Abury: A Temple of the British Druids With Some Others Described
Library of Alexandria
IN a family that has been in all ages remarkably the friend of the muses, I think myself happy, that I have a particular claim. To You, my Lord, this dedication is devolv’d by hereditary right. Through Your father’s auspices and encouragement, I began and continued the work. He was ever pleas’d to look upon my mean performances with a favourable eye; and to assist me out of the inexhaustible fund of his own knowledge, in all kinds of ancient learning; and promised to patronize it, when published. But if any thing herein be acceptable to the publick, they are indebted to Your Lordship for its appearing abroad sooner than I intended myself. Out of that innate love of letters which warms the breast of the Pembrokes, You thought fit to prompt and encourage me to the printing of it; and Your Lordship’s judgment will be an agreeable prejudice in my favour; who have cultivated Your excellent talents by your own industry; by all that can be learn’d in a curious view and observation of the antiquities of Italy; who are in every sense a master of that immense treasure of Greek and Romanmarbles, which render Wilton the Tramontane Rome. Besides that learning which is the ornament of the present age, Your Lordship knows how to put a true value on the antiquities proper to Your own country. If they want somewhat of the delicacy of theAugustan times, or that of Alexander the great; yet they have their beauties, and even elegancies, which affect so exquisite a taste as Your Lordship’s. A symmetry and harmony of parts, an amazing grandeur in the design, the incredible force of the mechanick powers employ’d in them, the most magnificent effect produc’d, will for ever recommend the works of the Druids, to those of Your Lordship’s discerning eye and accurate judgment. We see a convincing demonstration of this, in the fine and costly model of Stonehenge, which Your Lordship introduces in the garden at Wilton; where, I may be bold to say, it shines amidst the splendours of Inigo Jones’s architecture; amidst what he did there in person, and what Your Lordship has since added, so agreeable to the former, as to render the design of that great genius complete. So uncommon and unconfin’d is Your Lordship’s knowledge in architecture, particularly, thatGreat Britain beholds a bridge arising, chiefly under Your direction, superior to any the Roman power produc’d at the height of empire. And Thames, which so lately rescu’d the Danube from gallic tyranny, boasts of a nobler ornament than that which Trajan built across that famous river.