Biography of William Shenstone
Born in 1714 in Halesowen (now Worcestershire) England living at the family home 'The Leasowes'. Halesowen, which, up to the early years of the 18th century was in part of Shropshire. He was educated at Solihull Grammar School, where he met and became firm friends with the future poet Richard Jago, before going on to study at Pembroke College, Oxford, but without taking a degree. On inheriting 'The Leasowes' he spent much time and money on landscaping the estate.
He was a poet of diverse taste, his father recognising his talent when a young boy, had strived to send his son to Oxford to study theology but William showed no real interest, preferring poetry, odes, elegies, ballads and correspondence of which he was particularly proud.
Shenstone's work is somewhat self-conscious and pretty and is scarcely remembered today, with the possible exception of the pastoral poem The Schoolmistress (1742), written in the style of Edmund Spenser. This was praised by Dr. Johnson and Thomas Gray, the latter's Elegy written in a country churchyard (1751) being in a similar style.
William Shenstone died in 1763.
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William Shenstone Poems
Ye birds! for whom I rear'd the grove, With melting lay salute my love; My Daphne with your notes detain, Or I have rear'd my grove in vain.
An Irregular Ode, After Sickness
-Melius, bunny venerit ipsa, canemus. -Virg. Imitation.
A Pastoral Ballad Ii: Hope
My banks they are furnish'd with bees, Whose murmur invites one to sleep; My grottos are shaded with trees, And my hills are white-over with sheep.
The Judgement Of Hercules
While blooming Spring descends from genial skies, By whose mild influence instant wonders rise; From whose soft breath Elysian beauties flow;
The School-Mistress. In Imitation Of Spe...
Auditæ voces, vagitus et ingens,Infantunque animæ flentes in limine primo. Virg.ADVERTISEMENT What particulars in Spenser were imagined most proper for the author's imitationon this occasion, are his language, his simplicity, his manner of description,and a peculiar tenderness of sentiment remarkable throughout his works. Ah me! full sorely is my heart forlorn, To think how modest worth neglected lies;
A Pastoral Ballad I: Absence
Arbusta humilesque myricæ. Virg. Ye shepherds so chearful and gay,
What village but has sometimes seen The clumsy shape, the frightful mien, Tremendous claws, and shagged hair Of that grim brute yclept a bear?
A Pastoral Ode. To The Hon. Sir Richard ...
The morn dispensed a dubious light, A sudden mist had stolen from sight Each pleasing vale and hill; When Damon left his humble bowers,
A Pastoral Ballad Iv: Disappointment
Ye shepherds give ear to my lay, And take no more heed of my sheep: They have nothing to do but to stray; I have nothing to do but to weep.
Epilogue - To The Tragedy Of Cleone
Well, Ladies-so much for the tragic style- And now the custom is to make you smile. To make us smile!-methinks I hear you say-
Ode, Written 1739
'Twas not by beauty's aid alone That Love usurp'd his airy throne, His boasted power display'd;
Why o'er the verdant banks of Ouse Does yonder Halcyon speed so fast? 'Tis all because she would not lose Her favourite calm, that will not last.
Ode To A Young Lady
[Somewhat Too Solicitious about Her Manner of Expression] Survey, my fair! that lucid stream, Adown the smiling valley stray;
Colemira. A Culinary Eclogue
Nec tantum Veneris, quantum studiosa culinae. Imitation. Insensible of soft desire,
What village but has sometimes seen
The clumsy shape, the frightful mien,
Tremendous claws, and shagged hair
Of that grim brute yclept a bear?
He from his dam the learn'd agree,
Received the curious form you see;
Who with her plastic tongue alone,
Produced a visage-like her own-
And thus they hint, in mystic fashion,