1784 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

De Sp—do, "Extempore. To a Lady fond of repeating these lines of Shenstone" Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser (7 December 1784).



"I've found out a gift for my fair,
I've found where the wood-pidgeons breed;
But let me that plunder forbear,
She will call it a barbarous deed.

He ne'er could be true, she aver'd,
Who wou'd rob a poor bird of it's young:
And I lik'd her the more when I heard
Such tenderness fall from her tongue."

Do you mean we should think, from the mode of your strain,
That such were the feelings her bosom possest;
Cou'd the nymph who wou'd thus treat a poor captive swain,
Give ever compassion a place in her breast?

This, Shenstone, how can the poor lover believe,
The lover unwilling to doubt what you say,
When Laura, who makes doating Strephon to grieve,
Speaks words full as tender as those of your lay.

For often such "tenderness falls from her tongue,"
At the time she is acting a crueller part,
Than that of depriving the bird of its young,
Depriving the poor simple swain of his heart.