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SHENSTONE'S highest effort was his Schoolmistress.

extract :

In every village marked with little spire,

Embowered in trees, and hardly known to fame,
There dwells, in lowly shed and mean attire,

A matron old, whom we schoolmistress name,
Who boasts unruly brats with birch to tame;
They grieven sore, in piteous durance pent,

Awed by the power of this relentless dame;
And oft-times, on vagaries idly bent,

For unkempt hair, or task unconned, are sorely shent.

Here is an

And all in sight doth rise a birchen tree,

Which Learning near her little dome did stowe;
Whilom a twig of small regard to see,

Though now so wide its waving branches flow,
And work the simple vassals mickle woe:
For not a wind might curl the leaves that blew,

But their limbs shuddered, and their pulse beat low:
And as they looked, they found their horror grew,
And shaped it into rods, and tingled at the view.

Near to this dome is found a patch so green,

On which the tribe their gambols do display;
And at the door imprisoning board is seen,

Lest weakly wights of smaller size should stray,
Eager, perdie, to bask in sunny day!

The noises intermixed, which thence resound,
Do learning's little tenement betray;
Where sits the dame, disguised in look profound,
And eyes her fairy throng, and turns her wheel around.

Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,

Emblem right meet of decency does yield;

Her apron dyed in grain, as blue, I trow,

As is the hare-bell that adorns the field:
And in her hand, for sceptre, she does wield


Tway birchen sprays; with anxious fear entwined, With dark distrust, and sad repentance filled; And steadfast hate, and sharp affliction joined, And fury uncontrolled, and chastisement unkind.

A russet stole was o'er her shoulders thrown; A russet kirtle fenced the nipping air;

'Twas simple russet, but it was her own;

'Twas her own country bred the flock so fair! 'Twas her own labour did the fleece prepare ; And, sooth to say, her pupils, ranged around,

Through pious awe, did term it passing rare;
For they in gaping wonderment abound,

And think, no doubt, she been the greatest wight on ground.




In elbow-chair (like that of Scottish stem,

By the sharp tooth of cankering eld defaced,
In which, when he receives his diadem,

Our sovereign prince and liefest liege is placed)
The matron sat; and some with rank she graced
(The source of children's and of courtiers' pride!),
Redressed affronts, for vile affronts there passed;
And warned them not the fretful to deride,
But love each other dear, whatever them betide.

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Unlike most other poets, YOUNG preferred to dilate upon themes connected with the shady side of life, rather than its cheerful aspects. This gloomy proclivity of his pen is the more remarkable from the fact that he was, even to old age, far from being insensible to worldly influences and enjoyments. Schlegel thinks that he was affected in his misanthropy, and unnatural in his pathos. The following incident does not seem to conflict with that opinion :

Young was one day walking in his garden at Welwyn, in company with two ladies (one of whom he afterwards married); the servant came to acquaint him that a gentleman wished to speak with him. "Tell him," said the doctor, "I am too happily engaged to change my situation." The ladies insisted he should go, as his visitor was a man of rank, his patron and his friend; but as persuasion had no effect, one took him by the right arm and the other by the left, and led him to the garden gate; when, finding resistance

vain, he bowed, laid his hand upon his heart, and improvised the following lines:

Thus Adam looked, when from the garden driven,
And thus disputed orders sent from heaven:
Like him, I go, but yet to go I'm loath;
Like him, I go, for angels drove us both :
Hard was his fate, but mine still more unkind,—
His Eve went with him, but mine stays behind!

Notwithstanding the morbid spirit which pervades and overshadows most of his poetry, depriving it of much of its potency, yet it abounds with grand imagery, and is sustained by splendor of conception. The genius of Christianity is the patron of all that is joyous; she gilds the pathway of the present life with Heaven's own brightness, and makes even the clouds and darkness which hang over the grave, luminous with the rainbow of Hope. If the poet and moralist had but infused a little starlight into his Night Thoughts, they would have possessed a tenfold charm. It is said that his friend, the Duke of Wharton, sent him a human skull with a candle fixed in it, as the most fitting lamp for him during his nocturnal lucubrations. But we must cull a few passages from our author: and here is an apostrophe to Night :

O majestic night!

Nature's great ancestor! day's elder-born!
And fated to survive the transient sun!

By mortals and immortals seen with awe '

A starry crown thy raven brow adorns,

An azure zone thy waist; clouds, in heaven's loom
Wrought through varieties of shape and shade,

In ample folds of drapery divine,

Thy flowing mantle form, and, heaven throughout,
Voluminously pour thy pompous train:

Thy gloomy grandeurs-nature's most august,
Inspiring aspect!-claim a grateful verse;
And, like a sable curtain starred with gold,
Drawn o'er my labours past, shall clothe the scene.

Here are his impressive lines on Procrastination :

Be wise to-day: 'tis madness to defer;
Next day the fatal precedent will plead :
Thus on, till wisdom is pushed out of life.
Procrastination is the thief of time;

Year after year it steals, till all are fled,
And to the mercies of a moment leaves
The vast concerns of an eternal scene.
If not so frequent, would not this be strange?
That 'tis so frequent, this is stranger still!
Of man's miraculous mistakes, this bears
The palm,-that all men are about to live-
Forever on the brink of being born :
All pay themselves the compliment to think
They one day shall not drivel, and their pride
On this reversion takes up ready praise.




There are some noble thoughts in the following passage :—

How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,
How complicate, how wonderful is man!
How passing wonder He who made him such!
Who centred in our make such strange extremes,
From different natures marvellously mixt,
Connection exquisite of distant worlds!
Distinguished link in being's endless chain!
Midway from nothing to the Deity!

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