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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. The Book of Georgian Verse. 1909.

Song: ‘O’er desert plains, and rushy meres’

William Shenstone (1714–1763)

O’ER desert plains, and rushy meres,

And wither’d heaths, I rove;

Where tree, nor spire, nor cot appears,

I pass to meet my love.

But tho’ my path were damask’d o’er

With beauties e’er so fine,

My busy thoughts would fly before

To fix alone—on thine.

No fir-crown’d hills could give delight,

No palace please mine eye;

No pyramid’s aerial height,

Where mould’ring monarchs lie.

Unmov’d, should Eastern kings advance,

Could I the pageant see:

Splendour might catch one scornful glance,

Nor steal one thought from thee.