1773 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Thomas Lyttleton, "Stanzas written by Lord Lyttelton to Mrs. Peach, now Mrs. Lyttelton" Westminster Magazine 1 (April 1773) 476.



In SHENSTONE'S consecrated grove,
Where with wood-nymphs Venus plays;
Hid with a cloud, the God of Love
To APPHIA brought a shepherd's lays,

The Shepherd's name to me is known,
His name to you I dare not own;
Fear to displease you stops my tongue,
Yet listen, APPHIA, to my song.

His picture I will fairly place
Before your penetrating eyes;
No blemish shall my heart efface,
For know his soul abhors disguise.

This restless youth, by Venus led
From Virtue's paths, unthinking stray'd;
Yet e'en in wanton Circe's bed,
His heart pursu'd th' immortal maid.

His ear on soft Italia's shore,
No Syren's song refus'd to hear;
Yet still the Muses' moral lore
Was to his serious reason dear.

Restless from fair to fair he flew,
Yet none could lasting bliss impart;
The Muse vot'ry's frailty knew,
And wish'd to fix his wand'ring heart.

To SHENSTONE'S bow'r the Goddess brought
From India's coast a lovely dame;
Whose gentle charms, by Virtue taught,
Could all his wildest wishes tame.

Venus, who had the swain beguil'd,
Yet gracious still, to serve him meant;
Join'd with the Muse, and Virtue smil'd
Benignant, on their kind intent.

Will APPHIA frown where these approve;
Will she her aid refuse to lend;
And bid that heart forbear to love;
Which she alone to Love can bend?

Ah then! for ever be unknown
The name my pride disdains to own;
Remain for ever mute, my tongue;
And then, my lyre, forget thy song.