1719 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Nicholas Rowe

Susanna Centlivre, "A Pastoral to the honoured Memory of Mr. Rowe" Musarum Lachrymae: or Poems to the Memory of Nicholas Rowe (1719) 31-40.



DAPHNIS.
See! Thyrsis, see! beneath yon spreading Thorn,
Whose blushing Berries ev'ry Bough adorn,
The good Menalcas sits, his Head reclin'd,
His Crook thrown by, nor seems his Flock to mind;
Down from his Eyes the Briny Torrents rowl,
And mighty Grief seems lab'ring in his Soul:
The Posture speaks a matchless Weight of Woe;
Haste, Thyrsis, haste, the sudden Cause to know.

THYRSIS.
From whence, Menalcas, do these Ills arise,
Which rack thy Breast, and overflow thy Eyes?
Has from thy Ewe some tender Lamb been wrung?
Or has thy Fav'rite Heifer cast her Young?
Broke are thy Folds by some vile Midnight Thief,
Or is Clarissa Cause of all this Grief?
Does she in Secret bless some other Swain?
Why, let her go, — her broken Faith disdain.

MENALCAS.
No, Thyrsis, no; a Subject greater far,
Than Flocks, or Herds, or fickle Women are,
Claims all these Tears, these fruitless Tears I shed,
Colin! the soft harmonious Colin's dead.

DAPHNIS.
Is Colin dead! If that sad Tale be true,
Then have we Cause to mourn as much as you.
Colin! the Pride and Darling of the Plain,
Admir'd by ev'ry Nymph, Caress'd by ev'ry Swain.
Whene'er he tun'd his Pipe beneath the Shade,
The nodding Boughs beat Time while Colin play'd.
The feather'd Choir about the Shepherd Throng,
And prowling Wolves stood list'ning to his Song:
The browzing Goats from rocky Cliffs descend,
Charm'd with his Voice, wou'd Savage Brutes attend.

THYRSIS.
O, Mighty PAN! Who now shall chaunt thy Praise?
And who record thy Fame in tuneful Lays?
Where is that He, of all the Sylvan Swains,
Can equal Colin's soft harmonious Strains?
If the dear Subject of his Song was Love,
Sweet as the Hybla-Drops his Verses prove:
If glorious Liberty the Youth asserts,
How did he warm our Souls, and fire our Hearts?

MENALCAS.
Now ev'ry Maxim which the Shepherd taught
Occurs afresh, and dwells in ev'ry Thought.
Our Flocks, said he, and feather'd Kind produce
Their diff'ring Offspring for their Owner's Use:
For us, the Wood, the Pasture, and the Field,
Their several Grains, the various Flowers yield:
Not PAN himself can our known Rights oppose,
Or without Leave crop off one single Rose:
A mutual Duty still on each depends,
We honour PAN, and PAN our Flock defends.
Thus Colin taught us slavish Yoaks to hate,
And prize the Freedom of our Rural State.

DAPHNIS.
See! where the Nymphs and Swains in Crowds appear,
Yew in their Hands, their Brows sad Cypress wear;
Go two by two, in solemn State they tread,
And look with downcast Eyes, and bended Head,
As if not Colin, but Themselves were dead.

THYRSIS.
Hark, how the Winds in hollow Accents groan!
And humid Pearls distil from ev'ry Stone;
The cooing Turtles their lov'd Elms decline,
And Goats forsake their Fav'rite flow'ry Thyme:
The Lambs complaining bleat, the Heifers low,
The Ox and Weather cease their Cudd to chew:
The vocal Grove laments young Colin dead,
For him the Lawrel droops, and hangs its verdant Head.

AMARYLLIS.
Help me, Menalcas, help me to complain,
To tell to Earth, to Air, and Seas my Pain.
Colin! the dear lov'd Colin! is no more.
Come, all ye Nymphs, and Colin's Loss deplore.
For whom shall we our flow'ry Chaplets weave?
Or who so well deserves the Lawrel Wreath?
Who now can point thro' all these Groves a Man,
To celebrate the Birth of mighty PAN?
Like Colin, who can Flora's Sweets display?
Or paint the gawdy Treasures of her May?
Or who, like him, can tune the Oaten Reed?
Or tread with such a Grace th' enamel'd Mead?
Mourn, all ye Nymphs, your Tears incessant shed,
Your Tribute's all too poor for him that's Dead.

THYRSIS.
Wou'd but relentless Fate our Wishes Aid,
And give to Substance back his Airy Shade,
As Pluto once Euridice of Old,
To purchase that, my Tears like thine shou'd flow,
But this is fruitless Grief, and pageant Woe.
Hark, Amaryllis! Hark! Thy bleating Lambs
Amongst the Brakes have lost their udder'd Dams:
Haste to retrieve them e're too far they stray,
And fall to hungry Wolves an easy Prey.

AMARYLLIS.
Why, let 'em stray, my Crook no more I'll hold,
My Herds no more — no more my Flock's I'll fold,
No more will I with Daizy, Pink, and Rose,
A Garland from the Queen of May compose,
Since Colin's gone, by whom 'twas still confest,
That I, of all the Nymphs, deserv'd it best.
The Winds shall useless prove to Fleets at Sea,
And Flowers supply no Honey to the Bee,
When, Colin, I forget to mourn for Thee.

MENALCAS.
If Amaryllis, charm'd by Colin's Verse,
Can shed such Floods of Tears upon his Hearse,
Who then can guess the Pain, the anxious Throws,
Which the dear Partner of his Pleasure knows?
What Agonies of Woe tend Daphne's Breast?
She whom he lov'd, — and she who lov'd him best!
Methinks I hear her to her Babe complain,
The only Relict of her darling Swain:
The Child she tells his ev'ry Art and Grace,
And with her Tears bedews the Infant's Face;
While the poor Babe, unknowing of her Cares,
Cooes in her Face, and smiles at all her Fears.