Turris erat vasto suspectu et pontibus altis,
Opportuna loco; –




THE Author feels it necessary to apologize to those individuals who favored him with their patronage in an early stage of this work, for the delay in the publication – It has arisen, partly from those circumstances which will always occur to disarrange the pursuits of every man connected with business, when those pursuits are directed to a foreign object; – and partly from the nature of the task itself, which the more it became developed, presented the greater obstacles to its execution; – so great indeed, that the original intention of describing each part of the Edifice, in succession, was necessarily abandoned, and the general plan, as now adopted, introduced in its stead: – In fact, the former arrangement must have occasioned an eternal repetition of the same terms, and, though perfectly consistent with the nature of a prose Vade-mecum, have infallibly subjected the Author to a classification with those, who,

“Sleepless themselves, to make their Readers sleep,”

have been transfixed with the arrows of criticism.

The same fate probably awaits him; – He has nothing to urge in extenuation of such a judgment; – His own act has placed him before the Bar of the Public, and he is therefore fully and submissively amenable to its decision. May that decision prove favorable!






Opening address to Architecture – The Parthenon – Glance at the Gothic Order – Apostrophe to the Deity – Irruption of the Vandals, and its consequences – Subsequent rise and progress of Architecture (chiefly in the Gothic style) through the principal Kingdoms of Europe – Fonthill the most perfect modern specimen of that Style. – The Abbey – The Grounds – Wiltshire – Conclusion.



STUPENDOUS ART! whose mighty remnants gild,
Those Climes and Scenes, once with thy glories fill'd;
Those Climes, alas! where now Barbarians stray,
Or Despots rule, and trembling Slaves obey;
But still, where struggling, panting to be free,
Man strives to burst the bonds of tyranny; –
Stupendous Art! I hail thee on thy throne,
The proud Acropolis, thy favor'd zone;
Where rear'd in all thy grace, magnificence,
Unrivall'd soars, and awes the lab'ring sense:
Yes, Architecture, there thy crown is hung,
There thy chief witchery, there thy beauties flung;
Revolving ages thence have sung thy praise,
And o'er thy forehead shook the victor bays;
Announc'd thy triumphs, from all rivals won,
While Fame's wide trump resounds the Parthenon.

[6] What, tho' the grandeur of hill-planted Rome,
In arch, in column, and the spheric dome,
Bespeaks celestial genius, hov'ring round,
That nurse of arms and arts, that magic ground,
Where every glance reveals some deathless name,
Bright in the Temple's grace, or Statue's flame:
Yet, to thee, chief, fam'd Parthenon, is giv'n,
More than to aught of mortal under heav'n; –
The attribute divine, to quench all thought,
When seen, save what, thy power sublime has wrought.

Yes, let us wander o'er old Pestum's scite,
Whose ruins tell of desolation's might;
Or, let us rove colossal Balbec through,
Or search Persepolis, for aught like thou;
Or, tax Egyptian monuments, or seek
Those wilds, where roams the fierce barbarian Shiek;
Or, easier toil, those older beauties scan,
When nature taught plain unadult'rate man;
Those older beauties, winch you classic shore
Still vaunts, tho' pass'd ten thousand whirlwinds roar,
[7] Since first the Chief,* by fam'd Œnope's grove
Rear'd his high fane to Panthellenic Jove:
And then, pure Taste, unfold thy eagle eye,
Expand thy judgement, lift thy soul on high;
Draw from the stores of Science all her springs,
View wide creation, mount proportion's wings;
Considerate, now, poise with minutest skill,
Their charms, with those that deck the Athenian hill,
And straight decide; – 'tis done, – the fiat's gone,
And farthest space gives back the Parthenon.

When Greece, at length, by faction worn and war,
Fell from her sphere, like some erratic star,
That loosen'd from its circling axis, rolls
lit meteor flashes, 'twixt opposing poles,
And shakes mankind with dark portentous fear,
Who in the omen, view some Kingdom's bier;
When SHE beneath the "eternal City' lay,
Subdued, her prowess, quench'd her burning day,
Still even as now, her Architecture shone,
Like some tall Pharos, in the ocean lone,
[8] To guide advent'rers in the mighty art,
To awe, to dazzle, and improve the heart.

Hail mighty science, hail thou art divine!
All pow'rful still, or in the pagan shrine,
Or Goth's proud Temple, where a Saviour reigns,
'Where penance weeps, and praise pours forth her strains;
Behold that structure, see those arches grace,
With beauteous order, von vast sacred place;
The clust'ring columns mark, that rais'd on high
The soul enthral, and chain the raptur'd eye,
Forming a pillar'd vista; – Hark ! what sound
Breaks on the ear, where silence reign'd profound;
'Tis hush'd!-again, the solemn tones arise
In pealing triumph;-now their cadence sighs,
in sweetest murm'rings, down the quiv'ring aisle,
Now bursts majestic thro the tow'ring pile;
Each light pois'd arch, with strains harmonic breathes,
Each sculptur'd column shakes thro' all its wreaths,
as the concave dome gives back the sound,
Re-echoing loud the trembling walls around,
[9] Imagination sees, the crowd among,
Some list'ning angels catch the lofty song,
By Architecture's magic, now endow'd,
With voice sublime, like that which fills the cloud
Before the heavenly throne-beneath whose ray,
The thrilling Cherubim, their pinions lay,
With music vibrate, drawn from mortal lyre,
But made immortal, thro' arch, dome, and spire.

Thus Music own'd and felt thy potent rod,
Thou highest emanation of the God; –
That great first Architect, whose mighty plan,
Frowns in the Andes, smiles in Tinian;
In Caverns darkens, thro' the Valley beams,
Builds up the Rock, and frets with ice the Streams,
Sustains the Firmament, the Ocean awes,
Measures all space, and gives to Chaos laws,
Wields the huge Earth, the balanc'd Air suspends,
The Comet bridles, Orb with Orbit blends
In wond'rous concord, while each radiant sphere,
Runs its fix'd course, nor yet too wide nor near,
[10] And so shall run, 'till his behests complete,
Each flaming world shall hiss beneath his feet.

To him I bend; and now due homage given,
To his eternal power in earth and heaven,
Renew the verse, in trembling strains, to say,
When Rome, imperial, fell beneath the sway,
Of Hun and Vandal, Goth and Visigoth,
Wild as the tempest, as, the lightning wroth,
(Who, led by ATTILA, the " Scourge of God,"
On slaughter'd Kings, and welt'ring Cities trod;
And tow'ring ALARIC, from the bleak domains,
Of frozen Boreas, pour'd on Europe's plains;)
While with Briarean arms, destruction rode,
High on theft banners, and collossal strode,
With reckless triumph, and blood-dripping spear,
O'er crouching Nations, with untam'd career;
How, desolation, then unbar'd her arm,
Steep'd it in gore, and fir'd the locust swarm,
That spread oe'r Kingdoms, misery's dread wings,
Crush'd Art's exertions, shut up Learning's springs,
[11] Led Science chain'd, and with demoniac blast,
The breathing Statute from its basis cast;
Threw down the temple, in her fury wild,
The Column broke, the Catacomb defil'd;
The Arch defac'd, the Aqueduct made void,
The Dome, the Spire, the Pinnacle destroy'd;
Yes, thus she triumph'd; Night cimmerian fell,
O'er Europe's plain, her mountain, and her dell,
Her people felt the bolt, by Heav'n shot forth,
And scorch'd, and mangled, grovell'd in the earth.
Slaves of the barb'rous Victors, there they laid,
And toil'd and trembled, as the Tyrants bade.

At length some sparks of buoyant Science rose,
In minds as barren, as the torpid snows,
Which annual clothe in frozen mantle drear,
Those climes, from whence deriv'd their Sire's career;
Thus heaven, inscrutable, from darkness draws
Its ends unfathom'd, and propounds its laws.

Then Architecture, first her light began,
To spread unconscious, thro' awakening man;
[12] The warlike Chief his lofty Beacon rear'd,
And liv'd the Despot of the Cerfs he fear'd;
Gradual advancing, soon the feudal! hall,
Show'd its proud turrets, and embattled wall;
The Village then, in op'ning order shone,
The City thicken'd with the chisel'd stone;
While Man gregarious, sought his fellow nigh,
And trade and commerce, bless'd the social tye.

But chief, RELIGION, drew from hence her pow'r,
Religion, soothress of misfortune's hour;
Here the rich Abbey lifts its crested head,
And fills beholders, or with hope or dread,
As conscience speaks to this in peaceful terms,
Or tortures that with all her gnawing worms;
The vast Cathedral now attracts the eye,
With Spires that seem to reach the midway sky;
While there the historic Cross its moulding shows,
And with the grace of gothic order glows;
The curious arch, the soaring column tell,
The mighty pow'r with which her vot'ries swell;
[13] Each christian Kingdom by that pow'r imbued,
Built Fanes to heaven as vaunting Babel proud;
(Tho' not alike to brave eternal might,
But bend the Soul to seek Devotion's rite;)
BATALHA from the holy impulse sprung,
And NOTRE DAME her tow'ring spires flung,
High up to Heaven; whilst all ITALIA fir'd,
By ancient splendor, thro' the world admir'd,
Unnumber'd temples rear'd within her clime,
Chaste yet majestic, gorgeous yet sublime; –
At length, great BU'NAROTTI, wondrous name,
Threw midst her brightness, his unequall'd flame,
As Vesta's pure; magnificent as now,
Etherealized, it beams creation through.

Unrivall'd mortal, whose elastic soul,
Alike dispos'd the Chisel and the Trow'l;
Whose plastic hand the shapeless block array'd,
With intellectual seeming, or display'd,
The pencils wonders to the dazzled sight,
Or rear'd the Palace, or the Temple's height, –
[14] Thy name, thy works, shall still examples live,
And to thy mem'ry unbought plaudits give,
Until succumbing at the Doomsday roar,
Rome, and her grandeur, Earth and Sea, no more
Exist, but back to primal Chaos cast,
Void space shall reign illimitably vast.

One feeling thus, thro' wakened Europe ran,
Tho' still enslav'd, Man crouch'd to tyrant Man;
Where e'er the Cross its holy influence spread,
Where e'er Religion rais'd her hallow'd head;
And Ah! where e'er some petty Despot reign'd,
In sad pre-eminence, o'er man enchain'd,
Or where ambition will'd extended power,
Or bandit Chiefs their plunder to secure;
Bright Architecture! still was sought thy aid,
In grandeur there, in rudeness here array'd,
But bush the theme;-and Oh! Uranian Muse,
Thro' these cold veins, tin' noblest heat diffuse;
Let me at once, the ESCURIAL'S wonders view,
Eye SEVILLE'S beauties, search GRANADA through;
[15] Rich in her gothic and her moorish tow'rs,
Her wide ALHAMBRA, with its walks and bow'rs;
Where now alone, in Christian climes are seen,
The fallen glories of the Crescent's mien,
Which, like "Archangel ruin'd," awe inspire,
And force the soul to bend, and deep admire.

But tho' these wonders of a foreign strand,
High notice claim, let not OUR PARENT LAND
Remain unsung; whose Gothic beauties shine,
E'en now resplendent, deck'd with art divine;
Tho' sour fanatics, and a bandit crew,
Her Abbeys plunder'd, and her fanes o'erthrew,
Yet still their ruins, (like some mountain riven,
From its deep base, by God's resistless levin,
Which once with nature's chiefest beauties cloth'd,
All eyes attracted, and all feelings sooth'd,)
Speak to the heart, and with unerring tongue,
Those glories tell, which ign'rant Zealots flung,
With impious hand, on earth's deep wounded face,
Where yet they lie, in many a sacred place; –
[16] Yet, let not these, unsung, unknown, remain, –
The task is needless, and the labor vain –
For every soil, where Architecture's light,
Lends its clear flame to scientific sight,
Of TINTERN speaks, on WINTON'S grandeur glows,
O'er WIMBORNE ponders, sighs where NETLEY rose,
Unrivall'd once now mould'ring to the gale,
But, " points a metal, or adorns a Tale."

These prove the Genius of our parent Clime,
Majestic, beauteous, tow'ring, chaste, sublime;
That genius which, for her, a deathless name,
Has won triumphant, thro' the Battle's flame;
Or still more glorious, intellectual bays,
Has gain'd in fields, of Lore's intensest blaze;
Or brighter still, when with tear-streaming eyes,
The wretched, of all Nations, claim her sighs,
Her splendor, beams magnificent afar,
Despairs sole anchor, mis'rys guardian star.

Thus, thro' all Christendom, the Gothic style,
Diffus'd its beauties in each lofty pile;
[17] And long pre-eminent, each Kingdom own'd,
Its ruling sway, by gen'ral suff'rance crown'd;
'Till time, destroyer of all earthly things,
That soon or late, shall sap Creation's springs,
And his own power, last Suicide! destroy,
Nor longer tempt, with agony or joy,
'Till HE decreed that Taste and Art should change,
And give anom'lous fancies uncheck'd range;
Fancies, which broke thro' Order's purest laws,
Scorn'd fair proportion, yet obtain'd applause;
Mix'd Grecian, Roman, Gothic, Arabesque,
All stiles, all orders, in their plans grotesque;
Thus, that vast Hydra, which "the Mob," we call,
Despotic monster, rules this giddy ball,
Makes light seem darkness, darkness turns to day,
As changeful passion points the rainbow way;
Then chas'd one trifle from the rapid breast,
Some newer toy lifts up its tinsel crest;
Sheer dulness triumphs, prostrate wisdom bleeds,
And science droops, and quackery proceeds.

[18] So went the world – the once far beaming light
Of Gothic architecture, gloom'd in night;
'Till led by Taste, by soaring genius driven,
One mighty spirit rais'd a Pile to heaven,
A Pile, where grandeur, mix'd with beauty reigns,
And tow'ring lordly, rules extended plains;
Whose height, aspiring, seems the clouds to brook,
And whence the advent'rous mortal fears to look,
Who, toiling, gains its battlemented stage,
Fit seat for some calm astronomic sage,
When, gath'ring courage, lo! he casts around,
His wond'ring vision, o'er the scene profound;
Till dim with light, the faint and wearied eye,
Stretching o'er Wood and Mount, to meet the sky,
Whose horizontal sweep at many a league,
Checks the vast prospects, which the sight fatigue,
Sinks dazzled, blinded, underneath the rays,
Of Nature's glory, which the view displays.

Thou spark, celestial, whose bright ray inspir'd,
Old Homer's Song, which every Age has fir'd;
[19] Whose beam, divine, led sacred Virgil's pen,
When he Æneas sang, and "Arms and Men;"
And Tasso taught, as with description's powers,
He drew Armida's Palaces and Bow'rs;
Oh! grant that now, one gleam of chasten'd light,
From thy pure seat, may radiate my sight,
And lift the soul far from the Earth below,
With 'thoughts that breathe,' and 'words that fiercely glow;'
That so enwrapt, the high and splendid theme,
Sink not dishonored down Oblivion's stream;
Yet still let Judgment lend her cooler aid,
And ripen all by her strict balance weigh'd.

Hail, Tower of Grandeur; Fonthill's glory, hail!
Bend thy proud bead which scorns the peaceful vale,
That trembling not upon thy fearful verge,
My soul composed, may more serenely urge,
The task she dreads – but no – perch'd on thy brow,
Where Oracles might catch prophetic dew,
And Inspiration more inspir'dly breathe,
Let it be mine, to throw the Poet's wreath,
[20] Around thy Crest, yet undisplayed in song,
Tho' Albion's genius in her favor'd throng,
Of Souls congenial to the lofty strain,
Has view'd thy majesty, yet view'd in vain.

Rear'd on a mountain's brow, superb in all,
That gothic art conceiv'd before her fall,
Beneath the barb'rous hands of zeal perverse,
When dark Enthusiasts, prov'd a Nation's curse,
The wond'rous pile looks forth – now Fancy soar,
And boldly seize descriptions proudest oar
Try all thy skill on that unrivall'd Tow'r,
A princely appanage, or Queen-like dow'r,
Which 'twixt four columns, lifts its form on high,
'Till its proud summit leaves the wearied eye,
And toise, on toise, exalted from the earth,
Gives as it rises, deep emotion birth;
(For tho' the sight corporeal, fainting droops,
Imagination, like the Eagle swoops,
Ahtwart each spiral turret with her wings,
And there, remote from dull terrestial things,
[21] Soars uncontroll'd, invisible, unknown,
And holds command, in regions all her own.)
Mark its proportions – note the fairy grace,
Which plays amidst the grandeur of its face;
Behold the pow'r of Architecture, shine,
In all its stages – thro' the whole design;
'Till from its magic height, the structure seems,
To give conviction to Arabia's dreams;
Whilst all around, in well group'd beauty rise,
Arch, column, battlement, to meet the skies;
But far beneath the master pile they stand,
And pay their homage to its high command.

Thus "Ammon's Son" look'd from his lofty throne,
When prostrate Nations own'd his pow'r alone;
His mighty Chiefs in princely state surround,
The God-like Hero in his glory crown'd;
But tho' each Warrior's firm decided eye,
Beam'd sway imperial, yet the Victor nigh,
Chain'd even' look, upon his regal brow,
With conquest radiant, and triumphant hue.

[22] Renew the theme – to each dim window soar,
Rich in the wealth of legendary lore,
Where saints and sinners, fools and sages join,
In beauteous colours, but grotesque design,
Maintaining true, the quaint peculiar style,
That still pervaded each conventual pile,
And made religion bear upon her face,
A mixture strange, of reverence and grimace.

Yes, this proud Tower, inferior roofs among
More mighty seems; tho' all the splendid throng,
Of cloisters, gall'ries, parapets and halls,
Of columns, oriels, and embattled walls,
Gigantic lift their beauties to the sight,
Eclips'd alone by its unrivall'd height.

Now, round the pile, the ling'ring vision send,
And thoughtful o'er each part component bend;
Here, on the North, two massive buildings stand,
There, on the South, the Artist's potent hand,
A variegated line of grace displays,
With grandeur mix'd to each astonish'd gaze;
[23] While Science true, with deep admiring soul,
Views in contrasted parts, one perfect whole.

In vain description strives, some wizard spell,
Her power enfeebles, and locks up her shell;
The Wizard of the place – whose lyre alone,
Could aptly sing his Mansion, and his Throne,
Yet tho' appall'd, again the task we urge,
Dare cynic censure, and the critic's scourge.

See you rich Cloisters rear their fretted points,
On shafts supported where unseemly joints,
No blot display, to mar the Master's aim,
But soar as proudly, as some hero's fame,
Aerial firm; with sculpture's power emboss'd,
And with her various witchery, beauteous cross'd;
In fluting, moulding, ornament profuse,
'Which leave fastidiousness, no theme to chuse,
Whereon to vent her never-dying spleen,
Or turn the scowlings of her sullen mien.

Next, view that Oriel, whose projecting Arch,
Stays in its course some Gall'rys lengthen'd march;
[24] Or soft recess, by purest Taste design'd,
To charm the eye, and recreate the mind;
Where paintings dazzle and where books improve,
And where the swelling Statue seems to move.

Again, we turn, to hail the mighty Tow'r,
Gigantic proof of Architecture's pow'r;
Behold those Gates – What Sage of eastern clime,
Who lock'd in cavern deep, achiev'd the time,
A long, long Century, pass'd in studious toil,
Chasten'd from sense, beneath the sick'ning oil,*
Which to his labours, proud dominion gave,
O'er Spirits of Earth, of Æther, and of Wave;
Ere found his ductile Genii bring to light,
A loftier entrance to the human sight!
These mighty doors, whose bulk colossal, seems,
To mock the judgment, like dissolving dreams,
And in their strength appear the arm to scorn,
That dares aspire their massive weight to turn;
When touch'd, revolve upon each brazen hinge,
With noiseless motion, and elastic springe;
[25] The wond'rous vision, chains the awe struck soul,
As gradual on their pivots hack they roll,
Like Giants retreating from some pigmy band,
'Till staid their course, by Art's repellent hand;
When from their height, like some tall mountain pine
By Nature nurs'd, on storm-clad Appenine,
Their forms majestic, spurn the crowd below,
But fancy fire, with grandeur's highest glow.

Now pass'd those Rhodian Monuments, unique,
Behold the HALL, in Gothic glory speak;
View the tall Roof, where Warrior Arms preside,
In all the splendor of baronial pride;
Emblazon'd Quarterings, grace the polish'd wood,
And fill the sight with one chivalric flood,
Of 'Scutcheons, Tinctures, Ornaments, and Flags,
Of Lions, Eagles, Martlets, Crowns, and Stags,
Of Owls, and Satyrs mix'd – the gorgeous field,
Of each commemorative ample Shield,
Flames with the produce of heraldic fire,
With "Hydras, Gorgons, and Chimeras dire;"
[26] Here shines with Or, there glows with Gules, red,
And there in Sable, marks some Warrior dead;
Thus the high heaving, of each ancient breast,
In mute solemnity, stands proud confest.

Three lofty Windows, rich in painted glass,
Admit the light with varied rays to pass,
High on the dexter hand – the left contains,
Three niches deep, wrought with elaborate pains;
A crimson drap'ry each recess imbues,
With broader splendor, or with milder hues,
As Phœbus pours abroad meridian day,
Or sinking seaward, sheds a fainter ray;
Or breaking dimly, thro' some wat'ry veil,
Throws glist'ning radiance o'er each object pale.

Yet, ere we quit the lordly feudal hall,
Yon central niche, attention scents to call;
Approach and view, within its sacred verge,
The CIVIC GLORY,* England's welfare urge;
[27] Beneath a Monarch's frown, undaunted see,
The patriot stand, firm, dignified, and free;
The gen'rous emblem of a British soul,
Prepar'd to start for Honor's proudest goal,
His COUNTRY'S CAUSE – should venal Courtiers dare,
To press still further, vile Corruption's snare,
Around that Country's weal; – its guardian laws,
Then almost crush'd beneath their harpy claws,
Thus, Jove all-pow'rful, hid from human gaze,
Casts, at long intervals, some splendid blaze,
Of mortal worth, across his mystic plan,
To show the World "just semblance of a Man."

Now from the top of yon gigantic grades,
An Arch superb its graceful segment spreads;
In massy clustering, see those Columns eight,
Support eight Circles, which, the enormous weight,
Of that proud Tower, upon their shoulders bear,
And lift its splendors to the midway air,
And prove at once, vast Architecture's skill,
Which to achieve, sole needs express the will.

[28] Here, once again, prismatic beauties play,
And changed and tinctur'd by the varying day,
Illume the Octagon* with every hue,
That tends, the mind reflective, to subdue,
With those deep feelings, melancholy, mild,
Which give to Mail, the meekness of a Child.

O'er those eight lofty Arches, now behold,
A Gallery spring, magnificent and bold,
From whence innum'rous tasteful branches rise,
In fill like grace, before the raptur'd eyes;
And on their points a beauteous frame aspires,
Of lantern shape, lit by refractive fires,
Which thro' eight painted casements dart in streams,
And shied around their glittering iris-beams;
While far above, the lofty roof looks down,
The mighty whole, with kingly state to crown.

As here the soul in fond amazement strays,
Profoundly fix'd her deep admiring gaze,
Loud Music speaks;-quick starting from her trance,
Again, around, she sends her wakened glance;
[29] Attentive then, she hears the "Vocal frame,"
With voice sublime, record CECILIA'S name;
And underneath the Gall'ry's rich design,
(Where rests the pageant like some beauteous Shrine,)
A Portal arch'd, new scenes of glory shows,
Within its verge, where e'er her sight she throws,
Iii countless splendors, art and affluence join,
To deck that seat, of luxury and wine.

Sacred recess! had fam'd LUCULLUS seen,
Thy Sideboard loaded, lie had died with spleen;
Or had APICIUS CŒLIUS view'd thy Cates,
His hand had sooner doom'd him to the fates,
When mighty NELSON, with his presence grac'd,
The gorgeous banquet oil thy tables plac'd;
When pomp and wealth, and luxury and pride,
Rode high enthron'd, and o'er each other vied,
In reign alternate; – yet why thus seduc'd,
To tell one feast; – revolving hours produc'd,
Day after day, all that the Earth can claim,
Or Æther holds, or Seas bring forth by name,
[30] To form the sumptuous fare – while plates of gold,
Bore the rich viands in their dazzling mould;
A host of Menials in attendance wait,
Superbly clothed and aid the lordly state,
Then feast luxuriant in some spacious hall,
On food, which Monarchs might delicious call.

Thus, FONTHILL, thus, thy later Owner far'd,
And princely, thus, his untold riches shar'd;
But here the Muse casts off her grosser Zone,
And Mounts again description's higher throne; –
What themes of wonder and delight appear,
Within thus seat of epicurean cheer;
Armoires, and Cabinets, in order shine,
Rich with elab'rate carving's work divine;
Tazzas, Calcedonys, Candelabra, glow,
Dishes emboss'd, and Ewers aid the show;
Vases and Salvers, wrought with curious skill,
(In rock, in flood, in forest, and in hill)
Wrap up each sense in admiration's pause,
And call from taste the guerdon of applause,
[31] 'Till with MOUETTE, or BENVENUTO, tired,
The soul reverts, and then again is fired,
With Topaz, Buhl, Mosaic florentine,
With Sardonyx, and ground avanturine,
Marble and Ebony, and Or-moulu,
Em'ralds and Gems of every varied hue;
While Masks and Mouldings bold and graceful raise,
Each rich material in the scale of praise.

But now, from gen'rals call the Muses wing,
Some proud Armoire, in fitting strains to sing,
Where Art scarce equalled, holds divided reign,
With every stone that owns a precious stain;
Of ebon wood is form'd the beauteous case,
Two fluted columns hear the centres' grace,
Whose tops with mimic gold resplendent beam,
While rich mosaic fills the space between;
Above, time tints of Flora's kingdom glow,
In all the beauty of her cultur'd row,
And fill a sumptous Vase the splendid sight,
Compos'd of gems dug from Golconda, bright,
[32] And from what soil soe'er within its womb,
Contains the treasures of the watchful Gnome,
Competes the work of even, ancient hand,
And stands unrivall'd in each modem land;
While higher still, a small recess we view,
Whose polish'd mouldings, form'd of Or-moulu,
The wand'ring eye restrain, with magic curb,
And fix attention on the whole superb.

Within, to match the outward gorgeous mien,
Turquoises, Rubies, Amethysts are seen,
With Bloodstones and Vermillions; while in turn,
The lacquer'd Coffer, and the antique Urn,
Have each their charms – here mail's discursive soul,
Knows no disgust, or judgment plann'd the whole.

On either hand what glorious forms arise,
Illum'd, or darken'd with the pallet's dies,
As o'er the lifeless Canvass, genius threw,
Her final tints to radiate or subdue; –
Genius in WEST, and REYNOLDS mighty seen,

[33] But while the limits of the devious muse,
Scarce leave selection, freedom where to chuse,
Amid those glories of the pencil's power,
Which dazzling fill each Gall'ry and Boudoir,
Where RAFAEL, RUBENS, and DA VINCI breathe,
And Guido, claims the Arts immortal wreath;
Where CLAUDE, and GASPAR in the Landscape glow,
She gives one tribute to her GERARD DOUW.

Soft Nature's artist, thou, whose lynx-ey'd sight,
The smallest touches fill'd with life and light,
Who caught from her, that rich and wond'rous mine,
Of vivid truth, which marks thy every line,
And warms and freshens all thy fancy plann'd,
And gives perfection to thy master hand;
Receive this homage, unadult'rate paid,
In rev'rent feeling to thy honor'd shade.

But mid' these splendors, faint, the mind aspires,
To catch the ray that lit up Eblis' fires;
Then might she follow, thro' the endless train,
Of Gall'ries, Cloisters, Oriels; – now in vain: –
[34] Each lofty room, each gorgeous chamber shows,
One mass of radiance, and with Vertu glows;
There tyrian wealth, embodied, richly gleams,
In gold, in purple, and in crimson streams;
Where e'er the astonish'd eye its orbit turns,
The raptur'd Soul with fancy's light'ning burns,
Or all entranc'd, forgets life's dull career,
And wings her plumes to some immortal sphere,
Till human sounds destroy the vision's might,
And bring her, sighing, from her ærial flight.

Yes, had some Vet'ran in poetic wars,
Some tow'ring leader, in that host of stars,
That intellectual galaxy of soul,
Which Britain boasts within her proud controul,
Assum'd his armour, pass'd the high barrier,
Brac'd on his shield, and fixed his mighty spear,
Then seized the theme – his frenzied eye on fire,
To catch the glitt'rings of Apollo's lyre;
FONTHILL, a tenfold radiance thus had own'd,
And been immortal, with the laurel crown'd.

[35] Where one continued scene of grandeur glows;
Where deepest wonder no cessation knows;
Where wealth; where taste, where judgment each displays,
Its sep'rate power in some peculiar blaze;
Where countless beauties of the Artist's hand,
In what, immortal genius, yet bath plann'd;
And Books, innum'rous, cull'd with choicest care,
Present a mental feast of all that's rare,
Amusing, or instructive in the fields,
Of Literature, whose crown imperial, wields,
High domination o'er the human mind,
And science-beaming, luminates the blind:
When these, condens'd, in each apartment, rear
Their variegated forms, tier pois'd on tier;
Or, with judicious hand, effective plac'd,
Extort applause from strict intu'tive taste;
Say, shall description then uncheck'd remain,
Till dull monot'ny flags the creeping strain?
No – prudence speaks, and whispers soft and sure,
" Leave all that rests to fancy's vivid hour;
[36] Whose magic wand, tier many a gorgeous sight,
Shall raise her vot'ry fill'd with deep delight,
lit realms, where reigns personified and true,
All that Aladdin's lamp e'er brought to view."

Now, from this vast Elysium, once again,
We reach the Octagon; – A beauteous plain,
Of softest Verdure draws each wand'rer nigh,
Flank'd on each side in tow’ring majesty,
With even' Chieftain of the lofty wood,
To raise the palace, or to stern the flood,
Most amply fit; while each interstice pours,
Delightful fragrance from its shrubs and flowers,
Whose tints innum'rous, and whose varied rays,
Seem nature's own mosaic wrought by fays.

At length, this all attractive Vista ends,
And back, his eye, the wond'ring stranger sends;
What burst of glory then astounds his sight,
In Architecture’s grace and soaring height,
As once again, the pile stupendous breaks
Athwart his vision, in those beauteous streaks,
[37] Of yellow radiance, which adorn the stone,
Like some Chrysanthomum scarce hilly blown;
Or with more sombre hues affect his mind,
And throw each worldly feeling far behind.

Ye ever changing, ever charming Glades,
Ye Lawns, ye Terraces, ye deep'ning shades,
Where Contemplation's God might chuse to dwell,
Or on each high ascent, or sloping dell,
I tread again, thro' recollection's will,
Your magic scenes, and gain the Beacon hill;
Lo! what an orb of Landscape rolls around,
With Art superb, and Nature gorgeous bound!
But chiefly rests the eye where gay WARDOUR,
In princely beauty, sits mid' many a bow'r,
Where Knights of old, and Dames of stately show,
Held high carouse, or shook the graceful toe;
And still where Honor holds her lordly throne,
And mild Benevolence girds on her Zone,
While Hospitality, her bounteous horn,
All-social shakes, of Wine and Oil and Corn.

[38] Now wand'ring rapt, at length the Tourist gains,
That spot, where each Colombian Flora reigns,
In all the glory of her native Clime,
Bright, fragrant, graceful, stately, rich, sublime;
Magnolias, Rhododendrons, Clæthras, fill,
The laughing space, or line the joyous rill,
Which murm'ring soft its gen'rous course along,
Throws health and vigour to the exotic throng,
Imbues their tints, and thro' the enchanting whole,
Diffuses life, and gives to each a Soul.

O'er verdant Mounts, mid' Cliffs, and Lakes, and Groves,
Still deep admiring, on the stranger roves;
Contrasted Scenery all its witch'ry lends,
And Sky, and Wood, and Earth, and Water blends;
While 'cross his path, the whirring partridge glides,
Or screams the wild-fowl from the placid tides;
The timid hare, encouraged, views his face,
Unscar'd, unscath'd, by Man's inhuman chace;
The Pheasant, beauteous, surges thro' the trees,
And waves his plumage to the am'rous breeze;
[39] His burnish'd corslet, sparkling to the day,
Sheds gorgeous lustre round his floating way;
The "native Burghers" of the forest shade,
In antler'd majesty, stalk thro' the glade;
Thus unmolested, Beast and Bin! obtain,
Repose, mid' Fonthill's wood, and stream, and plain.

Farewell ye Walks, farewell each tangled brake,
Farewell ye Rills, farewell thou peaceful Lake;
And you, ye mighty Oaks, may no rude blow,
Assail your stems, and lay your branches low:
Ye laughing flowers, may Spring's returning gales,
Balsamic, open still, your beauteous veils,
Unharm'd by frost, from bitter snow storms freed,
And from the crush of man's destructive tread;
And may those streams which wind your roots among,
Still flow luxuriant as the Poet's song,
Who told your loves, your sex, in verse imbued,
With Nature's language, and her power endued.

Hail! WILTSHIRE, Hail! thou heart awak'ning Seat,
Of patriot Interest, join'd with feeling sweet,
[40] As mem'ry turns her recollective eye,
And tells inspir'd, of Times and Deeds gone by;
Where once the BRITON held his druid rites,
Mutter'd his spells, and call'd his Pagan sprites;
Where once the conqu'ring ROMAN lov'd to bide,
And choose his grave along some mountain side,
Or raise the barrow on the smooth green sward,
Or sing the strains of some Augustan Bard;
Where next, the ruthless SAXONS rear'd their crests,
Who call'd to save, within the hapless breasts,
Of unarm'd Nobles, plung'd the murd'rous brand,
Where STONEHENGE lifts her monumental band,
Of Stones colossal; rear'd as Poets say,
To mark the crime, 'till Dooms avenging day:
Where DANES and NORMANS all were fond to dwell,
Charm'd by thy Soil's rich undulating swell,
And still, where Wealth and Rank their Mansions raise
To deck thy plains, and vouch thy ancient praise;
Where LONGLEAT soars magnificent, sublime,
And BOWOOD smiles, to grace thy favor'd clime;
[41] Where SARUM boasts her beauteous TEMPLE'S height,
And older SARUM her entrenchment's might;
Where Manufacture strains her toil-mark'd hands,
And show'rs her produce, o'er far distant Strands;
Where Agriculture shakes her teeming fields;
'Where the ripe fruit its luscious nectar yields;
And where, to crown the whole, FONTHILL aspires,
In all her pride of Battlements and Spires.

Yes, FONTHILL, yes; pre-eminent, unvied,
Thy splendors beam, all rival works to chide;
Alone, unequall'd, to a wond'ring World,
Thy endless glories all have been unfurl'd;
Thy view, like some giant-ensign, high array'd,
Throws Tow'rs, Cathedrals, Castles, into shade,
And, save the remnants of old GREECE or ROME,
Or BU'NAROTTI'S boast, or WREN'S high dome,
No age, no land, no genius e'er brought forth,
A nobler fane to gild the breathing Earth.




p. 7: Æacus.

p. 24: It was an opinion among the followers of the Eastern Magic, that perfection in Science, was unattainable, unless a hundred years were dedicated to the pursuit, in solitude, abstinence, and privation of daylight.

p. 26: In this niche is a Statue of the late WILLIAM BECKFORD, ESQ. – The celebrated remonstrance presented by him in the name of his fellow Citizens, while in his second Mayoralty of the City of London, and the manner in which it was received by his late Majesty, with the spirited reply made in consequence, fully entitle that Gentleman to the appelation here given him. The circumstances must be within the knowledge of every Reader, and therefore unnecessary to be repeated. The Statue of Mr. B. represents him in the act of replying to his Majesty.

p. 28: The great Tower, which rises 276 feet in height, between four Pediments.