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William Cowper (1731-1800)

The Shrubbery


              1  Oh happy shades--to me unblest!
              2    Friendly to peace, but not to me!
              3How ill the scene that offers rest,
              4    And heart that cannot rest, agree!

              5  This glassy stream, that spreading pine,
              6    Those alders quiv'ring to the breeze,
              7Might sooth a soul less hurt than mine,
              8    And please, if any thing could please.

              9  But fix'd unalterable care
            10    Foregoes not what she feels within,
            11Shows the same sadness ev'rywhere,
            12    And slights the season and the scene.

            13  For all that pleas'd in wood or lawn,
            14    While peace possess'd these silent bow'rs,
            15Her animating smile withdrawn,
            16    Has lost its beauties and its pow'rs.

            17  The saint or moralist should tread
            18    This moss-grown alley, musing, slow;
            19They seek, like me, the secret shade,
            20    But not, like me, to nourish woe!

            21  Me fruitful scenes and prospects waste
            22    Alike admonish not to roam;
            23These tell me of enjoyments past,
            24    And those of sorrows yet to come.


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: William Cowper, Poems (London: J. Johnson, 1782-85). 2 vols. B-10 5366 Fisher Rare Book Library (Toronto).
First publication date: 1782
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP 2.745.
Recent editing: 4:2002/2/12

Composition date: 1773
Form: Long Measure
Rhyme: abab


Other poems by William Cowper