1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Shenstone

Bryan Waller Procter, in Effigies Poeticae, or, the Portraits of the British Poets (1824) 86-87.



From an original Picture, in the possession of William Roscoe, Esq.

The portrait and the pastorals of SHENSTONE are his worst enemies. We would rather that the reader should think of him after reading his delightful little poem of the "Schoolmistress," (a matchless thing in its way,) or after a pleasant evening enjoyed over his Essays. His ballad of "Jemmy Dawson," by means of which, and his pastorals, he has obtained the principal part of his fame, possesses very little merit beyond the common run of ballads. Shenstone here looks what he really was; namely, a sleek, comfortable, precise, gentleman of property. He appears dressed, as he used to be in his life-time, to receive company at the "Leasowes," and ready to introduce the affable and the ignorant to all the leaden mysteries of his Olympus. He was a man for "garden gods" and inscriptions, and loved the theory of cottages and flowery plains, and "banks all furnished with bees;" but his practice savoured more of gentility. He wrote of the delights of a pastoral life in the rooms of Bath and London, and met with his "Phyllis" at the Cheltenham Spa.