1748
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral.

Gentleman's Magazine 18 (December 1748) 565.

Rev. William Dodd


A British pastoral, not signed, in which Susan has lost her Lubberkin to a recruiting sergeant, and Rosalind her Amyntas on account of a flirtation with Roger. Curiously, the archaisms are not continued beyond the first line, which seems to be intended as something of a generic marker. The poem is neatly poised between the earlier burlesque and later sentimental manner (compare this treatment of the recruiting-officer theme with Robert Southey's second Botany Bay Eclogue). The superstition described in Susan's last speech does not seem to occur elsewhere.

Earl R. Wasserman: "The Spenserian names of the characters, an occasional archaism and echo of a line in Spenser, and a decidedly rustic, crude style and subject matter as opposed to a polished portrait of the golden age — all point to Spenser; but it is Spenser the pastoralist as simplified by the Augustans, not the melodist or the blender of artifice and naivete" Elizabethan Poetry in the Eighteenth Century (1947) 145.



Dight in their best array, with blithsome mien,
The village-youth now frolic on the green;
To various sports which these and those promote,
The live-long Whitsun-holy-day devote.
Here nymphs and swains to rustic measures dance,
Snatch the stol'n kiss, and interchange the glance,
While hum'rous Hobbinol aukward antics plays,
And moves loud laughter as he threads the maze.
Some with tough cudgels seek the prize to win;
Some run, some leap, some wrestle, and some grin;
The happy, happier by the season grew,
But, ah! more wretched Rosalind and Sue;
Sad Sue and Rosalind together stray'd
From these gay crowds, and trod the lonely glade;
Tir'd, and beneath an ancient oak reclin'd,
Alternate thus each eas'd a love-sick mind.

SUSAN.
Once at the foot of this o'ershadowing tree
I sat with Lubberkin, my seat his knee,
He sung me ballads, which my kiss repaid,
And laughing Susan was a happy maid.
But true I wot that ancient saying, Rose,
The greatest glee forebodes the sharpest woes,
I find it true, by sad experience now;
Since faithless Lubberkin forgets his vow.

ROSALIND.
More wretched I, inconstant have I been;
And what in love is half so great a sin!
Remorse and anguish on my vitals prey—
No lover comes for him I chas'd away;
Alone I wander, and in secret sigh,
And mem'ry brings my fault for ever nigh.
I wish, alas! but still I wish in vain,
The joys I slighted wou'd return again,
Lost by my fault a keener pang I prove,
And pine with all that punishes in love.

SUSAN.
Late as I went to market in the cart
I heard a drum — it chill'd me to the heart.
My boding breast presag'd some mischief nigh,
And my limbs trembled tho' I knew not why.
But when I saw the gaudy Serjeant stand,
And holding, lovely Lubberkin! thy hand,
In Sunday suit, and as a bridegroom gay,
My strength forsook me, and I swoon'd away—
Still, still his looks shall faithful mem'ry bear,
Ah! still the pleasure and the pain I share.
His hat, which ever 'till that morn he wore
Flapp'd on all sides, or flapp'd at least before,
Now smartly cock'd, and smartly worn, display'd,
One eye-brow, one was hid beneath the shade,
A green cockade adorn'd the button-side,
And his face blush'd with mingled joy and pride.
His dark brown hair which hung uncomb'd so late,
O'er his broad shoulders negligent and straight,
Now ty'd behind, and curl'd at either ear,
Look'd like the captain's that call'd Joan "my dear."
I gaz'd with pleasure, but the pleasure fled,
When soon he follow'd where the serjeant led;
No more returning — Now the dang'rous sea
Flows a wide waste 'twixt Lubberkin and me;
On foreign lands my absent soldier's laid,
And wantons, pleas'd, with some outlandish maid.
Oh happy fair, O Lubberkin untrue,
How could'st thou list, and how forget thy Sue!

ROSALIND.
When fond Amyntas woo'd me to be blest,
I mock'd his passion with a taunting jest,
In vain his faithful passion persever'd,
I heard him not, or slighted, if I heard;
But when light Roger, fam'd for guileful art,
Woo'd me, alas! I gave him all my heart.
Sweet was his converse to my list'ning ear,
And fondly I believed his vows sincere:
Amyntas left me with a just disdain,
Nor cou'd his absence give my breast a pain.
But, as to milk (ill luck wou'd have it so)
Thro' goodman Hodgson's close I chanc'd to go,
I caught young Roger 'midst the osiers laid,
I caught him, Susan, with the parson's maid.
She fled, he smil'd, and mad with rage I cry'd,
Henceforth approach me not — and he comply'd.

SUSAN.
Peace may return, and from the distant shore
My soldier, never to forsake me more.
O come, my Lubberkin! and blest with thee,
I'll join at Christmas in the gen'ral glee.
Thou skill'd in feats of war, shalt win the prize,
Engage all wishes, and attract all eyes:
My envy'd arms shall hold thee to my breast,
And love and pride shall join to make me blest.

ROSALIND.
O! would Amyntas but return, he'd find
His grateful Rosalind for ever kind.
Where, gentle shepherds! does my shepherd stray?
I'll track his steps thro' ev'ry winding way,
Thro' ev'ry vale I'll haste, nor will I dread
The thickest woods and darkest groves to tread,
And when the briars my tender feet shall wound,
The blood shall mark, where'er I pass, the ground;
This when he sees, relenting shall he say,
At length her pains have wash'd her faults away.
Then — but what arts shall sooth the cheerless day,
Till happier hours our sorrows shall o'er-pay?

SUSAN.
Let not the heart with hopeless anguish bend,
Soon changing fortune shall our loves befriend.
At the Squire's wedding will I slily take
Three broken morsels of the bridal cake;
Dame Dobson's wedding ring I'll borrow too,
And thrice three times I'll pass the morsel's thro',
Beneath thy pillow and my own own when laid,
Such dreams shall rise as sooth the lovesick maid,
Such dreams as promise more substantial bliss,
The real lover, and the waking kiss:
Pleas'd with the flatt'ring thought, they seek their cot,
A while the pains of hapless love forgot.

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