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RURAL ELEGA

ELEGANCE: An ODE to the Duchess of SOMERSET

Written in 1750

By WILLIAM SHENSTONE, Esq;

W

I.
HILE orient sies restore the day,
And dew-drops catch the lucid ray ;

Amid

a Frances, eldest daughter of the honourable Henry Thynne, only son of Thomas first Viscount Weymouth. She was married to Algernon Earl of Hertford afterwards Duke of Somerset, and died at Percy Lodge VOL. V. A

July

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Amid the sprightly scenes of morn,

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

That drowns the sacred lyre!

II.

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Ye rural thanes that o'er the moffy down

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

Say, does the smooth 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.

a

July 7, 1754. She was the intimate friend of Mrs. Rowe, on whose death the wrote some verses, and likewise was author of the Epiftles figned Cleora, in the Collection of Letters from the Living to the Dead. Mr. Walpole lays, the had as much tate for the writings of others as anodefty about her own.

IV. Nor alone;

:

O may

IV.
Nor yet, ye fwains, conclude
That Nature finiles for

you
Your bounded fouls, and your conceptions crude,

The proud, the selfish boast disown :
Yours be the produce of the soil !
it still reward

your toil!
Nor ever the defenceless train
Of clinging infants, ask support in vain!

V.
But though the various harvest gild your plains,

Does the mere landscape feast your eye?
Or the warm hope of distant gains

Far other cause of gee supply?
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 though, the pebbled fhores among,

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

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

Unmor'd the mountains airy pile,
The dappled mead without a lirile.

O let

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

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

VII.
nor yet ye learn'd, nor 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 she pleases kind or coy,
Who furnishes the scene, and forms us to enjoy.

VIII.
Then hither bring the fair ingenuous mind,
By her auspicious aid refin’d;
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 dath their foaming tides,

The mountain swells, the dalé fubfides ;
Ev'n thriftless furze detains their wandering light,
And the rough barren rock grows pregnant with delight.

IX. With

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