1726
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastoral.

Miscellaneous Poems, by Several Hands. Published by D. Lewis.

Rev. Samuel Wesley the Younger


In Samuel Wesley's youth-and-age pastoral, the sober Colin offers the infatuated Thenot advice on wooing his fair one: "Who spares to speak, to speed must ever spare; | How shall he wed, that will not woo the Fair? | By timely Vent the Farmer saves his Hay, | That smother'd close would kindling burn away" p. 119. There is little that is obviously burlesque in an eclogue underscoring rural common sense, although the Tory poet does slip in a gibe at the Court Whigs: "Yes, money'd 'Squires, that o'er the Country rule, | May plead their Privilege to play the Fool; | Far other Thoughts should fill the poor Man's Head; | He seeks not Dainties who is pinch'd for Bread" pp. 117-18. Rather than looking back to the pastorals of Philips and Pope, Wesley's poem anticipates the "moral pastorals" popular at mid-century. The eclogue originally appeared in this anthology without attribution.

Wesley makes an allusion to Spenser in "Advice to One who was about to Write, To avoid the Immoralities of the Ancient and Modern Poets, a poem censuring the licentiousness of modern verse": "Nor, while the main at Virtue aims, | Insert, to sooth forbidden Flames, | In a chaste Work, a Squire of Dames, | Or Paridell a feasting" Poems on Several Occasions (1736) 263.

William Cllarke and Robert Shelton Mackenzie: "He was the author of a few poems and humorous tales, the whole of which he collected and published in one volume quarto, about the year 1736. To the Spalding Society, he left, as it is stated, an amulet which had touched the heads of the three kings of Cologne" The Georgian Era: Memoirs of the most Eminent Persons (1832-34) 1:499.

Herbert E. Cory: "Wesley proves his first-hand knowledge of Spenser by a Pastoral between Colin and Thenot which shows the influence of The Shepheardes Calender" "Spenser, Thomson, and Romanticism" PMLA 26 (1911) 59n.

William D. Ellis notes an allusion by Wesley to the Pope-Philips quarrel in "Epistle from Mr. Pope to Mr. Gay": "Dan Chaucer's Tales, Dan Durfey shall outshine, | And Philips Pastorals compare with mine" "Thomas D'Urfey, The Pope-Philips Quarrel, and The Shepherd's Week" (1959) 208.



COLIN. THENOT.

COLIN.
Thenot, Good-day; sure thou art bent to thrive
In Wealth and Wisdom, thus to rise by Five.

THENOT.
I rose not, Truth to tell, to tend my Sheep;
'Twas Love, not Thrift, that broke my Morning Sleep.

COLIN.
If Love thine Ailment is, so soon to rise
Perhaps may make thee rich, but never wise.

THENOT.
And why this Scoff? our Landlord has, they say,
Long woo'd, and lately wed a Lady gay;
And he is wise, or sure had ne'er been sent
A Member for the Shire, to Parliament.

COLIN.
Yes, money'd 'Squires, that o'er the Country rule,
May plead their Privilege to play the Fool;
Far other Thoughts should fill the poor Man's Head;
He seeks not Dainties who is pinch'd for Bread.

THENOT.
If Love and Courting be forbid the Poor,
You make the Distance greater than before:
None are beneath us here, and none above;
For all are Slaves and Sovereigns in Love.

COLIN.
How can He meet Relief, who courts his Pains,
Or Freedom find, who glories in his Chains?
Yet to thy Colin all thy Grief reveal;
We tell with Pleasure what with Pain we feel.

THENOT.
To trusty Colin I my Love unfold,
Which to my Sweet-heart dear was never told;
Lucy, the prettiest Maiden in the Town,
Sweet as the Nut, tho' as the Berry brown.

COLIN.
Who spares to speak, to speed must ever spare;
How shall he wed, that will not woo the Fair?
By timely Vent the Farmer saves his Hay,
That smother'd close would kindling burn away.

THENOT.
The wisest Scholars know not where to find
Apt Words, well suiting to a love-sick Mind:
What Grace shall Thenot's clownish Speech adorn?
I hope her Favour, but I fear her Scorn.

COLIN.
Faint Heart, like thine, ne'er won a lovely Maid;
Speak fair, few Damsels but of Praise are glad:
Despair not for a peevish Word or Frown;
The blackest Storms are soonest over-blown.

THENOT.
Fridays of ev'ry Week, the Proverb says,
Are still the fairest or the foulest Days.
Like Fridays' Skies will faithful Passion prove;
For in our Youthful Prime, our Days of Love
Blest in extremes, or in extremes are curst,
Of all most Happy, or of all the Worst.

COLIN.
He reaps in Harvest who in Seed-time sows;
Who slights the prickly Thorn shall gain the Rose;
Who flies Disdain should never Kindness meet,
Who shuns the sour should never taste the sweet.

THENOT.
I'm us'd to toil, nor Labour shall be spar'd;
Rich are the Wages, tho' the Work is hard.
To tell how rich! oh what shall Thenot say;
Sweet is the rising, and the parting Day,
The Fruits of August, and the Flow'rs of May.
In July Shade, in bleak December Fire,
Ease in our Age, and in our Youth Desire.

COLIN.
In Words like these to her thy Love impart,
If once she gives an Ear, she'll give her Heart.
Mean time with quicker Pace to Business move;

THENOT.
At least if Business can agree with Love.

[pp. 117-21]