1752
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Pleasures of Solitude.

Gentleman's Magazine 22 (September 1752) 428.

I. I.


A brief retirement ode in octosyllabics, signed "I. I." The concluding "resolve" points to the source in Milton's Il Penseroso: "Thou spotless pleasures can'st supply, | With thee I'll live, with thee I'll die." The poem was reprinted in Lloyd's Evening Post in 1761.

Eleanor M. Sickels: "There are several poems on The Pleasures of Solitude. The earliest I have noted (1752) is a mere recipe poem in octosyllabics — 'grot,' 'mossy cell,' 'hermit-like,' 'the vanity of life,' 'piles of mighty ruin,' With thee I'll live, with thee I'll die.' It is followed in the same periodical number by a poem in heroics, called merely 'Solitude,' and the editor refers to 'the different manner in which it [the theme] is treated by the ingenious authors.' Yet the ingenuity seems to consist largely in saying identical things in not quite identical words" The Gloomy Egoist (1932) 82.



Waft me, oh waft me to the shade,
By close embow'ring branches made!
Where purling brooks and trinkling rills
In soft harmonious cadence play,
And sweetly murmur all the day!

Oh! let me there for ever dwell,
In the green grot or mossy cell!
And, free from hurry, care, and strife,
Enjoy a lonely, peaceful life;
There hermit-like, with pious care,
Find out my God, for God is there!

In thoughtful mood there let me learn
The vanity of life to mourn;
Lament the dire effects of fate,
And dreadful downfalls of the great;
See pyramids and turrets high,
In piles of mighty ruin lie;
And mark how tombs of trophy'd kinds
Time into dark oblivion flings.
Oh! happy solitude! in thee,
At length, my greatest good I see;
Nor would I leave thy homely cell,
For domes where scepter'd monarchs dwell,
Thou spotless pleasures can'st supply,
With thee I'll live, with thee I'll die.

[p. 428]