Verse > Anthologies > Hunt and Lee, eds. > The Book of the Sonnet
Hunt and Lee, comps.  The Book of the Sonnet.  1867.
II. After Seeing the Collection of Pictures at Wilton House
By Thomas Warton (1728–1790)
FROM Pembroke’s princely dome, where mimic Art
  Decks with a magic hand the dazzling bowers,
  Its living hues where the warm pencil pours,
  And breathing forms from the rude marble start—
How to life’s humbler scene can I depart,        5
  My breast all glowing from these gorgeous towers?
  In my low cell how cheat the sullen hours?
  Vain the complaint; for Fancy can impart
(To Fate superior, and to Fortune’s doom)
  Whate’er adorns the stately-storied hall.        10
She, ’mid the dungeon’s solitary gloom,
  Can dress the Graces in their Attic pall;
Bid the green landscape’s vernal beauty bloom,
  And in bright trophies clothe the twilight wall. 1
Note 1. This sonnet, though containing several commonplace expressions, has been justly admired, both for its language in other respects, and for the truthfulness of its feeling. But the author would have given it an additional grace, if he had written a companion sonnet, informing us what verse it was that set the first lines of it flowing; to wit, his father’s,—another Thomas Warton, also—like himself—Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and worthy estimator of a student’s modest apartments. The main thought in the two poems is not the same, but there is a similar impression of contrast and contentment, and the father’s exordium in particular was evidently in the mind of the son. The effusion of the elder Warton is so pleasing, and records a feeling with which so many persons can sympathize, that although its power is but on a par with the unambitiousness of the subject, I think the reader will not be sorry to have it repeated.

“From beauteous Windsor’s high and storied halls,
  Where Edward’s chiefs start from the glowing walls,
To my low cot from ivory beds of state,
  Pleased I return unenvious of the great.
So the bee ranges o’er the varied scenes
  Of corn, of heaths, of fallows, and of greens,
Pervades the thicket, soars above the hill,
  Or murmurs to the meadow’s murmuring rill,
Now haunts old hollowed oaks, deserted cells,
  Now seeks the low vale lily’s silver bells,
Sips the warm fragrance of the greenhouse bowers,
  And tastes the myrtle and the citron’s flowers;
At length returning to the wonted comb,
  Prefers to all his little straw-built home.”

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