1778 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Old Robin, "Epitaph on William Shenstone, Esq." St. James's Chronicle (8 September 1778).



Sir,
I lately met with the following Epitaph on Shenstone, which, as it never appeared in print, may possibly be indulged with a place in the Poet's Corner.

Of Feelings delicate, of Taste refin'd,
Of Manners gentle, of engaging Mind,
To Love alone let Shenstone tune the Lyre,
Tho' Thoughts sublimer lofty Bards inspire;
The artless Numbers of thy tuneful Lays
From sweet Simplicity derive their Praise.
Thy Sonnets this instructive Truth impart,
"Most pleasing is the Language of the Heart."
What Swain but says, (were his alike the Case)
He'd think as Shenstone, if in Shenstone's Place;
Yet few so aptly could their Thoughts express,
And give to Nature's feelings Nature's Dress.
Such Shenstone was, nor could th' harmonious Strain
Grim Death avert! then must the Muse complain,
Despoil'd for ever of her favourite Swain;
The Leasowes' Pride, Avonia's chiefest Boast,
Is, cruel Destiny, for ever lost!
May 17, 1778.