Taking a view of the Country from his Retirement

William Shenstone

Lord of my time, my devious path I bend
Thro' fringy woodland or smooth-shaven lawn,
Or pensile grove or airy cliff ascend,
And hail the scene by Nature's pencil drawn.

Thanks be to Fate—tho' nor the racy vine,
Nor fatt'ning olive clothe the fields I rove,
Sequester'd shades and gurgling founts are mine,
And ev'ry silvan grot the Muses love.

Here if my vista point the mould'ring pile,
Where hood and cowl Devotion's aspect wore,
I trace the tott'ring reliques with a smile,
To think the mental bondage is no more.

Pleas'd if the glowing landscape wave with corn,
Or the tall oaks, my country's bulwark, rise;
Pleas'd if mine eye, o'er thousand vallies borne,
Discern the Cambrian hills support the skies.

And see Plinlimmon! ev'n the youthful sight
Scales the proud hill's ethereal cliffs with pain!
Such, Caer-Caradoc! thy stupendous height,
Whose ample shade obscures th' Iernian main.

Bleak, joyless regions! where, by Science fir'd,
Some prying sage his lonely step may bend;
There, by the love of novel plants inspir'd,
Invidious view the clamb'ring goats ascend.

Yet for those mountains, clad with lasting snow,
The freeborn Briton left his greenest mead,
Receding sullen from his mightier foe,
For here he saw fair Liberty recede.


William Shenstone retired to his country seat, The Leasowes, in the poetry-rich county of Shropshire. There Shenstone had created a famous and pioneering landscaped garden.

Plinlimmon is Pumlumon Fawr, the tallest point in the Cambrian Mountains of Mid-Wales.