White Swan features in famous Shenstone poem

The White Swan Hotel is mentioned in William Shenstone poem

1735 poem depicts the joys of a drink at the Henley-in-Arden Inn

William Shenstone was a “prolific poet” whose 1783 offering “Written at an Inn at Henley” enjoyed a recent accolade – when it was chosen as the Guardian’s Poem of the week.

The article’s author, Carol Rumens, described the work, originally entitled “Written at an INN on a Particular Occasion” as

“This cheery tribute to bibulous conviviality also serves up a warm moral”.

Rumens reveals that William Shenstone (1714–1763) wrote the poem at the White Swan in Henley-in-Arden during 1735, when the inn was a staging post on the route from Lichfield to London.

“Shenstone’s ease of versification” writes Ms Rumens, “(…adds mimetic pleasure: we can relax in the cosy-armchair stanzas, and imagine firelight, friendliness and something warming to sip.)”

It seems that, even in the eighteenth century, the Swan proved a welcome respite for the weary traveller:-

“Whoe’er has travell’d 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.”

Poem of the week: Written at an Inn at Henley by William Shenstone »