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TO MR. ADDISON.
[Occasioned by his Dialogues on Medals.]
EE 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! Imperial wonders rais'd 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! Some felt the silent stroke of mould'ring age, Some hostile fury, some religious rage; Barbarian blindness, Christian zeal conspire, And Papal piety, and Gothic fire. Perhaps, by its own ruins sav'd from flame, Some bury'd marble half préserves a name;
This was originally written in the year 1715, when Mr. Addison, not yet Secretary of State, had prepared his book of Medals for the press, but not published till Mr. Tickell's edition ofAddison's works in 1720; when the verses on Mr. Craggs, which conclude this poem, were added.
As the third Epistle treated of the extremes of avarice and profusion; and the fourth book upon one particular branch of the latter, namely, the vanity of expence in people of wealth and quality, and was therefore a corollary to the third; so this treats of one circumstance of that variety, as it appears in the common collectors of old coins; and is, therefore a corollary to the fourth,
That name the learn'd with fierce disputes pursue, And give to Titus old Vespasian's due.
Ambition sigh'd; she found it vain to trust
Their ruins perish'd, and their place no more:
The Medal, faithful to its charge of fame,
Poor Vadius long with learned spleen devour'd
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 pleas'd 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,
And vanquish'd realms supply recording gold ;
Then shall my Craggs (and let me call him mine)
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 honor clear; Who broke no promise, serv'd no private end, 'Who gain'd no title, and who lost no friend; • Ennobled by himself, by all approv'd, 'And prais'd unenvy'd by the Muse he lov’d.”
BEHOLD the woes of matrimonial life,
I was myself the scourge that caus'd the smart;
Christ saw a wedding once, the Scripture says, And saw but one, 'tis thought, in all his days; 10 Whence some infer, whose conscience is too nice, No pious Christian ought to marry twice.
But let them read, and solve me if they can, The words address'd to the Samaritan :
Five times in lawful wedlock she was join'd, 15 And sure the certain stint was ne'er defin’d.
• Increase and multiply' was Heav'n's command, And that's a text I clearly understand.
This too Let men their sires and mothers leave,
For when my transitory spouse unkind,
'Tis but a counsel and we women still
Take which we like, the counsel or our will. 35 I envy not their bliss if he or she
Think fit to live in perfect chastity:
Pure let them be, and free from taint of vice;
For me, I'll keep the post assign'd by Heav'n, 50