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RURAL

ELEGANCE:

An ODE to the late Duchess of Somerset.

Written 1750.

By WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Esg;

WHIL

I.
HILE orient skies restore the day,

And dew-drops catch the lucid ray;
Amid the sprightly scenes of morn,

Will aught the Muse inspire ?
Oh! peace to yonder clamorous horn

That drowns the sacred lyre !
Vol. V.

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II. Ye

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II.
Ye rural Thanes that o'er the moffy down

Some panting, timorous hare pursue ;
Does nature mean your joys alone to crown?

Say, does she smoothe her lawns for you?
For you does Echo bid the rocks reply,
And urg'd by rude constraint resound the jovial cry.

III.
See from the neighbouring hill, forlorn

The wretched fwain your sport survey ;
He finds his faithful fences torn,

He finds his labour'd crops a prey ;
He sees his flock—no more in circles feed;

Haply beneath your ravage bleed,
And with no random curses loads the deed.

IV.
Nor yet, ye fwains, conclude

That Nature smiles for you alone;
Your bounded fouls, and your conceptions crude,

The proud, the selfish boast disown:
Yours be the produce of the foil;
O may it still reward your toil!

Nor ever the defencejess train
Of clinging infants, ask support in vain !

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But tho' the various harvest gild your plains,

Does the mere landschape feast your eye?
Or the warm hope of distant gains
Far other cause of glee supply?

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Is not the red-ftreak's future juice

The source of your delight profound,
Where Ariconium pours her gems profuse,

Purpling a whole horizon round?
Athirst ye praise the limpid stream, 'tis true :

But tho', the pebbled fhores among,

It mimick no unpleasing song,
The limpid fountain murmurs not for you.

VI.
Unpleas'd ye see the thickets bloom,
Unpleas'd the Spring her flowery robe resume;

Unmov'd the mountain's airy pile,
The dappled mead without a smile.

O let a rural conscious Muse,
For well she knows, your froward sense accuse :

Forth to the solemn oak you bring the square,
And span the maffy trunk, before you cry, 'tis fair,

VII.
Nor yet ye learn'd, not yet ye courtly train,

If haply from your haunts ye stray
To waste with us a summer's day,
Exclude the taste of every swain,

Nor our untutor'd sense disdain :
'Tis Nature only gives exclusive right

To relish her fupreme delight;
She, where the pleases kind or coy,
Who furnishes the scene, and forms us to enjoy.

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VIII. Then

VIII.
Then higher bring the fair ingenuous mind,
By her auspicious aid refind;
Lo! not an hedge-row hawthorn blows,

Or humble hare-bell paints the plain,
Or valley winds, or fountain flows,

Or purple heath is ting'd in vain :
For such the rivers dash their foaming tides,

The mountain swells, the dale subsides;
Ev'n thriftless furze detains their wandering fight,
And the rough barren rock grows pregnant with delight.

IX.
With what suspicious fearful care

The sordid wretch secures his claim,
If haply fome luxurious heir

Should alienate the fields that wear his name!
What scruples left some future birth

Should litigate a span of earth!
Bonds, contracts, feoffments, names unmeet for prose,
The towering Mufe endures not to disclose;

Alas! her unrevers'd decree,

More comprehensive and more free,
Her lavish charter, Taste, appropriates all we see.

X.
Let gondolas their painted flags unfold,
And be the folemn day enroll'd,

When,

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