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This temple, less in form, with equal grace,
Was imitative of the first Thrace :
For that cold region was the lov’d abode,
And sovereign mansion of the warrior god.
The landscape was a forest wide and bare ;
Where neither beast, nor human kind repair ;
The fowl, that scent afar, the borders fly,
And Mun the bitter blast, and wheel about the sky.
A cake of scurf lies baking on the ground,
And prickly stubs, instead of trees, are found;
Or woods with knots and knares deform'd and old ;
Headless the most, and hideous to behold:
A rattling tempest through the branches went,
That stripp'd them bare, and one fole way they bent.
Heaven froze above, severe, the clouds congeal,
And through the chrystal vault appear'd the standing
Such was the face without; a mountain stood
Threatening from high, and overlook'd the wood :
Beneath the lowring brow, and on a bent,
The temple stood of Mars armipotent:
The frame of burnish'd steel, that cast a glare
From far, and seem’d to thaw the freezing air.
A strait long entry to the temple led,
Blind with high walls; and horror over head:
Thence issued such a blast, and hollow roar,
As threaten'd from the hinge to heave the door;
In through that door, a northern light there shone ;
'Twas all it had, for windows there were none,
The gate was adamant; eternal frame !
Which, hew'd by Mars himself, from Indian quarries
The labour of a God; and all along
Tough iron plates were clench'd to make it strong.
A tun about was every pillar there ;
A polith'd mirror Mone not half so clear.
There saw I how the secret felon wrought,
And treason labouring in the traitor's thought :
There the red anger dar'd the pallid fear j
Next stood hypocrisy, with holy leer ;
Soft smiling, and demurely looking down,
But hid the dagger underneath the gown :
Th’assassinating wife, the houshold fiend;
And far the blackelt there, the traitor-friend.
On t'other side there ftood destruction bare
Unpunish'd rapine, and a waste of war.
Contest, with sharpen'd knives, in cloisters drawn,
And all with blood bespread the holy lawn.
Loud menaces were heard, and foul disgrace,
And bawling infamy, in language base;
Till sense was lost in sound, and silence fled the place.
The layer of himself yet saw I there,
The gore congeal'd was clotted in his hair :
With eyes half clos'd, and gaping mouth he lay,
And grim, as when he breath'd his sullen soul away.
In midst of all the dome, misfortune fate,
And gloomy discontent, and fell debate,
And madness laughing in his ireful mood;
And arm'd complaint on theft; and cries of blood.
There was the murder'd corpse, in covert laid,
And violent death in thousand shapes display'd :
The city to the foldier's rage resign'd:
Successless wars, and poverty behind:
Ships burnt in fight, or forc'd on rocky shores,
And the ralh hunter strangled by the boars :
The new-born babe by nurses overlaid ;
And the cook caught within the raging fire he made.
All ills of Mars's nature, flame and steel ;
The gasping charioteer, beneath the wheel
Of his own car; the ruin'd house that falls
And intercepts her lord betwixt the walls :
The whole division that to Mars pertains,
All trades of death that deal in steel for gains,
Were there : the butcher, armourer, and smith,
Who forges sharpen’d faulchions, or the scythe.
The scarlet conquest on a tower was plac’d,
With shouts, and soldiers acclamations grac'd :
A pointed sword hung threatening o'er his head,
Sustain'd but by a slender twine of thread.
There saw I Mars's ides, the capitol,
The seer in vain foretelling Cæsar's fall;
The last triumvirs, and the wars they move,
And Anthony, who lost the world for love.
These, and a thousand more, the fane adorn ;
Their fates were painted ere the men were born,
All copied from the heavens, and ruling force
Of the red star, in his revolving course.
The form of Mars high on a chariot stood,
All sheath'd in arms, and gruffly look'd the God :
Two geomantic figures were display'd
Above his head, a warrior and a maid ;
One when direct, and one when retrograde,
Tir'd with deformities of death, I hafte
To the third temple of Diana chaste.
A sylvan scene with various greens was drawn,
Shades on the sides, and on the midst a lawn:
The silver Cynthia, with her nymphs around,
Pursued the flying deer, the woods with horns resound;
Califto there stood manifest of shame,
And, turn'd a bear, the northern star became :
Her son was next, and by peculiar grace
In the cold circle held the second place :
The stag Acteon in the stream had spy'd
The naked huntress, and, for seeing, dy'd :
His hounds, unknowing of his change, pursue
The chace, and their mistaken master new,
Peneian Daphne too was there to see,
Apollo's love before, and now his tree :
Th’adjoining fane th' assembled Greeks express’d,
And hunting of the Caledonian beast.
Oenides' valour, and his envy'd prize;
The fatal power of Atalanta's eyes ;
Diana'á vengeance on the victor hown,
The murdress mother; and consuming fon;
The Volscian queen extended on the plain ;
The treason punish'd, and the traitor Nain.
The rest were various huntings, well design’d,
And lavage beasts destroy'd, of every kind.
The graceful goddess was array'd in green ;
About her feet were little beagles. seen,
That watch'd with upward eyes the motions of their
Her legs were buskin'd, and the left before ;
In act to shoot, a silver bow she bore,
And at her back a painted quiver wors.
She trod a wexing moon, that foon would wane,
And drinking borrow'd light, be fill'd again :
With downcast eyes, as seeming to survey
The dark dominions, her alternate fway.
Before her stood a woman in her throes,
And callid Lucina's aid, her burden to disclose.
All these the painter drew with such command,
That Nature fnatch'd the pencil from his hand,
Alham'd and angry that his art could feign
And mend the tortures of a mother's pain.
Theseus beheld the fanes of every God,
And thought his mighty cost was well bestow'd.
So princes now their poets should regard ;
But few can write, and fewer can reward.
The theatre thus rais'd, the lists enclos'd,
And all with vast magnificence dispos'd,
We leave the monarch pleas'd, and haste to bring
The knights to combat; and their arms to sing.