A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800

By Ronald S. Crane | Go to book overview

JOSEPH ADDISON
(1672-1692-1719)

A Letter from Italy, to the
Right Honourable Charles Lord Halifax
In the Year MDCCI1

Salve magna parens frugum Saturnia tellus,
Magna virûm! tibi res antiquæ laudis et artis
Aggredior, sanctos ausus recludere fontes
.

Virg. Geor. 2.

WHILE you, my Lord, the rural shades admire,
And from Britannia's publick posts retire,
Nor longer, her ungrateful sons to please,
For their advantage sacrifice your ease;

Me into foreign realms my fate conveys, 5
Through nations fruitful of immortal lays,
Where the soft season and inviting clime
Conspire to trouble your repose with rhime.

For wheresoe'er I turn my ravish'd eyes,

Gay gilded scenes and shining prospects rise, 10

Poetick fields encompass me around,
And still I seem to tread on Classic ground;
For here the Muse so oft her Harp has strung,
That not a mountain rears its head unsung,
Renown'd in verse each shady thicket grows, 15
And ev'ry stream in heavenly numbers flows.

How am I pleas'd to search the hills and woods
For rising springs and celebrated floods!
To view the Nar, tumultuous in his course,

And trace the smooth Clitumnus to his source, 20

To see the Mincio draw his watry store
Through the long windings of a fruitful shore,
And hoary Albula's infected tide
O'er the warm bed of smoaking sulphur glide.

Fir'd with a thousand raptures I survey 25
Eridanus through flowery meadows stray,
The king of floods! that rolling o'er the plains
The towering Alps of half their moisture drains,
And proudly swoln with a whole winter's snows,

____________________
1
Published in 1703. Text of Works, 1721.

-277-

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