[Page 142]

To a LADY, sent with a Present of Shells and Stones design'd for a GROTTO.

1 WIth gifts like these, the spoils of neighb'ring shores,
2 The Indian swain his sable love adores,
3 Off'rings well suited to the dusky shrine
4 Of his rude goddess, but unworthy mine:
5 And yet they seem not such a worthless prize,
6 If nicely view'd by philosophick eyes:
7 And such are yours, that nature's works admire
8 With warmth like that, which they themselves inspire.
9 To such how fair appears each grain of sand,
10 Or humblest weed, as wrought by nature's hand!
11 How far superior to all human pow'r
12 Springs the green blade, or buds the painted flow'r!
13 In all her births, tho' of the meanest kinds,
14 A just observer entertainment finds,
15 With fond delight her low productions sees,
16 And how she gently rises by degrees;
17 A shell, or stone he can with pleasure view,
18 Hence trace her noblest works, the heav'ns and you.
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19 Behold how bright these gaudy trifles shine,
20 The lovely sportings of a hand divine!
21 See with what art each curious shell is made,
22 Here carv'd in fret-work, there with pearl inlaid!
23 What vivid streaks th' enamel'd stones adorn,
24 Fair as the paintings of the purple morn!
25 Yet still not half their charms can reach our eyes,
26 While thus confus'd the sparkling Chaos lies;
27 Doubly they'll please, when in your Grotto plac'd,
28 They plainly speak the fair disposer's taste;
29 Then glories yet unseen shall o'er them rise,
30 New order from your hand, new lustre from your eyes.
31 How sweet, how charming will appear this Grot,
32 When by your art to full perfection brought!
33 Here verdant plants, and blooming flow'rs will grow,
34 There bubbling currents through the shell-work flow;
35 Here coral mix'd with shells of various dies,
36 There polish'd stone will charm our wond'ring eyes;
37 Delightful bow'r of bliss! secure retreat!
38 Fit for the Muses, and STATIRA'S seat.
39 But still how good must be that fair-one's mind,
40 Who thus in solitude can pleasure find!
41 The Muse her company, good-sense her guide,
42 Resistless charms her pow'r, but not her pride;
43 Who thus forsakes the town, the park, and play,
44 In silent shades to pass her hours away;
45 Who better likes to breathe fresh country air,
46 Than ride imprison'd in a velvet chair,
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47 And makes the warbling nightingale her choice,
48 Before the thrills of FARINELLI'S voice;
49 Prefers her books, and conscience void of ill,
50 To consorts, balls, assemblies, and quadrille:
51 Sweet bow'rs more pleas'd, than gilded chariots sees,
52 For groves the play-house quits, and beaus for trees.
53 Blest is the man, whom heav'n shall grant one hour
54 With such a lovely nymph, in such a lovely bow'r.

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    About this text

    Title (in Source Edition): To a LADY, sent with a Present of Shells and Stones design'd for a GROTTO.
    Author: Soame Jenyns
    Themes: nature
    Genres: heroic couplet; epistle
    References: DMI 22679

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    A Collection of Poems in Six Volumes. By Several Hands. Vol. III. London: printed by J. Hughs, for R. and J. Dodsley, 1763 [1st ed. 1758], pp. 142-144. 6v.: music; 8⁰. (ESTC T131163; OTA K104099.003) (Page images digitized by the Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive from a copy in the archive's library.)

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