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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.

5

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.

Still

may the mourner, lavish of his tears For lucre's venal meed, invite

my

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.

25

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,
The loves and

graces

steal unseen away ; And where the turf diffus'd its

pomp

of flow'rs, We wake to wintry scenes of chill decay !

40

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.

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" Auditæ voces, vagitus & ingens, " Infantumque anima flentes in limine primo." Vire.

ADVERTISEMENT.

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,
To think how modeft worth neglected lies;

While partial fame doth with her blasts adorn
Such deeds alone, as pride and pomp disguise ;
Deeds of ill fort, and mischievous emprize :
Lend me thy clarion, goddess ! let me try
To found the praise of merit, ere it dies ;

Such as I oft have chaunced to espy,
Lost in the dreary shades of dull obscurity.

IO

In ev'ry village mark'd with little spire,
Embow'r'd in trees, and hardly known to fame,
There dwells, in lowly shed, and mean attire,
A matron old, whom we school-mistress name;
Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame ;
They grieven fore, in piteous durance pent, 15
Aw'd by the pow'r of this relentless dame;

And oft-times, on vagaries idly bent,
For unkempt hair, or talk unconn'd, are forely fhent.

And all in fight doth rise a birchen tree,
Which learning near her little dome did ftowe; 20
Whilom a twig of small regard to see,
Tho' now so wide its waving branches flow;
And work the simple vassals mickle woe ;
For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew,
But their limbs fhudder'd, and their pulse beat

25 And as they look'd they found their horror grew, And shap'd it into rods, and tingled at the view.

low;

So have I seen (who has not, may conceive,)
A lifeless phantom near a garden plac'd ;
So doth it wanton birds of

peace bereave,

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,
On which the tribe their gambols do display ;
And at the door impris’ning board is seen,
Left weakly wights of smaller size should stray; 40
Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day!
The noises intermix'd, which thence resound,
Do learning's little tenement betray:

Where fits the dame, disguis’d in look profound, And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel

45

around.

Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,
Emblem right meet of decency does yield :
Her apron dy'd in grain, as blue, I trowe,
As is the hare-bell that adorns the field :
And in her hand, for scepter, she does wield 50
Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwind,
With dark distrust, and fad repentance fillid;

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