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E L E GY.
BY WILLIAM SHENStone, ESQ. *
HE ARRIVES AT HIS RETIREMENT IN THE
COUNTRY, AND TAKES OCCASION TO EXPATIATE IN PRAISE OF SIMPLICITY.
TO A FRIEND.
For rural virtues, and for native skies,
I bade Augusta's venal fons farewel ; Now 'mid the trees, I see my smoke arise ;
Now hear the fountains bubbling round my cell.
O may that Genius, which secures my reft,
Preserve this villa for a friend that's dear! Ne’er may my vintage glad the fordid breast;
Ne'er tinge the lip that dares be unfincere !
Far from these paths, ye faithless friends, depart!
Fly my plain board, abhor my hostile name! 10 Hence! the faint verse that flows not from the heart,
But mourns, in labour'd strains, the price of fame!
O lov'd fimplicity! be thine the prize!
Afliduous art correct her page in vain ! His be the palm who, guiltless of disguise, 15
Contemns the pow'r, the dull resource to feign!
* Born 1714 ; dyed 1763.
may the mourner, lavish of his tears For lucre's venal meed, invite
scorn! Still may the bard diffembling doubts and fears,
For praise, for flatt'ry fighing, figh forlorn! 20
Soft as the line of love-sick Hammond flows,
'Twas his fond heart effus'd the melting theme; Ah! never could Aonia's hill disclose
So fair a fountain, or so lov'd a stream.
Ye loveless bards ! intent with artful pains
To form a sigh, or to contrive a tear ! Forego your Pindus, and on plains
Survey Camilla’s charms, and grow sincere.
But thou, my friend! while in thy youthful foul
Love's gentle tyrant seats his aweful throne, 30 While from thy bosom-let not art controul
The ready pen, that makes his edicts known.
Pleasing, when youth is long expir'd, to trace
The forms our pencil, or our pen design'd! “ Such was our youthful air, and shape, and face !
“ Such the soft image of our youthful mind!
Soft whilst we sleep beneath the rural bow'ss,
steal unseen away ; And where the turf diffus'd its
of flow'rs, We wake to wintry scenes of chill decay !
Curse the sad fortune that detains thy fair ;
Praise the soft hours that gave thee to her arms; Paint thy proud scorn of ev'ry vulgar care,
When hope exalts thee, or when doubt alarms.
Where with none thou hast worn the day, 45
Near fount or stream, in meditation, rove; If in the grove none lov'd to stray,
The faithful Muse shall meet thee in the grove.
" Auditæ voces, vagitus & ingens, " Infantumque anima flentes in limine primo." Vire.
What particulars in Spenser were imagined most proper for
the Author's imitation on this occafion, are his language, his fimplicity, his manner of description, and a peculiar dondernejs of sentiment remarkable throughout his works.
Ah me! full forely is my heart forlorn,
While partial fame doth with her blasts adorn
Such as I oft have chaunced to espy,
In ev'ry village mark'd with little spire,
And oft-times, on vagaries idly bent,
And all in fight doth rise a birchen tree,
25 And as they look'd they found their horror grew, And shap'd it into rods, and tingled at the view.
So have I seen (who has not, may conceive,)
30 Of sport, of song, of pleasure, of repast; They start, they ftare, they wheel, they look
aghaft ; Sad servitude ! such comfortless annoy May no bold Briton's riper age e'er taste!
Ne superstition clog his dance of joy, 35 Ne vision empty, vain, his native bliss destroy.
Near to this dome is found a patch so green,
Where fits the dame, disguis’d in look profound, And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel
Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,