Slender's Ghost

by William Shenstone



     Beneath a church-yard yew
       Decay'd and worn with age,
     At dusk of eve, methought I spy'd
     Poor Slender's ghost, that whimpering cry'd,
       O sweet, O sweet Anne Page!

     Ye gentle bards, give ear!
       Who talk of amorous rage,
     Who spoil the lily, rob the rose;
     Come learn of me to weep your woes:
       O sweet! O sweet Anne Page!

     Why should such labour'd strains
       Your formal Muse engage?
     I never dreamt of flame or dart,
     That fir'd my breast, or pierc'd my heart,
       But sigh'd, O sweet Anne Page!
     And you, whose love-sick minds
       No medicine can assuage!
     Accuse the leech's art no more,
     But learn of Slender to deplore;
       O sweet! O sweet Anne Page!

     And you, whose souls are held,
       Like linnets, in a cage!
     Who talk of fetters, links, and chains,
     Attend, and imitate my strains:
       O sweet! O sweet Anne Page!

     And you, who boast or grieve,
       What horrid wars ye wage!
     Of wounds receiv'd from many an eye,
     Yet mean as I do when I sigh
       O sweet! O sweet Anne Page!

     Hence every fond conceit
       Of shepherd, or of sage!
     'Tis Slender's voice, 'tis Slender's way,
     Expresses all you have to say---
       O sweet! O sweet Anne Page!