1809
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

An Ode, a la Shenstone.

The Daily Advertiser, Oracle, and True Briton (14 April 1809).

Tom D'Urfey


A late burlesque of Shentone's Pastoral Ballad signed "Tom D'Urfey, Worthing." The signature is appropriated from the Restoration Wit, Thomas D'Urfey (1653-1723). The six quatrains ridicule the pastoral retirement ode and allude to Shenstone's poverty, as described in Johnson's Life of Shenstone: "Of 'the Leasowe's'" let some people boast; | What is 'SHENSTONE' and such stuff to me? | Folks never eat here at my cost— | 'Cause there's nothing to eat or to see!" The word "Leasowes" was originally printed "Seasons"; the poem was reprinted with the correction the next day. In this vein compare "A Pastoral Ballad" (1792) by Edward Drewe ("My beds are all furnish'd with fleas, | Whose bitings invite me to scratch").



My dogs itch and scratch with the mange;
I have only one cow (that's a runt);
My hogs through the bedchambers range,
And there they melodiously grunt.

My beds are supply'd well with fleas,
And they're of the true SHAKSPEARE strain;
For they bit and they suck as they please,
And they "murder sleep" worse than the Thane.

'Tis cool to live under damp thatch;
And my neighbours so honest all feel,
That I ne'er close a door or a latch,
And the cause is — there's nothing to steal.

My garden's a sweet little spot,
From art and refinement quite clear;
And by Jove in my cellars I've got
Some barrels — without any beer.

In my kitchen there's nought to desire,
'Tis tidy, convenient, and neat;
I've a grate, though devoid of a fire,
Which is useless — because I've no meat.

Of "the Leasowe's" let some people boast;
What is "SHENSTONE" and such stuff to me?
Folks never eat here at my cost—
'Cause there's nothing to eat or to see!

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