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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.
SUFFERING AND SYMPATHY.
[From The Schoolmistress.]
Oruthful scene! when from a nook obscure
All playful as she sate, she grows demure;
No longer can she now her shrieks. command,
And soon a flood of tears begins to flow
But ah! what pen his piteous plight may trace?
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,
Beyond all that had pleas'd me before;
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.
And my solace wherever I go.
THE DYING KID.
A tear bedews my Delia's eye,
Erewhile in sportive circles round
She saw him wheel, and frisk, and bound;
Pleased on his various freaks to dwell
She tells with what delight he stood
She tells me how with eager speed
His every frolic light as air
But knows my Delia, timely wise,
Soon would the vine his wounds deplore,
No more those bowers might Strephon see,
Each wayward passion soon would tear
Then mourn not the decrees of Fate
MUCH TASTE AND SMALL ESTATE
[From The Progress of Taste.]
See yonder hill, so green, so round,