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WRITTEN ON A FERME ORNEE, NEAR BIRMINGHAM.
'Tis Nature here bids pleasing scenes arise,
And wisely gives them Cynthia to revise;
To veil each blemish, brighten every grace,
Yet still preserve the lovely parent's face.
How well the Bard obeys each valley tells,
These lucid streams, gay meads, and lonely cells;
Where modest Art in silence lurks conceal'd,
While Nature shines, so gracefully reveal'd,
That she triumphant claims the total plan,
And with fresh pride adopts the work of man.
TO WILLIAM SHENSTONE, ESQ.
BY THE REV. RICHARD GRAVES.
· Vellum in amicitia sic erraremus ? !
See! the tall youth, by partial Fate's decree,
To affluence born, and from restraint set free;
Eager he seeks the scenes of gay resort,
The mall, the rout, the playhouse, and the court;
Soon for some varnish'd nymph of dubious fame,
Or powder'd peeress, counterfeits a flame.
Behold bim now, enraptur’d, swear and sigh,
Dress, dance, drink, revel, all he knows not why,
Till by kind Fate restor'd to country air,
He marks the roses of some rural fair;
Smit with her unaffected native charms,
A real passion soon his bosom warms;
And, wak'd from idle dreams, he takes a wife,
And tastes the genuine happiness of life.
Thus, in the vacant season of the year,
Some Templar gay begins his wild career;
From seat to seat o'er pompous scenes he flies,
Views all with equal wonder and surprise,
Till, sick of domes, arcades, and temples, grown,
He hies fatigued, not satisfied, to Town:
In friendship thus, 0! be we still beguil'd!
Yet if some kinder genius point his way
To where the Muses o'er thy Leasowes stray,
Charm'd with the silvan beauties of the place,
Where Art assumes the sweets of Nature's face,
Each hill, each dale, each consecrated grove,
Each lake and falling stream, his rapture move.
Like the sage captive in Calypso's grot,
The cares, the pleasures, of the world forgot,
Of calm content he hails the genuine sphere,
And longs to dwell a blissful hermit here.
VERSES RECEIVED BY THE POST.
FROM A LADY UNKNOWN, 1761.
Health to the Bard in Leasowes' happy groves ;
Health, and sweet converse with the Muse he loves !
The humblest votary of the tuneful Nine,
With trembling hand, attempts her artless line,
In numbers such as untaught Nature brings,
As flow, spontaneous, like thy native springs.
But, ah! what airy forms around me rise !
The russet mountain glows with richer dyes ;
In oircling dance a pigmy crowd appear,
And, hark ! an infant voice salutes my ear!
• Mortal! thy aim we know, thy task approve;
His merit honour, and his genius love:
For us what verdant carpets has he spread,
Where, nightly, we our mystic mazes tread!
For us each shady grove and rural seat,
His falling streams and flowing numbers sweet!
Didst thou not mark, amid the winding dell,
What tuneful verse adorns the mossy cell ?
There every fairy of our sprightly train
Resort, to bless the woodland and the plain :
There, as we move, unbidden beauties glow,
The green turf brightens, and the violets blow;
And there with thoughts sublime we bless the swain,
Nor we inspire, nor he attends, in vain.
Go, simple rhymer! bear this message true;
The truths that fairies dictate none shall rue.
Say to the bard in Leasowes' happy grove,
Whom dryads honour, and whom fairies love-
• Content thyself no longer that thy lays,
By others fosterd, lend to others praise ;
No longer to the favouring world refuse
The welcome treasures of thy polish'd muse;
The scatter'd blooms that boast thy valued name,
Collect, unite, and give the wreath to Fame;
Ne'er can thy virtues, or thy verse, engage
More solid praise than in this happiest age,
When sense and merit's cherish'd by the throne,
And each illustrous privilege their own.
Though modest be thy gentle Muse, I ween,
Oh! lead her blushing from the daisied green,
A fit attendant on Britannia's queen.'
Ye sportive elves! as faithful I relate
The’ intrusted mandates of your fairy state,
Visit these wilds again with nightly care;
So shall my kine, of all the herd, repair
In healthful plight to fill the copious pail;
My sheep lie pent with safety in the dale;
My ponltry fear no robber in the roost; .
My linen more than common whiteness boast:
Let order, peace, and housewifery, be mine;
Shenstone! be fancy, fame, and fortune, thine!
ON THE DISCOVERY OF AN ECHO
HA! what art thou, whose voice unknown
Pours on these plains its tender moan?
Art thou the nymph in Shenstone's dale,
Who dost with plaintive note bewail
That he forsakes the Aonian maids,
To court inconstant rills and shades?
Mourn not, sweet nymph!-Alas! in vain
Do they invite, and thou complain-
Yet while he woo'd the gentle throng,
With liquid lay and melting song,
The listening herd around him stray'd,
In wanton frisk the lambkins play'd,
And every naiad ceas'd to lave
Her azure limbs amid the wave:
The Graces danc'd; the rosy band
Of Smiles and Loves went hand in hand,
And purple Pleasures strew'd the way
With sweetest flow'rs; and every ray
Of each fond Muse with rapture fir'd,
To glowing thoughts his breast inspird;
The bills rejoic'd, the vallies rung,
AH Nature smil'd while Shenstone sung.
• So charm’d his lay; but now no more
Ah! why dost thou repeat—No more?'
Ev'n now he lies to deck the grove,
To deck the scene the Muses love,
And soon again will own their sway,
And thơn resound the peerless lay,
And with immortal numbers fill
Each rocky cave and vocal hill.