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

In a Hermitage

William Whitehead (1715–1785)

THE MAN, whose days of youth and ease

In Nature’s calm enjoyments pass’d,

Will want no monitors, like these,

To torture and alarm his last.

The gloomy grot, the cypress shade,

The zealot’s list of rigid rules,

To him are merely dull parade,

The tragic pageantry of fools.

What life affords he freely tastes,

When Nature calls, resigns his breath;

Nor age in weak repining wastes,

Nor acts alive the farce of death.

Not so the youths of Folly’s train,

Impatient of each kind restraint

Which parent Nature fix’d, in vain,

To teach us man’s true bliss, content.

For something still beyond enough,

With eager impotence they strive,

’Till appetite has learn’d to loathe

The very joys by which we live.

Then, fill’d with all which sour disdain

To disappointed vice can add,

Tir’d of himself, man flies from man,

And hates the world he made so bad.