Front Page Titles (by Subject) INVOCATION. - The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires
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INVOCATION. - Constantin-François Chasseboeuf, marquis de Volney, The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires 
The Ruins: or a Survery of the Revolutions of Empires, 3rd ed. (London: J. Johnson, 1796).
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Solitary Ruins, sacred Tombs, ye mouldering and silent Walls, all hail! To you I address my Invocation. While the vulgar shrink from your aspect with secret terror, my heart finds in the contemplation a thousand delicious sentiments, a thousand admirable recollections. Pregnant, I may truly call you, with useful lessons, with pathetic and irresistible advice to the man who knows how to consult you. A while ago the whole world bowed the neck in silence before the tyrants that oppressed it; and yet in that hopeless moment you already proclaimed the truths that tyrants hold in abhorrence: mixing the dust of the proudest kings with that of the meanest slaves, you called upon us to contemplate this example of equality. From your caverns, whither the musing and anxious love of Liberty led me, I saw escape its venerable shade, and with unexpected felicity direct its flight, and marshal my steps the way to renovated France.
Tombs, what virtues and potency do you exhibit! Tyrants tremble at your aspect; you poison with secret alarm their impious pleasures; they turn from you with impatience, and, coward like, endeavour to forget you amid the sumptuousness of their palaces. It is you that bring home the rod of justice to the powerful oppressor; it is you that wrest the ill-gotten gold from the merciless extortioner, and avenge the cause of him that has none to help; you compensate the narrow enjoyments of the poor, by dashing with care the goblet of the rich; to the unfortunate you offer a last and inviolable asylum; in fine, you give to the soul that just equilibrium of strength and tenderness, which constitutes the wisdom of the sage and the science of life. The wise man looks towards you, and scorns to amass vain grandeur and useless riches with which he must soon part: you check his lawless flights, without disarming his adventure and his courage; he feels the necessity of passing through the period assigned him, and he gives employment to his hours, and makes use of the goods that fortune has assigned him. Thus do you rein in the wild sallies of cupidity, calm the fever of tumultuous enjoyment, free the mind from the anarchy of the passions, and raise it above those little interests which torment the mass of mankind. We ascend the eminence you afford us, and, viewing with one glance the limits of nations and the succession of ages, are incapable of any affections but such as are sublime, and entertain no ideas but those of virtue and glory. Alas! when this uncertain dream of life shall be over, what then will avail all our busy passions, unless they have left behind them the footsteps of utility!
Ye Ruins, I will return once more to attend your lessons! I will resume my place in the midst of your wide spreading solitude. I will leave the tragic scene of the passions, will love my species rather from recollection than actual survey, will employ my activity in promoting their happiness, and compose my own happiness of the pleasing remembrance that I have hastened theirs.