Description of Stonehenge.

And whereto serves that wondrous trophy now1
That on the goodly plain near Walton stands ?2
That huge dumb heap, that cannot tell us how,3
Nor what, nor whence it is ; nor with whose hands,4
Nor for whose glory—it was set to show,5
How much our pride mocks that of other lands6
Whereon, when as the gazing passenger7
Had greedy look’d with admiration ;8
And fain would know his birth, and what he were ;9
How there erected ; and how long agon ;10
Inquires and asks his fellow traveller11
What he had heard, and his opinion.12
And he knows nothing. Then he turns again,13
And looks and sighs ; and then admires afresh,14
And in himself with sorrow doth complain15
The misery of dark forgetfulness :16
Angry with time that nothing should remain,17
Our greatest wonders’ wonder to express.18
Then ignorance, with fabulous discourse,19
Robbing fair art and cunning of their right,20
Tells how those stones were by the devil’s force21
From Afric brought to Ireland in a night ;22
And thence to Brittany, by magic course,23
From giants’ hands redeem’d by Merlin’s sleight.24
And then near Ambri plac’d, in memory25
Of all those noble Britons murder’d there,26
By Hengist and his Saxon treachery,27
Coming to parley, in peace at unaware.28
With this old legend then credulity29
Holds her content, and closes up her care.30
But is antiquity so great a liar ?31
Or do her younger sons her age abuse ;32
Seeing after-comers still so apt t’admire33
The grave authority that she doth use,34
That rev’rence and respect dares not require35
Proof of her deeds, or once her words refuse ?36
Yet wrong they did us, to presume so far37
Upon our early credit and delight ;38
For once found false, they straight became to mar39
Our faith, and their own reputation quite ;40
That now her truths hardly believed are ;41
And though she avouch the right, she scarce hath right.42
And as for thee, thou huge and mighty frame,43
That stand’st corrupted so with time’s despite,44
And giv’st false evidence against their fame45
That set thee there to testify their right ;46
And art become a traitor to their name,47
That trusted thee with all the best they might ;48
Thou shall stand still bely’d and slandered,49
The only gazing-stock of ignorance,50
And by thy guile the wise admonished,51
Shall never more desire such hopes t’ advance,52
Nor trust their living glory with the dead53
That cannot speak, but leave their fame to chance.54
Consid’ring-in how small a room do lie,55
And yet lie safe (as fresh as if alive)56
All those great worthies of antiquity,57
Which long fore-liv’d thee, and shall long survive ;58
Who stronger tombs found for eternity,59
Than could the pow’rs of all the earth contrive.60
Where they remain these trifles to upbraid,61
Out of the reach of spoil, and way of rage ;62
Though time with all his pow’r of years hath laid63
Long batt’ry, back’d with undermining age ;64
Yet they make head only with their own aid,65
And war with his all-conqu’ring forces wage ;66
Pleading the heaven’s prescription to be free,67
And t’ have a grant t’ endure as long as he.68