John Bampfylde (1754-1796)

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To the Evening

What numerous tribes beneath thy shadowy wing,
O mild and modest evening, find delight!
First, to the grove his lingering fair to bring,
The warm and youthful lover, hating light,
Sighs oft for thee. And next, the boisterous string
Of school-imps, freed from dame's all-dreaded sight,
Round village cross in many a wanton ring
Wishes thy stay. Then too with vasty might
From steeple's side to urge the bounding ball,
The lusty hinds await thy fragrant call.
I, general friend, by turns am joined with all,
Lover, and elfin gay, and harmless hind;
Nor heed the proud, to real wisdom blind,
So as my heart be pure, and free my mind.

Written at a Farm

Around my porch and lonely casement spread
The myrtle never sear and gadding vine
With fragrant sweetbriar love to intertwine;
And in my garden's box-encircled bed
The pansy pied and musk-rose white and red,
The pink, the lily chaste, and sweet woodbine
Fling odours round: thick woven eglantine
Decks my trim fence; in which, by silence led,
The wren hath wisely built her mossy cell,
Sheltered from storms in courtly land so rife,
And nestles over her young and warbles well.
'Tis here, with innocence in peaceful glen,
I pass my blameless moments, far from men;
Nor wishing death too soon, nor asking life.

To Mr. Warton, on Reading His History of English Poetry

It is not for Muse like mine, in rude essay,
To paint the beauties of thy classic page;
Which ay deserve far other patronage
Than the small meed sincere she fain would pay
Of verse, grave eulogy, or distich gay;
For that thou deignst inform this sapient age,
What ere was whilom told by tuneful sage,
Or harped in hall or bower on solemn day;
But more for that thy skill, the minstrel throng
Forbids in cold oblivion's arms to lie,
Dear long-lost masters of the British song,
They shall requite thee better far than I;
And other climes, and other shades among,
Weave thee a laureate wreath that never shall die.

In Praise of Delia

Cold is the senseless heart, that never strove
With the mild tumult of a real flame,
Rugged the breast that beauty cannot tame
Nor youth's enlivening graces teach to love.
The pathless vale, the long forsaken grove,
The rocky cave that bears the fair one's name,
With ivy mantled over. For empty fame
Let him amidst the rabble toil, or rove
For plunder far to western clime.
Give me to waste the hours in amorous play
With Delia, beauteous maid; or build the rhyme
Praising her flowing hair, her snowy arms,
And all that prodigality of charms
Formed to enslave my heart and grace my lay.