Or, Verses on Roman Medals.
To Mr. W.
1 LO! the rich Casket's mimic dome!
2 Where cells in graceful rows
3 The triumphs of imperial Rome
4 In miniature disclose.
5 Less sacred far those tinsel shrines,
6 In which the sainted bones,
7 And relicks, modern Rome confines,
8 Of legendary drones.
9 In figur'd brass we here behold
10 From time's wide waste retriev'd,
11 What patriots firm or heroes bold
12 In peace or war atchiev'd.
13 Or silver orbs, in series fair,
14 With titles deck'd around,
15 Present each Caesar's face and air
16 With rays or laurels crown'd.
17 Ages to come shall hence be taught,
18 In lasting lines express'd,
19 How mighty Julius spoke or fought,
20 Or Cleopatra dress'd.
21 Augustus here with placid mien,
22 Bids raging discord cease;
23 The gates of War close-barr'd are seen,
24 And all the world is peace.
25 A race of tyrants then succeeds,
26 Who frown with brow severe;
27 Yet tho' we shudder at their deeds,
28 Ev'n Nero charms us here.
29 Thus did the blooming Titus look,
30 Delight of human kind:
31 Great Hadrian thus, whose death bespoke
32 His firm yet gentle mind.
33 Aurelius too! thy stoic face
34 Indignant we compare
35 With young Faustina's wanton grace,
36 And meretricious air.
37 Each passion here and virtue shines
38 In liveliest emblems dress'd:
39 Less strong in Tully's ethic lines,
40 Or Plato's flights express'd.
41 With heighten'd grace in verdant rust,
42 Each work of ancient art,
43 The temple, column, arch or bust
44 Their wonted charms impart.
45 All-glorious Rome, thro' martial toil,
46 Beneath each zone obey'd,
47 Shew'd every province, trophy, spoil,
48 On current gold display'd.
49 Hence prodigals, that vainly spend,
50 Promote the great design;
51 And misers aid ambition's end,
52 Who treasure up the coin.
53 The peasant finds in every clime
54 The scientifick ore;
55 Whilst on the rich remains of time,
56 The learn'd with rapture pore.
57 Each fading stroke they now retrace,
58 Each legend dark unfold:
59 Then in historic order place, —
60 And copper vies with gold.
61 Happy the sage! like you, my friend,
62 The evening of whose days
63 Heav'n grants in that fair vale to spend
64 Where Thames delighted strays.
65 To medals there and books of taste
66 Those moments you consign,
67 Which barren minds ignobly waste
68 On dogs, or cards, or wine.
69 Whilst I 'mid rocks and savage woods
70 Enjoy these golden dreams;
* Claverton near Bath, 1750. Where Avon winds to mix her floods
72 With Bladud's healing streams.