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The rock's high summit, in the temple's shade,
So Zembla's rocks (the beauteous work of frost)
55 And on th' impassive ice the lightnings play; Eternal snows the growing mass supply, Till the bright mountains prop th' incumbent sky: As Atlas fix'd each hoary pile appears. The gather'd winter of a thousand years.
60 On this foundation Fame's high temple stands; Stupendous pile! not rear'd by mortal hands. Whate’er proud Rome or artful Greece beheld, Or elder Babylon, its frame excell’d. Four faces had the dome, and ev'ry face
65 Of various structure, but of equal grace :
sition of ideas, in the three last words of the following line, may be condemned:
“And legislators seem to think in stone.” Ver. 53. So Zembla's rocks A real lover of painting will not be contented with a single view and examination of this beautiful winter-piece; but will return to it again and again with fresh delight. The images are distinct, and the epithets lively and appropriated, especially the words, pale, unfelt, impassive, incumbent, gather’d. The reader may consult Thomson's Winter, v. 905.
Ver. 65. Four faces had the dome, &c.] The temple is described to be square, the four fronts with open gates facing the different quarters of the world, as an intimation that all nations of the
Four brazen gates, on columns lifted high,
Westward, a sumptuous frontispiece appear'd, 75
earth may alike be received into it. The western front is of Grecian architecture: the Doric order was peculiarly sacred to Heroes and Worthies. Those whose statues are after mentioned, were the first names of old Greece in arms and arts. P.
Ver. 81. There great Alcides, &c.] This figure of Hercules is drawn with an eye to the position of the famous statue of Farnese. P.
It were to be wished, that our author, whose knowledge and taste of the fine arts were unquestionable, had taken more pains in describing so famous a statue as that of the Farnesian Hercules, to which he plainly refers, for he has omitted the characteristical excellences of this famous piece of Grecian workmanship; namely, the uncommon breadth of the shoulders, the knottiness and spaciousness of the chest ', the firmness and protuberance of the muscles in each limb, particularly the legs, and the majestic vastness of the whole figure, undoubtedly designed
Luxuriatque toris animosum pectus.-
Virg. Georg. lib. iji. v. 81.
Here Orpheus sings ; trees moving to the sound
85 Strikes, and beholds a sudden Thebes aspire !
by the artist to give a full idea of strength, as the Venus de Medicis of Beauty. These were the “ invicti membra Glyconis," which, it is probable, Horace proverbially alluded to in his first epistle, v. 30. The name of Glycon is to this day preserved on the base of the figure as the maker of it; and as the virtuosi, customarily in speaking of a picture or statue, call it their Raphael or Bernini, why should not Horace, in common speech, use the name of the workman instead of the work? To mention the Hesperian apples, which the artist flung backwards, and almost concealed as an inconsiderable object, and which therefore scarcely appear in the statue, was below the notice of Pope.
Ver. 85. Amphion there the loud] It may be imagined that these expressions are too bold; and a phlegmatic critic might ask, how it was possible to see, in sculpture, arches bending and towers growing? But the best writers, in speaking of pieces of painting and sculpture, use the present or imperfect tense, and talk of the things as really doing, to give a force to the description. Thus Virgil :
66. Gallos in limine adesse canebat.”
“ Incedunt victæ longo ordine gentes, Quam variæ linguis, habitu tam vestis et armis." As Pliny says that Clesilochus painted “ Jovem muliebriter ingemiscentum.” And Homer, in his beautiful and lively description of the shield,
εν δ' άρα τοίσιν Αυλοί, φόρμιγγές τε βοήν έχον. And again,
Μυκηθμώ δ' από κόπρου επισσεύοντο νομόνδε,
Παρ ποταμών κελάδοντα.In another place,
Λίνον υπό καλόν άειδε. .
Cithæron's echoes answer to his call,
Upon which Clarke has made an observation that surprises me: “ Sed quomodo in scuto Depingi potuit, quem caneret citharista ?"
This passage must not be parted with, till we have observed the artful rest upon the first syllable of the second verse :
“ Amphion there the loud creating lyre
Αυταρ έπειτ' αυτοϊσι βέλος έχεπευκές εφιείς
*** As over them triumphant Death his dart
" Others on the grass
“ But not to me returns Day." In the spirited speech of Satan,
“ All good to me becomes
« Vox quoque per lucos vulgo exaudita silentes,
“ Hærent infixi pectore vultus
“ Pecudesque locutæ,
There might you see the length’ning spires ascend,
The Eastern front was glorious to behold,
Chaldeans rob’d in white appear’d, And Brachmans, deep in desert woods rever'd. 100 These stopp'd the moon, and call’d th’unbody'd shades To midnight banquets in the glimm’ring glades;
Ver. 88. mountain rolls] Dennis idly objected to these lines, because motion cannot be represented in sculpture. But Virgil in his Shield uses such; but in one instance, perhaps, he carries it too far:
Ver. 96. And the great founder of the Persian name:] Cyrus was the beginning of the Persian, as Ninus was of the Assyrian monarchy. The Magi and Chaldeans (the chief of whom was Zoroaster) employed their studies upon magic and astrology, which was in a manner almost all the learning of the ancient Asian people. We have scarce any account of a moral philosopher, except Confucius, the great lawgiver of the Chinese, who lived about two thousand years ago.
P. Ver. 101. These stopp'd the moon,] These superstitions of the East are highly striking to the imagination. Since the time that poetry had been forced to assume a more sober, and perhaps a more rational air, it scarcely ventures to enter the fairy regions. There are some, however, who think it has suffered by deserting these fields of fancy, and by totally laying aside