1750 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Richard Graves, "To William Shenstone" 1750 ca.; Shenstone, Works (1764) 2:374-75.



See! the tall youth, by partial fate's decree,
To affluence born, and from restraint set free.
Eager he seeks the scenes of gay resort,
The mall, the rout, the play — house, and the court:
Soon for some varnish'd nymph of dubious fame,
Or powder'd peeress, counterfeits a flame.
Behold him now, enraptur'd, swear and sigh,
Dress, dance, drink, revel, all he knows not why;
Till, by kind fate restor'd to country air,
He marks the roses of some rural fair:
Smit with her unaffected native charms,
A real passion soon his bosom warms;
And, wak'd from idle dreams, he takes a wife,
And tastes the genuine happiness of life.

Thus, in the vacant season of the year,
Some Templar gay begins his wild career.
From seat to seat o'er pompous scenes he flies,
Views all with equal wonder and surprize;
Till, sick of domes, arcades, and temples grown,
He hies fatigu'd, not satisfy'd, to town.
Yet if some kinder Genius point his way
To where the Muses o'er thy Leasowes stray,
Charm'd with the sylvan beauties of the place,
Where art assumes the sweets of nature's face,
Each hill, each dale, each consecrated grove,
Each lake, and falling stream, his rapture move.
Like the sage captive in Calypso's grott,
The cares, the pleasures of the world forgot,
Of calm content he hails the genuine sphere,
And longs to dwell a blissful hermit here.