A narrative allegory in 58 Spenserians, with a glossary. Gilbert West's On the Abuse of Travelling (as it was later known), along with Shenstone's School-Mistress (1737) and William Thompson's Hymn to May (1746), marked a new phase of Spenserianism, one that put great emphasis on technically skillful imitation of Spenser's mannerisms at a time when the age of Elizabeth was becoming a touchstone in political arguments about liberty and nationalism. West's burlesque was anticipated, and possibly inspired by Samuel Croxall's Original Canto of Spencer (1713), a court satire popular enough for three editions and a sequel.
Henry Fielding: "The Author's assuming the Person of Spencer, is beside, a happy Expedient to take off that almost universal Displeasure which we feel, when another affects to be wiser than ourselves: And how well it becomes him let the Quotation annex'd witness. . . so well indeed, that, were it not for the superior Harmony of his Versification, (together with a few modern Images) and the Correctness of his Language, I could, without Difficulty, persuade myself, 'twas really a Fragment of that happy Genius, whom I never yet read but with Love and Admiration" The Champion (13 December 1739) 93-94.
Thomas Gray (writing from Florence) to Richard West: "Now I talk of verses, Mr. Walpole and I have frequently wondered you should never mention a certain imitation of Spencer, published last year by a namesake of yours, with which we are all enraptured and enmarvailed" 16 July 1740; in Poems of Mr. Gray, ed. Mason (1775) 102.
Samuel Johnson: "His Imitations of Spenser are very successfully performed, both with respect to the metre, the language, and the fiction; and being engaged at once by the excellence of the sentiments and the artifice of the copy the mind has two amusements together. But such compositions are not to be reckoned among the great achievements of intellect, because their effect is local and temporary; they appeal not to reason or passion, but to memory, and presuppose an accidental or artificial state of mind. An Imitation of Spenser is nothing to a reader, however acute, by whom Spenser has never been perused. Works of this kind may deserve praise, as proofs of great industry and great nicety of observation; but the highest praise, the praise of genius, they cannot claim. The noblest beauties of art are those of which the effect is co-extended with rational nature, or at least with the whole circle of polished life; what is less than this can be only pretty, the plaything of fashion and the amusement of a day" "Life of West" in Lives of the English Poets (1779-81); ed. Hill (1905) 3:332.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "The poems of WEST indeed had the merit of chaste and manly diction, but they were cold, and if I may so express it, only dead-coloured; while in the best of Warton's there is a stiffness, which too often gives them the appearance of imitations from the Greek" Biographia Literaria (1817) ed Engell and Bate (1983) 1:24.
William Lyon Phelps: "In 1739 appeared On the Abuse of Travelling; a Canto, In Imitation of Spenser. This was by Gilbert West (1700-05-1756). Very little is known of West's life. He was a learned man, and published a number of translations of Pindar's odes. The poem before us is a gentle satire on the effects of travelling abroad, and the temptations encountered. It is in the allegorical style. Archimago attempts to entice the Red Cross Knight from the love of fairy-land by showing him all manner of voluptuous temptations. The poem has more Romantic atmosphere than West's later work.... The most interesting thing about this imitation is the glossary. He explains words that are to-day perfectly clear, thus showing the limitations of the vocabulary in his time. Such words as sooth, guise, hardiment, Elfin, prowess, wend, hight, dight, paramours, behests, caitiffs, etc., West translates in footnotes. The prevailing ignorance of Spenser is also shown by his careful explanations of 'Una' and 'Paynim'" Beginnings of the English Romantic Movement (1893) 63.
A. A. Jack: "Sometimes, in the first forty-five stanzas, one does seem to be actually reading Spenser" Chaucer and Spenser (1920) 291.
Earl R. Wasserman: West attempts "to follow Spenser very closely in all his mannerisms: not merely in his archaisms, but also in his profusion of monosyllables and his use of a loose, naive syntax" Elizabethan Poetry in the Eighteenth Century (1947) 107.
While the attack on Catholic Europe is very much in the Spenserian tradition, as Christine Gerrard argues, West's political target was probably closer to home: "There are, in fact, two separate 'courts' — George II's and Queen Caroline's. The 'swoln Form of Royal Surquedry' who presides over the first, a ritualized Pagod-figure found everywhere in opposition prints, is clearly George II. The Archimago who manipulates him 'behind scenes' is none other than that arch puppet-master Walpole.... [Redcross] departs in haste, leaving the throne trembling, if not falling. His second visit is no more inspiring. The queen he encounters presiding over the ruins of a 'once-goodly city' — a sure pointer to civic decline — is evidently Caroline. She is accompanied by an insidious pale eunuch (the epicene Lord Hervey), 'unseemly Paramour for Royal Maid!'. Like Caroline, with her penchant for antiquarians, she courts the homage of the coin-collectors and pseudo-historians who have reduced the spirit of true learning to trivial pursuits" The Patriot Opposition to Walpole (1994) 178.
While Gilbert West did not continue the poem as promised in the last stanza, he did publish another Spenserian allegory, Education (1751). It was West who encouraged John Upton edit the Faerie Queene. Three stanzas from A Canto of the Fairy Queen were reprinted without acknowledging the source by the radical publisher Thomas Spence in Pig's Meat or Lessons for the Swinish Multitude (1794).
The glossary West appended to his poem was imitated by Shenstone in his 1742 School-Mistress and quickly became a standard feature in eighteenth-century Spenserian burlesques. As a piece of applied pedantry, it was part of the satirical machinery, though no doubt in some cases the glosses were intended to be useful as well as amusing. Sometimes words now in common usage were glossed as archaisms — they were later restored to the language through the medium of the romantic poetic diction, itself inspired by eighteenth-century burlesques like West's. But perfectly obvious words might be glossed as part of the satirical humor.
Henry John Todd, Works of Spenser (1805) includes this poem under both titles in his list of imitations, an error which went uncorrected in several later bibliographies.
Archimage tempts the Red-Cross Knight
From Love of Fairy Land,
With Show of Foreign Pleasure all,
The which He doth withstand.
Wise was that Spartan Lawgiver of old,
Who rais'd on Virtue's base his well built State,
Exiling from her Walls barbaric Gold,
With all the Mischiefs that upon it wait,
Corruption, Luxury, and envious Hate,
And the Distinctions proud of Rich and Poor,
Which among Brethren kindle foul Debate,
And teach Ambition, that to Fame would soar,
To the false Lure of Wealth her stooping Wing to low'r.
Yet would Corruption soon have Entrance found,
And all his boasted Schemes eftsoon decay'd,
Had not he cast a powerful Circle round,
Which to a distance the Arch Felon fray'd;
And ineffectual his foul Engines made:
This was, to weet, that politick Command,
Which from vain Travel the young Spartan stay'd,
Ne suffer'd him forsake his native Land,
To learn deceitful Arts, and Science contraband.
Yet had the ancient World her Courts and Schools;
Great Kings and Courtiers civil and refin'd;
Great Rabbins, deeply read in Wisdom's rules,
And all the Arts that cultivate the Mind,
Embellish Life, and polish Human Kind.
Such, Asia, Birth-place of proud Monarchy,
Such, elder Aegypt, in thy Kingdoms shin'd,
Mysterious Aegypt, the rank Nursery
Of Superstitions fond, and learned Vanity.
But what Accomplishments, what Arts polite,
Did the young Spartan want his Deeds to grace,
Whose manly Virtues, and heroick Spright,
Check'd by no Thought impure, no Falshood base,
With nat'ral Dignity might well out-face
The Glare of Manners false, and mimick Pride
And wherefore should they range from Place to Place,
Who to their Country's Love so firm were ty'd,
All homely as she was, that for her oft they dy'd.
And sooth it is (with Reverence may ye hear,
And Honour due to Passion so refin'd)
The strong Affection which true Patriots bear
To their dear Country, zealous is and blind,
And fond as is the Love of Woman-kind,
So that they may not her Defects espy,
No other Paragone may ever find,
But gazing on her with an aweful Eye
And superstitious Zeal, her learn to deify.
And, like as is the Faith unsound, untrue,
Of Him, who wand'ring aye from Fair to Fair,
Conceiveth from each Object Passion new,
Or from his Heart quite drives the troublous Care,
So with the Patriot-Lover doth it fare,
Who through the World delighting aye to rove,
His Country changeth with each Change of Air,
Or weening the Delights of all to prove,
On none, or all alike bestows his vagrant Love.
Als doth Corruption in a distant Soil,
With double Force assay the youthful Heart,
Expos'd suspectless to the Traytor's Wile,
Expos'd unwarn'd to Pleasure's poison'd Dart,
Expos'd unpractis'd in the World's wide Mart,
Where each one lies, imposes, and betrays,
Without a Friend due Counsel to impart,
Without a Parent's Awe to rule his Ways,
Without the Check of Shame, or Spur of publick Praise.
Forthy, false Archimago, Traytor vile,
Who burnt 'gainst Fairy Land with ceaseless Ire,
'Gan cast with Foreign Pleasures to beguile
Her faithful Knight, and quench the heav'nly Fire
That did his virtuous Bosom aye inspire
With Zeal unfeigned for her Service true,
And send him forth in Chivalrous Attire,
Arm'd at all points Adventures to pursue,
And wreak upon her Foes his vowed Vengeance due.
So as he journeyed upon the Way,
Him soon the sly Enchanter over-hent,
Clad like a Fairy Knight in Armour gay,
With painted Shield, and Spear right forward bent,
In knightly guise and shew of Hardiment,
That aye prepared was for bloody Fight.
Whereat the Elfin Knight with Speeches gent
Him first saluted, who, well as he might,
Him fair salutes again, as seemeth courteous Knight.
Then 'gan he Purpose frame of valiant Deeds
Atchiev'd by Foreign Knights of Prowess great,
And mighty Fame which Emulation breeds
In virtuous Breast, and kindleth martial Heat;
Of Arts and Sciences for Warriour meet,
And Knight that would in Feats of Arms excell,
Or Him, who liefer choosing calm Retreat,
With Peace and gentle Virtue aye would dwell,
Who have their Triumphs, like as hath Bellona fell.
These, as he said, beseemed Knight to know,
And all be they in Fairy-Lond ytaught,
Where ev'ry Art and all fair Virtues grow,
Yet various Climes with various Fruits are fraught,
And such in one hath full Perfection raught
The which no Skill may in another rear,
So gloz'd th' Enchaunter till he hath him brought
To a huge Rock, that clomb so high in Air
That from it he uneath the murmuring Surge mote hear.
Thence the salt Wave beyond in Prospect wide
A spacious Plain the false Enchaunter show'd,
With goodly Castles deck'd on ev'ry side,
And silver Streams, that down theCchampain flow'd,
And wash'd the Vineyards that beside them stood,
And Groves of Myrtle; als the Lamp of Day
His orient Beams display'd withouten Cloud,
Which lightly on the glist'ning Waters play,
And tinge the Castles, Woods, and Hills with purple Ray.
So fair a Landscape charm'd the wond'ring Knight;
And eke the Breath of Morning fresh and sweet
Inspir'd his jocund Spirit with Delight,
And ease of Heart for soft Persuasion meet.
Then Him the Traytor base gan fair entreat,
And from the Rock as downward they descend,
Of that blest Lond his Praises gan repeat,
'Till he him moved hath with him to wend;
So to the billowy Shore their hasty March they bend.
There in a painted Bark all trim and gay,
Whose Sails full glad embrac'd the wanton Wind,
There sat a Stranger Wight in quaint Array,
That seem'd of various Garbs attone combin'd,
Of Europe, Afric, East and Western Inde.
Als round about him many Creatures stood,
Of several Nations and of divers Kind,
Apes, Serpents, Birds with human Speech endow'd,
And Monsters of the Land, and Wonders of the Flood.
He was to weet a mighty Traveller,
Who Curiosity thereafter hight,
And well he knew each Coast and Harbour fair,
And every Nation's Latitude and Site,
And how to steer the wandring Bark aright.
So to him strait the false Enchaunter bore,
And with him likewise brought the Red-cross Knight:
Then fairly him besought to waft them o'er;
Swift flew the dancing Bark, and reach'd the adverse Shore.
There when they landed were, them ran to greet
A Bevy of bright Damsels gent and gay,
Who with soft Smiles, and Salutation sweet,
And courteous Violence would force them stay,
And rest them in their Bow'r not far away;
Their Bow'r that most luxuriously was dight
With all the Dainties of Air, Earth and Sea,
All that mote please the Taste, and charm the Sight,
The Pleasure of the Board, and Charm of Beauty bright.
Als might he therein hear a mingled Sound
Of Feast and Song and laughing Jollity,
That in the Noise was all Distinction drown'd
Of graver Sense, or Musick's Harmony,
Yet were there some in that blithe Company
That aptly could discourse of virtuous Lore,
Of Manners, Wisdom and sound Policy;
Yet nould they often ope their sacred Store,
Ne might their Voice be heard mid Riot and Uproar.
Thereto the Joys of Idleness and Love,
And Luxury, that besots the noblest Mind,
And Custom prevalent at distance drove,
All Sense and Relish of a higher Kind,
Whereby the Soul to Virtue is refin'd.
Instead whereof the Arts of Slavery
Were taught, of Slavery perverse and blind,
That vainly boasts her native Liberty,
Yet wears the Chains of Pride, of Lust, and Gluttony.
Of which the Red-Cross Knight right well aware,
Would in no wise agree with them to go,
Albeit with courtly Glee their Leader fair,
Hight Politessa, him did kindly woe.
But all was false Pretence, and hollow Show,
False as the Flow'rs which to their Breasts they ty'd,
Or those which seemed in their Cheeks to glow,
For both were false, and not by Nature dy'd,
False Rivals of the Spring, and Beauty's rosy Pride.
Then from behind then straightway 'gan advaunce
An uncouth Stripling quaintly habited,
As for some revel Mask, or antick Daunce,
All chequer'd o'er with Yellow, Blue, and Red;
Als in a Vizor black he shrouds his Head,
The which he tossed to and fro amain,
And eft his lathy Falchion brandished,
As if he meant fierce Battle to darrain,
And like a wanton Ape eft skip'd he on the Plain,
And eft about him skip'd a gaudy Throng
Of youthful Gallants, frolick, trim, and gay,
Chanting in careless Notes their amourous Song,
Match'd with like careless Gests, like amourous Play.
Als were they gorgeous, dress'd in rich Array,
And well accepted of that Female Train,
Whose hearts to Joy and Mirth devoted aye,
Each proffer'd Love receive without Disdain,
And part without Regret from each late-favour'd Swain.
And now they do accord in wanton Daunce
To join their Hands upon the flow'ry Plain;
The whiles with amourous Leer and Eyes askaunce
Each Damsel fires with Love her glowing Swain;
Till all-impatient of the tickling Pain,
In sudden Laughter forth at once they break,
And ending so their Daunce, each tender Twain
To shady Bow'rs forthwith themselves betake,
Deep hid in Myrtle Groves, beside a silver Lake.
Thereat the Red-Cross Knight was much enmov'd,
And 'gan his Heart with Indignation swell,
To view in Forms so made to be belov'd,
Ne Faith, ne Truth, ne heav'nly Virtue dwell;
But Lust instead, and Falshood, Child of Hell;
And glutton Sloth, and love of gay Attire:
And sooth to say, them well could parallel
Their lusty Paramours in vain Desire;
Well fitted to each Dame was every gallant Squire.
Yet when their Sovereign calls them forth to Arms,
Their Sovereign, whose Behests they most revere,
Right wisely can they menage War's Alarms,
And wield with Valour great the martial Spear,
So that their Name is dreaded far and near.
Oh! that for Liberty they so did fight!
Then need no Fairy Land their Prowess fear,
Ne give in Charge to her advent'rous Knight
Their Friendship to beware, and Sense-deluding Sleight.
But not for Liberty they wagen War,
But solely to aggrate their mighty Lord,
For whom their dearest Blood they nillen spare,
Whenso him listeth draw the conquering Sword;
So is that Idol vain of them ador'd,
Who ne with Might beyond his meanest Thrall
Endued, ne superior Wisdom stor'd,
Sees at his Feet prostrated Millions fall,
And with religious Drad obey his princely Call.
Thereto so high and stately was his Port,
That all the petty Kings him sore envy'd,
And would him imitate in any sort,
With all the mimick Pageantry of Pride,
And worship'd be like him, and deify'd
Of courtly Sycophants and Caitives vile,
Who to those Services themselves apply'd,
And in that School of Servitude ere while
Had learn'd to bow and grin, and flatter, and beguile.
For to that Seminary of Fashions vain
The Rich and Noble from all Parts repair,
Where grown enamour'd of the gaudy Train,
And courteous Haviour gent and debonair,
They cast to imitate such Semblaunce fair;
And deeming meanly of their Native Lond,
Their own rough Virtues they disdain to wear,
And back returning drest by Foreign Hond,
Ne other Matter care, ne other understond.
Wherefore th' Enchaunter vile, who sore was griev'd
To see the Knight reject those Damsels gay,
Wherewith he thought him sure to have deceiv'd,
Was minded to that Court him to convey,
And daze his Eyen with Majesty's bright Ray:
So to a stately Castle he him brought,
Which in the midst of a great Garden lay,
And wisely was by cunning Craftsmen wrought,
And with all Riches deck'd surpassing human Thought.
There underneath a sumptuous Canopy,
That with bright Ore and Diamonds glitter'd far,
Sate the swoln Form of Royal Surquedry,
And deem'd itself allgates some Creature rare,
While its own haughty State it mote compare
With the base Count'nance of the vassal Fry,
That seem'd to have nor Eye, nor Tongue, nor Ear;
Ne any Sense, ne any Faculty,
That did not to his Throne owe servile Ministry.
Yet wist he not that half that Homage low
Was at a Wizard's Shrine in private pay'd,
The which conducted all that goodly Show,
And as he list th' Imperial Puppet play'd,
By secret Springs and Wheels right wisely made,
That he the subtle Wires mote not avize,
But deem in sooth that all he did or said,
From his own Motion and free Grace did rise,
And that he justly hight immortal, great, and wise.
And eke to each of that same gilded Train,
That meekly round that Lordly Throne did stand,
Was by that Wizard ty'd a Magick Chain,
Whereby their Actions all he mote command,
And rule with hidden Influence the Land.
Yet to his Lord he outwardly did bend,
And those same Magick Chains within his Hand
Did seem to place, albeit by the End
He held them fast, that none them from his Gripe mote rend.
He was to weet an old and wrinkled Mage,
Deep read in all the Arts of Policy,
And from Experience grown so crafty sage
That none his secret Counsels mote descry,
Ne search the Mines of his deep Subtlety.
Thereto fair Peace he lov'd and cherished;
And Traffick did promote and Industry,
Whereby the Vulgar were in Quiet fed,
And the proud Lords in Ease and Plenty wallowed.
Thence all the gorgeous Splendor of the Court,
Sith the sole Business of the Rich and Great,
Was to that hope-built Temple to resort,
And round their earthly God in Glory wait,
Who with their Pride to swell his Royal State,
Did pour large Sums of Gold on ev'ry one,
Brought him by Harpies fell, him to aggrate,
And torn from Peasants vile, beneath the Throne
Who lay, deep sunk in Earth, and inwardly did groan.
Behold, says Archimage, the envy'd Height
Of Human Grandeur to the Gods allied!
Behold yon Sun of Power, whose glorious Light,
O'er this rejoicing Land out-beaming wide,
Calls up those Princely Flow'rs on every side:
Which like the painted Daughters of the Plain,
Ne toil, ne spin, ne stain their silken Pride
With Care, or Sorrow, sith withouten Pain,
Them in eternal Joy those Heav'nly Beams maintain.
Them morn and evening Joy eternal greets,
And for them thousands and ten thousands moil,
Gathering from Land and Ocean honied Sweets
For them, who in soft Indolence the while
And slumbring Peace enjoy the luscious Spoil;
And as they view around the careful Bees
Forespent with Labour and incessant Toil,
With the sweet Contrast learn themselves to please,
And heighten by compare the Luxury of Ease.
Ungenerous Man, quoth then the Fairy Knight,
That can rejoice to see another's Woe!
And Thou, unworthy of that Glory bright,
Wherewith the Gods have deck'd thy Princely Brow,
That doth on Pride and Luxury bestow
The hard-earn'd Fruits of Industry and Pain,
And to the Dogs the Labourer's Morsel throw,
Unmindful of the Hand, that sow'd the Grain,
The poor earth-trodden Root of all thy Greatness vain.
Oh! foul Abuse of sacred Majesty,
That boasteth her fair self from Heav'n ysprong!
Where are the Marks of thy Divinity?
Truth, Mercy, Justice steddy, bold and strong,
To aid the Meek, and curb oppressive Wrong?
Where is the Care and Love of Publick Good,
That to the People's Father doth belong?
Where the Vice-gerent of that bounteous God,
Who bids dispense to all, what he for all bestow'd?
Dwelst Thou not rather, like the Prince of Hell,
In Pandemonium full of ugly Fiends?
Dissimulation, Discord, Malice fell,
Reckless Ambition, that right onward wends,
Tho' his wild March o'erthrow both Fame and Friends,
And Virtue and his Country? crooked Guile,
Obliquely creeping to his treach'rous Ends,
And Flattery, curst Assassin, who the while
He holds the murd'rous Knife, can fawn, and kiss, and smile.
Then 'gan he strait unvail the Mirrour bright,
The which fair Una gave him heretofore,
Ere he as yet, with Paynim foe to fight,
For Foreign Land had left his native Shore.
This in his careful Breast he always bore,
And on it oft would cast his wary Eye;
For it by Magick framed was of yore,
So that no Falshood mote it well abye,
But it was plainly seen, or fearfully did fly.
This on that gay Assembly did he turn,
And saw confounded quite the gawdy Scene;
Saw the close Fire that inwardly did burn,
And waste the throbbing Heart with secret Teen;
Saw base Dependence in the haughty Mien
Of Lords and Princes; saw the Magick Chain
That each did wear, but deem'd he wore unseen,
The whiles with Count'naunce glad he hid his Pain,
And Homage did require from each poor lowly Swain.
And tho' to that old Mage they louted down,
Yet did they dearly wish for his Decay:
Als trembled He, and aye upon the Throne
Of his great Lord his tott'ring Steps did stay,
And oft behind him skulk'd for great Dismay;
Als shook the Throne, whenso the Villain Crew,
That underneath opprest and groveling lay,
Impatient of the grievous Burthen grew,
And loudly for Redress and Liberty did sue.
There mote he likewise see a ribbald Train
Of Dancers, Broid'rers, Slaves of Luxury,
Who cast o'er all those Lords and Ladies vain
A Vail of Semblaunce fair, and richest Dye,
That none their inward Baseness mote descry.
But nought was hidden from that Mirrour bright,
Which when false Archimago 'gan espy,
He feared for himself, and warn'd the Knight
From so detested Place to maken speedy Flight.
So on he passed, 'till he comen hath
To a small River, that full slow did glide,
As it uneath mote find its watry Path
For Stones and Rubbish, that did choak its Tide,
So lay the mouldring Piles on every side.
Seem'd there a goodly City once had been,
Albeit now fallen were her Royal Pride,
Yet mote her auncient Greatness still be seen,
Still from her Ruins prov'd the World's Imperial Queen.
For the rich Spoil of all the Continents,
The Boast of Art and Nature there was brought,
Corinthian Brass, Aegyptian Monuments,
With Hieroglyphick Sculptures all inwrought,
And Parian Marbles, by Greek Artists taught
To counterfeit the Forms of Heroes old,
And set before the Eye of sober Thought
Lycurgus, Homer, and Alcides bold.
All these and many more that may not here be told.
There in the middest of a ruin'd Pile,
That seem'd a Theatre of Circuit vast,
Where Thousands might be seated, he e'erwhile
Discover'd hath an uncouth Trophy plac'd;
Seem'd a huge Heap of Stones together cast
In nice Disorder and wild Symmetry,
Urns, broken Freezes, Statues half defac'd,
And Cornices with antique Imagery
Emboss'd, and Pillars huge of costly Porphyry.
Aloft on this strange Basis was ypight
With Girlonds gay adorn'd a golden Chair,
In which aye smiling with self-bred Delight,
In careless Pride reclin'd a Lady fair,
And to soft Musick lent her idle Ear;
The which with Pleasure so did her enthrall,
That for aught else she had but little Care,
For Wealth, or Fame, or Honour Feminal,
Or gentle Love, sole King of Pleasures natural.
Als by her side, in richest Robes array'd,
An Eunuch sate, of Visage pale and dead,
Unseemly Paramour for Royal Maid!
Yet Him she courted oft and honoured,
And oft would by her place in Princely Sted,
Though from the Dregs of Earth he springen were,
And oft with Regal crowns she deck'd his Head,
And oft, to sooth her vain and foolish Ear,
She bade him the great Names of mighty Kesars bear.
Thereto Herself a pompous Title bore,
For she was vain of her great Auncestry,
But vainer still of that prodigious Store
Of Arts and Learning, which she vaunts to lye
In the rich Archives of her Treasury.
These she to Strangers oftentimes would shew,
With grave Demean and solemn Vanity,
Then proudly claim as to her merit due,
The venerable Praise and Title of Vertu.
Vertu she was yclep'd, and held her Court
With outward Shews of Pomp and Majesty,
To which natheless few others did resort,
But Men of base and vulgar Industry.
Or such perdy as of them cozen'd be,
Mimes, Fidlers, Pipers, Eunuchs squeaking fine,
Painters and Builders, Sons of Masonry,
Who could well measure with the Rule and Line,
And all the Orders five right craftily define.
But other Skill of cunning Architect,
How to contrive the House for dwelling best,
With self-sufficient Scorn they wont neglect,
As corresponding with their Purpose least;
And herein be they copied of the rest,
Who aye pretending Love of Science fair,
And gen'rous Purpose to adorn the Breast
With Liberal Arts, to Vertu's Court repair,
Yet nought but Tunes and Names, and Coins away do bear.
For long, to visit her once-honour'd Seat
The studious Sons of Learning have forbore;
Who whilom thither ran with Pilgrim Feet
Her venerable Reliques to adore,
And load their Bosoms with the sacred store,
Whereof the World large Treasure yet enjoys.
But sithence she declin'd from Wisdom's Lore,
They left her to display her pompous Toys
To Virtuosi vain, and wonder-gaping Boys.
For-thy to Her a numerous Train doth long
Of Ushers in her Court well practised,
Who aye about the monied Stranger throng,
Off'ring with shews of courteous Bountihed
Him through the rich Apartments all to lead,
And shew him all the Wonders of her State,
Whose Names and Price they wisely can areed,
And tell of Coins of old and modern Date,
And Pictures false and true right well discriminate.
Als are they named after Him, whose Tongue
Shook the Dictator in his Curule Chair,
And thundring through the Roman Senate, rung
His bold Philippicks in Antonius' Ear;
Which when the Fairy heard, he sigh'd full dear,
And casting round his quick discerning Eye,
At every deal he dropt a manly Tear,
As he the stately Buildings mote descry,
Baths, Theatres, and Fanes in mouldring Fragments lye.
And, Oh! Imperial City! then he said,
How art thou tumbled from thine Alpine Throne!
Whereon, like Jove on high Olympus Head,
Thou sittedst erst unequall'd and alone,
And madedst through the World thy Greatness known;
While from the Western Isles, to Indus' shore,
From seven-mouth'd Nilus, to the frozen Don,
Thy dradded Bolts the strong-pounc'd Eagle bore,
And taught the Nations round thy Fasces to adore!
And doth among thy Reliques nought remain,
No little Portion of that haughty Spright?
Which made thee whilom scorn soft Pleasure's Chain,
And in free Virtue place thy chief Delight,
Whereby through Ages shone thy Glory bright?
And is there nought remaining to confound
Those, who regardless of thy woeful Plight,
With idle Wonder view thy Ruins round,
And without Thought survey thy memorable Wound?
Arise thou genuine Cicero, and declare
That all these mighty Ruins scattered wide,
The Sepulchres of Roman Virtue were,
And Trophies vast of Luxury and Pride,
Those fell Diseases whereof Rome erst died.
And do you then with vile Mechanick Thought
Your Course, ye Sons of Fairy, hither guide,
That ye those gay Refinements may be taught,
Which Liberty's fair Lond to Shame and Thraldom brought?
Let Rome those Vassal Arts now meanly boast,
Which to her vanquish'd Thralls she erst resign'd;
Ye who enjoy that Freedom she has lost
That great Prerogative of Human-kind,
Close to your Hearts the precious Jewel bind,
And learn the rich Possession to maintain,
Learn Virtue, Justice, Constancy of Mind,
Not to be mov'd by Fear or Pleasure's train,
Be these your Arts, ye Brave, these only are Humane.
As he thus spake, th' Enchaunter half asham'd
Wist not what fitting Answer to devise,
Als was his caitive Heart well-nigh inflam'd,
By that same Knight so virtuous, brave and wise,
That long he doubts him farther to entice.
But he was hardened and remorseless grown,
Through Practice old of Villainy and Vice;
So to his former Wiles he turns him soon,
As in another Place hereafter shall be shown.