1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Collins

William Bagshaw Stevens, in "Retirement" Poems (1782) 20.



But who is he whom later garlands grace?
Lo, his worn youth beneath the chilly grasp
Of penury faints; and in her mournful shroud
Dark'ning all joy, all promises of good,
All health, all hope, sad Melancholy saps
In drear decay the fabric of his mind:
See shuddering Pity o'er his fallen soul
Wrings her pale hands! Regardless of the guide
That lifts his step, regardless of the friend
That mourns, nor sadly conscious of himself,
Silent yet wild, his languid spirit lies:
The light of thought has wandered from his eye,
It glares — but sees not. Yet this breathing corse,
This youthful driveller, Nature's ghastliest form,
(Oh, who would love the lyre?) in all the courts
Of Fancy, where abstracted Beauty play'd
With wildest elegance, his ardent shell
Enamour'd struck, and charm'd her various soul.