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Aspice murorum moles, praeruptaque saxa,
Obrutaque borrenti vasta theatra situ:
Haec sunt Roma. Viden' velut ipsa cadavera tantae
Urbis adhuc spirent imperiosa minas?
Janus Vitalis.
[ed.] Janus Vitalis, Roma Prisca (Romanae Ecclesiae Elogia, 1552). (AH)
1 ENOUGH of Grongar, and the shady dales
2 Of winding Towy, Merlin's fabled haunt,
3 I sung inglorious. Now the love of arts,
4 And what in metal or in stone remains
5 Of proud antiquity, thro' various realms
6 And various languages and ages fam'd,
7 Bears me remote, o'er Gallia's woody bounds,
8 O'er the cloud-piercing Alps remote; beyond
9 The vale of Arno purpled with the vine,
10 Beyond the Umbrian and Etruscan hills,
11 To Latium's wide champain, forlorn and waste,
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12 Where yellow Tiber his neglected wave
13 Mournfully rolls. Yet once again, my Muse,
14 Yet once again, and soar a loftier flight;
15 Lo the resistless theme, imperial Rome.
16 Fall'n, fall'n, a silent heap; her heroes all
17 Sunk in their urns; behold the pride of pomp,
18 The throne of nations fall'n; obscure in dust;
19 Ev'n yet majestical; the solemn scene
20 Elates the soul, while now the rising sun
21 Flames on the ruins in the purer air
22 Tow'ring aloft, upon the glitt'ring plain,
23 Like broken rocks, a vast circumference;
24 Rent palaces, crush'd columns, rifted moles,
25 Fanes roll'd on fanes, and tombs on buried tombs.
26 Deep lies in dust the Theban obelisc,
27 Immense along the waste; minuter art,
28 Gliconian forms, or Phidian, subtly fair,
29 O'erwhelming; as th' immense LEVIATHAN
30 The finny brood, when near Ierne's shore
31 Out-stretch'd, unwieldly, his island length appears
32 Above the foamy flood. Globose and huge,
33 Grey-mould'ring temples swell, and wide o'ercast
34 The solitary landskape, hills and woods,
35 And boundless wilds; while the vine-mantled brows
36 The pendent goats unveil, regardless they
37 Of hourly peril, though the clefted domes
38 Tremble to every wind. The pilgrim oft
39 At dead of night, 'mid his oraison hears
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40 Aghast the voice of time, disparting tow'rs,
41 Tumbling all precipitate down-dash'd,
42 Rattling around, loud thund'ring to the moon:
43 While murmurs sooth each aweful interval
44 Of ever-falling waters; shrouded Nile
a Fountains at Rome adorned with the statues of those rivers.
45 Eridanus, and Tiber with his twins,
46 And palmy Euphrates; they with dropping locks,
47 Hang o'er their urns, and mournfully among
48 The plaintive-echoing ruins pour their streams.
49 Yet here advent'rous in the sacred search
50 Of ancient arts, the delicate of mind,
51 Curious and modest, from all climes resort,
52 Grateful society! with these I raise
53 The toilsome step up the proud Palatin,
54 Through spiry cypress groves, and tow'ring pine,
55 Waving aloft o'er the big ruins brows,
56 On num'rous arches rear'd: and frequent stopp'd,
57 The sunk ground startles me with dreadful chasm,
58 Breathing forth darkness from the vast profound
59 Of isles and halls, within the mountain's womb.
60 Nor these the nether works; all these beneath,
61 And all beneath the vales and hills around,
62 Extend the cavern'd sewers, massy, firm,
63 As the Sibyline grot beside the dead
64 Lake of Avernus; such the sewers huge,
65 Whither the great Tarquinian genius dooms
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66 Each wave impure; and proud with added rains,
67 Hark how the mighty billows lash their vaults,
68 And thunder; how they heave their rocks in vain!
69 Though now incessant Time has roll'd around
70 A thousand winters o'er the changeful world,
71 And yet a thousand since, th' indignant floods
72 Roar loud in their firm bounds, and dash and swell,
73 In vain; convey'd to Tiber's lowest wave.
74 Hence over airy plains, by crystal founts,
75 That weave their glitt'ring waves with tuneful lapse,
76 Among the sleeky pebbles, agate clear,
77 Cerulean ophite, and the flow'ry vein
78 Of orient jasper, pleas'd I move along,
79 And vases boss'd, and huge inscriptive stones,
80 And intermingling vines; and figur'd nymphs,
81 Flora's and Chloe's of delicious mould,
82 Cheering the darkness; and deep empty tombs,
83 And dells, and mould'ring shrines, with old decay
84 Rustick and green and wide-embow'ring shades,
85 Shot from the crooked clefts of nodding tow'rs;
86 A solemn wilderness! With error sweet,
87 I wind the ling'ring step, where-e'er the path
88 Mazy conducts me, which the vulgar foot
89 O'er sculptures maim'd has made; Anubis, Sphinx,
90 Idols of antique guise, and horned Pan,
91 Terrifick, monstrous shapes! propost'rous gods,
92 Of Fear and Ign'rance, by the sculptor's hand
93 Hewn into form, and worship'd; as ev'n now
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94 Blindly they worship at their breathless mouths
b Several statues of the Pagan gods have been converted into images of saints.
95 In varied appellations: men to these
96 (From depth to depth in dark'ning error fall'n)
97 At length ascrib'd th' INAPPLICABLE NAME.
98 How doth it please and fill the memory
99 With deeds of brave renown, while on each hand
100 Historick urns and breathing statues rise,
101 And speaking busts! Sweet Scipio, Marius stern,
102 Pompey superb, the spirit-stirring form
103 Of Caesar raptur'd with the charm of rule
104 And boundless fame; impatient for exploits,
105 His eager eyes upcast, he soars in thought
106 Above all height: and his own Brutus see,
107 Desponding Brutus, dubious of the right,
108 In evil days, of faith, of publick weal
109 Solicitous and sad. Thy next regard
110 Be Tully's graceful attitude; uprais'd,
111 His out-stretch'd arm he waves, in act to speak
112 Before the silent masters of the world,
113 And eloquence arrays him. There behold
114 Prepar'd for combat in the front of war
115 The pious brothers; jealous Alba stands
116 In fearful expectation of the strife,
117 And youthful Rome intent: the kindred foes
118 Fall on each other's neck in silent tears;
119 In sorrowful benevolence embrace
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120 Howe'er they soon unsheath the flashing sword,
121 Their country calls to arms, now all in vain
122 The mother clasps the knee, and ev'n the fair
123 Now weeps in vain; their country calls to arms.
124 Such virtue Clelia, Cocles, Manlius, rous'd;
125 Such were the Fabii, Decii; so inspir'd
126 The Scipio's battled, and the Gracchi spoke:
127 So rose the Roman state. Me now, of these
128 Deep-musing, high ambitious thoughts inflame
129 Greatly to serve my country, distant land,
130 And build me virtuous fame; nor shall the dust
131 Of these fall'n piles with shew of sad decay
132 Avert the good resolve, mean argument,
133 The fate alone of matter. Now the brow
134 We gain enraptur'd; beauteously distinct
c From the Palatin hill one sees most of the remarkable antiquities.
135 The num'rous portico's and domes upswell,
136 With obeliscs and columns interpos'd,
137 And pine, and fir, and oak: so fair a scene
138 Sees not the dervise from the spiral tomb
139 Of ancient Chammos, while his eye beholds
140 Proud Memphis' reliques o'er th' Aegyptian plain:
141 Nor hoary hermit from Hymettus' brow,
142 Though graceful Athens, in the vale beneath.
143 Along the windings of the Muse's stream,
144 Lucid Ilyssus, weeps her silent schools,
145 And groves, unvisited by bard or sage.
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146 Amid the tow'ry ruins, huge, supreme,
147 Th' enormous amphitheatre behold,
148 Mountainous pile! o'er whose capacious womb
149 Pours the broad firmament its varied light;
150 While from the central floor the seats ascend
151 Round above round, slow-wid'ning to the verge,
152 A circuit vast and high; nor less had held
153 Imperial Rome, and her attendant realms,
154 When drunk with rule she will'd the fierce delight,
155 And op'd the gloomy caverns, whence out-rush'd
156 Before th' innumerable shouting crowd
157 The fiery, madded, tyrants of the wilds,
158 Lions and tygers, wolves and elephants,
159 And desp'rate men, more fell. Abhorr'd intent!
160 By frequent converse with familiar death,
161 To kindle brutal daring apt for war;
162 To lock the breast, and steel th' obdurate heart,
163 Amid the piercing cries of sore distress
164 Impenetrable. But away thine eye;
165 Behold yon steepy cliff; the modern pile
166 Perchance may now delight, while that rever'd
d The Capitol.
167 In ancient days, the page alone declares,
168 Or narrow coin through dim caerulean rust.
169 The fane was JOVE'S, its spacious golden roof,
170 O'er thick-surrounding temples beaming wide,
171 Appear'd, as when above the morning hills
172 Half the round sun ascends; and tow'r'd aloft,
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173 Sustain'd by columns huge, innumerous
174 As cedars proud on Canaan's verdant heights
175 Dark'ning their idols, when Astarte lur'd
176 Too prosp'rous Israel from his living strength.
177 And next regard yon venerable dome,
178 Which virtuous Latium, with erroneous aim,
179 Rais'd to her various deities, and nam'd
180 Pantheon; plain and round; of this our world
181 Majestick emblem; with peculiar grace,
182 Before its ample orb, projected stands
183 The many-pillar'd portal; noblest work
184 Of human skill, here, curious architect,
185 If thou assay'st, ambitious, to surpass
186 Palladius, Angelus, or British Jones,
187 On these fair walls extend the certain scale,
188 And turn th' instructive compass: careful mark
189 How far in hidden art, the noble plain
190 Extends, and where the lovely forms commence
191 Of flowing sculpture: nor neglect to note
192 How range the taper columns, and what weight
193 Their leafy brows sustain: fair Corinth first
194 Boasted their order which Callimachus
195 (Reclining studious on Asopus' banks
196 Beneath an urn of some lamented nymph)
197 Haply compos'd; the urn with foliage curl'd
198 Thinly conceal'd, the chapiter inform'd.
199 See the tall obeliscs from Memphis old,
200 One stone enormous each, or Thebes convey'd;
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201 Like Albion's spires they rush into the skies.
202 And there the temple, where the summon'd state
e The temple of Concord, where the senate met on Catiline's conspiracy.
203 In deep of night conven'd: ev'n yet methinks
204 The veh'ment orator in rent attire
205 Persuasion pours, ambition sinks her crest;
206 And lo the villain, like a troubled sea,
207 That tosses up her mire! Ever disguis'd,
208 Shall treason walk? shall proud oppression yoke
209 The neck of virtue? Lo the wretch abash'd;
210 Self-betray'd Catiline! O Liberty,
211 Parent of happiness, celestial born;
212 When the first man became a living soul,
213 His sacred genius thou; be Britain's care;
214 With her secure, prolong thy lov'd retreat;
215 Thence bless mankind; while yet among her sons,
216 Ev'n yet there are, to shield thine equal laws,
217 Whose bosoms kindle at the sacred names
218 Of Cecil, Raleigh, Walsingham, and Drake.
219 May others more delight in tuneful airs;
220 In masque and dance excell; to sculptur'd stone
221 Give with superior skill the living look;
222 More pompous piles erect, or pencil soft
223 With warmer touch the visionary board:
224 Be thou, thy nobler Britons teach to rule;
225 To check the ravage of tyrannick sway;
226 To quell the proud; to spread the joys of peace
227 And various blessings of ingenious trade.
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228 Be these our arts; and ever may we guard,
229 Ever defend thee with undaunted heart,
230 Inestimable good! who giv'st us Truth,
231 Whose hand upleads to light, divinest Truth,
232 Array'd in ev'ry charm: whose hand benign
233 Teaches unwearied toil to cloath the fields,
234 And on his various fruits inscribes the name
235 Of Property: O nobly hail'd of old
236 By thy majestick daughters, Judah fair,
237 And Tyrus and Sidonia, lovely nymphs,
238 And Libya bright, and all-enchanting Greece,
239 Whose num'rous towns and isles, and peopled seas,
240 Rejoic'd around her lyre; th' heroic note
241 (Smit with sublime delight) Ausonia caught,
242 And plan'd imperial Rome. Thy hand benign
243 Rear'd up her tow'ry battlements in strength;
244 Bent her wide bridges o'er the swelling stream
245 Of Tuscan Tiber; thine those solemn domes
246 Devoted to the voice of humble pray'r;
247 And thine those piles undeck'd, capacious, vast
f The publick granaries.
248 In days of dearth, where tender Charity
249 Dispens'd her timely succours to the poor.
250 Thine too those musically-falling founts
251 To slake the clammy lip; adown they fall,
252 Musical ever; while from yon blue hills
253 Dim in the clouds, the radiant aqueducts
254 Turn their innumerable arches o'er
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255 The spacious desert, bright'ning in the sun,
256 Proud and more proud, in their august approach:
257 High o'er irriguous vales and woods and towns,
258 Glide the soft whispering waters in the wind,
259 And here united pour their silver streams
260 Among the figur'd rocks, in murm'ring falls,
261 Musical ever. These thy beauteous works:
262 And what beside felicity could tell
263 Of human benefit: more late the rest;
264 At various times their turrets chanc'd to rise,
265 When impious tyranny vouchsaf'd to smile.
266 Behold by Tiber's flood, where modern Rome
g Modern Rome stands chiefly on the old Campus Martius.
267 Couches beneath the ruins: there of old
268 With arms and trophies gleam'd the field of Mars:
269 There to their daily sports the noble youth
270 Rush'd emulous; to fling the pointed lance;
271 To vault the steed; or with the kindling wheel
272 In dusty whirlwinds sweep the trembling goal;
273 Or wrestling, cope with adverse swelling breasts,
274 Strong, grappling arms, clos'd heads, and distant feet;
275 Or clash the lifted gauntlets: there they form'd
276 Their ardent virtues: lo the bossy piles,
277 The proud triumphal arches; all their wars,
278 Their conquests, honours, in the sculptures live.
279 And see from every gate those ancient roads,
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280 With tombs high-verg'd, the solemn paths of Fame:
281 Deserve they not regard? O'er whose broad flints
282 Such crowds have roll'd, so many storms of war;
283 Such trains of consuls, tribunes, sages, kings;
284 So many pomps; so many wond'ring realms:
285 Yet still through mountains pierc'd, o'er vallies rais'd,
286 In even state, to distant seas around,
287 They stretch their pavements. Lo the fane of Peace,
288 Built by that prince, who to the trust of pow'r
h Begun by Vespasian, and finished by Titus.
289 Was honest, the delight of human kind.
290 Three nodding isles remain; the rest an heap
291 Of sand and weeds; her shrines, her radiant roofs
292 And columns proud, that from her spacious floor,
293 As from a shining sea, majestick rose
294 An hundred foot aloft, like stately beech
295 Around the brim of Dion's glassy lake,
296 Charming the mimick painter: on the walls
297 Hung Salem's sacred spoils; the golden board,
298 And golden trumpets, now conceal'd, entomb'd
299 By the sunk roof. O'er which in distant view
300 Th' Etruscan mountains swell, with ruins crown'd
301 Of ancient towns; and blue Soracte spires,
302 Wrapping his sides in tempests. Eastward hence,
303 Nigh where the Cestian pyramid divides
i The tomb of Cestius, partly within, and partly without the walls.
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304 The mould'ring wall, behold yon fabrick huge,
305 Whose dust the solemn antiquarian turns,
306 And thence in broken sculptures cast abroad,
307 Like Sybil's leaves, collects the builder's name
308 Rejoic'd, and the green medals frequent found
309 Doom Caracalla to perpetual fame:
310 The stately pines, that spread their branches wide
311 In the dun ruins of its ample halls,
k The baths of Caracalla, a vast ruin.
312 Appear but tufts; as may whate'er is high
313 Sink in comparison, minute and vile.
314 These, and unnumber'd, yet their brows uplift,
315 Rent of their graces; as Britannia's oaks
316 On Merlin's mount, or Snowden's rugged sides,
317 Stand in the clouds, their branches scatter'd round,
318 After the tempest; Mausoleums, Cirques,
319 Naumachios, Forums; Trajan's column tall,
320 From whose low base the sculptures wind aloft,
321 And lead through various toils, up the rough steep,
322 Its hero to the skies: and his dark tow'r
l Nero's.
323 Whose execrable hand the city fir'd,
324 And while the dreadful conflagration blaz'd,
325 Play'd to the flames; and Phoebus' letter'd dome;
m The Palatin library.
326 And the rough reliques of Carinae's street,
327 Where now the shepherd to his nibbling sheep
328 Sits piping with his oaten reed; as erst
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329 There pip'd the shepherd to his nibbling sheep,
330 When th' humble roof Anchises' son explor'd
331 Of good Evander, wealth-despising king,
332 Amid the thickets: so revolves the scene;
333 So time ordains, who rolls the things of pride
334 From dust again to dust. Behold that heap
335 Of mould'ring urns (their ashes blown away,
336 Dust of the mighty) the same story tell;
337 And at its base, from whence the serpent glides
338 Down the green desert street, yon hoary monk
339 Laments the same, the vision as he views,
340 The solitary, silent, solemn scene,
341 Where Caesars, heroes, peasants, hermits lie,
342 Blended in dust together; where the slave
343 Rests from his labours; where th' insulting proud
344 Resigns his pow'r; the miser drops his hoard;
345 Where human folly sleeps. There is a mood,
346 (I sing not to the vacant and the young)
347 There is a kindly mood of melancholy,
348 That wings the soul, and points her to the skies;
349 When tribulation cloaths the child of man,
350 When age descends with sorrow to the grave,
351 'Tis sweetly-soothing sympathy to pain,
352 A gently wak'ning call to health and ease.
353 How musical! when all-devouring Time,
354 Here sitting on his throne of ruins hoar,
355 While winds and tempests sweep his various lyre,
356 How sweet thy diapason, Melancholy!
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357 Cool ev'ning comes; the setting sun displays
358 His visible great round between yon tow'rs,
359 As through two shady cliffs; away, my Muse,
360 Though yet the prospect pleases, ever new
361 In vast variety, and yet delight
362 The many-figur'd sculptures of the path
363 Half beauteous, half effac'd; the traveller
364 Such antique marbles to his native land
365 Oft hence conveys; and ev'ry realm and state
366 With Rome's august remains, heroes and gods,
367 Deck their long galleries and winding groves;
368 Yet miss we not th' innumerable thefts,
369 Yet still profuse of graces teems the waste.
370 Suffice it now th' Esquilian mount to reach
371 With weary wing, and seek the sacred rests
372 Of Maro's humble tenement; a low
373 Plain wall remains; a little sun-gilt heap,
374 Grotesque and wild; the gourd and olive brown
375 Weave the light roof; the gourd and olive fan
376 Their am'rous foliage, mingling with the vine,
377 Who drops her purple clusters through the green.
378 Here let me lie, with pleasing fancy sooth'd:
379 Here flow'd his fountain; here his laurels grew;
380 Here oft the meek good man, the lofty bard
381 Fram'd the celestial song, or social walk'd
382 With Horace and the ruler of the world;
383 Happy Augustus! who so well inspir'd
384 Could'st throw thy pomps and royalties aside,
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385 Attentive to the wise, the great of soul,
386 And dignify thy mind. Thrice glorious days,
387 Auspicious to the Muses! then rever'd,
388 Then hallow'd was the fount, or secret shade,
389 Or open mountain, or whatever scene
390 The poet chose to tune th' ennobling rhime
391 Melodious; ev'n the rugged sons of war,
392 Ev'n the rude hinds rever'd the Poet's name:
393 But now another age, alas! is ours
394 Yet will the Muse a little longer soar,
395 Unless the clouds of care weigh down her wing,
396 Since nature's stores are shut with cruel hand,
397 And each aggrieves his brother; since in vain
398 The thirsty pilgrim at the fountain asks
399 Th' o'erflowing wave Enough the plaint disdain.
400 See'st thou yon fane? ev'n now incessant time
n The temple of Romulus and Remus under mount Palatin.
401 Sweeps her low mould'ring marbles to the dust;
402 And Phoebus' temple, nodding with its woods
403 Threatens huge ruin o'er the small rotund.
404 'Twas there beneath a fig-tree's umbrage broad,
405 Th' astonish'd swains with rev'rend awe beheld
406 Thee, O Quirinus, and thy brother-twin,
407 Pressing the teat within a monster's grasp
408 Sportive; while oft the gaunt and rugged wolf
409 Turn'd her stretch'd neck and form'd your tender limbs:
410 So taught of Jove, ev'n the fell savage fed
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411 Your sacred infancies, your virtues, toils,
412 The conquests, glories, of th' Ausonian state,
413 Wrapp'd in their secret seeds. Each kindred soul,
414 Robust and stout, ye grapple to your hearts,
415 And little Rome appears. Her cots arise,
416 Green twigs of osier weave the slender walls,
417 Green rushes spread the roofs; and here and there
418 Opens beneath the rock the gloomy cave.
419 Elate with joy Etruscan Tiber views
420 Her spreading scenes enamelling his waves,
421 Her huts and hollow dells, and flocks and herds,
422 And gath'ring swains; and rolls his yellow car
423 To Neptune's court with more majestick train.
424 Her speedy growth alarm'd the states around
425 Jealous, yet soon by wond'rous virtue won,
426 They sink into her bosom. From the plough
427 Rose her dictators; fought, o'ercame, return'd,
428 Yes, to the plough return'd, and hail'd their peers;
429 For then no private pomp, no houshold state,
430 The publick only swell'd the gen'rous breast.
431 Who has not heard the Fabian heroes sung?
432 Dentatus' scars, or Mutius' flaming hand?
433 How Manlius sav'd the Capitol? the choice
434 Of steady Regulus? As yet they stood,
435 Simple of life; as yet seducing wealth
436 Was unexplor'd, and shame of poverty
437 Yet unimagin'd Shine not all the fields
438 With various fruitage? murmur not the brooks
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439 Along the flow'ry vallies? They, content,
440 Feasted at nature's hand, indelicate,
441 Blithe, in their easy taste; and only sought
442 To know their duties; that their only strife,
443 Their gen'rous strife, and greatly to perform.
444 They through all shapes of peril and of pain,
445 Intent on honour, dar'd in thickest death
446 To snatch the glorious deed. Nor Trebia quell'd,
447 Nor Thrasymene, nor Cannae's bloody field,
448 Their dauntless courage; storming Hannibal
449 In vain the thunder of the battle roll'd,
450 The thunder of the battle they return'd
451 Back on his Punick shores; 'till Carthage fell,
452 And danger fled afar. The city gleam'd
453 With precious spoils: alas prosperity!
454 Ah baneful state! yet ebb'd not all their strength
455 In soft luxurious pleasures; proud desire
456 Of boundless sway, and fev'rish thirst of gold,
457 Rous'd them again to battle. Beauteous Greece,
458 Torn from her joys, in vain with languid arm
459 Half rais'd her rusty shield; nor could avail
460 The sword of Dacia, nor the Parthian dart;
461 Nor yet the car of that fam'd British chief,
462 Which seven brave years beneath the doubtful wing
463 Of vict'ry, dreadful roll'd its griding wheels
464 Over the bloody war: the Roman arms
465 Triumph'd, 'till Fame was silent of their foes.
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466 And now the world unrivall'd they enjoy'd
467 In proud security: the crested helm,
468 The plated greave and corselet hung unbrac'd;
469 Nor clank'd their arms, the spear and sounding shield,
470 But on the glitt'ring trophy to the wind.
471 Dissolv'd in ease and soft delights they lie,
472 'Till ev'ry sun annoys, and ev'ry wind
473 Has chilling force, and ev'ry rain offends:
474 For now the frame no more is girt with strength
475 Masculine, nor in lustiness of heart
476 Laughs at the winter storm, and summer beam,
477 Superior to their rage: enfeebling vice
478 Withers each nerve, and opens every pore
479 To painful feeling: flow'ry bow'rs they seek
480 (As aether prompts, as the sick sense approves)
481 Or cool Nymphean grots; or tepid baths
482 (Taught by the soft Ionians) they, along
483 The lawny vale, of ev'ry beauteous stone,
484 Pile in the roseat air with fond expence:
485 Through silver channels glide the vagrant waves,
486 And fall on silver beds crystalline down,
487 Melodious murmuring; while luxury
488 Over their naked limbs, with wanton hand,
489 Sheds roses, odours, sheds unheeded bane.
490 Swift is the flight of wealth; unnumber'd wants,
491 Brood of volupt'ousness, cry out aloud
492 Necessity, and seek the splendid bribe.
493 The citron board, the bowl emboss'd with gems,
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494 And tender foliage wildly wreath'd around
495 Of seeming ivy, by that artful hand,
496 Corinthian Thericles; whate'er is known
497 Of rarest acquisition; Tyrian garbs,
498 Neptunian Albion's high testaceous food,
499 And flavour'd Chian wines with incense fum'd
500 To shake Patrician thirst: for these, their rights
501 In the vile streets they prostitute to sale;
502 Their ancient rights, their dignities, their laws,
503 Their native glorious freedom. Is there none,
504 Is there no villain, that will bind the neck
505 Stretch'd to the yoke? they come; the market throngs.
506 But who has most by fraud or force amass'd?
507 Who most can charm corruption with his doles?
508 He be the monarch of the state; and lo!
509 Didius, vile us'rer, through the crowd he mounts,
o Didius Julianus, who bought the empire.
510 Beneath his feet the Roman eagle cow'rs,
511 And the red arrows fill his grasp uncouth.
512 O Britons, O my countrymen, beware,
513 Gird, gird your hearts; the Romans once were free,
514 Were brave, were virtuous. Tyranny howe'er
515 Deign'd to walk forth awhile in pageant state,
516 And with licentious pleasures fed the rout,
517 The thoughtless many: to the wanton sound
518 Of fifes and drums they danc'd, or in the shade
519 Sung Caesar, great and terrible in war,
520 Immortal Caesar! lo, a God, a God,
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521 He cleaves the yielding skies! Caesar mean while
522 Gathers the ocean pebbles; or the gnat
523 Enrag'd pursues; or at his lonely meal
524 Starves a wide province; tastes, dislikes, and flings
525 To dogs and sycophants: a God, a God!
526 The flow'ry shades and shrines obscene return.
527 But see along the north the tempest swell
528 O'er the rough Alps, and darken all their snows!
529 Sudden the Goth and Vandal, dreaded names,
530 Rush as the breach of waters, whelming all
531 Their domes, their villa's; down the festive piles,
532 Down fall their Parian porches, gilded baths,
533 And roll before the storm in clouds of dust.
534 Vain end of human strength, of human skill,
535 Conquest, and triumph, and domain, and pomp,
536 And ease and luxury! O luxury,
537 Bane of elated life, of affluent states,
538 What dreary change, what ruin is not thine?
539 How doth thy bowl intoxicate the mind!
540 To the soft entrance of thy rosy cave
541 How dost thou lure the fortunate and great!
542 Dreadful attraction! while behind thee gapes
543 Th' unfathomable gulph where Ashur lies
544 O'erwhelm'd, forgotten; and high-boasting Cham;
545 And Elam's haughty pomp; and beauteous Greece;
546 And the great queen of earth, imperial ROME.


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About this text

Title (in Source Edition): THE RUINS of ROME. A POEM.
Author: John Dyer
Themes: places; ancient history
Genres: blank verse; prospect poem / topographical poem
References: DMI 21898

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Source edition

Dodsley, Robert, 1703-1764. A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. I. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 220-240. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.001) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

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