1771 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Richard Graves, "On an Urn (now erecting) to the Memory of William Shenstone, Esq. in Hales-Owen Church-yard, Shropshire" Middlesex Journal (14 March 1771).



Whoe'er thou art, with reverence tread
The sacred mansions of the dead.—
Not that the monumental bust,
Or sumptuous tomb, HERE guards the dust
Of rich or great: (let wealth, rank, birth,
Sleep undistinguish'd in the earth;)
This simple urn records a name
That shines with more exalted fame.

Reader! if genius, taste refin'd,
A native elegance of mind;
If virtue, science, manly sense;
If wit, that never gave offence;
The clearest head, the tenderest heart,
In thy esteem e'er claim'd a part;
Ah! smite thy breast, and drop a tear,
For, know, THY Shenstone's dust lies here.

[In the Middlesex Journal the poem is attributed to David Garrick; in the General Evening Post (31 October 1771) and Public Advertiser (31 October 1771) to R. G—s, A. O. P.; in the Morning Chronicle (1 September 1778) it is attributed to "the Rev. Mr. Greaves."]