Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Ode to Indolence

William Shenstone (1714-1763), Ode to Indolence:
Ah! why for ever on the wing
Persists my wearied soul to roam?
Why, ever cheated, strives to bring
Or pleasure or contentment home?

Thus the poor bird, that draws his name
From Paradise's honour'd groves,
Careless fatigues his little frame,
Nor finds the resting-place he loves.

Lo! on the rural mossy bed
My limbs with careless ease reclined;
Ah, gentle Sloth! indulgent spread
The same soft bandage o'er my mind.

For why should lingering thought invade,
Yet every worldly prospect cloy?
Lend me, soft Sloth! thy friendly aid,
And give me peace, debarr'd of joy.

Lov'st thou yon calm and silent flood,
That never ebbs, that never flows;
Protected by the circling wood
From each tempestuous wind that blows?

An altar on its bank shall rise,
Where oft thy votary shall be found;
What time pale Autumn lulls the skies,
And sickening verdure fades around.

Ye busy Race! ye factious Train!
That haunt ambition's guilty shrine;
No more perplex the world in vain,
But offer here your vows with mine.

And thou, puissant Queen! be kind:
If e'er I shared thy balmy power,
If e'er I sway'd my active mind
To weave for thee the rural bower;

Dissolve in sleep each anxious care;
Each unavailing sigh remove;
And only let me wake to share
The sweets of friendship and of love.
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