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'Tis Britain's care to watch o'er Europe's fate,
And hold in balance each contending state,
To threaten bold prefumptuous kings with war,
And answer her afflicted neighbour's Pray'r.
The Dane and Sede, 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 huth'd in peace.
Th' ambitious Gaul beholds with fecret dread
Her thunder aim'd at his aspiring head,
And fain her godlike fons wou'd difunite
By foreign gold, or by domeftic fpite;
But strives in vain to conquer or divide,
Whom Nafau's arms defend and counfels guide.
Fir'd with the name, which I fo oft have found
The distant climes and diff'rent tongues refound,
I bridle in my ftruggling mufe with pain,
That longs to lanch into a bolder ftrain,
But I've already troubled you too long,
Nor dare attempt a more advent'rous fong,
My humble verfe demands a fofter theme,
A painted meadow, or a purling ftream;
Unfit for heroes; whom immortal lays,
And lines like Virgil's, or like yours, thou'd praise.
There is a fine fpirit of freedom, and love of liberty, difplay'd in the following letter from lord Lyttleton to Mr. Pope; and the meffage from the fhade of Virgil, which is truly poetical, and juftly preceptive, may prove an useful leffon to future bards.
A Letter from the Right Honourable the Lord LYTTLETON
to Mr. POPE.
Immortal bard for whom each mufe has wove
The faireft garlands of th' Aonian grove;
Preferv'd, our drooping genius to restore,
When Addifon and Congreve are no more;
After fo many stars extinct in night, of a
The darken d ages laft remaining light!
To thee from Latian realms this verfe is writ,
Infpir'd by memory of ancient wit;
For now no more these climes their influence boast,
Fall'n is their glory, and their virtue loft;
From tyrants, and from priefts, the muses fly,
Daughters of reafon and of liberty.
Nor Baie 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 Italy! whofe alter'd state
Has felt the worft 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 facred wisdom from her bounds is fled,
That there the fource of fcience flows no more,
Whence its rich ftreams fupply'd the world before.
Illuftrious names! that once in Latium fhin'd,
Born to inftruct, and to command mankind;
Chiefs, by whofe 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 ftone,
With ivy's venerable fhade o'er-grown ;
Thofe 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 ftrow'd,
While with th' infpiring mufe my bofom glow'd,
Crown'd with eternal bays, my ravish'd eyes,
Beheld the poet's awful form arise:
Stranger, he faid, whofe pious hand has paid
Thefe grateful ring to my attentive shade,
When thou shalt breathe thy happy native air,
To Pope this meffage from his master bear.
Great bard, whofe numbers I myself infpire,
To whom I gave my own harmonious lyre,
If high exalted on the throne of wit,
Near Me and Homer thou afpire to fit,
No more let meaner fatire dim the rays
That flow majeftic from thy noble bays;'
In all the flow'ry paths of Pindus stray,
But fhun that thorny, that unpleafing way;
Nor when each foft engaging mufe is thine,
Addrefs the leaft attractive of the nine.
Of thee more worthy were the task, to raise
A lafting column to thy country's praise,
To fing the land, which yet alone can boast
That liberty corrupted Rome has loft;
Where fcience in the arms of peace is laid,
And plants her palm beneath the olive's fhade.
Such was the theme for which my lyre I ftrung,
Such was the people whofe exploits I fung;
Brave, yet refin'd, for arms and arts renown'd,
With diff'rent bays by Mars and Phœbus crown'd,
Dauntless oppofers of tyrannic fway,
But pleas'd, a mild AUGUSTUS to obey.
If thefe commands fubmiffive thou receive,
Immortal and unblam'd thy name shall live;
Envy to black Cacytus fhall retire,
And howl with furies in tormenting fire
Approving time thall confecrate thy lays,
And join the patriot's to the poet's praise.
great ufe of medals is properly defcribed in the enfuing elegant epiftle from Mr. Pope to Mr. Addifon; and the extravagant paffion which fome people entertain only for the colour of them, is very agreeably and very juftly ridiculed.
From Mr. POPE to Mr. ADDISON. Occafioned by his dialogue on MEDALS.
See the wild waste of all-devouring years
How Rome her own fad fepulchre appears:
With nodding arches, broken temples fpread!
The very tombs now vanish 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 furvey,
Statues of Men, scarce lefs alive than they!
Some felt the filent stroke of mould'ring age,
Some hoftile fury, fome religious rage;
Barbarian blindness, chriftian zeal confpire,
And papal piety, and gothic fire.
Perhaps, by its own ruin fav'd from flame,
Some bury'd marble half preserves a name ;
That name the learn'd with fierce difputes purfue,
And give to Titus old Vefpafian's due.
Ambition figh'd: She found it vain to truft
The faithless column and the crumbling buft:
Huge moles, whofe fhadow ftretch'd from fhore to shore,
Their ruins perifh'd, and their place no more!
Convinc'd, he now contracts her vaft defign,
And all her triumphs fhrink into a coin.
A narrow orb each crouded conqueft keeps,
Beneath her palm here fad Judæa 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 short 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 Prefcennius one employs his schemes,
One grafps a Cecrops in eftatic dreams.
Poor Vadius, long, with learned spleen devour'd,
Can tafte no pleasure fince his fhield was scour'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 fhine;
Her gods, and god-like heroes rife to view,
And all her faded garlands bloom a-new.
Nor blufh, thefe ftudies thy regard engage ;
These pleas'd the fathers of poetic rage;
The verse and fculpture bore an equal part,
And art reflected images to art.
Oh when shall Britain, confcious 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 honeft face; There warriors frowning in hiftoric brass: Then future ages with delight fhall fee 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 bim mine) On the caft ore, another Pollio fhine; With aspect open shall erect his head, And round the orb in lafting notes be read, "Statesman, yet friend to truth! of foul fincere, “In action faithful, and in honour clear; "Who broke no promise, ferv'd no private end, "Who gain'd no title, and who loft no friend; "Ennobled by himself, by all approv❜d, "Prais'd, wept, and honour'd, by the mufe he lov'd.
The following letter from Mr. Philips to the earl of Dorfet is entirely defcriptive; but is one of those descriptions which will be ever read with delight.
Mr. PHILIPS to the Earl of DORSET.
Copenhagen, March 9, 1709. From frozen climes, and endless tracts of fnow, From ftreams which northern winds forbid to flow, What present shall the mufe to Dorfet bring, Or how, fo near the pole, attempt to fing? The hoary winter here conceals from fight All pleafing objects which to verse invite. The hills and dales, and the delightful woods, The flow'ry plains, and filver-ftreaming floods, By fnow difguis'd, in bright confusion lie, And with onę dazzling waste fatigue the eye.