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his knowledge of human nature, and his literary power, are of course far inferior to Goldsmith's, yet if inferior in degree he is nevertheless not wholly dissimilar in kind. The really affecting elegy on 'Jessy' is an instance of the genuine feeling which, in an age when feeling was not too common, he possessed; nor are other instances of the same kind hard to be found in him.

As concerns the formal part of poetry, his management of the anapaestic trimeter is unquestionably his chief merit. In the Spenserian stanza he is commendable, and dates fortunately prevent the charge that if The Castle of Indolence had not been written neither would The Schoolmistress. His anapaests are much more original. The metre is so incurably associated with sing-song and doggrel, that poems written in it are exposed to a heavy disadvantage, yet in the first two pastoral ballads at any rate this disadvantage is not much felt. Shenstone taught the metre to a greater poet than himself, Cowper, and these two between them have written almost everything that is worth reading in it, if we put avowed parody and burlesque out of the question. Perhaps the history of his gardening at the Leasowes has mixed itself up too thoroughly with Shenstone's work, and has soiled his harmless pastorals with memories of the tumble-down huts, the broken benches, the mouldy statues, and all the rest of the draggled finery which in our climate is associated more or less with this style of decoration and of which almost everybody has seen examples. But it really seems that he had, as his well-meaning French panegyrist asserted, 'a mind natural' even though the 'Arcadian greens rural' which he 'laid' must have smacked far less of nature than of art. 'The crook and the pipe and the kid,' of which Johnson speaks so contemptuously, are somehow or other less distasteful in Shenstone than in any other poet. For in the first place one cannot help remembering that the man did, as few men have done, try to turn his life in accordance with his verse, and Worcestershire (nominally Shropshire) into the likeness of the counterfeit Arcadia. Secondly there is an inoffensiveness about him which conciliates and disarms. He was not a great poet, perhaps indeed he was a very small one; but he was a poet somehow, and he wore his rue with a sufficient difference from other poets to deserve that his name should live long in the history of English verse.



[From The Schoolmistress.]

Oruthful scene! when from a nook obscure
His little sister doth his peril see:

All playful as she sate, she grows demure;
She finds full soon her wonted spirits flee,
She meditates a prayer to set him free :
Nor gentle pardon could this dame deny
(If gentle pardon could with dames agree)
To her sad grief that swells in either eye
And wrings her so that all for pity she could dye.

No longer can she now her shrieks. command,
And hardly she forbears, through awful fear
To rushen forth, and with presumptuous hand
To stay harsh Justice in its mid career.
On thee she calls, on thee her parent dear!
(Ah! too remote to ward the shame ul blow!)
She sees no kind domestic visage near,

And soon a flood of tears begins to flow
And gives a loose at last to unavailing woe.

But ah! what pen his piteous plight may trace?
Or what device his loud laments explain?


The form uncouth of his disguised face? The pallid hue that dyes his looks amain? The plenteous shower that does his cheek distain When he in abject wise implores the dame, Ne hopeth aught of sweet reprieve to gain, Or when from high she levels well her aim And through the thatch his cries, each falling stroke proclaim.


Since Phyllis vouchsafed me a look,
I never once dreamt of my vine:
May I lose both my pipe and my crook,
If I knew of a kid that was mine!
I prized every hour that went by,

Beyond all that had pleas'd me before;
But now they are past, and I sigh;

And I grieve that I prized them no more.

But why do I languish in vain ;

Why wander thus pensively here? Oh! why did I come from the plain Where I fed on the smiles of my dear? They tell me, my favourite maid,

The pride of that valley, is flown; Alas, where with her I have strayed

I could wander with pleasure, alone.

When forced the fair nymph to forego,

What anguish I felt at my heart! Yet I thought-but it might not be so'Twas with pain that she saw me depart. 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.

The pilgrim that journeys all day

To visit some far distant shrine, If he bear but a relique away

Is happy, nor heard to repine.
Thus widely removed from the fair
Where my vows, my devotion, I owe,
Soft Hope is the relique I bear

And my solace wherever I go.


A tear bedews my Delia's eye,
To think yon playful kid must die;
From crystal spring and flowery mead
Must, in his prime of life, recede.

Erewhile in sportive circles round

She saw him wheel, and frisk, and bound;
From rock to rock pursue his way,
And on the fearful margin play.

Pleased on his various freaks to dwell
She saw him climb my rustic cell;
Then eye my lawns with verdure bright,
And seem all ravished at the sight.

She tells with what delight he stood
To trace his features in the flood;
Then skipped aloof with quaint amaze
And then drew near again to gaze.

She tells me how with eager speed
He flew to hear my vocal reed;
And how with critic face profound,
And steadfast ear devoured the sound.

His every frolic light as air
Deserves the gentle Delia's care;
And tears bedew her tender eye,
To think the playful kid must die.-

But knows my Delia, timely wise,
How soon this blameless era flies?
While violence and craft succeed
Unfair design and ruthless deed!

Soon would the vine his wounds deplore,
And yield her purple gifts no more;
Oh soon, erased from every grove
Were Delia's name, and Strephon's love.

No more those bowers might Strephon see,
Where first he fondly gazed on thee;
No more those beds of flowerets find
Which for thy charming brows he twined.

Each wayward passion soon would tear
His bosom, now so void of care.
And when they left his ebbing vein
What but insipid age remain?

Then mourn not the decrees of Fate
That gave his life so short a date;
And I will join thy tenderest sighs
To think that youth so swiftly flies.


[From The Progress of Taste.]

See yonder hill, so green, so round,
Its brow with ambient beeches crowned!
"Twould well become thy gentle care
To raise a dome to Venus there:
Pleas'd would the nymphs thy zeal survey;
And Venus, in their arms, repay.
'Twas such a shade, and such a nook
In such a vale, near such a brook,
From such a rocky fragment springing,
That famed Apollo chose, to sing in.
There let an altar wrought with art
Engage thy tuneful patron's heart,
How charming there to muse and warble
Beneath his bust of breathing marble!
With laurel wreath and mimic lyre
That crown a poet's vast desire.

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