TO WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Esq
The PRODUCTION of Half an Hour's Leisure.
1 HEALTH to the bard, in Leasowes' happy groves,
2 Health and sweet converse with the muse he loves!
3 The lowliest vot'ry of the tuneful Nine,
4 With trembling hand, attempts her artless line,
5 In numbers such as untaught nature brings,
6 As flow spontaneous, like the native springs.
7 But ah! what airy forms around me rise,
8 The russet mountain glows with richer dyes!
9 In circling dance a pigmy crowd appear,
10 And hark! an infant voice salutes my ear.
11 "Mortal, thy aim we know, thy task approve,
12 His merit honour, and his genius love;
13 For us what verdant carpets has he spread,
14 Where nightly we our mystic mazes tread!
15 For us each shady grove and rural seat,
16 His falling streams, and flowing numbers sweet.
17 Didst thou not mark amid the winding dell,
18 What tuneful verse adorns the root-wove cell? [Page 116]
19 That every Fairy of our sprightly train
20 Resorts, to bless the woodland, and the plain;
21 There, as we move, unbidden splendors glow,
22 The green turf brightens, and the flowrets flow.
23 There oft with thought sublime we bless the swain,
24 Nor we inspire, nor he attends in vain.
25 Go, simple rhymer, bear this message true,
26 The truths that Fairies dictate none shall rue.
27 Say to the bard, in Leasowes' happy grove,
28 Whom Dryads honour, and whom Fairies love —
29 Content thyself no longer that thy lays
30 By others foster'd, lend to others praise;
31 No longer to the fav'ring world refuse
32 The welcome treasures of thy polish'd muse;
33 Collect the flowers that own thy valu'd name,
34 Unite the spoil, and give the wreath to Fame.
35 Ne'er can thy morals, taste, or verse engage
36 More solid fame, than in this happier age;
37 When sense, when virtue's cherish'd by the throne,
38 And each illustrious privilege their own.
39 Tho' modest be thy gentle muse, I ween,
40 O, lead her, blushing, from the daisy'd green,
41 A fit attendant on Britannia's queen! "
42 Ye sportive Elves, as faithful I relate,
43 Th' entrusted mandates of your fairy state,
44 Visit these wilds again with nightly care,
45 So shall my kine, of all the herd, repair,
46 In healthy plight, to fill the copious pail;
47 My sheep be penn'd with safety in the dale;[Page 117]
48 My poultry fear no robber in the roost;
49 My linen more than common whiteness boast;
50 Let order, peace, and housewif'ry be mine:
51 Shenstone! be taste, and fame, and fortune thine!