1779 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Menassah Dawes, in "The Prospect from Bredon Hill" Morning Chronicle (9 September 1779).



There too I see Salopian mountains stand,
The lofty Clees an index o'er the land;
And now the Wrekin, antient Salop's pride,
Near the meandering of Sabrina's ride;
The hills of woody Clent, there seem to roll,
And strike with grandeur each reflecting soul.

But turning to that muse-neglected place,
Where Shenstone sweetly sung in lyric grace,
Which erst a bare, uncultivated spot,
Once his delight, but since too soon forgot:
He made his walks and groves all speak in scroll,
And much admir'd, gave beauty to the whole.

The affected Muse sincerely sighs in pain,
And almost wishes Shenstone there again:
But, from reflection, thus she wisely cries,
Oh no, oh no, he's happier where he lies.
Rest then, oh Shenstone in thy sacred urn!
And for they worth—
Eternal bliss reward thee in return!—
Let me now draw my feeling heart away,
From shades once blest with songs in rural lay;
Abash'd, the mourning Muses thence are fled,
Their wonted groves, alas, since Shenstone's dead!

Yet as my sighs waft over Shenstone's name,
They make a way to Hagley's owner's fame;
The virtuous Lyttelton, the wise, the great,
Is gone to share a part in Shenstone's fate.
See, near to these enormous Western hills
His late enchanting park, his lucid rills;
Nor let those hedge rows, those aspiring trees,
Escape remark before the tepid breeze,
See striking landscapes rush upon the sight,
While on that terras shines a blaze of light.