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William Shenstone (Уильям Шенстон)


To the Virtuosi


Hail curious Wights! to whom so fair
The form of mortal flies is!
Who deem those grubs beyond compare,
Which common sense despises.

Whether o'er hill, morass or mound,
You make your sportsman sallies;
Or that your prey, in gardens found
Is urged through walks and alleys,

Yet, in the fury of the chase,
No slope could e'er retard you;
Blest, if one fly repay the race,
Or painted wing reward you.

Fierce as Camilla, o'er the plain,
Pursued the glittering stranger;
Still ey'd the purple's pleasing stain,
And knew not fear nor danger.

'Tis you dispense the favourite meat
To nature's filmy people;
Know what conserves they choose to eat,
And what liqueurs, to tipple.

And, if her brood of insects dies,
You sage assistance lend her;
Can stoop to pimp for amorous flies,
And help them to engender.

'Tis you protect their pregnant hour;
And when the birth's at hand,
Exerting your obstetric power,
Prevent a mothless land.

Yet oh! however your towering view
Above gross objects rises;
Whate'er refinements you pursue,
Hear, what a friend advises.

A friend, who, weigh'd with yours, must prize
Domitian's idle passion;
That wrought the death of teasing flies,
But ne'er their propagation.

Let Flavia's eyes more deeply warm,
Nor thus your hearts determine,
To slight Dame Nature's fairest form,
And sigh for nature's vermin.

And speak with some respect of beaus;
No more, as triflers, treat them;
'Tis better learn to save one's clothes,
Than cherish moths that eat them. 



William Shenstone's other poems:
  1. A Simile
  2. The Skylark
  3. A Pastoral Ballad
  4. Hint from Voiture
  5. The Landskip


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