad sepulchre appears ! With nodding arches, broken temples spread! The very tombs now vanish'd like their dead!
Imperia, wonders raised on nations spoil'd,
Where mix'd with slaves the groaning martyr toil'd
Huge theatres, that now unpeopled woods,
Now drain'd a distant country of her floods.
Fanes, which admiring gods with pride survey;
Statues of men, scarce less alive than they ! 20
Some felt the silent stroke of mouldering age,
Some hostile fury, some religious rage :
Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire,
And papa, piety, and Gothic fire.
Perhaps by its own ruins saved from flame,
Some buried marble half preserves a name;
That name the learn'd with fierce dispute pursue,
And give to Titus old Vespasian's due.
Ambition sigh'd; she found in vain to trust
The faithless column and the crumbling bust; 20
Huge moles, whose shadow stretch'd from shore to
Their ruins perish'd, and their place no more!
Convinced, 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 rollid,
And little eagles wave their wings in gold.
30 The medal faithful to its charge of fame, Through climes and ages oears each form ana
In one short view subjected to our eye,
Gods, emperors, heroes, sages, beauties, lie.
With sharpenod sight pa.e antiquaries pore,
The inscription value, but the rust adore.
This the blue varnish, that the green endears,
The sacred rust of twice ton hundred years !
To gain Pescennius one employs his schemes,
One grasps a Cecrops in ecstatic dreams.
Poor Vadius, 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 pleased the fathers of poetic rage :
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; 60
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, served no private end,
Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend :
Ennobled by himself, by all approved,
And praised, unenvied, by the musc he loved'