1802 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Anonymous, "Sent to a Lady, with a Copy of Shenstone" The St. James's Chronicle (8 June 1802).



Unmov'd by the dreams that allure
The vot'ries of riches and fame;
Nor ashamed to be happily poor,
Nor caught with the glare of a name;

In the calm of a rural retreat,
The Poet would trifle his days,
Forgetting the rich and the great,
And blest in his groves and his lays.

He planted the dark waving grove,
And rear'd up the sweet-scenting bower,
Taught the streamlet more wildly to rove,
The cascade with more grandeur to pour.

His woodlands repaid well his toil,
They spread and they blossom'd on high;
All nature united to smile,
And seem'd with his fancy to vie.

Thrice blest could the calm that was there
Have also been queen of his mind;
Thrice blest had not Phillis been fair,
Thrice blest had his Phillis been kind.

For he lov'd, — by his sweet-flowing strain,
The pride of her sex might be won;
Yet to Phillis he warbled in vain,
"She was faithless — and he was undone."

From the crowd, from the world far apart,
In Nature he found his relief;
Soft feeling attended his heart,
And sooth'd while it cherish'd his grief.

No marble shall speak of his fame,
No annals shall swell in his praise;
He sought but the Poet's poor name,
And for ever he lives in his lays.

Unknown to the rich and the great,
May fortune thus destine my lot;
Nor envying their lofty estate,
Nor griev'd when I look on my cot.

In the eyes of the crowd may they shine,
All the joys of parade may they know;
But their pleasures can ne'er be like mine,
Such as these and contentment bestow.

Let fortune protect me from want,
Let fancy still bless with her charms;
And more than a monarch can grant,
Let Laura be given to my arms.