1703 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Florelio. A Pastoral. Lamenting the Death of the late Marquis of Blandford. By Mr. Fenton.

Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany Poems. [Elijah Fenton, ed.]

Elijah Fenton


Undergraduate verse by Elijah Fenton, a Cambridge non-juring poet, published belatedly in 1708. Florelio goes to some lengths to imitate Spenser, who is apostrophized thus: "O Colin, Colin! Cou'd I there complain | Like thee, when young Philisides was slain! | Thou sweet Frequenter of the Muses Stream! | Why have I not thy Voice, or thou my Theme?" The Marquis of Blandford was the Duke of Marlborough's son and heir.

Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany Poems, edited by Fenton, is notable for the first appearance of the Spenserian pastorals by Ambrose Philips ("Colinet"), also a Cambridge poet. Though Philips received more attention, Fenton is the better pastoralist, though in revising Florelio for his Poems (1717) some of the original bucolic tone was lost to refinement.

Samuel Johnson: "Of Florelio it is sufficient to say that it is an occasional pastoral, which implies something neither natural nor artificial, neither comick nor serious" "Life of Fenton" in Lives of the English Poets (1779-81); ed. Hill (1905) 2:263.

Robert Anderson: "In celebrating the victories of Marlborough, he concurred with Philips, Prior, and other poets of the Tory party, in shewing his delight in the increasing honour of his country; but it is to his honour that he expressed still more particular attention to Marlborough and his family, by his Florelio ... which could be prompted only by personal respect and kindness" British Poets (1795) 7:645.

Newcastle Magazine: "But alas! the very word 'pastoral' is sufficient to terrify the readers of poetry, both male and female, of our time. Shepherds, sheep, crooks, beechen bowls, Delias and Daphnes, have all gone silently into oblivion, and if a poet were now to compose pastoral ditties after the manner of Pope and Phillips, he would be as much ridiculed and hooted as if he were a hunting the philosopher's stone. It is, in fact, truly amusing to look back to our literature in the reign of Queen Anne; a period when the wits, both great and small, had an unaccountable liking for the species of poetry now under consideration; they seem to have imagined it, indeed, a most entertaining part of literature, as the valuable time and genius many of them spent over the composition of it sufficiently testify. But of all these close imitators of Virgil and Theocritus, good, bad, and indifferent, not one of them is, I think, now read with very great profit, or very great pleasure" "Poetry of Spenser" NS 9 (June 1830) 282.

W. J. Courthope: "Elijah Fenton ... was born at Shelton, near Newcastle-under-Lyme, on the 20th of May 1683. He was educated at Jesus College, Cambridge, and took his B.A. degree in 1704. As a steady Nonjuror he seems to have earned the esteem of Pope, who used his influence to procure for him the appointment of tutor in the family of Lady Trumbull. In his tragedy of Mariamne (1723), Fenton showed some dramatic ability; and he was a friend and admirer of the playwright Southerne. He died in August 1730" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 5:263.

Compare Congreve's The Tears of Amaryllis (1703), written for the same occasion.

Elijah Fenton also composed "A Tale Devised in the Pleasaunt Manere of Maister Jeoffrey Chaucer." See also Walter Harte, "To a Young Lady, With Mr. Fenton's Miscellany" (1727).



Ask not the Cause why all the tuneful Swains,
Who us'd to fill the Vales with tender Strains,
In deep Despair neglect the warb'ling Reed,
And all their bleating Flocks refuse to feed.
Ask not why Greens and Flow'rs so late appear
To cloath the Glebe, and deck the springing Year;
Why sounds the Lawn with loud Laments and Cries,
And swoln with Tears to Floods the Riv'lets rise:
The fair Florelio now has left the Plain,
And is the Grief, who was the Grace, of ev'ry British Swain.

For thee, lov'd Youth! on ev'ry Vale and Lawn,
The Nymphs, and all thy Fellow-Shepherds moan.
No more the Fawns in wanton Figures trip,
But stretch'd on prickly Beds o' Brambles weep.
On the cold Ground relenting Satyrs lie,
And with unusual Howlings fill the Sky.
The little Birds now cease to sing and love,
Silent they sit, and droop on ev'ry Grove:
No mounting Lark now warbles on the Wing,
Nor Linnets chirp to chear the sullen Spring:
Only the melancholly Turtles coo,
And Philomel by Night repeats her Woe.
O, Charmer of the Shades! the Tale prolong,
Nor let the Morning interrupt thy Song:
Or softly tune thy tender Notes to mine,
Forgetting Tereus, make my Sorrows thine.
Now the dear Youth has left the lonely Plain,
And is the Grief, who was the Grace, of ev'ry British Swain.

Say, all ye Shades, where late he us'd to rest,
If e'er your Beds with lovelier Swain were prest;
Say, all ye Silver Streams, if e'er ye bore
The Image of so fair a Face before.
Ye Shades and Streams begin with me to mourn,
For never must the lovely Swain return;
And, as these flowing Tears increase your Tide,
O murmur for the Shepherd as ye glide!
Be sure, ye Rocks, while I my Grief disclose,
Let your sad Eccho's lengthen out my Woes:
Ye sighing Breezes, bear the Accents on,
And whisp'ring tell the Woods Florelio's gone.
For ever gone, and left the lonely Plain,
And is the Grief, who was the Grace, of ev'ry British Swain.

Ripe Straw-berries for thee, and Peaches grew,
Sweet to the Taste, and tempting red to view.
The choicest Grapes we kept on ev'ry Tree,
All on their sunny sides did blush like thee.
For thee the Rose put sweeter Purple on,
Preventing, by her haste, the Summer-Sun.
But now the Flow'rs all pale and blighted lie,
And in cold Sweats o' sickly Mildew die.
Nor can the Bees suck from the shrivel'd Blooms
Aetherial Sweets, to store their golden Combs.
Oft on thy Lips they would their Labours leave,
And sweeter Odours from thy Mouth receive:
Sweet as the Breath o' Flora, when she lies
In Jesmin Shades, and for young Zephyr sighs.
But now those Lips are cold, relentless Death
Hath chill'd their Charms, and stop'd thy balmy Breath.
Those Eyes, where Cupid tipp'd his Darts with Fire,
And kindled in the coldest Nymphs desire,
Rob'd o' their Beams, in everlasting Night
Are clos'd, and give us Woe as once Delight:
And thou, dear Youth, hast left the lonely Plain,
And art the Grief, who wert the Grace, of ev'ry British Swain.

As in his Bow'r the dying Shepherd lay,
The Shepherd yet so young, and once so gay!
The Nymphs that swim the Stream, and range the Wood,
And haunt the flow'ry Meads, around him stood.
There Tears down each fair Cheek unbounded fell,
And as he gasp'd, they gave a sad Farewel.
Softly (they cry'd) as sleeping Flow'rs are clos'd
By Night, be thy dear Eyes by Death compos'd:
A gentle Fall may thy young Beauties have,
And golden Slumbers wait thee in the Grave:
Yearly thy Hearse with Garlands we'll adorn,
And teach young Nightingales for thee to mourn;
Bees love the Blooms, the Flocks the bladed Grain,
Nor less wert thou belov'd by ev'ry Swain.—
Come, Shepherds, come, perform the Fun'ral Due,
For he was ever good and kind to you:
On ev'ry smoothest Beech, in ev'ry Grove,
In weeping Characters record your Love.
And as in Mem'ry of Adonis slain,
When for the Youth the Syrian Maids complain,
His River, to record the guilty Day,
With freshly bleeding Purple stains the Sea:
So thou, dear Cam, contribute to our Woe,
And bid thy Stream in plaintive Murmurs flow.
Thy Head with thy own Willow Boughs adorn,
And with thy Tears supply the frugal Urn.
The Swains their Sheep, the Nymphs shall leave the Lawn,
And yearly on their Banks renew their Moan:
His Mother, while they there lament, shall be
The Queen o' Love, the lov'd Adonis he:
On her, like Venus, all the Graces wait,
And he too like Adonis in his Fate!
For fresh in fragrant Youth he left the Plain,
And is the Grief, who was the Grace, of ev'ry British Swain.

No more the Nymphs, that o'er the Brooks preside,
Dress their gay Beauties by the Chrystal Tide;
Nor fly the Wintry Winds, nor scorching Sun,
Now he, for whom they strove to charm, is gone.
Oft they beneath their reedy Coverts sigh'd,
And look'd, and long'd, and for Florelio dy'd.
Of him they sang, and with soft Ditties strove
To sooth the pleasing Agonies of Love.
But now they roam, distracted with Despair,
And Cypress, twin'd with mournful Willows, wear.
Thus, Hand in Hand, around his Grave they go,
And Saffron Buds, and fading Lillies strow,
With Sprigs o' Myrtle mix'd, and scatt'ring cry,
So sweet and soft the Shepherd was, — and oh! so soon did dye!
There fresh, in dear Remembrance of their Woes,
His Name the young Anemonies disclose:
Nor strange they shou'd a double Grief avow,
Then Venus wept, and Pastorella now.
Breath soft, ye Winds! long let 'em paint the Plain,
Unhurt, untouch'd by ev'ry passing Swain.
And when ye Nymphs, to make the Garland gay,
With which ye crown the Mistress of the May,
Ye shall these Flow'rs to bind her Temples take,
O pluck 'em gently for Florelio's sake!
And when thro' Woodstock's green Retreats ye stray,
Or Altrop's flow'ry Vales invite to play;
O'er which young Pastorella's Beauties bring
Elyzium early, and improve the Spring:
When Ev'ning Gales attentive Silence keep,
And Heav'n its balmy Dew begins to weep.
By the soft Fall of ev'ry warb'ling Rill.
Sigh your sad Airs, and sing the Shepherd still:
So may Sylvanus ever 'tend your Bow'rs,
And Zephyr brush the Mildew from the Flow'rs!
Bid all the Swans from Cam and Isis haste,
In the melodious Dirge to breath their last.
O Colin, Colin! Cou'd I there complain
Like thee, when young Philisides was slain!
Thou sweet Frequenter of the Muses Stream!
Why have I not thy Voice, or thou my Theme?
Though weak my Voice, though lowly be my Lays,
They shall be sacred to the Shepherd's Praise:
To him my Voice, to him my Lays belong,
And bright Myrtilla now must live unsung:
Ev'n she whose Heav'n of Beauty blest me more,
Than ever Swain was bless'd by Nymph before;
While ev'ry tender Sigh to seal our Bliss,
Brought a kind Vow, and ev'ry Vow a Kiss.
Fair, Chast, and Kind, yet now no more can move,
So much my Grief is stronger than my Love:
Now the dear Youth has left the lonely Plain,
And is the Grief, who was the Grace, of ev'ry British Swain.

As when some cruel Hind has born away
The Turtle's Nest, and made the young his Prey,
Sad in her Native Grove she sits alone,
There hangs her little Wings, and murmurs out her moan.
So the bright Shepherdess who bore the Boy,
Beneath a baleful Yew does weeping lye;
Nor can the Fair the weighty Woe sustain,
But bends, like Roses crush'd with falling Rain:
Nor from the silent Earth her Eyes removes,
That weeping, languish like a dying Dove's.
Not such her Look (severe Reverse o' Fate!)
When little Loves in ev'ry Dimple sate;
And all the Smiles delighted to resort
On the calm Heav'n of her soft Cheeks to sport:
Soft as the Clouds mild April-Ev'nings wear,
Which drop fresh Flourets on the youthful Year.
The Fountain's Fall can't lull her wakeful Woes,
Nor Poppy-Garlands give the Nymph Repose:
Thro' prickly Brakes, and unfrequented Groves,
O'er Hills and Dales, and craggy Cliffs she roves.
And when she spies, beneath some silent Shade,
The Daizies prest, where late his Limbs were laid,
To the cold Print there close she joyns her Face,
And all with gushing Tears bedews the Grass.
There with loud Plaints she wounds the pitying Skies,
And oh! return, my lovely Youth, she cries;
Return, Florelio, with thy wonted Charms
Fill the soft Circles of my longing Arms.—
Cease, fair Affliction, cease! the lovely Boy
In Death's cold Arms must pale and breathless lye.
The Fates can never change their first Decree,
Or sure they would have chang'd this one for Thee.
Pan for his Syrinx makes eternal moan,
Ceres her Daughter lost, and thou thy Son.
Thy Son for ever now has left the Plain,
And is the Grief, who was the Grace, of ev'ry British Swain.

Adieu, ye mossy Caves, and shady Groves,
Once happy Scenes of our successful Loves:
Ye hungry Herds, and bleating Flocks adieu,
Flints be your Beds, and browze the bitter Yew.
Two Lambs alone shall be my Charge to feed,
For yearly on his Grave two Lambs shall bleed.
This Pledge of lasting Love, dear Shade, receive,
'Tis all, alas! a Shepherd's Love can give:
But Grief from its own Pow'r will set me free,
Will send me soon a willing Ghost to thee.
Cropt in the flow'ry Spring of Youth, I'll go
With hasty Joy to wait thy Shade below:
In ever-fragrant Meads, and Jesmin-Bow'rs
We'll dwell, and all Elyzium shall be ours.
Where Citron Groves Aetherial Odours breath,
And Streams o' flowing Chrystal purl beneath:
Where all are ever young, and heav'nly fair,
As here above thy Sister-Graces are.

And since the Bloom of that celestial Face,
For which Diana would have left the Chace;
That finish'd Shape, which wond'ring all survey'd,
Snatch'd by remorseless Death, in Dust is laid:
Thy Urn with pious Care the Muse shall keep,
For thee, thou best o' Swains, she'll ever weep;
There to her tender Lute thy Praise she'll sing,
While Hyacinths and Myrtles round her spring.

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