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Ye sportive elves, as faithful I relate,
Th' entrusted mandates of your fairy state,
Visit these wilds again with nightly care,
So shall my kine, of all the herd, repair,
In healthy plight, to fill the copious pail;
My sheep be penn'd with safety in the dale ;
My poultry fear no robber in the rooft :
My linen more than common whiteness boast;
Let order, peace, and housewifery be mine :
Shenstone ? be taste, and fame, and fortune thine!
To MIr. S. upon his desiring her to paint his character. Dec. 30, 1760
WHO' you flatter my genius, and praise what I write,
Sure this whimsical task was impos'd out of spite,
Because this poor head, with much scratching and thinking,
Made some little reflections on raking and drinking ;
To clip my weak wings with malicious intention
You present me a theme that defies all invention.
Your picture ! Lord bless me! Where can one begin?
To speak truth, were insipid; to lie, were a fin,
You might think me in love, should I paint your perfections ;
Should I sketch out your faults, you might make--worse objections,
Should I blend in one piece of superlative merit,
Good-nature with wit, condescenlion with spirit ;
Should, with modesly, ease and politeness be joind;
Unlimited freedom, with manpers reģio'd ;
Courage, tenderness, honour, enthron'd in one heart;
With frankness, reserve ; and with honesty, art :
With these glaring good qualities plac'd in full view.
soul would believe it was you?
Why then turn t'other side, says ill-nature, and find him,
In some few modish faults, leave his sex all behind him.
For levity, flattery, and so forth, he's famd
Pr'ythee, peace, fool; and let no such trilles be nam'd:
If his failings be such, time will certainly cure 'em,
And the ladiestill then will with pleasure endure 'ein,
N disappointments not unskillid,
With hopes of happiness beguild,
Tow'rds every fond amufement moves.
But fond amusements--all are vain,
The wish'd for happiness to gain.
Free from Ambition's restless fire
My humble soul could dwell at ease;
Nor can the thirft of gold inspire
A with injurious to my peace.
Honour and wealth in vain, allure
A heart contented to be poor.
Not the whole world, with all its charms,
Could my regardless mind entice;
Beauty alone my heart disarms,
Proof to the other baits of vice.
Yet here, a lovely Mira's name
Inspires me with the purest flame.
Pleasures in these soft colours drest,
Attract my unexperienc'd eyes;
Until within my youthful breaft
Warm expectations quickly rife,
And with delusive hopes controul
Each wish of my unwary soul.
Thus, while on earthly blifs my mind
Is fix'd with fancy'd joy elate;
Soon all my hopes I fadly find
Dash'd by some sudden turn of fate,
Thus all my hopes I find are vaiu;
I only rise to fall again.
No more, fond youth, direct thy aims
At what thou ne'er must truly know;
A love fo pure heav'n only claims,
Unrivald by the joys below,
There thou wilt find—what here thou'lt miss,
A lasting portion and fubftantial bliss.
HE tender friendship still has charms,
The foothing tear and plaintive figh;
Grateful and generous those alarms
That swell my heart when thou art nigh.
Then cease, Villroy, such gentle care,
Nor seek thy Mira's life to lave :
Rather send forth thy pious pray'r,
To take her peaceful to the grave.
Wrote to an admirable Lady under misfortunes and undeserved con
meet affliction with a scorn divine,
Calm to encounter calumny and pain,
While fixt in conscious virtue you remain.
So much in sentiments your mind transcends,
That few have sentiments to be your friends.
Amidst that few-oh! let the Muse be plac'd,
In fortune humble, but refin'd in taste.
I see your worth, your merit I adore,
And court your smile when fortune smiles no more.
Can there be anguish where such sweetness dwells,
Where Phæbus vilits our sequefter'd cells;
Where sense, and worth, and elegance can chuse,
To kill one moment with the suf'ring Muse ?
Let this to reptiles be the scourge of vice,
While you enrich it, 'tis a paradise.
Permit this tribute, when the hand of fate
Shall waft my spirit to it's wish'd for state:
When persecution, with an iron rod,
Frees me from man, and gives me to my God.
Let this convince th' abject of human race,
I honour dignity, and scorn the base.
Not all the glitt'ring mammon of Peru
Could force these lays that Nature gives to you.
And when your bard, unbidden, I commence,
I raise one monument to prove my sense.
O'Wrap me. in thy fequeftar'a thade,
H! Solitude ! Celestial maid !
And all my soul employ!
Froin folly, ignorance, and lirifę,
From all the giddy whirls of life!
And loud un meaning joy!
While in the statesman's glowing dream,
Fancy pourtrays the high-wrought scheme,
And plans a future fame;
What is the phantom he pursųes!
What the advantage that accrues!
Alas! an empty name!
To him, the grove no pleasure yields,
Nor mofly bank, nor verdant fields,
Nor daily painted lawns;
In vain the ambrosial gale invites,
In vain all Nature sheds delights;
Her genuine charms ne fcorns!
Pleasure allures the giddy throng,
The gay, the vain, the fair, the young,
All bend before her thrine!
She spreads around delufive fnares,
The borrow'd garb of bliss she wears,
And tempts in form divine!
Fashion, with wild tyrannic sway,
Directs the businefs of the day,
And reigns without controul;
The beaux and 1parkling belles confefs,
She animates the modes of dress,
And chains the winning foul!
Can there, the Naves of fashion's pow'r,
Enjoy the filent, tranquil hour,
And bloom with Nature's glow?
Or, to the votaries of lenfe
Can Solitude her sweets dispense,
And happiness beltow?
How wretchel that unfurnish d mind,
Which, to each vain pursuit inclind,
Is ever bent to roam?
Oh! be that restless state abhorrid,
Seek not for happiness abroad,
She's only found at home!
Ye sages, who with anxious care,
Rov'd thro' the fleeting tracts of air,
A vacuum to find;
Wiser had ye employ'd your skill,
With solid sense, and worth, to fill
The vacuum of the mind!
Let choice, not wrinkled spleen engage
The mind, to quit the world's gay ftage,
Where folly's scenes are play'd;
Sour discontent, and pining care,
Attaint the fragrance of the air,
Disturb the filent shade.
Not wounded by misfortune's dart,
I seek to ease the rankling smart
Of thorny-feft'ring woe;
But far remote from crowds and noise,
To reap fair virtue's placid joys;
In wisdom's foil they grow.
I ask not pageant pomp nor wealth,
For bleft with competence and health,
'Twere folly to be great!
May I thro' life ferenely slide,
As yon clear streams, which filent glide,
Nor quit this lov'd retreat.
Beneath this leafy arch réclin d,
I taste more true content of mind,
Than frolick mirth can give ;
Here, to the busy world unknown,
I feel each blissful hour my own,
And learn the art to live!
While turning nature's volume o'er,
Fresh beauties rise, unseen before,
To strike th' astonish'd soul!
Our mental harmony improves,
To mark each planet how it moves,
How all in order roll!
From nature's fix d unerring laws,
I'm lifted to th' Eternal Cause,
Which moves this lifeless clod!
This wondrous frame, this vast design,
Proclaims the workmanthip divine,
The architect, a God!
Oh! sacred bliss; thy paths to trace,
And happiest they of human race,
To whom this pow'r is given.
Each day, in some delightful shades,
By contemplation's fofi'ring aid,
To plume the soul for heaven!