William Shenstone

1714 - 1763 / England

Ode To A Young Lady

Survey, my fair! that lucid stream,
Adown the smiling valley stray;
Would Art attempt, or Fancy dream,
To regulate its winding way?

So pleas'd I view thy shining hair
In loose dishevell'd ringlets flow:
Not all thy art, not all thy care,
Can there one single grace bestow.

Survey again that verdant hill,
With native plants enamell'd o'er;
Say, can the painter's utmost skill
Instruct one flower to please us more?

As vain it were, with artful dye
To change the bloom thy cheeks disclose;
And oh may Laura, ere she try,
With fresh vermilion paint the rose.

Hark how the wood-lark's tuneful throat
Can every study'd grace excel;
Let Art constrain the rambling note,
And will she, Laura, please so well?

Oh ever keep thy native ease,
By no pedantic law confin'd!
For Laura's voice is form'd to please,
So Laura's words be not unkind.
247 Total read