Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

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

MY banks they are furnished with bees,
  Whose murmur invites one to sleep;
My grottoes are shaded with trees,
  And my hills are white over with sheep.
I seldom have met with a loss,        5
  Such health do my fountains bestow,—
My fountains, all bordered with moss,
  Where the harebells and violets grow.
Not a pine in my grove is there seen
  But with tendrils of woodbine is bound;        10
Not a beech’s more beautiful green
  But a sweetbrier entwines it around;
Not my fields, in the prime of the year,
  More charms than my cattle unfold;
Not a brook that is limpid and clear,        15
  But it glitters with fishes of gold.
One would think she might like to retire
  To the bower I have labored to rear;
Not a shrub that I heard her admire,
  But I hasted and planted it there.        20
Oh, how sudden the jessamine strove
  With the lilac to render it gay!
Already it calls for my love
  To prune the wild branches away.
From the plain, from the woodlands and groves,        25
  What strains of wild melody flow!
How the nightingales warble their loves
  From thickets of roses that blow!
And when her bright form shall appear,
  Each bird shall harmoniously join        30
In a concert so soft and so clear
  As—she may not be fond to resign.
I have found out a gift for my fair:
  I have found where the wood-pigeons breed—
But let me that plunder forbear,        35
  She will say ’twas a barbarous deed:
For he ne’er could be true, she averred,
  Who could rob a poor bird of its young;
And I loved her the more when I heard
  Such tenderness fall from her tongue.        40
I have heard her with sweetness unfold
  How that pity was due to—a dove;
That it ever attended the bold,
  And she called it the sister of Love.
But her words such a pleasure convey,        45
  So much I her accents adore,—
Let her speak, and whatever she say,
  Methinks I should love her the more.
Can a bosom so gentle remain
  Unmoved when her Corydon sighs?        50
Will a nymph that is fond of the plain,
  These plains and this valley despise?
Dear regions of silence and shade!
  Soft scenes of contentment and ease!
Where I could have pleasingly strayed—        55
  If aught in her absence could please.
But where does my Phyllida stray?
  And where are her grots and her bowers?
Are the groves and the valleys as gay,
  And the shepherds as gentle as ours?        60
The groves may perhaps be as fair,
  And the face of the valleys as fine;
The swains may in manners compare,
  But their love is not equal to mine.

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