1761
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ode to Solitude.

Gentleman's Magazine 31 (January 1761) 38.

Anonymous


A brief allegorical ode, dated "Jan. 18, 1761," in which the Penseroso themes are touched by the Graveyard School of poetry: "Sweet nun, who haunts the lonely lane, | Teach me that life is short and vain, | That grandeur, pageantry, and power, | Will vanish at death's dread hour." In 1778 this poem was reprinted in the London Chronicle over the signature "Maro."



Hail, pensive virgin! ever hail!
Oft have I met thee in the vale,
And oft inscrib'd a song to thee,
When musing near yon aged tree:
Nor serious, silent Solitude
Did'st thou despise my numbers rude.
Remote from man, in shady dell,
Thou heard'st the loud funereal bell,
Or from the thronged city far,
At evening counts each little star;
Or by the pale moon's silver light,
O'er hill and forest takes thy flight.

Sweet nun, who haunts the lonely lane,
Teach me that life is short and vain,
That grandeur, pageantry, and power,
Will vanish at death's dread hour,
That beauty's roses soon decay,
Like odoriferous flowers in May,
Teach me to weep for others woe,
O cause the tender tear to flow!

Fair woodland nymph! when all is still
Thou climb'st the high adjacent hill,
And oft by Thames's rushy side,
Delights to hear the smooth wave glide;
Sister of peace and piety,
Sweet nun, I long to visit thee.

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