1800
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Stanzas inserted in The Pleasures of Solitude.]

Pleasures of Solitude. With other Poems. By P. L. Courtier. Third Edition.

Richard Alfred Davenport


"Four Stanzas in this Book — viz. from the second at p. 40, to the second at p. 42, — are the production of Mr. R. A. Davenport" Argument to Book II. It appears from the Courtier-Davenport correspondence at Yale that the stanzas were written for the 1800 edition of Pleasures of Solitude, though I have not confirmed their appearance in the earlier editions.

Richard Alfred Davenport edited the Poetical Register and Repository for Fugitive Poetry, which naturally gave glowing reviews to Courtier's volumes. In 1852 he died of an overdose of laudanum, in a ruinous cottage surrounded by the remains of his library.

Poetical Register for 1804: "Laudably anxious to render his compositions as correct as possible, Mr. Courtier has again carefully revised his Pleasures of Solitude. In the performance of this task he has been guided by sound judgment and taste. But he has not merely confined himself to alterations: he has added many stanzas, which are entitled to strong commendation" (1806) 486.



See, through the mazes of the midnight ball
With rapid feet yon splendid triflers fly;
From every tongue what flattering periods fall,
How smiles each face! how sparkles every eye!
So loud their mirth, thou deem'st no sorrow nigh.
But learn thou, erring judge! there Envy lours,
There Jealousy extorts the bitterest sigh,
There, all her poison'd chalice Scandal pours,
And Lassitude soon clogs the bliss-devoted hours.

But O how sweet, how passing sweet to rove
Where sits unseen the Minstrel of the Night,
And trills such music o'er the listening grove
As sure might harmonize the rudest sprite!
Then while the Moon from her meridian height,
And all the countless stars that round her burn,
Shed o'er the tranquil scene their tender light;
The soul, sublimed, each earthly care may spurn,
And toward its native heaven with holy longing turn!

Then, nought of discord harsh thine ear shall wound,
Like theirs who tread the city's crowded ways!
The distant water's faintly-murmuring sound;
The whispering wind, that through the foliage strays;
The tinkling bell of sheep, that startled gaze;
The clock's deep chime, from half-hid village spire;
The watchful dog, at fancied thief who bays;
Though simple all their tones, such thoughts inspire,
That from thy bosom far shall Passion's brood retire.

Even Beauty triumphs in diviner charms,
And bids the heart with tenderer feelings glow,
When seen where nought, or sickens, or alarms;
Than mid the haunts of riot, glare, and show.
Where laugh the skies above, and plains below,
Her airy form more winning grace assumes,
With more luxuriant ease her tresses flow,
Her speaking eye more dazzling light illumes,
And o'er her dimpled cheek suffuse health's softest blooms!

[pp. 40-42]