The 1767 descriptive poem


You will most likely be surprised at the inclosed fantastical inventory of certain of your goods and chattels. If it sho'd amuse You for half an hour, the author of it will have fully obtained his end. He is under no apprehensions of your suspecting who he is: but, if he keeps his own council, he is sure You can never convict him. Certain as he is of remaining concealed, he has so insuperable an objection to anything of his composition appearing in print, that he most seriously enjoins You by no means to let it escape to the press. This request he is confident You will comply with, as Your doing otherwise wo'd give him real uneasiness.

He has nothing further to add but to assure You he thinks all he says, tho' said in verse, & is

    very sincerely

        your obedient

            humble Servant.


    Anson, to no man the celestial Muse
    Her festive strain of merited applause
    Bears gladlier, than to him whose generous aid
    Protects & cherishes the sister arts
    Of imitation. From the Muse proceeds
    All Harmony however to the sense
    Directed, immaterial: in the grace
    Of fair proportion, & harmonious form
    Perceptible, as in the number'd notes
    Of melting music, or of measured verse:
    The Muse's gift in either: Her's the lyre
    Of ORPHEUS, Her's the SYRACUSAN reed,
    A RAPHAEL'S pencil Her's & Her's the touch
    Whose exquisite sensation shapes the block
    To forms of GRECIAN beauty. She well pleased
    On the green margin of the Silver TRENT
    Sees at thy bidding ANSON, SCENES ARISE
    That might adorn ILISSUS, or the vale
    of TEMPE: glittering domes, & obelisks,
    Pillars & pyramids with pointed top
    Piercing the lawrel's shade: or where the slope
    Ascending gradual opens to the sun,
    Full to his orient beam the trophied Arch
    Turns it's vast portal, worthy to bestride
    The sacred road triumphant heroes passed via sacra
    To ROME'S dread CAPITOL. Along the mead,
    Reflected by the clear translucent stream,
    See where the stately colonnade extends
    It's pillar'd length: to shade the sculptured forms
    Of Demigods or Heroes, & protect
    From the cold northern blast each tenderer plant,
    The fragrant progeny of milder climes;
    Orange, or lime, or cedro from the banks
    Of ARNO, or PARTHENOPE'S soft shore.
    These in fair order rainged, stage above stage;
    Rear to the lofty roof their green heads, crowned
    At once with flowers profuse, & golden fruit,
    Asilvan theatre! & intermixt
    Each aromatic shrub or scented leaf,
    Myrtle, & sweet geranium, cassia, balms,
    And balsams from ARABIA'S spicy vales.
    Here while we breathe perfume, the ravish'd eye
    Surveys the miracles of GRECIAN art
    In living sculptures, godlike shapes, & forms
    Excelling human! Light-robed FLORA first,
    Protectress of the place, with garlands crowned,
    Scatters with liberal hand a waste of flowers.
    Nor shall the learned eye deem here misplaced,
    O smooth ADONIS, thy transcendent form.
    How shall the Muse address Thee, lovely Youth,
    How celebrate? a mortal or a God,
    Doubtfull! for wide extended thy renown,
    And various: through mysterious EGYPT'S bounds
    In temples, & with sacrifice adored,
    OSIRIS! while on TYRE'S resplendent shore
    With annual obsequies, & plaintive song
    SIDONIAN virgins mourn their TAMMUZ slain.
    But every GRECIAN Muse, thro' DORIC land,
    Thro' SICILY'S resounding vales, still chaunts
    ADONIS' fate & CITHEREA'S woe.
    Thus varying they record Thee: but thy grace,
    And matchless beauty, under every name,
    In every situation, all extoll,
    In life, in death, in action, or repose,
    Or sleeping in PROSPERINA'S cold lap,
    Or walking in CIPRIGNA'S rosy arms.
    Thy godlike semblance next commands the song,
    O BROMIUS, O LENËAN; thy curle'd locks
    With ivy-berries crowne'd, thy awfull head
    Averted, air majestic, & thy youth
    Celestial, brightest progeny of JOVE!
    But what that Hero form, whose gloomy brow
    Contracted, speaks the workings of his soul?
    Eager his looks & piercing, but with care
    Emaciate his sunk cheek: The Dagger marks
    Th'Assertor of ROME'S liberties in vain
    CASSIUS the last of ROMANS. How shall words
    Paint the firm station, spirit, strength & grace
    Of the young ATHLETE? How, MELPOMINÈ,
    Thy flowering figure? o'er thy vocal shell
    Inclined, in act preluding, to excite
    Notes, that resounding thro' the star-paved courts
    Of high JOVE feasting with th'immortal Gods
    Redouble their beatitude, & take
    On earth the ravish'd souls of righteous men
    And wrap them in ELYSIUM: but th'accursed,
    And reprobate, to wrath devoted, them
    Strange horror seizes, flight, & mild despair,
    Troubled, & frantic at the sacred sound.
    Nor to these proud arcades alone confined
    The works of ancient art; behold the lawn,
    With circling woods surrounded, skirted wide
    With many a Term, & many a laurel'd bust,
    Poet or Caesar; many a swelling urn,
    ETRUSCAN wrought, emboss'd with high relief,
    Of various argument. A Virgin here
    Dire sacrifice to NEMESIS DIVINE,
    Bleeds on the horrid altar. To the shore
    Here PHRIGIAN PARIS leads his ravished bride
    Bright ARGIVE HELLEN, source of endless woes.
    Observe you rising hillock's form,
    Whose verdant top the spiry cypress crowns,
    And the dim ilex spreads her dusky arms
    To shade th'ARCADIAN Shepherdesses tomb:
    Of PARIAN stone the pile: of modern hands
    The work, but emulous of ancient praise.
    Let not the Muse inquisitive presume
    With rash interpretation to disclose
    The mystic ciphers that conceal her name.
    Whate'er her country, or however call'd
    Peace to her gentle shade. The Muse shall oft
    Frequent her honour'd shrine, with solemn song
    Lyric, or elegiac: oft when eve
    Gives respite from the long days weary task,
    And dewy HESPER brightens in the west,
    Here shall the constant hind, & plighted maid
    Meet, & exchange their tokens, & their vows
    Of faith, & love. Here weeping Spring shall shed
    Her first pale snowdrops, bluebells, violets,
    And Summer's earliest roses blossom here.
    Now new scenes open, other fabrics rise,
    Unusual forms! from climates far remote,
    Farther than DORIC, or IÖNIAN arts
    Extended, or ROME'S conquering eagles flew:
    By thy adventurous Race not unexplored,
    ANSON, whose indefatigable course
    Proceeding circled the terraqueous globe:
    Hence on the TRENT, SINËAN trophies shine:
    Airy Pagodas, elegant & light,
    With painted balustrades, & gilded spires;
    And Temples, that like broad pavilions spread
    Their ample roofs, with listed colours gay,
    Green, azure, purple, & distinct with gold;
    Here 'mid circumfluous waters aptly placed
    Cast a mixt radiance o'er the trembling stream.
    From hence, in wide expanse, the level mead
    Spreads her smooth surface of continued green,
    Not boundless, tho' extensive: all around
    High grounds, & waving woods, at distance due
    Close the fair landscape: INGESTRE'S awfull shades,
    TIXAL'S grey towers, & CHARTLEY'S castled hill.
    Westward, with near approach, & bolder swell,
    The wavy hills rise mountainous, befringed
    With gloomy groves of never-changing leaf,
    Cedar, or pine, or fir: plantations vast,
    And venerable! not in curious lines
    Restrained, & cramp'd, nor on the summits clump'd
    Bleak, & unthrifty; but profusely spread
    Along the mountain slope for many a mile
    To shade a country. Such the groves that grace
    The shaggy sides of APPENNINE, or huge
    PIRENE. Underneath a limpid lake
    The molten chrystal of an hundred rills
    Gushing from purple CANK'S salubrious sides
    Collects, expansion pure, with verdant isles
    Inlaid it's lucid bosom, & it's shores
    With marble temples, glittering structures, crowned,
    And cheif thy stately tower ANDRONICUS
    Mark, on the gorgeous frize in high relief
    Embossed, the powers of air, gigantic forms.
    First BOREAS, tyrant of the northern blast,
    Known by his surly frown, & weathered shell,
    Trump of the howling tempest. Caecias keen
    Shakes from his brazen shield the rattling hail.
    A youthfull form the next, of aspect mild,
    Bright Genius of the morning's fragrant gale,
    Sheds from his robe's loose bosom fruits & flowers,
    APELIOTES messenger of day.
    And SKIRON hot, whose magazine of fire
    Burns the green herb, & blast the sickening year:
    High on the roof the glittering TRYTON poised,
    The adverse shore a TUSCAN colonnade
    Superbly bounds, beneath whose marble floor
    The glassy wave escapes with liquid lapse
    Smooth sliding; but a non precipitant
    Roars o'er the rough cascade with dashing sound,
    And rushes into TRENT. Recoiling TRENT
    Shrinks from the mighty tribute. But too long
    The pompous works of art engross the strain
    Inanimate & lifeless, while with life
    The landscape round us swarms: earth, air, & flood
    Peopled! with stately herds the meadows throng'd
    With generous steeds the pastures, & the hills
    With sheep, of various climes, & varied fleece,
    Innumerable! On the lakes & streams
    The aquatic fowl their silver bosoms have,
    Of every size & colour, from the swan's
    Majestic port, & shelldrake's glossy plume,
    To the dun shoals of waterhens & cootes,
    Whose dusky myriads darken half the wave.
    To every creature that the vital air
    Sustains, is ANSON'S kind benevolence
    Extended: beasts of chace, & fowl of game
    Secure in his protection roam at large
    Unpersecuted. Never here was heard
    The hunter's barbarous shout, or clam'rous horn
    To fright the peacefull shades; or murd'ring gun
    To stain the hospitable fields with blood.
    Nor to the love of arts alone (tho' that
    Well understood is praise) ascribe we all
    These stately fabrics, this so splendid scene:
    Humanity, attention to relieve
    Industrious want, instruct, emply the poor,
    His better motive. Sacred Charity
    Bids every pile with happier auspice rise.
    The sumptuous Mansion claims the closing song,
    Adorned with all that elegance or taste
    Can furnish, to content the judging eye,
    Amuse or satisfie the curious search
    Of leisure or of learning. Forms that boast
    A RAPHAEL'S touch, breathe on the glowing walls,
    And vaulted roofs: whatever modern art
    Can add, in stucco raised, or fretted gold;
    Or ATTIC STUART'S learned hand supply
    Of ornament antique, & chaste design.
    Nor shall the CLASSIC Library remain
    Unsung, replete with learning's genuine stores:
    Not metaphysic dream, or sceptic doubt,
    Or fierce polemic wrangle; but the songs
    Of ancient GREECE, that universal strain
    That earth, & Heaven applauded, & the Gods
    With rapture stoop'd to hear: And what (tho' cramp'd
    In language to severer tone confined)
    Imperial ROME in manly cadence sung.
    That too which later in no barbarous age,
    When every art revived, & LEO reigned,
    On ARNO'S flowery banks, the TUSCAN Muse
    Warbled at will in pleasure's myrtle bower.
    The song was careless, but the harmony
    (What can it less when TUSCAN Muses sing?)
    Still takes the list'ning ear with ravishment,
    And braves the snarling Critic's idle rage.
    Here by no country, in no age, surpass'd,
    SHAKESPEAR'S immortal page, & MILTON'S song
    Celestial. Nor to books alone confined
    Thy learned Archives: here whate'er remains
    Of rare antiquity (or for design
    Curious, or circumstance, or workmanship
    Inimmitable) in Coins, or graven Gemms,
    Camëo or Intaglio; sardonix,
    Cenilean ophite, amethyst, the blood
    Cornelian, & the jasper's flowery vein.
    Endless the task & the irksome to attempt
    Particular discription, & the song
    Already droops, tho' gorgeous the detail.
    Let Envy snarle, & Ignorance condemn
    And scouling Critics censure - All within
    Profuse of ornament, the scene without
    Too crowded! - Little matters their applause,
    Or blame, while Science & the Muse approve.
    The Muse thy works, e'en Piety approves
    Thy filial attachment to the soil,
    The seat where fortune cast thy humbler lott
    In no unpleasing scene: not BRITAIN boasts,
    Throughout her varied isle, a fairer hill,
    A greener meadow, or a clearer stream.
    Along the sunny ridge that overhangs
    Eastward thy fair demesnes,& wide commands,
    Oft let me wander, when the morning ray
    First gilds thy groves & streams, & glittering towers,
    And meditate my uncouth DORIC lay:
    While the bright prospect to my mind recalls
    Scenes once beheld with rapture, from the heights
    These to Thee, ANSON, from a nameless Bard,
    Who seeks nor praise, nor patron: One whose Muse,
    Conscious of all her dignity (for Heaven
    Of old ordained the Muse, by firm decree,
    Severe dispens'eress of authentic fame
    When virtue claims the wreath) will ne'er disgrace
    Her genuine function, prostitute her praise
    To curs'd Ambition, Power, or worthless Wealth,
    With servile adulation: Pleased to bear
    Her writings to Benevolence like Thine.



    - Godlike shapes & forms
    Excelling human.

That the Grecian Statuaries, especially in the figures of their Deities, attempted a degree of beauty not to be found in nature, there is no doubt. The Apollo Belvidere is still a proof of it: his proportions are not human: his air (the result of those proportions) is divine. Raphael did the same in his letter to Count Balthazar Castiglione, speaking of his Galatea, he says "Perfect beauty being so seldom found, I avail myself of a certain Idëal image.

    Nor shall the learned eye deem here misplaced,
    O smooth Adonis, thy transcendent form.

Adonis, Thammuz, & Osiris, are Greek, Phenician & Egyptian names for the same person. - His statue not misplaced in a Greenhouse, because under all these denominations, he is looked upon by the best Mythologists as the Power of Vegitation: particularly the Vegitation of Corn: whence the fable that six months he lieth in Prosperine's lap, that is, whilst the seed of corn continueth under ground, & the other six months, that is Spring & Summer, he lieth with Venus.

    - In act preluding, to excite
    Notes, that resounding &c.
    (Quotes from Pindar, in ancient Greek)
    - But the accursed,
    And reprobate, to wrath devoted, them
    Strange horror seizes - &c.
    (More quotes from Pindar, in ancient Greek)
    By thy adventurous Race not unexplored.

If there is any weight in the trifling criticism of the impropriety in general of mixing Greek & Chinese buildings in the same scene, the above circumstance is an ample justification of their extream propriety here, exclusively of their real beauty & situation.

    From the heights
    Of Cuma, or Herculean Tibur's brow.
    The former commanding the bay of Baia, & the Elysian fields, the latter Rome & her Campagna.

The end.