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With woful measures wan Despair,
But thou, oh Hope! with eyes so fair,
And longer had she sung, but with a frown
He threw his blood-stained sword in thunder down,
The war-denouncing trumpet took,
Were ne'er prophetic sounds so full of wo;
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;
Of differing themes the veering song was mixed, And now it courted Love, now raving called on Hate.
With eyes upraised, as one inspired,
And from her wild sequestered seat,
Through glades and glooms the mingled measure stole:
Or o'er some haunted streams with fond delay,
Love of peace and lonely musing,
But oh! how altered was its sprightly tone,
Peeping from forth their alleys green;
Oh Music! sphere-descended maid,
Ode to Liberty.
Who shall awake the Spartan fife,
Shall sing the sword, in myrtles dressed,
At wisdom's shrine a while its flame concealing, (What place so fit to seal a deed renowned ?)
Till she her brightest lightnings round revealing,
When most its sounds would court thy ears,
No, freedom, no; I will not tell
How Rome, before thy face,
With heaviest sound, a giant statue fell,
From off its wide ambitious base,
When time his northern sons of spoil awoke,
And all the blended work of strength and grace, With many a rude repeated stroke,
And many a barbarous yell, to thousand fragments broke.
Yet, even where'er the least appeared,
And Sport leaped up, and seized his beechen spear. They saw, by what escaped the storm,
Last came Joy's ecstatic trial:
He, with viny crown advancing,
First to the lively pipe his hand addressed;
To some unwearied minstrel dancing:
How wondrous rose her perfect form;
In jealous Pisa's olive shade!
Hail port of glory, wealth and pleasure,
Ah, no! more pleased thy haunts I seek,
Beyond the measure vast of thought,
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 thunders dread was pushed aside,
And down the shouldering billows borne.
Mona, once hid from those who search the main,
And Wight who checks the westering tide,
For thee consenting heaven has each bestowed
A fair attendant on her sovereign pride:
For thou hast made her vales thy loved, thy last abode !
Then, too, 'tis said, a hoary pile,
The beauteous model still remains.
How learn delighted, and amazed,
Ye forms divine, ye laureate band,
Dirge in Cymbeline.
Sung by GUIDERIUS and ARVIRAGUS Over FIDELE, supposed to be dead.
To fair Fidele's grassy tomb
Soft maids and village hinds shall bring
No wailing ghost shall dare appear
And melting virgins own their love.
Odle on the Death of Mr Thomson.
In yonder grave a Druid lies,
In yon deep bed of whispering reeds
The maids and youths shall linger here,
To hear the woodland pilgrim's knell.
When Thames in summer wreaths is drest; And oft suspend the dashing oar,
To bid his gentle spirit rest!
And oft as ease and health retire
That mourn beneath the gliding sail!
Yet lives there one, whose heedless eye
Shall scorn thy pale shrine glimmering near
But thou, lorn stream, whose sullen tide
And see, the fairy valleys fade,
Dun night has veiled the solemn view!
The genial meads, assigned to bless
Long, long thy stone and pointed clay
means to external embellishment, that he was compelled to live in a dilapidated house, not fit, as he acknowledges, to receive 'polite friends.' An unfor
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.
WILLIAM SHENSTONE added some pleasing pas-tunate attachment to a young lady, and disappointed toral and elegiac strains to our national poetry, but he wanted, as Johnson justly remarks, comprehension 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 Schoolmistress. At the proper age he was sent to Pembroke college, Oxford, where he remained four years. In 1745, by the death of his parents and an elder brother, the paternal estate fell to his own care and management, and he began from this time, as Johnson characteristically describes it, 'to point his prospects, to diversify his surface, to entangle his walks, and to wind his waters; which he did with such judgment and fancy, as made his little domain the envy of the great and the admiration of the skilful; a place to be visited by travellers and copied
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 clergymen who wrote verses too.' The essays are good, displaying an ease and grace of style united to judgment 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 order. 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,
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,
She gazed as I slowly withdrew,
My path I could hardly discern;
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 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!
Or bard sublime, if bard may e'er be so,
Cottage of the Schoolmistress, near Hales-Owen, Shropshire.
And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,
Near to this dome is found a patch so green,
The noises intermixed, which thence resound,
And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwined, With dark distrust, and sad repentance filled; And steadfast hate, and sharp affliction joined, And fury uncontrolled, and chastisement unkind. A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown; A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air; Twas simple russet, but it was her own; "Twas her own country bred the flock so fair! 'Twas her own labour did the fleece prepare; And, sooth to say, her pupils ranged around, Through pious awe, did term it passing rare; For they in gaping wonderment abound,
And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on ground.
Albeit ne flattery did corrupt her truth,
Ne pompous title did debauch her ear;
Or dame, the sole additions she did hear;
Yet these she challenged, these she held right dear;
But there was eke a mind which did that title love.
Herbs, too, she knew, and well of each could speak,
Here oft the dame, on Sabbath's decent eve, Hymned such psalms as Sternhold forth did mete; If winter 'twere, she to her hearth did cleave, But in her garden found a summer-seat: Sweet melody! to hear her then repeat How Israel's sons, beneath a foreign king, While taunting foemen did a song entreat, All, for the nonce, untuning every string, Uphung their useless lyres-small heart had they to sing.
For she was just, and friend to virtuous lore, And passed much time in truly virtuous deed; And, in those elfins' ears would oft deplore The times, when truth by popish rage did bleed, And tortuous death was true devotion's meed; And simple faith in iron chains did mourn, That nould on wooden image place her creed; And lawny saints in smouldering flames did burn: Ah! dearest Lord, forefend thilk days should e'er re
In elbow-chair (like that of Scottish stem, By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defaced, In which, when he receives his diadem, Our sovereign prince and liefest liege is placed) The matron sat; and some with rank she graced, (The source of children's and of courtiers' pride!) Redressed affronts-for vile affronts there passed; And warned them not the fretful to deride, But love each other dear, whatever them betide.
Right well she knew each temper to descry,
Lo! now with state she utters her command;
To save from finger wet the letters fair:
O ruthful scene! when, from a nook obscure,
No longer can she now her shrieks command;
But, ah! what pen his piteous plight may trace?
But now Dan Phoebus gains the middle sky,
Enjoy, poor imps! enjoy your sportive trade,