[Page][Page] [Page iii]
THE RESURRECTION. A POEM.
Written by Mr. ADDISON.
Venient citò Saecula, cum jam
Socius Calor ossa revisat,
Animataque Sanguine vivo
Habitacula pristina gestet.
LONDON: Printed for E. CURLL in Fleet-street. 1718. Price Six Pence.
THE following Lines are esteemed by the best Judges to be the finest Sketch of the Resurrection, that any Age or Language hath produced: Nor do their only Excellence consist in being an[Page iv] accurate Poem; but also in being an exact Copy of the Painter's*
* Old Fuller.
Original upon the Altar in Magdalen College; but so much improved with all the strongest Figures and most lively Embellishments of a poetical Description, that the Reader receives a double Satisfaction in seeing the two Sister-Arts so useful to each other in borrowing mutual Helps, and mutual Advantages.
It is, indeed, wonderful to find in the narrow Compass of so few Pages all the most dreadful Circumstances of that last terrible Crisis of Time: The Poem is a beautiful and succinct Epitome of all that hath or can ever be said[Page v] on that important Subject; the very Text, which the ingenious Mr. Young hath so largely and elegantly paraphras'd upon in his excellent Poem on the LAST DAY.
Mr. Addison is to be distinguish'd thro' all his Performances both Latin and English, (and in his Latin, particularly in the following one, and that on the Peace of Riswick), by the strength of his Images, and by a forcible and unaffected vivacity of Expression, which none of our Moderns have attain'd to in so much Perfection; and which is very rarely to be met with even in any of the Antients since Virgil and Horace. [Page vi]
Having mention'd Mr. Addison, I cannot avoid congratulating my Country on his Preferment to one of her greatest Civil Employments; nor forbear observing how happy we are in a KING, who hath shown the World that he will distribute his Favours amongst those only, whom Merit and Virtue shall recommend to his Service.
With what uncommon Lustre must that Man appear to Posterity, who is not only the best Writer and most candid Patron of the Age he lives in; but also the finest Gentleman, the sincerest Friend, the most affectionate Husband, the most accomplish'd[Page vii] Statesman, and the most exemplary Christian? Under every one of these Views Mr. Addison gains the Esteem and Admiration even of the bitterest Enemies to that Cause which he so warmly espouses; of the most furious Partisans and the most prejudic'd of Mankind.
I must forbear to enlarge any farther on the Character of that truly great and good Man, lest I draw upon my self the imputation of a Flatterer, by relating what all the World (except himself only) will allow to be the severest Truth.
I shall make no excuse for offering the following Poem to the[Page viii] World in an English DRESS, and under all the Disadvantages of an imperfect Translation. I have often read it in the Original with the greatest Pleasure and Satisfaction; and I hope it will need no Apology to be willing to communicate so useful and sublime an Entertainment, in the best manner I can, to those of my Fellow-Subjects who are not qualify'd to read it in the Latin Original.
RESURRECTIO DELINEATA Ad Altare Col. Magd. Oxon.
EGregios fuci tractus, calamique labores,
Surgentesque hominum formas, ardentiaque ora
Judicis, & simulacra modis pallentia miris
Terribilem visu pompam, Tu Carmine Musa
Pande novo, vatique sacros accende furores.
Olim Planitiem (quam nunc foecunda Colorum
Insignit Pictura) inhonesto & simplice cultu
Vestiit albedo, sed nè rima ulla priorem
Agnoscat faciem, mox fundamenta futurae
Substravit Pictor tabulae, humoremque sequacem
Per muros traxit; velamine moenia crasso
Squallent obducta, & rudioribus illita fucis.
Utque (polo nondum stellis fulgentibus apto)
Nè spatio moles immensa dehiscat inani,
Per cava coelorum, & convexa patentia latè
Hinc atque hinc interfusus fluitaverat Aether;
Mox radiante novum torrebat lumine mundum
Titan, & pallens alienos mitiùs ignes
Cynthia vibrabat; crebris nunc consitus astris[Page x]
Scintillare polus, nunc fulgor Lacteus omne
Diffluere in Coelum, longoque albescere tractu.
Sic, operis postquam lusit primordia Pictor,
Dum sordet paries, nullumque fatetur Apellem,
Cautius exercet calamos, atque arte tenacem
Confundit viscum, succosque attemperat, omnes
Inducit tandem formas; apparet ubique
Mutà cohors, & Picturarum vulgus inane.
Aligeris muri vacat ora suprema Ministris,
Sparsaque per totam Coelestis turba Tabellam
Raucos inspirat lituos, buccasque tumentes
Inflat, & attonitum replet clangoribus orbem.
Defunctis sonus auditur, tabulamque per imam
Picta gravescit humus, terris emergit apertis
Progenies rediviva, & plurima surgit imago.
Sic, dum foecundis Cadmus dat semina sulcis,
Terra tumet praegnans, animataque gleba laborat,
Luxuriatur ager segete spirante, calescit
Omne solum, crescitque virorum prodiga messis.
Jam pulvis varias terrae dispersa per oras,
Sive inter venas teneri concreta metalli,
Sensim diriguit, seu sese immiscuit herbis,
Explicita est; molem rursùs coalescit in unam
Divisum funus, sparsos prior alligat artus
Junctura, aptanturque iterum coeuntia membra.
Hic nondum specie perfecta refurgit imago,
Vultum truncata, atque inhonesto vulnere nares
Manca, & adhuc deest informi de Corpore multum
Paulatim in rigidum hic vita insinuata cadaver
Motu aegro vix dum redivivos erigit artus.
Inficit his horror vultus, & imagine tota
Fusa per attonitam pallet formido figuram.
Detrahe quin oculos Spectator, & ora nitentem
Si poterint perferre diem, medium inspice murum,[Page xi]
Qua sedet orta Deo proles, Deus ipse, sereno
Lumine persusus, radiisque inspersus acutis.
Circùm tranquillae funduntur tempora flammae,
Regius ore vigor spirat, nitet Ignis ocellis,
Plurimaque effulget Majestas Numine toto.
Quantùm dissimilis, quantum o! mutatus ab illo,
Qui peccata luit cruciatus non sua, vitam
Quando luctantem cunctata morte trahebat!
Sed frustrà voluit defunctum Golgotha numen
Condere, dum victa fatorum lege triumphans
Nativum petiit coelum, & super aethera vectus
Despexit Lunam exiguam, Solemque minorem.
Jam latus effossum; & palmas ostendit utrasque,
Vulnusque infixum pede, clavorumque recepta
Signa, & transacti quondam vestigia ferri.
Umbrae huc felices tendunt, numerosaque coelos
Turba petunt, atque immortalia dona capessunt.
Matres, & longae nunc reddita Corpora vitae
Infantum, Juvenes, Pueri, innuptaeque Puellae
Stant circum, atque avidos jubar immortale bibentes
Affigunt oculos in Numine; Laudibus aether
Intonat, & laeto ridet Coelum omne triumpho.
His Amor impatiens conceptaque gaudia mentem
Funditus exagitant, imoque in pectore fervent.
Non aequè exultat flagranti corde Sibylla,
Hospite cum tumet incluso, & praecordia fentit
Mota Dei stimulis, nimioque calentia Phoebo.
Quis tamen ille novus perstringit lumina fulgor?
Quam Mitra effigiem distinxit Pictor, honesto
Surgentem è tumulo, Alatoque Satellite fultam?
Agnosco faciem, vultu latet alter in illo
Wainfletus, sic ille oculos, sic ora ferebat:
Eheu quando animi par invenietur Imago!
Quando alium similem virtus habitura! —[Page xii]
Irati innocuas securus Numinis iras
Aspicit, impavidosque in Judice figit ocellos.
Quin age, & horrentem commixtis Igne tenebris
Jam videas scenam, multo hic stagnantia suco
Moenia flagrantem liquefacto Sulphure rivum
Fingunt, & falsus tanta arte accenditur Ignis,
Ut toti metuas tabulae, ne flamma per omne
Livida serpat opus, tenuesque absumpta recedat
Pictura in cineres, propriis peritura favillis.
Huc turba infelix agitur, turpisque videri
Infrendet dentes, & rugis contrahit ora.
Vindex à tergo implacabile saevit, & ensem
Fulmineum vibrans acie flagrante scelestos
Jam Paradiseis iterum depellit ab oris.
Heu! quid agat tristis? quò se coelestibus iris
Subtrahat? o! quantum vellet nunc aethere in alto
Virtutem colere! at tandem suspiria ducit
Nequicquam, & sero in lacrymas effunditur; obstant
Sortes non revocandae, & inexorabile Numen.
Quàm varias aperit veneres Pictura! periti
Quot calami legimus vestigia! quanta colorum
Gratia se profert! tales non discolor Iris
Ostendat, vario cum lumine floridus imber
Rore nitet toto, & gutta scintillat in omni.
O fuci nitor, o pulchri durate Colores!
Nec, Pictura, tuae languescat gloria formae,
Dum lucem videas, qualem exprimis ipsa, supremam.
è Coll. Magd. 1699.
THE RESURRECTION A POEM.
1 THE Pencil's glowing Lines and vast Command,
2 And Mankind rising from the Painter's Hand,
3 The awful Judge array'd in beamy Light,
4 And Spectres trembling at the dreadful sight,[Page 2]
5 To sing, O! Muse, the pious Bard inspire,
6 And waken in his Breast the Sacred Fire.
7 The hallow'd Field, a bare white Wall of late,
8 Now cloath'd in gaudy Colours, shines in State;
9 And lest some little Interval confess
10 It's ancient simple Form, and homely Dress,
11 The skilful Artist laid o'er every Part,
12 The first Foundation of his future Art,
13 O'er the wide Frame his ductile Colours led,
14 And with thick Daubings all the Wall o'erspread.
15 As e'er you spangling Orbs were hung on high,
16 Lest one great Blank should yawn thro' boundless Sky,[Page 3]
17 Thro' the wide heavenly Arch, and trackless Road
18 In Azure volumes the pure Aether flow'd;
19 The Sun at length burns out, intensely bright,
20 And the pale Crescent sheds her borrow'd Light;
21 With thick-sown Stars the radiant Pole is crown'd,
22 Of milky Glories a long Tract is found,
23 O'erflows, and whitens all the Heav'ns around.
24 So when the Groundwork of the Piece was laid,
25 Nor yet the Painter had his Art display'd,
26 With slower Hand, and Pencil more divine
27 He blends each Colour, heightens ev'ry Line,[Page 4]
28 Till various Forms the breathing Picture wears,
29 And a mute Groupè of Images appears.
30 Celestial Guards the topmost height attend,
31 And Crouds of Angels o'er the Wall descend;
32 With their big Cheeks the deaf'ning Clarions wind,
33 Whose dreadful Clangors startle all Mankind;
34 Ev'n the Dead hear; the Lab'ring Graves Conceive,
35 And the swoln Clod in Picture seems to heave:
36 Ten thousand Worlds revive to better Skies,
37 And from their Tombs the thronging Coarses rise.
38 So when fam'd Cadmus sow'd the fruitful Field,
39 With pregnant Throws the quicken'd Furrow swell'd;
40 From the warm Soil sprung up a warlike Train,
41 And Human harvests cover'd all the Plain.
42 And now from ev'ry Corner of the Earth
43 The scatter'd Dust is call'd to second Birth;
44 Whether in Mines it form'd the rip'ning Mass,
45 Or humbly mix'd, and flourish'd in the Grass:
46 The sever'd Body now unites again,
47 And kindred Atoms rally into Men;[Page 6]
48 The various Joynts resume their ancient Seats,
49 And ev'ry Limb its former Task repeats.
50 Here an imperfect Form returns to Light,
51 Not half renew'd, dishonest to the Sight;
52 Maim'd of his Nose appears his blotted Face,
53 And scarce the Image of a Man we trace:
54 Here by Degrees infus'd, the vital Ray
55 Gives the first Motion to the panting Clay:
56 Here on the guilty Brow pale Horrors glare,
57 And all the Figure labours with Despair.
58 From Scenes like these now turn thy wond'ring Sight,
59 And, if thou can'st withstand such Floods of Light,[Page 7]
60 Look! where thy SAVIOUR fills the middle Space;
61 The Godhead op'ning in his awful Face;
62 See! what mild Beams their gracious Influence shed,
63 And how the pointed Radiance crowns his Head!
64 Around his Temples lambent Glories shine,
65 And on his Brow sits Majesty Divine;
66 His Eye-balls lighten the Celestial Fires,
67 And ev'ry Grace to Speak the God conspires.
68 How chang'd from him, who came to be Betray'd,
69 And who for Man the precious Ransom paid! [Page 8]
70 Who did on Earth such arduous Toils sustain,
71 And patient bore an irksom Life of Pain:
72 But Death and Hell subdu'd, the Deity
73 Ascends Triumphant to his native Sky;
74 And rising far above th' Aethereal Height,
75 The Sun and Moon diminish'd to his Sight.
76 And now to View he bare'd his bleeding side,
77 And his pierc'd Hands and Feet, in Crimson dy'd;
78 Still did the Nails the recent Scars reveal,
79 And bloody Tracks of the transfixing Steel.
80 Hither in Crouds the Blessed shape their Flight,
81 And throng the Mansions of Immortal Light;[Page 17]
82 The fruitful Matron and the spotless Maid,
83 And Infants, with a longer Life repaid,
84 Stand round; and drinking in Celestial Rays,
85 On their REDEEMER fix with ardent Gaze,
86 And all the Heav'ns resound with Hymns of Praise.
87 Each Bosom Kindles with Seraphic Joy,
88 And conscious Raptures all the Soul employ.
89 Not equal Raptures swell the Sybil's Breast,
90 When by the inmate Deity possess'd;
91 When Phoebus the Prophetic Maid inspires,
92 And her Limbs tremble with convulsive Fires.
93 But whence this sudden Blaze of dazling Light!
94 What Mitred Brow is that, which greets my Sight? [Page 18]
95 Forth from a stately Tomb he lifts his Head,
96 And to the Skies on Angels Wings is sped.
97 I know the Form — alike the Look and Mien,
* William Wainflet, Bishop of Winchester. He was the Founder of Magdalen College, and the Hall adjoining. WAINFLET in his Face is seen:
99 When will, alas! such spotless Worth be found?
100 When will a Mind with equal Virtues crown'd?
101 Fearless he sees almighty Vengeance rise,
102 And fixes on his GOD his guiltless Eyes.
103 But now far different Scenes our Wonder claim,
104 Horrent with Darkness and Malignant Flame;[Page 19]
105 The labour'd Wall delusive Picture hides
106 And liquid Sulphur rolls in burning Tides;
107 So Strong, so fierce, the painted Flames arise,
108 The pale Spectator views them with surprize;
109 Believes the blazing Wall indeed to burn,
110 And fears the Frame should into Ashes turn.
111 Hither in ghastly Crouds the Guilty haste,
112 Obscene with Horrour and with shame defac'd;
113 With haggard Looks the gloomy Fiends appear,
114 They gnash their foamy Teeth, and frown severe.
115 A stern Avenger, with relentless Mind,
116 Waving a flamy Faulchion, stalks behind;
117 With which, as once from Paradise he drove,
118 He drives the Sinner from the Joys above. [Page 20]
119 What shall he do forlorn? or whither fly,
120 To shun the Ken of an All-seeing Eye?
121 What would he give amongst the Just to shine,
122 And fall before Omnipotence Divine?
123 But oh! too late in Sighs he vents his Woe,
124 Too late his Eyes with gushing Tears o'erflow!
125 Vain are his Sighs and fruitless are his Tears,
126 Vengeance and Justice stop th' Almighty's Ears.
127 See! with what various Charms the Piece is fraught,
128 And with what pregnant Marks of Judgment wrought!
129 With how much Grace the living Colours glow!
130 Not brighter Colours paint the watry Bow;[Page 21]
131 When the fresh Show'rs her various Lustre share,
132 And ev'ry Drop with Spangles decks the Air.
133 O! may the Painter's Labours never fade,
134 Nor wastful Time their shining Charms invade,
135 'Till the first Dawn of that Eternal Light,
136 Which by his fruitful Pencil shines so Bright.