VERSES written towards the close of the Year 1748, to WILLIAM LYTTELTON, Esq;
1 HOW blithely pass'd the summer's day!
2 How bright was every flow'r!
3 While friends arriv'd, in circles gay,
4 To visit Damon's bow'r.
5 But now, with silent step, I range
6 Along some lonely shore;
7 And Damon's bow'r, alas the change!
8 Is gay with friends no more.
9 Away to crowds and cities borne
10 In quest of joy they steer;
11 Whilst I, alas! am left forlorn,
12 To weep the parting year!
13 O pensive Autumn! how I grieve
14 Thy sorrowing face to see!
15 When languid suns are taking leave
16 Of every drooping tree.
17 Ah let me not, with heavy eye,
18 This dying scene survey!
19 Haste, Winter, haste; usurp the sky;
20 Compleat my bow'r's decay.
21 Ill can I bear the motely cast
22 Yon' sickening leaves retain;
23 That speak at once of pleasure past,
24 And bode approaching pain.
25 At home unblest, I gaze around,
26 My distant scenes require;
27 Where all in murky vapours drown'd
28 Are hamlet, hill, and spire.
29 Tho' Thomson, sweet descriptive bard!
30 Inspiring Autumn sung;
31 Yet how should we the months regard,
32 That stopp'd his flowing tongue?
33 Ah luckless months, of all the rest,
34 To whose hard share it fell!
35 For sure he was the gentlest breast
36 That ever sung so well.
37 And see, the swallows now disown
38 The roofs they lov'd before;
39 Each, like his tuneful genius, flown
40 To glad some happier shore.
41 The wood-nymph eyes, with pale affright,
42 The sportsman's frantick deed;
43 While hounds and horns and yells unite
44 To drown the Muse's reed.
45 Ye fields with blighted herbage brown!
46 Ye skies no longer blue!
47 Too much we feel from fortune's frown,
48 To bear these frowns from you.
49 Where is the mead's unsullied green?
50 The zephyr's balmy gale?
51 And where sweet friendship's cordial mien,
52 That brighten'd every vale?
53 What tho' the vine disclose her dyes,
54 And boast her purple store;
55 Not all the vineyard's rich supplies
56 Can soothe our sorrows more.
57 He! he is gone, whose moral strain
58 Could wit and mirth refine;
59 He! he is gone, whose social vein
60 Surpass'd the pow'r of wine.
61 Fast by the streams he deign'd to praise,
62 In yon' sequester'd grove,
63 To him a votive urn I raise;
64 To him, and friendly love.
65 Yes there, my friend! forlorn and sad,
66 I grave your Thomson's name;
67 And there, his lyre; which fate forbad
68 To sound your growing fame.
69 There shall my plaintive song recount
70 Dark themes of hopeless woe;
71 And, faster than the dropping fount,
72 I'll teach mine eyes to flow.
73 There leaves, in spite of Autumn, green,
74 Shall shade the hallow'd ground;
75 And Spring will then again be seen,
76 To call forth flowers around.
77 But no kind suns will bid me share,
78 Once more, His social hour;
79 Ah Spring! thou never canst repair
80 This loss, to Damon's bow'r.
About this text
Title (in Source Edition): VERSES written towards the close of the Year 1748, to WILLIAM LYTTELTON, Esq;
Author: William Shenstone
Themes: time; weather
Genres: ballad metre; Chevy Chase stanza
References: DMI 26736
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The text has been typographically modernized, but without any silent modernization of spelling, capitalization, or punctuation. The source of the text is given and all editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. Based on the electronic text originally produced by the ECCO-TCP project, this ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 3.0.
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