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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
 
Much Taste and Small Estate
By William Shenstone (1714–1763)
 
From ‘The Progress of Taste’

SEE yonder hill, so green, so round,
Its brow with ambient beeches crowned!
’Twould well become thy gentle care
To raise a dome to Venus there:
Pleased would the nymphs thy zeal survey;        5
And Venus, in their arms, repay.
’Twas such a shade, and such a nook
In such a vale, near such a brook
From such a rocky fragment springing,
That famed Apollo chose, to sing in.        10
There let an altar wrought with art
Engage thy tuneful patron’s heart:
How charming there to muse and warble
Beneath his bust of breathing marble!
With laurel wreath and mimic lyre        15
That crown a poet’s vast desire.
Then, near it, scoop the vaulted cell
Where Music’s charming maids may dwell;
Prone to indulge thy tender passion,
And make thee many an assignation.        20
Deep in the grove’s obscure retreat
Be placed Minerva’s sacred seat;
There let her awful turrets rise
(For Wisdom flies from vulgar eyes):
There her calm dictates shalt thou hear        25
Distinctly strike thy listening ear;
And who would shun the pleasing labor
To have Minerva for his neighbor?…
But did the Muses haunt his cell?
Or in his dome did Venus dwell?        30
Did Pallas in his counsels share?
The Delian god reward his prayer?
Or did his zeal engage the fair?
When all the structures shone complete,—
Not much convenient, wondrous neat;        35
Adorned with gilding, painting, planting,
And the fair guests alone were wanting,—
Ah me! (’twas Damon’s own confession),
Came Poverty and took possession.
 
 
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