William Shenstone (November 13, 1714 – February 11, 1763) was an English poet, essayist and one of the earliest practitoners of landscape gardening through the development of his estate, The Leasowes.
- Oft has good nature been the fool's defence,
And honest meaning gilded want of sense.
- To a Lady (1736).
- Whoe'er has traveled life's dull round,
Where'er his stages may have been,
May sigh to think he still has found
The warmest welcome, at an inn.
- Written at an Inn at Henley (1758), st. 6. Compare: " From thee, great God, we spring, to thee we tend,— Path, motive, guide, original, and end", Samuel Johnson, Motto to the Rambler, No. 7.
- Every good poet includes a critic; the reverse will not hold.
- On Writing and Books.
- A fool and his words are soon parted; a man of genius and his money.
- On Reserve.
- Love is a pleasing but a various clime.
- Elegies, no. 5, st. 3.
- So sweetly she bade me adieu,
I thought that she bade me return.
- A Pastoral, part i.
- I have found out a gift for my fair;
I have found where the wood-pigeons breed.
- A Pastoral, part i.
- My banks they are furnish’d with bees,
Whose murmur invites one to sleep.
- A Pastoral, part ii, "Hope".
- For seldom shall she hear a tale
So sad, so tender, and so true.
- Jemmy Dawson (c. 1745), st. 20.
The Schoolmistress (1737-48)
- Her cap, far whiter than the driven snow,
Emblem right meet of decency does yield.
- Stanza 6.
- Pun-provoking thyme.
- Stanza 11.
- A little bench of heedless bishops here,
And there a chancellor in embryo.
- Stanza 28.
Essays on Men and Manners (1804)
Readable here: Shenstone's Essays on Men and Manners in One Volume
- Some men are called sagacious, merely on account of their avarice: whereas a child can clench its fist the moment it is born.
- Zealous men are ever displaying to you the strength of their belief, while judicious men are shewing you the grounds of it.
- There seem near as many people that want passion as want reason.
- A man of remarkable genius may afford to pass by a piece of wit, if it happens to border on abuse. A little genius is obliged to catch at every witticism indiscriminately.
- Prudent men should lock up their motives, giving only their intimates a key.
- A man has generally the good or ill qualities which he attributes to mankind.
- Necessity may be the mother of lucrative invention, but it is the death of poetical invention.
- "Detached Thoughts : On Writing and Books", p. 129.
- Shenstone and the Leasowes at the Revolutionary Players website
- Text of The Schoolmistress
- Essay, William Shenstone and the Leasowes: the English Landscape Garden in Transition, c.1740-1763
- Complete text, with annotations, of Shenstone's Unconnected Thoughts on Gardening (1764)
- Selected Works
- Free eBook of Familiar Quotation at Project Gutenberg has quotations by William Shenstone