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the beginning of a new series of time. So that the compliment on this medal to the Emperor Adrian, is in all respects the same that Virgil makes to Pollio's son, at whose birth he supposes the annus magnus or Platonical year run out, and renewed again with the opening of the golden age.
Magnus ab integro sæclorun nascitur ordo;
The time is come the Sibyls long foretold,
VIRG. EC. 4.
-nunc adest mundo dies
The last great day is come,
When earth and all her impious sons shall lie
Whence fresh shall rise, her new-born realms to grace,
SEN. OET. act. ii.
A pious offspring and a purer race,
Such as erewhile in golden ages sprung,
When Saturn governed, and the world was young.
Soles occidere et redire possunt;
You may compare the design of this reverse, if you please, with one of Constantine, so far as the Phoenix is concerned in both. As for the other figure, we may have occasion to speak of it in another place. Vid. 15 figure. King of France's medallions.
The next figure shadows out Eternity' to us, by the sun in one hand and the moon in the other, which in the language of sacred poetry is " as long as the sun and moon endureth." The heathens made choice of these lights as apt symbols of Eternity, because, contrary to all sublunary beings, though they seem to perish every night, they renew themselves every morning.
The suns shall often fall and rise:
Horace, whether in imitation of Catullus or not, has applied the same thought to the moon; and that too in the plural number.
Damna tamen celeres reparant cœlestia lunæ:
Quò pius Æneas, quò Tullus dives, et Ancus,
Each loss the hastening moon repairs again.
But we, when once our race is done,
(Though rich like one, like t'other good,)
HOR. Od. 7, lib. iv.
Descend, and sink in dark oblivion's flood. SIR W. TEMPLE, In the next figure Eternity1 sits on a globe of the heavens adorned with stars. We have already seen how proper an emblem of Eternity the globe is, and may find the duration of the stars made use of by the poets, as an expression of what is never like to end.
Stellas qui vividus æquas
1 Fig. 17.
Polus dum sidera pascet,
VIRG. EN. lib. i. Lucida dum current annosi sidera mundi, &c. SEN. MED. I might here tell you that Eternity has a covering on her head, because we never find out her beginning; that her legs are bare, because we see only those parts of her that are actually running on; that she sits on a globe and bears a sceptre in her hand, to show she is a sovereign mistress of all things; but for any of these assertions I have no warrant from the poets.
You must excuse me, if I have been longer than ordinary on such a subject as Eternity. The next you see is Victory,3 to whom the medallists as well as poets never fail to give a pair of wings.
Adfuit ipsa suis Ales Victoria- CLAUD. DE 6 CONS. HONOR.
The palm branch and laurel were both the rewards of conquerors, and therefore no improper ornaments for Victory.
3 Fig. 18.
2 Vid. Fig. 13.
-lentæ Victoris præmia palmæ.
Thou shalt the Roman festivals adorn;
By the way, you may observe the lower plaits of the drapery that seem to have gathered the wind into them. I have seen abundance of antique figures in sculpture and painting, with just the same turn in the lower foldings of the vest, when the person that wears it is in a posture of tripping forward.
Obviaque adversas vibrabant flamina Vestes. Ov. MET. lib. i.
As she fled, the wind
It is worth while to compare this figure of Victory with her statue as it is described in a very beautiful passage of Prudentius.
Non aris non farre molæ Victoria felix
PRUDENTIUS CONTRA SYMM. lib. ii.
Shall Victory entreated lend her aid
And many a talent in due weight was told
Not the smooth nymph, whose locks in knots are twined,
Who girds the virgin zone beneath her breast,
You have here another Victory1 that I fancy Claudian had in his view when he mentions her wings, palm, and trophy in the following description. It appears on a coin of Constantine, who lived about an age before Claudian, and I believe we shall find that it is not the only piece of antique sculpture that this poet has copied out of his descriptions.
-cum totis exurgens ardua pennis
CLAUD. DE LAU. SIL. lib. iii.
On all her plumage rising when she threw Her sacred shrines wide open to thy view, How pleased for thee her emblems to display, With palms distinguished, and with trophies gay. The last of our imaginary beings is Liberty. In her left hand she carries the wand that the Latins call the Rudis or Vindicta, and in her right the cap of liberty. The poets use the same kinds of metaphors to express liberty. I shall quote Horace for the first, whom Ovid has imitated on the same occasion, and for the latter, Martial.
-donatum jam rude quæris
HOR. lib. i. Ep. 1.
Mecænas iterum antiquo me includere ludo.
Me quoque donari jam rude tempus erat. Ov. DE TR. lib. iv. El. 8.
Quem regem, et dominum priùs vocabam,
By thy plain name though now addrest,
1 Fig. 19.
MAR. lib. ii. Epig. 68.
I cannot forbear repeating a passage out of Persius, says Cynthio, that in my opinion turns the ceremony of making a free-man very handsomely into ridicule. It seems, the clapping a cap on his head and giving him a turn on the heel were necessary circumstances. A slave thus qualified became a citizen of Rome, and was honoured with a name more than belonged to any of his forefathers, which Persius has repeated with a great deal of humour.
Heu steriles veri, quibus una Quiritem
Hæc mera libertas: hanc nobis pilea donant. PERS. SAT. V.
That false enfranchisement with ease is found:
What farther can we from our caps receive,
Since you have given us the ceremony of the cap, says Eugenius, I'll give you that of the wand, out of Claudian."
Te fastos ineunte quater, solennia ludit
Omnia libertas, deductum Vindice morem
Lex celebrat, famulusque jugo laxatus herili
Ducitur, et grato remeat securior ictu.
Tristis conditio pulsata fronte recedit :
In civem rubuere genæ, tergoque removit
Verbera promissi felix injuria voti. CLAUD. DE 4. Cons. Hon. The grato ictu and the felix injuria, says Cynthio, would have told us the name of the author, though you had said nothing of him. There is none of all the poets that delights so much in these pretty kinds of contradiction as Claudian. He loves to set his epithet at variance with its substantive,