Welcome to Poetry.com

Poetry.com is a huge collection of poems from famous and amateur poets from around the world — collaboratively published by a community of authors and contributing editors.

Navigate through our poetry database by subjects, alphabetically or simply search by keywords. You can submit a new poem, discuss and rate existing work, listen to poems using voice pronunciation and even translate pieces to many common and not-so-common languages.

Rate this poem:(0.00 / 0 votes)

Elegy XI. He Complains How Soon the Pleasing Novelty of Life Is Over

To Mr. Jago.

Ah me, my Friend! it will not, will not last,
This fairy scene, that cheats our youthful eyes;
The charm dissolves; th' aerial music's past;
The banquet ceases, and the vision flies.

Where are the splendid forms, the rich perfumes?
Where the gay tapers, where the spacious dome?
Vanish'd the costly pearls, the crimson plumes,
And we, delightless, left to wander home!

Vain now are books, the sage's wisdom vain!
What has the world to bribe our steps astray?
Ere Reason learns by studied laws to reign,
The weaken'd passions, self-subdued, obey.

Scarce has the sun seven annual courses roll'd,
Scarce shown the whole that Fortune can supply,
Since, not the miser so caress'd his gold,
As I, for what it gave, was heard to sigh.

On the world's stage I wish'd some sprightly part,
To deck my native fleece with tawdry lace!
'Twas life, 'twas taste, and-oh! my foolish heart!
Substantial joy was fix'd in power and place.

And you, ye works of Art! allured mine eye,
The breathing picture, and the living stone:
'Though gold, though splendour, Heaven and Fate deny,
Yet might I call one Titian stroke my own!'

Smit with the charms of Fame, whose lovely spoil,
The wreath, the garland, fire the poet's pride,
I trimm'd my lamp, consumed the midnight oil-
But soon the paths of health and fame divide!

Oft, too, I pray'd; 'twas Nature form'd the prayer,
To grace my native scenes, my rural home;
To see my trees express their planter's care,
And gay, on Attic models, raise my dome.

But now 'tis o'er, the dear delusion's o'er!
A stagnant breezeless air becalms my soul;
A fond aspiring candidate no more,
I scorn the palm before I reach the goal.

O Youth! enchanting stage, profusely bless'd!
Bliss even obtrusive courts the frolic mind;
Of health neglectful, yet by health caress'd,
Careless of favour, yet secure to find.

Then glows the breast, as opening roses fair;
More free, more vivid, than the linnet's wing;
Honest as light, transparent e'en as air,
Tender as buds, and lavish as the Spring.

Not all the force of manhood's active might,
Not all the craft to subtle age assign'd,
Not Science shall extort that dear delight,
Which gay Delusion gave the tender mind.

Adieu, soft raptures! transports void of care!
Parent of raptures, dear Deceit, adieu!
And you, her daughters, pining with despair,
Why, why so soon her fleeting steps pursue?

Tedious again to curse the drizzling day!
Again to trace the wintry tracks of snow!
Or, soothed by vernal airs, again survey
The self-same hawthorns bud, and cowslips blow!

O Life! how soon of every bliss forlorn!
We start false joys, and urge the devious race;
A tender prey; that cheers our youthful morn,
Then sinks untimely, and defrauds the chase.

Font size:
Collection  Edit     

Submitted on May 13, 2011

2:28 min read

William Shenstone

William Shenstone was an English poet and one of the earliest practitioners of landscape gardening through the development of his estate, The Leasowes. more…

All William Shenstone poems | William Shenstone Books

FAVORITE (0 fans)

Discuss this William Shenstone poem with the community:



    Find a translation for this poem in other languages:

    Select another language:

    • - Select -
    • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
    • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
    • Español (Spanish)
    • Esperanto (Esperanto)
    • 日本語 (Japanese)
    • Português (Portuguese)
    • Deutsch (German)
    • العربية (Arabic)
    • Français (French)
    • Русский (Russian)
    • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
    • 한국어 (Korean)
    • עברית (Hebrew)
    • Gaeilge (Irish)
    • Українська (Ukrainian)
    • اردو (Urdu)
    • Magyar (Hungarian)
    • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
    • Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Italiano (Italian)
    • தமிழ் (Tamil)
    • Türkçe (Turkish)
    • తెలుగు (Telugu)
    • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
    • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
    • Čeština (Czech)
    • Polski (Polish)
    • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
    • Românește (Romanian)
    • Nederlands (Dutch)
    • Ελληνικά (Greek)
    • Latinum (Latin)
    • Svenska (Swedish)
    • Dansk (Danish)
    • Suomi (Finnish)
    • فارسی (Persian)
    • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
    • հայերեն (Armenian)
    • Norsk (Norwegian)
    • English (English)


    Use the citation below to add this poem to your bibliography:


    "Elegy XI. He Complains How Soon the Pleasing Novelty of Life Is Over" Poetry.com. STANDS4 LLC, 2021. Web. 3 Aug. 2021. <https://www.poetry.com/poem/41549/elegy-xi.-he-complains-how-soon-the-pleasing-novelty-of-life-is-over>.

    Become a member!

    Join our community of poets and poetry lovers to share your work and offer feedback and encouragement to writers all over the world!

    Browse Poetry.com


    Are you a poetry master?

    "Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did gyre and gimble in the wabe."
    • A. Lord Byron
    • B. Shel Silverstein
    • C. Dr. Seuss
    • D. Lewis Carroll

    Our favorite collection of

    Famous Poets