Elegy Xix. - Written In Spring, 1743 Poem Rhyme Scheme and Analysis


Again the labouring hind inverts the soilA
Again the merchant ploughs the tumid waveB
Another spring renews the soldier's toilA
And finds me vacant in the rural caveB
As the soft lyre display'd my wonted lovesC
The pensive pleasure and the tender painD
The sordid Alpheus hurried through my grovesE
Yet stopp'd to vent the dictates of disdainD
He glanced contemptuous o'er my ruin'd foldF
He blamed the graces of my favourite bowerG
My breast unsullied by the lust of goldF
My time unlavish'd in pursuit of powerG
Yes Alpheus fly the purer paths of FateH
Abjure these scenes from venal passions freeI
Know in this grove I vow'd perpetual hateH
War endless war with lucre and with theeI
Here nobly zealous in my youthful hoursJ
I dress'd an altar to Thalia's nameK
Here as I crown'd the verdant shrine with flowersJ
Soft on my labours stole the smiling dameK
'Damon ' she cried 'if pleased with honest praiseL
Thou court success by virtue or by songM
Fly the false dictates of the venal raceN
Fly the gross accents of the venal tongueO
'Swear that no lucre shall thy zeal betrayP
Swerve not thy foot with fortune's votaries moreQ
Brand thou their lives and brand their lifeless day '-
The winning phantom urged me and I sworeQ
Forth from the rustic altar swift I stray'dR
'Aid my firm purpose ye celestial PowersJ
Aid me to quell the sordid breast ' I saidS
And threw my javelin towards their hostile towersJ
Think not regretful I survey the deedT
Or added years no more the zeal allowU
Still still observant to the grove I speedT
The shrine embellish and repeat the vowU
Sworn from his cradle Rome's relentless foeV
Such generous hate the Punic champion boreQ
Thy lake O Thrasimene beheld it glowV
And Cannae's walls and Trebia's crimson shoreQ
But let grave annals paint the warrior's fameK
Fair shine his arms in history enroll'dF
Whilst humbler lyres his civil worth proclaimK
His nobler hate of avarice and goldF
Now Punic pride its final eve survey'dR
Its hosts exhausted and its fleets on fireG
Patient the victor's lucid frown obey'dR
And saw th' unwilling elephants retireW
But when their gold depress'd the yielding scaleX
Their gold in pyramidic plenty piledY
He saw the unutterable grief prevailX
He saw their tears and in his fury smiledY
'Think not ' he cried 'ye view the smiles of easeZ
Or this firm breast disclaims a patriot's painD
I smile but from a soul estranged to peaceA2
Frantic with grief delirious with disdainD
'But were it cordial this detested smileB2
Seems it less timely than the grief ye showV
O Sons of Carthage grant me to revileB2
The sordid source of your indecent woeV
'Why weep ye now ye saw with tearless eyeC2
When your fleet perish'd on the Punic waveB
Where lurk'd the coward tear the lazy sighC2
When Tyre's imperial state commenced a slaveB
''Tis past O Carthage vanquish'd honour'd shadeR
Go the mean sorrows of thy sons deploreQ
Had freedom shared the vow to Fortune paidR
She ne'er like Fortune had forsook thy shore '-
He ceased abash'd the conscious audience hearD2
Their pallid cheeks a crimson blush unfoldF
Yet o'er that virtuous blush distreams a tearE2
And falling moistens their abandon'd goldF

William Shenstone


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