1805 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Sheffield

M. Y., in "Elegiac Stanzas, suggested by a recent Visit to the Ruins of Helmesley-Castle" Methodist Magazine 28 (March 1805) 96.



Ah! who these hoary Ruins can survey,
Where adders hiss, and boding owlets scream,
And not recal great Villiers' festive day,
The Sage's lesson and the Poet's theme?

How oft, at rosy morning's earliest smile,
Rous'd by the clangours of the echoing horn,
He joy'd to share the hunter's glorious toil,
O'er broomy hills and shadowy vallies borne!

While many a frolic youth, from southern lands,
His low companions in endear'd excess;
Delighted, emulate the rustic bands,
Who, fir'd with praise, to every danger press.

And as triumphant from the devious sport,
With wearied step return'd the mirthful crew;
How would they round their gen'rous chief resort!
Charm'd with the wildest sallies Wit e'er knew.

But lo! the board with ev'ry viand grac'd,
And, goblets bright, with care dispelling wine,
And num'rous guests in gay disorder plac'd
And mirth, and song, and revelry divine.

Yet Reason, Fancy, Taste, were all their own;
Ah why, alas! not these alone preferr'd?
The intellectual contest sure had shone
Without the grovel of the sensual herd!

But mute, as now, was each deserted wall,
Whene'er their lord preferr'd his Cilveden's charms,
When gaily held in yielding Beauty's thrall,
Life flew unheeded in his Wanton's arms.

Ah! me, the brilliant race of Vice how short!
Tho' monarchs honour'd, and a world admir'd:
Diseas'd and bankrupt, friends no longer court,
And reft of all, sad Buckingham expir'd!

No pomp of woe attends his niggard bier;
By lowest hinds unfeeling borne along;
Nor anguish'd sigh, nor sympathetic tear,
Repress'd the censures of the vulgar throng.

How happier he, the humblest cottage swain,
Who, far from all the riot of his lord,
In some sweet corner of this wide domain,
Saw ruddy Health adorn his temp'rate board!