On L[ord] H[olland]'s Seat Near M[argate], K[ent]

Thomas Gray

Old and abandoned by each venal friend,
Here H[olland] took the pious resolution
To smuggle some few years and strive to mend
A broken character and constitution.
On this congenial spot he fixed his choice;
Earl Godwin trembled for his neighbouring sand;
Here sea-gulls scream and cormorants rejoice,
And mariners, though shipwrecked, dread to land.
Here reign the blustering North and blighting East,
No tree is heard to whisper, bird to sing:
Yet nature cannot furnish out the feast,
Art he invokes new horrors still to bring.
Now mouldering fanes and battlements arise,
Arches and turrets nodding to their fall,
Unpeopled palaces delude his eyes,
And mimic desolation covers all.
"Ah", said the sighing peer, "had Bute been true,
Nor Shelburne's, Rigby's, Calcraft's friendship vain,
Far other scenes than these had blessed our view
And realised the ruins that we feign.
Purged by the sword and beautified by fire,
Then had we seen proud London's hated walls:
Owls might have hooted in St Peter's choir,
And foxes stunk and littered in St Paul's."