1761
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Soliloquy in a Thatch'd House.

London Magazine 30 (September 1761) 499.

Anonymous


A Horatian retirement ode imitating Milton's Il Penseroso, not signed. The title is somewhat misleading, for the Thatched House is turns out to be a garden ornament, from which the poet addresses himself to Minerva, who points the way to some nearby statuary: "Enough, Minerva, I obey: | To yon, fair temple, lead the way, | Where, dress'd in all the attick pride, | Thou chief delightest to reside."

Note: "An Octagon Temple in the wood then intended to have been dedicated to Minerva, and seven chosen sages (with their busts) viz. President Montesquieu, Horace, &c. &c."



Hail, mossy cot, sequester'd seat,
Where wisdom holds her mild retreat,
And contemplation, silent queen,
Hallows the peaceful shade unseen!
Along this russet bed reclin'd,
Soft let me hear the murm'ring wind,
And, whilst I view the rustick art,
Oh whisper, truth, into my heart!
Minerva, come, celestial maid,
But not in sable frowns array'd;
With winning smiles my heart controul,
With pensive pleasure fill my soul!
Teach me to tread life's devious way,
Nor friend to vice, nor falsehood's prey.
And teach me, goddess, to divide
From folly, taste; from wisdom, pride;
To view with philosophic eye
Those ills from which I cannot fly,
But, joyful, to receive the boon,
Too late which comes, which flys too soon!—
Teach me, with rapture to receive;
Teach me, with rapture more to give!—
Enough, enough, for sure 'tis she
Breathes thro' my soul divine and free;
Enough, Minerva, I obey:
To yon, fair temple, lead the way,
Where, dress'd in all the attick pride,
Thou chief delightest to reside:
At the gay shrine, ah let me stand,
Amidst thy delegated band!
But see! — Young Chlora, gentle maid,
Light tripping o'er the verdant glade:
Ah, Chlora, come, and bless my cell!
What wisdom thinks, you best can tell.

[p. 499]