A Description of Bath.
Humbly Inscribed to Her Royal Highness the Princess Amelia.
1 Amelia, beauteous Princess, deign to view
2 What the Muse sings: to You the Song is due;
3 To You, in whom with Joy we see combin'd
4 True Royal Greatness, and an humble Mind.
5 Deign You, bright Maid, to hear my artless Lays;
6 You'll awe the snarling Critics into Praise.
7 If Goodness can this bold Address forgive,
8 Nurs'd by your Smiles, my humble Rhymes shall live. [Page 2]
9 To sing the Town, where balmy Waters flow,
10 To which Amelia's Health the Nations owe,
11 My Muse aspires; while conscious Blushes rise,
12 And her weak Pinions tremble, ere she flies;
13 Till, drawing Vigour from those living Springs,
14 She dares to raise her Voice, and stretch her Wings.
15 Not the fam'd Springs, which gave Poetic Fire,
16 Had nobler Virtues, or could more inspire.
17 Too weak my Voice; but Great Amelia's Name
18 Shall raise my Numbers, and defend my Fame.
19 Long ere the Roman Eagle hither flew,
20 Ere Albion's Sons their pow'rful Virtues knew;
21 Brute's great Descendant rais'd them first to Fame,
22 And, from their Use, assign'd the Town its Name.
23 Pallas he chose Protectress of the Streams,
24 Pallas the*[Page 3]
* The City of Bath is call'd in the British Language Caer Palludar. City her Protectress claims;
25 Thus He, who of Man's Fall divinely sings,
26 Tells from old Records, wrote of Gothic Kings.
27 The Romans well this ancient Story knew,
28 Minerva's Statues their Devotion drew;
29 Of curious Art her noble*
* There is now an antique Bust in the Town-hall of Bath, suppos'd to belong to a Roman Statue of Pallas. Bust appears,
30 Safe from the Ruin of a thousand Years.
31 These salutary Streams alone can boast
32 Their Virtues not in thrice five Ages lost.
33 The floating Waters, from their hidden Source,
34 Thro' the same Strata keep unerring Course;
35 The flowing Sulphur meets dissolving Steel,
36 And heat in Combat, till the Waters boil:
37 United then, enrich the healing Stream,
38 Health to the Sick they give, and to the Waters, Fame.
39 Thus oft contending Parties rage and hate,
40 Malignant both, and push each other's Fate;[Page 4]
41 At last, their Fury spent, and cloy'd with Blood,
42 They join in Friendship for the Public Good.
43 Hither foul Scurvy, odious to the Sight;
44 And Vapours, which, in ev'ry Form, affright;
45 Sharp Colic, groaning with a Jaundice Face;
46 White Leprosy, of old Egyptian Race;
47 The shaking Palsy; Rheumatism lame;
48 And meager Indigestion pining came;
49 With many dreadful Ails, without a Name.
50 Fatal Effects of Luxury and Ease!
51 We drink our Poison, and we eat Disease;
52 Indulge our Senses at our Reason's Cost,
53 Till Sense is Pain, and Reason's hurt, or lost.
54 Not so, O Temp'rance bland! when rul'd by thee,
55 The Brute's obedient, and the Man is free:
56 Soft are his Slumbers, balmy is his Rest,
57 His Veins not boiling from the Midnight Feast;[Page 5]
58 Touch'd by Aurora's rosy Hand, he wakes,
59 Peaceful and calm; and with the World partakes
60 The joyful Dawnings of returning Day,
61 For which their grateful Thanks the whole Creation pay!
62 All but the human Brute; 'Tis he alone
63 Whose Deeds of Darkness fly the rising Sun.
64 'Tis to thy Rules, O Temperance! we owe
65 All Pleasures which from Health and Strength can flow:
66 Vigour of Body, Purity of Mind,
67 Unclouded Reason, Sentiments refin'd,
68 Unmix'd, untainted Joys, without Remorse,
69 Th'intemp'rate Sinner's never-failing Curse.
70 Our Waters wash those num'rous Ills away,
71 And grant the trembling Wretch a longer Day.
72 O may returning Health more Wisdom give!
73 Let Death's Approaches teach us how to live. [Page 6]
74 If but one Leper cur'd, makes Jordan's Stream,
75 In Sacred Writ, a venerable Theme,
76 What Honour's to thy sov'reign Waters due,
77 Where Sick, by Thousands, do their Health renew?
78 The Min'ral Steams which from the Baths arise,
79 From noxious Vapours clear the neighb'ring Skies:
80 When Fevers bore an epidemic Sway,
81 Unpeopled Towns, swept Villages away;
82 While Death abroad dealt Terror, and Despair,
83 The Plague but gently touch'd within their Sphere.
84 Blest Source of Health, seated on rising Ground,
85 With friendly Hills by Nature guarded round;
86 From Eastern Blasts, and sultry South secure;
87 The Air's balsamic, and the Soil is pure.
88 What boundless Prospects from yon tow'ring Height
89 Of Hills, and Plains, and Vallies strike the Sight! [Page 7]
90 Towns, Rivers, Villas, Flocks and Herds appear,
91 And all the various Products of the Year.
92 Thence view the pendant Rock's majestic Shade,
93 That speaks the Ruins conqu'ring Time has made:
94 Whether the Egg was by the Deluge broke,
95 Or Nature since has felt some other Shock;
96 Ingenious Burnet, thine's a pleasing Scheme,
97 A gay Delusion, if it be a Dream.
98 The shatter'd Rocks and Strata seem to say,
99 Nature is old, and tends to her Decay:
100 Yet lovely in Decay, and green in Age,
101 Her Beauty lasts her, to her latest Stage.
102 Wisdom immense contriv'd the wond'rous Ball,
103 And Form sprung forth, obedient to his Call.
104 He fix'd her Date, and bid the Planet run
105 Her annual Race around the central Sun:
106 He bid the Seasons, Days, and Nights return,
107 Till the pent Fires which at the Center burn,
108 Shall the whole Globe to one huge Cinder turn. [Page 8]
109 Then, like a Phoenix, she again shall rise,
110 And the New World be peopled from the Skies;
111 Then Vice, and all her Train of Ills shall cease,
112 And Truth shall reign with Righteousness and Peace.
113 Surrounded by the Avon's winding Streams,
114 Beneath the Hills, a peopled Island seems;
115 An antient Abbey in its Center stands,
116 The labour'd Work of superstitious Hands.
117 When Holy Craft supreme did guide the Helm,
118 And Gothic Darkness overspread the Realm;
119 The artful Priest amaz'd the gaping Croud,
120 And sacred Truth was veil'd in mystic Cloud;
121 When living Saints for true Devotion bled;
122 And Rites prophane were offer'd to the Dead;
123 When Idol Images Devotion drew,
124 And Idol Gods were worshipp'd as the true;
125 Witness yon Front; how impiously design'd
126 In Stone to represent th' Eternal Mind! [Page 9]
127 Witness the Saints and Angels on the Wall!
128 Deaf to their Vot'ries Prayers, and silent to their Call.
129 Welcome, fair Liberty, and Light divine!
130 Yet wider spread your Wings, and brighter shine;
131 Dart livelier Beams on ev'ry British Soul,
132 And scatter slavish Darkness to the Pole.
133 Now for pure Worship is the Church design'd;
134 O that the Muse cou'd say to that confin'd!
135 Ev'n there, by meaning Looks, and cringing Bows,
136 The Female Idol her Adorer knows!
137 Fly hence, Prophane, nor taint this Sacred Place;
138 Mock not thy GOD, to flatter Cælia's Face.
139 This Sacred Pile incloses honour'd Dust,
140 And pompous Monuments secure the Trust:
141 There Montague, the Noble Prelate, lies,
142 With pious Hands up-lifted to the Skies:
143 A Virgin here enjoys eternal Fame,
144 Join'd on the Marble with Great Dryden's Name. [Page 10]
145 The spacious Portico demands my Song,
146 Where Beaux, and Belles appear, a shining Throng!
147 To take a cordial Draught, and chear the Soul,
148 Like Homer's Gods, when Nectar crown'd the Bowl.
149 Correct the Fabric, simple, neat, and plain,
150 Of Parian, nor Ægyptian Marble vain,
151 But innocently white, it's proud to show,
152 In neighb'ring Hills what beauteous Pillars grow.
153 The Baths adjoining form two ample Squares,
154 Around the Walls the Roman Art appears;
155 Niches and Arches there the Bathers find,
156 A Shelter from the Rain, and blust'ring Wind.
157 Bladud himself sits Guardian of the Streams,
158 Whose noble Virtues give them*
* King and Queen's Bath. Royal Names.
† Cross Bath.Not far from hence, a Bath of gentler Heat,
160 The tender Virgin finds a safe Retreat[Page 11]
161 From Sights indecent, and from Speeches lewd,
162 Which dare not there, with Satyr-Face, intrude.
163 Just in the midst a Marble Cross there stands,
164 Which Popish Minds with pious Awe commands,
165 Devoid itself of Pow'r to heal our Woes,
166 Yet, deck'd with monumental Crutches, shows
167 What mighty Cures this wond'rous Pool has done,
168 And these the Trophies from Diseases won.
169 The Sailor thus, on foaming Billows tost,
170 His Ship, and Ship-Mates in the Tempest lost,
171 Did some kind God's assisting Pow'r implore,
172 And when, by Aid Divine, he reach'd the Shore,
173 Strait to the Temple of the God he flew,
174 His briny Coat he thought the Temple's Due:
175 And near the dropping Garment, on the Wall
176 He wrote, with grateful Praise, the moving Tale.
* West Gate.Thro' yon high arched Gate on either Hand,
178 In comely Order, Rows of Buildings stand;[Page 12]
179 See Squares, and Hospitals, and Temples rise,
180 From whence let pure Devotion pierce the Skies.
181 A Fountain flows, which stately Walls surround,
182 And Palaces o'erspread the verdant Ground.
183 Where Herds were wont to drink the cooling Spring,
184 And Birds on bending Branches us'd to sing.
185 Leaving the West, I guide my View around,
186 And mark the City's venerable Bound.
187 Where the Remains of many an hundred Year,
188 In rev'rend Ruins, on the Walls appear,
* See Guydot's Translation of the Antiquities of Bath. A Fury's Head with snaky Hair there stands;
190 Here Hercules th'attentive Eye demands;
191 And there a Shepherd and his youthful Dame;
192 These Monuments, and more, are known to Fame.
193 Hence view the Grove; it forms a verdant Square,
194 See the Trees wanton in the Eastern Air;[Page 13]
195 Aurora gilds them with a temp'rate Ray,
196 And lofty Buildings shade in Noon of Day.
197 An Obelisk doth now its Center grace,
198 The latest, proudest, Honour of the Place.
199 To future Times this Monument shall show,
200 How much all Britons, and all Belgians owe,
201 To Springs which sav'd from Death the Great Nassau.
202 From Him, and beauteous Anna, shall descend,
203 Heroes like William, ready to defend
204 Fair Liberty oppress'd, and trampled Laws,
205 Or die with Pleasure in the glorious Cause.
206 What less than this can Prophecy divine,
207 When William's Blood is mix'd with George's Line?
208 Nor think, O Nash, the Muse forgets thy Praise,
209 Enough for thee this Monument to raise:
210 What greater Honour can thy Pride receive,
211 Than that Thy Name with great Nassau shall live? [Page 14]
212 Where the smooth Bowl*
* Where Lindsey's New Room now stands, was a Bowling-Green not long since. was wont to skim the Green,
213 Now stately Rooms for Pleasure change the Scene;
214 Where Music warbles, and the Dancers bound,
215 While the high Roof re-echoes to the Sound.
216 There blooming Virgins kindle am'rous Fires;
217 And there the God of Wit with Verse inspires.
218 The rattling Dye enchants the Miser's Heir,
219 The hoarded Sums the sharking Gamesters share:
220 Th'important Bus'ness of the Fair, Quadrille,
221 Employs those Hours which Dancing cannot kill;
222 Or fav'rite Ombre, sweetly sung by Pope,
223 Appalls their Cheeks with Fear, or reddens them with Hope.
224 There Miss soon learns the Language of the Eyes,
225 The witless Beau looks soft, and swears he dies;
226 And who can think so fine a Lover lyes?
227 There Pagan, Turk, the Papist, and the Jew,
228 And all Mankind's Epitome you view. [Page 15]
229 But fly, my Muse, fly this enchanting Place,
230 Nor Man, thro' all his Pleasures, dare to trace.
231 But see thro' yonder*
* Mr. Leake's Shop. Door a safe Retreat;
232 There rest secure, amidst the Wise, and Great:
233 Heroes of antient, and of modern Song,
234 The bending Shelves in comely Order throng,
235 Hither, ye Nymphs, attend the leading Muse,
236 With her the Labours of the Wise peruse;
237 Their Maxims learn, their Precepts be your Guide.
238 Think Virtuous Knowledge Woman's truest Pride:
239 One Hour thus spent, more solid Joys shall give,
240 Than the gay Idler knows, or Fools conceive:
241 Now leave the Terrace, and th'extended Scene
242 Of Hills inclos'd, and Meadows ever green,
243 Descend to Walks, 'twixt Limes in adverse Rows,
244 And view the gay Parterre that ever blows. [Page 16]
245 This fair*
* Harrison's Banqueting-House. Pavilion view, around its Base
246 Observe the Sportings of the scaly Race.
247 A cool Recess, the Muses chosen Seat,
248 From Crouds, and empty Noise, a blest Retreat!
249 The lovely Landscape, and the silent Stream,
250 Inspire the Poet, and present the Theme.
251 Round the green Walk the River glides away,
252 Where 'midst Espaliers balmy Zephyrs play,
253 And fan the Leaves, and cool the scorching Ray:
254 View the brown Shadows of yon pathless Wood;
255 And craggy Hills, irregular and rude!
256 Where Nature sports romantic: Hence is seen
257 The new made Road, and wonderful Machine,
258 Self-moving downward from the Mountain's Height,
259 A Rock its Burden of a Mountain's Weight.
260 Hail, mighty Genius! born for Great Designs,
261 T' adorn your Country, and to mend the Times;[Page 17]
262 Virtue's Exemplar in degen'rate Days,
263 All who love Virtue, love to speak your Praise:
264 You chide the Muse that dares your Virtues own,
265 And, veil'd with Modesty, would live unknown;
266 An honest Muse, no Prostitute for Gain,
267 Int'rest may court her, but shall court in vain:
268 But ever pleas'd to set true Worth in View,
269 Yours shall be seen, and will, by All but You.
270 Prophetic here, the Muse shall build thy Seat,
271 Great like thy Soul, in ev'ry Part complete:
272 On this fair Eminence the Fabric stands,
273 The finish'd Labour of a thousand Hands;
274 The Hill, the Dale, the River, Groves and Fields,
275 Vary the Landscape, which thy Prospect yields;
276 Whole Vales of Fruit-trees give our Eyes Delight,
277 Yet scorn alone to gratify the Sight;
278 Beneath the Load the tender Branch shall bend,
279 And the rich Juice regale its Master's Friend. [Page 18]
280 Thy Taste refin'd appears in yonder Wood,
281 Not Nature tortur'd, but by Art improv'd:
282 Where cover'd Walks with open Vista's meet,
283 An Area here, and there a shady Seat.
284 A thousand Sweets in mingled Odours flow
285 From blooming Flow'rs, which on the Borders grow.
286 In num'rous Streams the murm'ring Waters thrill,
287 Uniting all, obedient to thy Will;
288 Till by thy Art, in one Canal combin'd,
289 They thro' the Wood in various Mazes wind;
290 From thence the foaming Waves fall rapid down,
291 In bold Cascades, and lash the rugged Stone.
292 But here their Fury lost, the calmer Scene
293 Delights the softer Muse, and Soul serene;
294 An ample Bason, Center of the Place,
295 In Lymph transparent holds the scaly Race;
296 Its glassy Face, from ev'ry Ruffle free,
297 Reflects the Image of each neighb'ring Tree;
298 On which the feather'd Choir, melodious, throng,
299 By Love inspir'd, unite in tuneful Song;[Page 19]
300 Their tuneful Song the echoing Woods resound,
301 And falling Waters add a solemn Sound,
302 Sure this the Muses haunt; 'tis hallow'd Ground!
303 Here could the Muse for ever spend her Days,
304 And chant, in humble Rhymes, the Owner's Praise,
305 How by his Art, young Myra*
* Mr. Allen contriv'd and settled the Cross-Post, by which means Letters are now convey'd to a great many Towns safely, which used formerly to miscarry oftener than they were received. shall no more
306 Her Strephon's Letter lost, with Sighs deplore,
307 Unjustly jealous of her faithful Swain,
308 Whilst he expects the kind Return in vain.
309 How from the†
† Quarries. Mountain's rocky Sides he drew
310 A thousand shining Palaces to view:
311 Temples, and Hospitals in ev'ry Land,
312 From Age to Age, his Monuments shall stand.
313 Envy itself shall die, and fickle Fame,
314 When he is dead, do Justice to his Name.
315 Had I or Pindar's Wing, or Homer's Fire;
316 Virgil's true Greatness, or soft Horace' Lyre;[Page 20]
317 Could I, like tuneful Pope, command the Nine;
318 Did my Verse flow, and as it flows, refine;
319 Thus would I sing; but O, with Grief I find
320 My feeble Pen but faintly paints my Mind!
321 Myself unequal to the great Design,
322 The Task to abler Poets I resign.