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When Rome's exalted beauties, I descry,
Magnificent in piles of ruin lie.
An amphitheatre's amazing height
Here fills my eye with terror and delight,
That on its public shews Unpeopled Rome,
And held Uncrowded nations in its womb :
Here pillars rough with sculpture pierce the skies:
And here the proud triumphal arches rise,
Where the old Romans deathless acts display'd,
Their base degenerate progeny upbraid:
Whole rivers here forsake the fields below,
And, wond'ring at their height, through airy channels
Still to new scenes my wand'ring Muse retires ;
And the dumb show of breathing rocks admires ;
Where the smooth chisel all its force has shown,
And soften'd into fleíh the rugged stone.
In solemn silence, 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 subdu’d.
Fain would I Raphael's godlike art rehearse, And how th' immortal labours in my verse, Where, from the mingled strength of shade and light, A new creation rises to my fight, Such heav'niy figures from his pencil flow, So warm with life his blended colours glow, From theme to theme with secret pleasure toft, Amidst the soft variety. I'm lost :
Here pleasing airs my ravish'd soul confound
With circling notes and labyrinths of found:
Here domes and temples rise in diftant views,
And opening palaces invite my Muse.
How has kind Heav'n adorn'd the happy land,
And scatter'd blessings with a wasteful hand!
But what avail her unexhausted stores,
Her blooming mountains, and her sunny shores,
With all the gifts that Heav'n and earth impart,
The smiles of nature, and the charms of art,
While proud Oppression in her valleys reigns,
And Tyranny usurps her happy plains ?
poor inhabitant beholds in vain The redd'ning Orange and the swelling grain : Joyless he fees the growing oils and wines, And in the Myrtle's fragrant shade repines : Starves, in the midst of nature's bounty curtt, And in the loaden vineyard dies for thirst. Oh Liberty, thou goddess heav'nly bright, Profuse of bliss, and pregnant with delight! Eternal pleafures in thy presence reign, And siniling 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'it beauty to the Sun, and pleasure to the Day.
Thee, goddess, thee Britannia's ifle adores ; How has the oft exhausted all her stores, How oft, in fields of death, thy presence fought, Nor thinks the mighty prize too dearly bought !
On foreign mountains may the Sun refine
The grape's soft juice, and mellow it to wine,
With Citron groves adorn a distant foil,
And the fat Olive swell with floods of oil :
We envy not the warmer clime, that lies
In ten degrees of more indulgent skies,
Nor at the coarseness of our Heav'n repine,
Tho'o'er our heads the frozen Pleiads shine:
'Tis Liberty that crowns Britannia's isle,
And makes her barren rocks and her bleak mountains
Others with tow’ring piles may please the fight,
And in their proud aspiring domes delight;
A nicer touch to the stretch'd canvass 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 afflicted neighbour's pray'r.
The Dane and Swede, rous'd up by fierce alarms,
Bless the wise conduct of her pious arms :
Soon as her feets appear, their terrors cease,
And all the northern world lies hulh'd in peace.
Th' ambitious Gaul beholds with secret dread
Her thunder aim'd at his aspiring head,
And fain her godlike fons wou'd disunite
By foreign gold, or by domestic spite :
But strives in vain to conquer or divide,
Whom Nassau's arms defend and counsels guide.
Fir'd with the name, which I so oft have found
The distant climes and diff'rent tongues resound,
I bridle in my struggling Muse with pain,
That longs to launch into a bolder strain.
But I've already troubled you too long,
Nor dare attempt a more advent'rous song.
My humble verse demands a softer theme,
A painted meadow, or a purling stream;
Unfit for Heroes; whom immortal lays,
And lines like Virgil's, or like your's, thou'd praife.