1797
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lines written in Shenstone's Leasowes.

Monthly Magazine 3 (January 1797) 55.

Mr. Mott


Three double-quatrain stanzas, signed "Mr. Mott, of Cambridge." This pastoral elegy for William Shenstone is one of several written in the pastoral-ballad measure so firmly associated with the bard of the Leasowes: "O'er the grave of Simplicity's child | The kisses of Nature shall stray, | To nourish the flow'r that's wild, | To add the fresh blossoms of May." While Shenstone had died more than thirty years previously, the vogue for this kind of pastoral verse had yet to run its course. Only one Mott appears as a student at Cambridge at the era, William, who matriculated at Clare College as a pensioner in 1790.

William Lisle Bowles: "the Leasowes; the murmurs of whose retired stream I have never heard without a sigh, remembering its elegant but unfortunate designer and owner, Shenstone" Works of Pope, ed. Bowles (1806) 3:355n.



Is it friendship, that thus, on my heart,
Impresses both sorrow and joy?
How I sigh, with regret, to depart
From the scenes that I ne'er can enjoy!
For these hills are enliven'd no more
With the sound from lost Corydon's tongue,
And the vallies were never so poor
Of flow'rets, that bloom'd when he sung!

How languid the woodbines appear,
That laugh'd with the breeze as it stray'd
And the lily is pearl'd with a tear,
As it droops in his favourite shade.
Sigh, sigh, ye soft gales, in despair;
Ye streams, in sad murmurs complain;
For Genius can never repair
The loss of your favourite swain!

O'er the grave of Simplicity's child
The kisses of Nature shall stray,
To nourish the flow'r that's wild,
To add the fresh blossoms of May.
And Pity shall oftentimes rove,
Unattended by Envy or Care,
To loiter in Corydon's grove,
And crown what he lov'd with a tear!

[p. 55]