William Shenstone

Here you will find the Poem Ode, written 1739 of poet William Shenstone

Ode, written 1739

Urit spes animi credula mutui.-Hor.


Fond hope of a reciprocal desire
Inflames the breast.

'Twas not by beauty's aid alone
That Love usurp'd his airy throne,
His boasted power display'd;
'Tis kindness that secures his aim,
'Tis hope that feeds the kindling flame
Which beauty first convey'd.

In Clara's eyes the lightning view;
Her lips with all the rose's hue
Have all its sweets combined;
Yet vain the blush, and faint the fire,
Till lips at once, and eyes, conspire
To prove the charmer kind--

Though wit might gild the tempting snare
With softest accent, sweetest air,
By envy's self admired;
If Lesbia's wit betray'd her scorn,
In vain might every Grace adorn
What every Muse inspired.

Thus airy Strephon tuned his lyre-
He scorn'd the pangs of wild desire,
Which lovesick swains endure;
Resolved to brave the keenest dart,
Since frowns could never wound his heart;
And smiles-must ever cure.

But, ah! how false these maxims prove,
How frail security from love,
Experience hourly shows;
Love can imagined smiles supply;
On every charming lip and eye
Eternal sweets bestows.

In vain we trust the fair one's eyes;
In vain the sage explores the skies,
To learn from stars his fate;
Till, led by fancy wide astray,
He finds no planet mark his way;
Convinced and wise-too late.

As partial to their words we prove,
Then boldly join the lists of love,
With towering hopes supplied:
So heroes, taught by doubtful shrines,
Mistook their deity's designs;
Then took the field-and died.