An Inscription

Thomas Warton

In a hermitage at Ansley Hall, Warwickshire

Beneath this stony roof reclined,
I soothe to peace my pensive mind;
And while, to shade my lowly cave,
Embowering elms their umbrage wave.
And while the maple dish is mine,
The beechen cup unstained with wine.
I scorn the gay licentious crowd,
Nor heed the toys that deck the proud.
Within my limits lone and still
The blackbird pipes in artless trill;
Fast by my couch, congenial guest,
The wren has wove her mossy nest;
From busy scenes and brighter skies
To lurk with innocence she flies;
Here hopes in safe repose to dwell,
Nor aught suspects the sylvan cell.
At mom I take my 'customed round
To mark how buds yon shrubby mound,
And every opening primrose count
That trimly paints my blooming mount;
Or o'er the sculptures quaint and nide,
That grace my gloomy solitude,
I teach in winding wreaths to stray
Fantastic ivy's gadding spray.
At eve, within yon studious nook
I ope my brass-embossed book,
Portrayed with many a golden deed,
Martyrs crowned with heavenly meed;
Then as my taper waxes dim
Chaunt ere I sleep my measured hymn.
And at the close the gleams behold
Of parting wings bedropt with gold.
While such pure joys my bliss create.
Who but would smile at guilty state ?
Who but would wish his holy lot
In calm oblivion's humble grot?
Who but would cast his pomp away
To take my staff and amice gray.
And to the world's tumultuous stage
Prefer the blameless hermitage?

The original Ansley Hall was built in the early 18th century. John Ludford enclosed Ansley Park in 1750. In the 19th century, the house was taken over by the Philips family, who owned the nearby Ansley Hall coal mine and brickworks. By the 1970s the house had fallen into disrepair and was demolished.