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Ah! why was ruin so attractive made,
O cease, my fears! All frantic as I go,
At that dead hour the silent asp shall creep,
O hapless youth ! for she thy love hath won,
He said, and called on Heaven to bless the day When back to Schiraz' walls he bent his way.
Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat,
Or where the beetle winds
His small but sullen horn,
Now teach me, maid composed,
To breathe some softened strain, Whose numbers stealing through thy darkening vale, May not unseemly with its stillness suit,
As, musing slow, I hail
Thy genial loved return!
The fragrant hours, and elves
Who slept in buds the day, And many a nymph who wreathes her brows with sedge, And sheds the freshening dew, and lovelier still,
The pensive pleasures sweet
Prepare thy shadowy car.
Whose walls more awful nod
By thy religious gleams.
That from the mountain's side
Views wilds and swelling floods,
Thy dewy fingers draw
The gradual dusky veil. While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont, And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve!
While Summer loves to sport
Beneath thy lingering light:
Affrights thy shrinking train,
And rudely rends thy robes :
Thy gentlest influence own,
Ode Written in the Year 1746.
How sleep the brave who sink to rest,
Ode on the Passions, When Music, heavenly maid! was young, While yet in early Greece she sung, The Passions oft, to hear her shell, Thronged around her magic cell ; Exulting, trembling, raging, fainting, Possessed beyond the muse's painting; By turns they felt the glowing mind Disturbed, delighted, raised, refined ; Till once, 'tis said, when all were fired, Filled with fury, rapt, inspired, From the supporting myrtles round, They snatched her instruments of sound; And as they oft had heard apart Sweet lessons of her forceful art, Each, for madness ruled the hour, Would prove his own expressive power. First Fear his hand, its skill to try, Amid the chords, bewildered laid ; And back recoiled, he knew not why, Even at the sound himself had made. Next Anger rushed, his eyes on fire In lightnings owned his secret stings; In one rude clash he struck the lyre, And swept with hurried hand the strings.
Ode to Evening.
Like thy own solemn springs,
Thy springs, and dying gales;
With brede ethereal wove,
With woful measures wan Despair,
Oh Music! sphere-descended maid,
Friend of Pleasure, Wisdom's aid,
Why, goddess ! why to us denied,
Lay'st thou thy ancient lyre aside?
As in that loved Athenian bower,
You learn an all-commanding power;
Thy mimic soul, oh nymph endeared,
Can well recall what then it heard.
Where is thy native simple heart,
Devote to virtue, fancy, art?
Arise, as in that elder time,
Warm, energetic, chaste, sublime !
Thy wonders in that godlike age li A soft responsive voice was heard at every close ;
Fill thy recording sister's page ; And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden
'Tis said, and I believe the tale, hair:
Thy humblest reed could more prevail,
Had more of strength, diviner rage,
Than all which charms this laggard age; He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down,
Even all at once together found,
Cecilia's mingled world of sound.
Oh! bid your vain endeavours cease,
Revive the just designs of Greece ;
Return in all thy simple state;
Confirm the tales her sons relate.
Ode to Liberty.
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
Who shall awake the Spartan fife,
And call in solemn sounds to life,
The youths, whose locks divinely spreading,
At once the breath of fear and virtue shedding,
Shall sing the sword, in myrtles dressed, With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
At wisdom's shrine a while its flame concealing, Pale Melancholy sat retired,
(What place so fit to seal a deed renowned ?) And from her wild sequestered seat,
Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing, In notes by distance made more sweet,
It leaped in glory forth, and dealt her prompted wound! Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul; Oh goddess, in that feeling hour, And elashing soft from rocks around,
When most its sounds would court thy ears, Bubbling runnels joined the sound;
Let not my shell's misguided power, Through glades and glooms the mingled measure E'er draw thy sad, thy mindful tears. stole:
No, freedom, no; I will not tell
How Rome, before thy face,
With heaviest sound, a giant statue fell,
Pushed by a wild and artless race
From off its wide ambitious base,
When time his northern sons of spoil awoke, When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
And all the blended work of strength and grace,
With many a rude repeated stroke,
And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,
Satyrs and sylvan boys, were seen
The admiring world thy hand revered ;
Still 'midst the scattered states around, And Sport leaped up, and seized his beechen spear. They saw, by what escaped the storm,
Some remnants of her strength were found; Last came Joy's ecstatic trial :
How wondrous rose her perfect form ; He, with viny crown advancing,
How in the great, the laboured whole, First to the liveby pipe his hand addressed ; Each mighty master poured his soul ; But soon he saw the brisk, awakening viol,
For sunny Florence, seat of art,
They would have thought, who heard the strain, Till they, whom science loved to name,
And, lo, a humbler relić laid
In jealous Pisa's olive shade!
To those whose merchants' sons were kings ;
To him, who, decked with pearly pride, Shook thousand odours from his dewy wings. In Adria weds his green-haired bride :
Hail port of glory, wealth and pleasure,
How learn delighted, and amazed, Ne'er let me change this Lydian measure;
What hands unknown that fabric raised ? Nor e'er her former pride relate,
Even now, before his favoured eyes, To sad Liguria's bleeding state.
In Gothic pride it seems to rise ! Ah, no! more pleased thy haunts I seek,
Yet Grecia's graceful orders join, On wild Helvetia's mountains bleak
Majestic, though the mixed design; (Where, when the favoured of thy choice,
The secret builder knew to choose, The daring archer heard thy voice,
Each sphere found gem of richest hues; Forth from his eyry roused in dread,
Whate'er heaven's purer mould contains, The ravening eagle northward fled);
When nearer suns emblaze its veins; Or dwell in willowed meads more near,
There on the walls the patriots sight With those to whom thy stork is dear:
May ever hang with fresh delight, Those whom the rod of Alva bruised,
And, graved with some prophetic rage, Whose crown a British queen refused !
Read Albion's fame through every age. The magic works, thou feel'st the strains,
Ye forms divine, ye laureate band, One holier name alone remains;
That near her inmost altar stand! The perfect spell shall then avail,
Now soothe her to her blissful train,
Blithe Concord's social form to gain :
Before whose breathing bosom’s balm,
Rage drops his steel, and storms grow calm ; The works the wizard time has wrought !
Her let our sires and matrons hoar The Gaul, 'tis held of antique story,
Welcome to Britain's ravaged shore; Saw Britain linked to his now adverse strand,
Our youths, enamoured of the fair, No sea between, nor cliff sublime and hoary,
Play with the tangles of her hair; He passed with unwet feet through all our land.
Till, in one loud applauding sound,
The nations shout to her around.
O how supremely art thou blest,
Dirge in Cymbeline.
Sung by GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS over Fidele, supposed This pillared earth so firm and wide,
to be dead. By winds and inward labours torn,
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb In thunders dread was pushed aside,
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring And down the shouldering billows borne.
Each opening sweet, of earliest bloom,
And rifle all the breathing spring.
No wailing ghost shall dare appear
To vex with shrieks this quiet grove, And Wight who checks the westering tide,
But shepherd lads assemble here,
And melting virgins own their love.
No withered witch shall here be seen,
No goblins lead their nightly crew; abode !
The female fays shall haunt the green,
And dress thy grave with pearly dew;
The redbreast oft at evening hours
Shall kindly lend his little aid, 'Midst the green naval of our isle,
With hoary moss, and gathered flowers, Thy shrine in some religious wood,
To deck the ground where thou art laid. O soul enforcing goddess, stood ! There oft the painted native's feet
When howling winds, and beating rain, Were wont thy form celestial meet :
In tempests shake thy sylvan cell,
Or midst the chase on every plain,
The tender thought on thee shall dwell. Whether the fiery-tressed Dane,
Each lonely scene shall thee restore, Or Roman's self o'erturned the fane,
For thee the tear be duly shed ; Or in what heaven left age it fell,
Beloved till life can charm no more; "Twere hard for modern song to tell.
And mourned till pity's self be dead.
Ode on the Death of Mr Thomson.
The scene of the following stanzas is supposed to lie on the Amidst the bright pavilioned plains,
Thames, near Richmond. The beauteous model still remains.
In yonder grave a Druid lies,
Where slowly winds the stealing wave!
The year's best sweets shall duteous rise,
To deck its poet's sylvan grave !
In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
His airy harp shall now be laid, How may the poet now unfold
That he, whose heart in sorrow bleeds, What never tongue or numbers told?
May love through life the soothing shade.
The maids and youths shall linger here,
by designers.' Descriptions of the Leasowes have And, while its sounds at distance swell,
been written by Dodsley and Goldsmith. The proShall sadly seem in pity's ear
perty was altogether not worth more than £300 per To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.
annum, and Shenstone had devoted so much of his Remembrance oft shall haunt the shore,
When Thames in summer wreaths is drest; And oft suspend the dashing oar,
To bid his gentle spirit rest!
To breezy lawn, or forest deep,
And ʼmid the varied landscape weep.
Ah! what will every dirge avail ? Or tears, which love and pity shed,
That mourn beneath the gliding sail !
Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near ?
And joy desert the blooming year.
No sedge-crowned sisters now attend,
Whose cold turf bides the buried friend ! And see, the fairy valleys fade,
Dun night has veiled the solemn view ! Yet once again, dear parted shade,
Meek nature's child, again adieu ! The genial meads, assigned to bless
Thy life, shall mour thy early doom ! Their hinds and shepherd girls shall dress
With simple hands thy rural tomb. Long, long thy stone and pointed clay
Shall melt the musing Briton's eyes : 0! vales, and wild woods, shall he say,
The Leasowes. In yonder grave your Druid lies !
means to external embellishment, that he was comWILLIAM SHENSTONE.
pelled to live in a dilapidated house, not fit, as he
acknowledges, to receive polite friends.' An unforWILLIAM SHENSTONE added some pleasing pas- tunate attachment to a young lady, and disappointed toral and elegiac strains to our national poetry, but ambition-for he aimed at political as well as poetical he wanted, as Johnson justly remarks, comprehen- celebrity-conspired, with his passion for gardening sion and variety. Though highly ambitious of and improvement, to fix him in his solitary situation. poetical fame, he devoted a large portion of his time, He became querulous and dejected, pined at the unand squandered most of his means, in landscape- equal gifts of fortune, and even contemplated with gardening and ornamental agriculture. He reared a gloomy joy the complaint of Swift, that he would up around him a sort of rural paradise, expending be forced to die in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a his poetical taste and fancy in the disposition and hole.' Yet Shenstone was essentially kind and beneembellishment of his grounds, till at length pecuniary volent, and he must at times have experienced exdifficulties and distress drew a cloud over the fair quisite pleasure in his romantic retreat, in which prospect, and darkened the latter days of the poet's every year would give fresh beauty, and develop life Swift, who entertained a mortal aversion to more distinctly the creations of his taste and labour. all projectors, might have included the unhappy *The works of a person that builds,' he says, “begin Shenstone among the fanciful inhabitants of his immediately to decay, while those of him who plants Laputa. The estate which he laboured to adorn begin directly to improve.' This advantage he poswas his natal ground. At Leasowes, in the parish sessed, with the additional charm of a love of literaof Hales Owen, Shropshire, the poet was born in ture; but Shenstone sighed for more than inward November 1714. He was taught to read at what peace and satisfaction. He built his happiness on is termed a dame school, and his venerable precep- the applause of others, and died in solitude a votary tress has been immortalised by his poem of the of the world. His death took place at the Leasowes, Schoolmistress. At the proper age he was sent to February 11, 1763. Pembroke college, Oxford, where he remained four The works of Shenstone were collected and pubyears. In 1745, by the death of his parents and an lished after his death by his friend Dodsley, in three elder brother, the paternal estate fell to his own care volumes. The first contains his poems, the
second and management, and he began from this time, as his prose essays, and the third his letters and other Johnson characteristically describes it, to point his pieces. Gray remarks of his correspondence, that prospects, to diversify his surface, to entangle his it is ‘about nothing else but the Leasowes, and his walks, and to wind his waters ; which he did with writings with two or three neighbouring clergyman such judgment and fancy, as made his little domain who wrote versės too. The essays are good, disthe envy of the great and the admiration of the playing an ease and grace of style united to judgskilful ; a place to be visited by travellers and copied ment and discrimination. They have not the
ripeness of thought and learning of Cowley's essays, but they resemble them more closely than any others
The Schoolmistress. we possess. In poetry, Shenstone tried different styles ; his elegies barely reach mediocrity ; his Ah me! full sorely is my heart forlorn, levities, or pieces of humour, are dull and spirit- To think how modest worth neglected lies; less. His highest effort is the Schoolmistress,' a While partial fame doth with her blasts adorn descriptive sketch in imitation of Spenser, so de- Such deeds alone as pride and pomp disguise ; lightfully quaint and ludicrous, yet true to nature, Deeds of ill sort, and mischievous emprise ; that it has all the force and vividness of a painting Lend me thy clarion, goddess! let me try by Teniers or Wilkie. His Pastoral Ballad, in four To sound the praise of merit ere it dies; parts, is also the finest English poem of that or.
Such as I oft have chanced to espy, der. The pastorals of Spenser do not aim at lyrical Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity. simplicity, and no modern poet has approached Shenstone in the simple tenderness and pathos of In every village marked with little spire, pastoral song. Mr Campbell seems to regret the Embowered in trees, and hardly known to fame, affected Arcadianism of these pieces, which un- There dwells, in lowly shed, and mean attire, doubtedly present an incongruous mixture of pas- A matron old, whom we schoolmistress name; toral life and modern manners. But, whether from Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame: early associations (for almost every person has read They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent, Shenstone's ballad in youth), or from the romantic Awed by the power of this relentless dame; simplicity, the true touches of nature and feeling, And ofttimes, on vagaries idly bent, and the easy versification of the stanzas, they are For unkempt hair, or task unconned, are sorely shent. always read and remembered with delight. We must surrender up the judgment to the imagination in perusing them, well knowing that no such Corydons or Phylisses are to be found; but this is a sacrifice which the Faery Queen equally demands, and which few readers of poetry are slow to grant. Johnson quotes the following verses of the first part,
Ba with the striking eulogium, that, if any mind denies its sympathy to them, it has no acquaintance with love or nature :
I prized every hour that went by,
Beyond all that had pleased me before ; But now they are past, and I sigh,
And I grieve that I prized them no more. When forced the fair nymph' to forego,
What anguish I felt in my heart ! Yet I thought (but it might not be so)
'Twas with pain that she saw me depart. She gazed as I slowly withdrew, My path I could hardly discern;
har So sweetly she bade me adieu,
I thought that she bade me return. We subjoin the best part of the ‘Schoolmistress ;' but one other stanza is worthy of notice, not only for its intrinsic excellence, but for its having pro- Cottage of the Schoolmistress, near Hales-Owen, Shropshire. bably suggested to Gray the fine reflection in his elegy
And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,
Which learning near her little dome did stowe; Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,' &c. Whilom a twig of small regard to see, Mr D’Israeli has pointed out this resemblance in
Though now so wide its waving branches flow, his Curiosities of Literature,' and it appears well
And work the simple vassals mickle wo; founded. The palm of merit, as well as originality,
For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew,
But their limbs shuddered, and their pulse beat low; seems to rest with Shenstone ; for it is more natural and just to predict the existence of undeveloped and shaped it into rods, and tingled at the view.
And as they looked, they found their horror grew, powers and great eminence in the humble child at school, than to conceive they had slumbered through
Near to this dome is found a patch so green, life in the peasant in the grave. Yet the conception of Gray has a sweet and touching pathos, that
On which the tribe their gambols do display; sinks into the heart and memory. Shenstone's is as
And at the door imprisoning board is seen, follows:
Lest weakly wights of smaller size should stray ;
Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day! Yet, nursed with skill, what dazzling fruits appear!
The noises intermixed, which thence resound, Even now sagacious foresight points to show
Do learning's little tenement betray; A little bench of heedless bishops here,
Where sits the dame, disguised in look profound, And there a chancellor in embryo,
And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel around. Or bard sublime, if bard may e'er be so, As Milton, Shakspeare-names that ne'er shall die ! Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow, Though now he crawl along the ground so low,
Emblem right meet of decency does yield: Nor weeting how the Muse should soar on high, Her apron dyed in grain, as blue, I trow, Wisheth, poor starveling elf ! his paper kite may fly. As is the harebell that adorns the field;