1812 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

A. F., "Mr. Shenstone and the Leasowes" Gentleman's Magazine 82 (March 1812) 216.



Quinton, Feb. 4.

Mr. Urban,

Eagerly, according to custom, looking over the contents of your Magazine for December last, p. 505, I dropped upon the birthplace of my favourite Shenstone, and glad I am that there is a resemblance of it preserved. If Mr. Parkes, or any other gentleman, would supply you with a view of the House and Grounds of the Leasowes about the time of Mr. Shenstone's death, it would certainly be very desirable to preserve a representation of so remarkable a place, as left by such an able improver of nature. — Modest and worthy Shenstone! I knew him well. Amiable in his manners, willing to communicate, he was the friend of merit and the fosterer of genius. I well remember when a youth, that I shewed him some Verses I had written on the Leasowes, which, although they have little to recommend them, I will introduce, to show the willingness he had to assist a rhyming adventurer, and likewise the facility with which he wrote. With a pencil he immediately annexed the eight last lines, and returned me the verses.

VERSES WRITTEN AT THE LEASOWES, MAY 19, 1759.
How soothing are those fragrant shades,
With ev'ry beauty crown'd;
Sequester'd valleys, fair cascades,
And hills that smile around.

O let me haunt this peaceful cell,
In bliss unmix'd and pure;
Here ev'ry sordid aim expel,
And ev'ry anguish cure.

But, ah! my humbler lot denies
Such pleasure to my share;
Ev'n in this calm abode, my sighs
Disclose the pangs of care.

Thrice happy thou, whom Fate's decree
Has here securely blest;
Would Fate allot one joy to me,
And give thee all the rest.

"But tho' I to those woods rehearse,
The woes with which I pine,
Wilt wit and beauty read a verse,
Or soothe a pang like mine?

"Yet on this beech I grave my care,
For FANNY'S eyes alone;
And may the purpose please my fair,
Or still remain unknown."

Yours, &c.
A. F.