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Ah! why was ruin so attractive made, Or why fond man so easily betrayed; Why heed we not, while mad we haste along, The gentle voice of Peace, or Pleasure's song? Or wherefore think the flowery mountain's side, The fountain's murmurs, and the valley's pride; Why think we these less pleasing to behold Than dreary deserts, if they lead to gold : ‘Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day, When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!” O cease, my fears! All frantic as I go, When thought creates unnumbered scenes of wo, What if the lion in his rage I meet! Oft in the dust I view his printed feet; And fearful oft, when Day's declining light Yields her pale empire to the mourner Night, By hunger roused he scours the groaning plain, Gaunt wolves and sullen tigers in his train; Before them Death with shrieks directs their way, Fills the wild yell, and leads them to their prey. ‘Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day, When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way !’ At that dead hour the silent asp shall creep, If aught of rest I find, upon my sleep; Or some swoln serpent twist his scales around, And wake to anguish with a burning wound. Thrice happy they, the wise contented poor, From lust of wealth and dread of death secure' They tempt no deserts, and no griefs they find; Peace rules the day where reason rules the mind. ‘Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day, When first from Schiraz' walls I bent my way!” O hapless youth I for she thy love hath won, The tender Zara! will be most undone. Big swelled my heart, and owned the powerful maid, When fast she dropped her tears, as thus she said: “Farewell the youth whom sighs could not detain, | Whom Zara's breaking heart implored in vain Yet as thougo'st, may every blast arise Weak and unfelt as these rejected sighs; | Safe o'er the wild no perils may'st thou see, No griefs endure, nor weep, false youth I like me.’ “O ! let me safely to the fair return, Say with a kiss, she must not, shall not mourn; | 0 1 let me teach my heart to lose its fears, Recalled by Wisdom's voice and Zara's tears.” | He said, and called on Heaven to bless the day When back to Schiraz' walls he bent his way.
Ode Written in the Year 1746.
How sleep the brave who sink to rest, By all their country's wishes blest When Spring, with dewy fingers cold, Returns to deck their hallowed mould, She there shall dress a sweeter sod, Than Fancy's feet have ever trod.
By fairy hands their knell is rung,
Ode to Evening.
If aught of oaten stop, or pastoral song,
May hope, chaste Eve, to soothe thy modest ear,
Oh nymph reserved, while now the bright-haired sun
Sits in yon western tent, whose cloudy skirts,
Now air is hushed, save where the weak-eyed bat,
With short shrill shriek, flits by on leathern wing,
As oft he rises midst the twilight path,
Against the pilgrim borne in heedless hum :
Whose numbers stealing through thy darkening vale,
May not unseemly with its stillness suit,
For when thy folding-star arising shows
His paly circlet, at his warning lamp 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,
Then let me rove some wild and heathy scene,
Or find some ruin 'midst its dreary dells,
Or if chill blustering winds, or driving rain,
Prevent my willing feet, be mine the hut
And hamlets brown, and dim-discovered spires,
And hears their simple bell, and marks o'er all
While Spring shall pour his showers, as oft he wont,
And bathe thy breathing tresses, meekest Eve 1
While sallow autumn fills thy lap with leaves,
Or Winter yelling through the troublous air,
So long, regardful of thy quiet rule,
Shall Fancy, Friendship, Science, smiling Peace,
Ode on the Passions.
When Music, heavenly maid! was young,
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
And swept with hurried hand the strings.
With woful measures wan Despair, Low sullen sounds his grief beguiled; A solemn, strange, and mingled air; 'Twas sad by fits, by starts 'twas wild.
But thou, oh Hope! with eyes so fair, What was thy delighted measure? Still it whispered promised pleasure, And bade the lovely scenes at distance hail. | Still would her touch the strain prolong ; | And from the rocks, the woods, the vale, | She called on Echo still through all the song; | And where her sweetest theme she chose, | A soft responsive voice was heard at every close; | And Hope enchanted smiled, and waved her golden hair:
And longer had she sung, but with a frown
| Revenge impatient rose; | He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down, | And, with a withering look,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
| And blew a blast so loud and dread,
| And ever and anon he beat
| The double drum with furious heat; And though sometimes, each dreary pause between, | Dejected Pity at his side
Her soul-subduing voice applied,
| Yet still he kept his wild unaltered mien, | While each strained ball of sight seemed bursting from his head.
Thy numbers, Jealousy, to nought were fixed; Sad proof of thy distressful state; | 0f differing themes the veering song was mixed, And now it courted Love, now raving called on Hate.
| With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
Pale Melancholy sat retired,
| And from her wild sequestered seat, In notes by distance made more sweet, | Poured through the mellow horn her pensive soul;
And clashing soft from rocks around,
| Bubbling runnels joined the sound;
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole:
| Or o'er some haunted streams with fond delay,
Round a holy calm diffusing,
- Love of peace and lonely musing,
In hollow murmurs died away.
But oh! how altered was its sprightly tone,
in When Cheerfulness, a nymph of healthiest hue,
Her bow across her shoulder flung,
| Blew an inspiring air, that dale and thicket rung,
t The hunter's call, to Fawn and Dryad known;
| Theoak-crowned sisters, and their chaste-eyed queen,
| And Sport leaped up, and seized his beechen spear.
- Last came Joy's ecstatic trial:
Oh Music sphere-descended maid,
Ode to Liberty. strophie.
Who shall awake the Spartan fife,
Yet, even where'er the least appeared,
Hail port of glory, wealth and pleasure,
Beyond the measure vast of thought, | The works the wizard time has wrought ! The Gaul, 'tis held of antique story, Saw Britain linked to his now adverse strand, No sea between, nor cliff sublime and hoary, He passed with unwet feet through all our land. To the blown Baltic then, they say, The wild waves found another way, Where Orcas howls, his wolfish mountains rounding; Till all the banded west at once 'gain rise, A wide wild storm even Nature's self confounding, Withering her giant sons with strange uncouth surprise. This pillared earth so firm and wide, By winds and inward labours torn, In ão. dread was pushed aside, And down the shouldering billows borne. And see, like gems, her laughing train, The little isles on every side, Mona, once hid from those who search the main, Where thousand elfin shapes abide, | And Wight who checks the westering tide, For thee consenting heaven has each bestowed A fair attendant on her sovereign pride: To thee this blessed divorce she owed, For thou hast made her vales thy loved, thy last abode 1
Then, too, 'tis said, a hoary pile, 'Midst the green naval of our isle, | Thy shrine in some religious wood, 0 soul enforcing goddess, stood | There oft the painted native's feet Were wont thy form celestial meet: Though now with hopeless toil we trace | Time's backward rolls, to find its place; Whether the fiery-tressed Dane, Or Roman's self o’erturned the fane, Or in what heaven left age it fell, 'Twere hard for modern song to tell. Yet still, if truth those beams infuse, Which guide at once, and charm the muse, Beyond yon braided clouds that lie, Paving the light embroidered sky; Amidst the bright pavilioned plains, The beauteous model still remains. There happier than in islands blessed, Or bowers by spring or Hebe dressed, The chiefs who fill our Albion's story, In warlike weeds, retired in glory, Hear their consorted Druids sing Their triumphs to the immortal string. How may the poet now unfold What never tongue or numbers told?
How learn delighted, and amazed,
Dirge in Cymbeline.
Sung by Gui DEnius and AnvirAgus over FIDELE, supposed to be dead.
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Each opening sweet, of earliest bloom,
No wailing ghost shall dare appear
But shepherd lads assemble here,
No withered witch shall here be seen, No goblins lead their nightly crew;
The female fays shall haunt the green, And dress thy grave with pearly dew;
The redbreast oft at evening hours
With hoary moss, and gathered flowers,
When howling winds, and beating rain,
Each lonely scene shall thee restore,
Beloved till life can charm no more;
Ode on the Death of Mr Thomson.
The scene of the following stanzas is supposed to lie on the Thames, near Richmond.
In yonder grave a Druid lies,
The year's best sweets shall duteous rise,
In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
| WILLIAM SHENstone added some pleasing pas| toral and elegiac strains to our national poetry, but
he wanted, as Johnson justly remarks, “comprehen|sion and variety.' Though highly ambitious of poetical fame, he devoted a large portion of his time, and squandered most of his means, in landscapegardening and ornamental agriculture. He reared up around him a sort of rural paradise, expending | his poetical taste and fancy in the disposition and embellishment of his grounds, till at length pecuniary difficulties and distress drew a cloud over the fair prospect, and darkened the latter days of the poet's | life. Swift, who entertained a mortal aversion to all projectors, might have included the unhappy * Shenstone among the fanciful inhabitants of his Laputa. The estate which he laboured to adorn was his natal ground. At Leasowes, in the parish of Hales Owen, Shropshire, the poet was born in November 1714. He was taught to read at what is termed a dame school, and his venerable preceptress has been immortalised by his poem of the Sehoolmistress. At the proper age he was sent to
Pembroke college, Oxford, where he remained four
by designers.” Descriptions of the Leasowes have been written by Dodsley and Goldsmith. The pro- || perty was altogether not worth more than £300 per || annum, and Shenstone had devoted so much of his
means to external embellishment, that he was compelled to live in a dilapidated house, not fit, as he acknowledges, to receive “polite friends.” An unfortunate attachment to a young lady, and disappointed ambition—for he aimed at political as well as poetical celebrity—conspired, with his passion for gardening and improvement, to fix him in his solitary situation. He became querulous and dejected, pined at the unequal gifts of fortune, and even contemplated with a gloomy joy the complaint of Swift, that he would be ‘forced to die in a rage, like a poisoned rat in a hole.” Yet Shenstone was essentially kind and benevolent, and he must at times have experienced exquisite pleasure in his romantic retreat, in which every year would give fresh beauty, and develop more distinctly the creations of his taste and labour. “The works of a person that builds,’ he says, “begin immediately to decay, while those of him who plants begin directly to improve.’ This advantage he possessed, with the additional charm of a love of literature; but Shenstone sighed for more than inward peace and satisfaction. He built his happiness on the applause of others, and died in solitude a votary of the world. His death took place at the Leasowes, February 11, 1763.
The works of Shenstone were collected and published after his death by his friend Dodsley, in three volumes. The first contains his poems, the second his prose essays, and the third his letters and other pieces. Gray remarks of his correspondence, that it is “about nothing else but the Leasowes, and his writings with two or three neighbouring clergyman
playing an ease and grace of style united to judg
| who wrote verses too.” The essays are good, dis
ment and discrimination. They have not the mellow
ripeness of thought and learning of Cowley's essays, but they resemble them more closely than any others we possess. In poetry, Shenstone tried different styles; his elegies barely reach mediocrity; his levities, or pieces of humour, are dull and spiritless. His highest effort is the “Schoolmistress, a descriptive sketch in imitation of Spenser, so delightfully quaint and ludicrous, yet true to nature, that it has all the force and vividness of a painting by Teniers or Wilkie. His Pastoral Ballad, in four parts, is also the finest English poem of that or: der. The pastorals of Spenser do not aim at lyrical simplicity, and no modern poet has approached Shenstone in the simple tenderness and pathos of pastoral song. Mr Campbell seems to regret the affected Arcadianism of these pieces, which undoubtedly present an incongruous mixture of pastoral life and modern manners. But, whether from early associations (for almost every person has read Shenstone's ballad in youth), or from the romantic simplicity, the true touches of nature and feeling, and the easy versification of the stanzas, they are 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, 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,
But now they are past, and I sigh,
When forced the fair nymph' to forego,
Yet I thought (but it might not be so)
She gazed as I slowly withdrew,
So sweetly she bade me adieu,
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 probably suggested to Gray the fine reflection in his elegy—
“Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,’ &c.
|Mr. D'Israeli has pointed out this resemblance in his “Curiosities of Literature,' and it appears wellfounded. The palm of merit, as well as originality, | seems to rest with Shenstone; for it is more natural and just to predict the existence of undeveloped powers and great eminence in the humble child at school, than to conceive they had slumbered through life in the peasant in the grave. Yet the conception of Gray has a sweet and touching pathos, that sinks into the heart and memory. Shenstone's is as follows:–
Yet, nursed with skill, what dazzling fruits appear!
Ah me! full sorely is my heart forlorn, To think how modest worth neglected lies; While partial fame doth with her blasts adorn Such deeds alone as pride and pomp disguise; Deeds of ill sort, and mischievous emprise; Lend me thy clarion, goddess! let me try To sound the praise of merit ere it dies; Such as I oft have chanced to espy, Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity.
In every village marked with little spire, Embowered in trees, and hardly known to fame, There dwells, in lowly shed, and mean attire, A matron old, whom we schoolmistress name; Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame: They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent, Awed by the power of this relentless dame; And ofttimes, on vagaries idly bent, For unkempt hair, or task unconned, are sorely shent.
------Cottage of the Schoolmistress, near Hales-Owen, Shropshire.
And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree, Which learning near her little dome did stowe; Whilom a twig of small regard to see, Though now so wide its waving branches flow, And work the simple vassals mickle wo; For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew, But their limbs shuddered, and their pulse beat low ; And as they looked, they found their horror grew, And shaped it into rods, and tingled at the view.
Near to this dome is found a patch so green, On which the tribe their gambols do display; And at the door imprisoning board is seen, Lest weakly wights of smaller size should stray; Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day! The noises intermixed, which thence resound, Do learning's little tenement betray; Where sits the dame, disguised in look profound, And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel around. Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow, Emblem right meet of decency does yield: 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; as