1785 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

H. R., "Verses, written on Shenstone's beautiful Retreat" London Chronicle (8 March 1785) 227.



Say, gentle shepherd, wou'd you try
The great effect of mighty love!
Then haste away, and nimbly fly,
To this enchanting rural grove.

Hard by this seat, this homely cot,
Lives pleasure with her jocund train,
Here care is drown'd, and strife forgot,
For hither Momus holds his reign.

On each tree perch'd, a Cupid sits,
From whence he wings his well-pois'd dart;
Just as his fancy leads him, hits
A lovely nymph's, or shepherd's heart.

Hark! how the sportive feather'd throng,
Who, as they skim the ambient air,
Chant forth their merry tuneful song,
And jointly cry, "of love beware."

See how the little lamkins play!
See how the young kids frisk and bound!
Hark! how the ploughman's whistling lay
Makes the deep hollow vales resound.

Here Ceres opes her bursting horn,
Here peace and mirth their off'rings bring,
Here humbly waves the yellow corn,
And flowrets hither always spring.

Say, wou'd you taste these pure delights!
Say, wou'd you eat contentment's bread!
This rural grove your steps invites,
With pious awe its mazes tread.