1758
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Le Solitaire.

London Chronicle (26 October 1758) 405.

Rev. John Langhorne


After Milton's Il Penseroso. This is early work by John Langhorne, then working as a rural schoolmaster: "These, O Solitude divine! | Pleasures such as these are thine. | Hackthorn! well thy shades shall please, | Thine are pleasures such as these." Langhorne, one of the most popular mid-century lyric poets, first came to attention through the pages of the London Chronicle; a few years later he would "discover" William Collins and exert considerable influence over the republic of poets through his anonymous reviews in the Monthly Review. The companion Le Sociable had appeared in September; both are signed "Mr. Langhorne" and may be the work of William Langhorne rather than his brother John.

Isaac Reed: "Dr. John Langhorne was the son of a clergyman, and was born at Kirby Stephen in Westmorland. After entering into holy orders, he became tutor to the sons of Mr. Cracroft, a Lincolnshire gentleman, whose daughter he married. This lady in a short time died, and the loss of her was very pathetically lamented by her husband in a monody dedicated to her memory. Dr. Langhorne held the living of Blagdon in Somersetshire, and died the 1st of April 1779" Pearch, Supplement to Dodsley (1783) 4:154n.



Folly, cease thy noisy bell,
And shake no more thy nodding plumes at me:
No mirror may'st thou see
On the rude wall of this sequester'd cell.
Hence, and thy worthless toys display
Where two-fac'd Flatt'ry gilds the bust of Pride.
Or where thy meteors glide
In countless swarms, the Giddy and the Gay.
In these still shades the blust'ring roar
Of Ignorance perverse, the vain man's lye,
And fawning Treachery,
No more deceive me, and disgust no more.

With eye serene and bosoms bare,
And brows uncharacter'd with care,
Come, gentle Peace, and Leisure free,
Daughters of Philosophy,
And lodge beneath this living screen,
Of Olive mild, and Myrtle green;
Near where flows a native rill,
Freely wand'ring where it will;
On whose grassy-fringed side
Dwells the humble Daisy py'd;
And the light fays in mingled dance
O'er the green turf featly glance.

Or if the still-air'd Ev'ning leads
Thro' the cowslip-breathing meads,
Let us, while ladies in twilight grey
The gleam that clos'd the parting day,
Pursue fair Fancy, where she roves,
Thro' golden vales, and spicy groves.

Or does inspiring Autumn shed
The glories of her yellow head?
Calmly studious shall we stray
O'er the leafy-matted way?
Oft list'ning, as we steal along,
The music of the plaintive song.

Hence let me the rude paths explore
That winding scale yon mountain hoar.
Nor might the toil be counted vain,
If yet Euterpe wakes her strain,
By no vulgar eye survey'd,
Far within th' woodland glade.
If yet perchance I found the cell,
Where Wisdom's aweful parents dwell;
Permitted free my mind to store
With their Heav'n-suggested lore.

These, O Solitude divine!
Pleasures such as these are thine.
Hackthorn! well thy shades shall please,
Thine are pleasures such as these.

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