William Shenstone

(1714 - 1763 / England)

Comparison


'Tis by comparison we know
On every object to bestow
Its proper share of praise
Did each alike perfection bear,
What beauty, though divinely fair,
Could admiration raise?

Amidst the lucid bands of night,
See! Hesperus, serenely bright,
Adorns the distant skies:
But languishes amidst the blaze
Of sprightly Sol's meridian rays,-
Or Silvia's brighter eyes.

Whene'er the nightingale complains,
I like the melancholy strains,
And praise the tuneful bird:
But vainly might she strain her throat,
Vainly exalt each swelling note,
Should Silvia's voice be heard.

When, on the violet's purple bed,
Supine I rest my weary head,
The fragrant pillow charms:
Yet soon such languid bliss I'd fly,
Would Silvia but the loss supply,
And take me to her arms.

The alabaster's wondrous white,
The marble's polish strikes my sight,
When Silvia is not seen:
But ah! how faint that white is grown,
How rough appears the polish'd stone,
Compared with Silvia's mien!

The rose, that o'er the Cyprian plains,
With flowers enamell'd, blooming reigns,
With undisputed power,
Placed near her cheek's celestial red
(Its purple lost, its lustre fled),
Delights the sense no more.

Submitted: Monday, April 19, 2010

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