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

Written at an Inn at Henley

William Shenstone (1714–1763)

TO thee, fair freedom! I retire,

From flattery, feasting, dice and din;

Nor art thou found in domes much higher

Than the lone cot or humble Inn.

’Tis here with boundless power I reign,

And every health which I begin,

Converts dull port to bright champagne;

For Freedom crowns it, at an Inn.

I fly from pomp, I fly from plate,

I fly from falsehood’s specious grin;

Freedom I love, and form I hate,

And choose my lodgings at an Inn.

Here, waiter! take my sordid ore,

Which lacqueys else might hope to win;

It buys what Courts have not in store,

It buys me Freedom, at an Inn.

And now once more I shape my way

Through rain or shine, through thick or thin,

Secure to meet, at close of day,

With kind reception at an Inn.

Whoe’er has travell’d life’s dull round,

Where’er his stages may have been,

May sigh to think how oft he found

The warmest welcome—at an Inn.