1787
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastorals.

Poems on Various Subjects. By John Thelwall. In Two Volumes.

John Thelwall


Two unintentionally comic but very Spenserian eclogues, thick-strewn with original archaisms (italicized in the original): "Yet, whilom, when I wont to pine and grieve, | Would Colin's lovelays eft my mind relieve; | But now no lovelays can my grief assuage: | My Lubin's form's depeinten on each page." A note identifies "Colin" as Edmund Spenser and "Hobbinol" as the John Thelwall.

English Review: "The Lamentation of Hobbinol for the Death of Lubin, alias Mr. Philip Bonafous, is truly dolorous: 'Hard by a bushy dell was Hobbin seen | In bitter stour, and silent with doleful teen.' Observing him in this piteous plight, Cuddy very properly salutes him with the following the following speech: 'Why, what's the hap? Why Hobbinol, my lad, | Thee art bewitch'd, I trow, or ganging mad.' Afterwards the boldest figure is introduced that we remember to have met with in poetry. The deceased hero, says the shepherd, had so much deep sapience, mirthsome wit, and manly lore, that at his death the whole world ought to have — hanged themselves! 'Then sicker all have cause to weep and wail, | And eke like me to — hang.' Poetry so exquisite in its kind as this, of which we have presented a specimen to the reader, no commentary can illustrate, and no criticism improve" 10 (1787) 453.



ECLOGUE I.
THE TEARS OF HOBBINOL.

Hard by a bushy dell was Hobbin seen
In bitter stour, and shent with doleful teen;
(Hobbin, the youth who whilom blithe and gay
As mattin lark or linnet on the spray,
Was wont to sing the jocund roundelay.)
Unheeded now upon the dewy grass
His bagpipe lay, and eke untun'd it was.
Blent were his eyen with sorwe's bitter flood,
His tear-stain'd cheeks forlorn of youthly blood;
In ropy tangles hung his unkempt hair,
Like one whose heart's yclouded by despair.
Full many were the heavy singulphs sent
From his riv'n breast, in sorwe all ydrent.

Him blithesome Cuddy, tripping o'er the lea,
All in this dreary guise enchanc'd to see,
And to him yeod to weet what deal of woe
Ycaus'd his bitter tears so fast to flow.

CUDDY.
Why what's the hap? Why, Hobbinol, my lad!
Thee art bewitch'd I trow, or ganging mad.
I met thy sheep o'ersprinting yonder mead,
Where they have stray'd for lack of better heed.
Up shepherd, up, thy scatterlings restrain,
Ere pilfering lossels filch them from the plain.

HOBBINOL.
Let blithsome swains of flocks take proper keep,
Here will I lay, and eke for ever weep.

CUDDY.
Thou witless herd-groom! hast forlorn thy wits?
How ill thy plaining with this season fits?
For now light Zephyr ling'ring Spring awakes
From her long slumber, and behold she breaks
Thro' frigid nature; sham'd that Boreas rude
Should on her wonted reign so long obtrude:
A verdant blush enclothes her gladsome frame.
D'ofte dolour then, eke 'gin some joyous game:
Tune up thy jolly pipe, which now forlore
Lies all unheeded on the greensward floor;
Herry the buxom season, as 'tis meet,
With hymnials loud and lovelays gaily sweet.

HOBBINOL.
Ah Cuddy! seek thee out some happier swain:
Of me thou seek'st for joysomness in vain.
But ill bestead is that unhappy bard
Blithe madrigals to sing, whom Fortune hard
Doth doom in bitter stour his days to spill;
Whose gladsome fancy anguish keen doth kill.
For roundels brag to unshent shepherds wend,
Whiletime the welkin I with dolours rend.
What boots it me, that Phoebus once again
Makes lightsome nature with his jolly waine?
What boots it me, that Boreas, blust'ring bleak,
His reign foregoes for Zephyr bland and meek?
That gay Vertumnus spreads him o'er the meads,
And by the hand the bloomy Flora leads?
That Naids no more their frore-bound fountains mourn,
But pour in gambolment the crystal urn?
From the warm'd stream that sheen-scal'd fishes leap?
That browsing lambkins merry gambols keep?
That on each spray birds maken melody,
And cooing doves speak their felicity?
To make me mirth in vain the sun essays;
In vain 'mongst budding trees light Zephyr plays:
Phoebus ne warms, ne Zephyr glads my heart;
Despair's breeme winter works me baneful smart.
In vain embraved meads look fresh and gay,
While lambs and fishes bragly sport and play:
They nor my eyen delight, ne ease my care,
Forthy my heart's yclouded by despair.
In vain the Naids in silver murmurs flow,
Birds sootly sing, and doves enamour'd coo;
Their melody no joyaunce can impart,
Sorwe's harsh discord grateth in my heart.
With dolourous teen my heart is so bestead
The landscape's pleasaunce cannot make me glad;
Nor songs mine ear delight, ne flow'rs mine eye,
The stream's soote murmurs pass unheeded by.

CUDDY.
Thou witless groom! what means this moody care?
What glauncing eye, or love-bereaving air
Hath trapp'd thy heart in Cupid's wimble snare?
Cheer up thou fon, thy jolly bagpipe tune;
With mirth and glee thou'lt lose thy passion soon.

HOBBINOL.
Ah Cuddy, Cuddy, you my plight misdeem;
My drearyment is heavier than you ween.
Not Love's light arrow, but Death's heavy dart,
Bestirs this mortal teen within my heart.
Weep, weep my eyne! ye scalding tears descend!
All joy I've lost, for I have lost my friend.
Oh Death! of Sin the greedy tyrant son!
As round the world for ravin thou dost run;
Could'st thou no wight to glut thy craving find
But him alone in whom at once combin'd
Each gifting rare of heart, and eke of mind?
Weep, weep my eyne! ye scalding tears descend!
Joy is no more, for I have lost my friend.
Ah life what art thou? Tenure of an hour!
Of joy how scant? how full of dolourous stour?
A brere, whereon, in spring, few blosmes appear,
But muchel noyous thorns thro' all the year.
Ah, woe's my heart! how rear my blossoms fade?
How scant they open'd, and how soon decay'd?
Just budded forth, and, as that were too much,
Like sensitives yshrink'd they from my touch.
One flow'ret only blossom'd sootly forth,
And that I dempt of sick a peerless worth,
That, tho' I saw each other hope decay'd,
I counted this a rich amendment made.
But wele away! 'tis nip'd by deablly frost:
The only pleasaunce of my life is lost.
Weep, weep my eyne! ye scalding tears descend!
All joy I've lost; for I have lost my friend.
My Lubin dearn! the glory of the plain,
Love of each nymph! delight of ev'ry swain!
Lubin (on whom befriending heav'n bestow'd
A pleasant fancy, curb'd by judgment good,
A heart to Virtue's good beheasts inclin'd,
By Sensibility's soft touch refin'd,)
Thy friendship 'twas wherein I took such joy.
Ah, cruel Death! why did'st my bliss destroy?
Weep, weep my eyne! ye scalding tears descend!
Joy is no more; for I have lost my friend.

CUDDY.
Is Lubin dead? — Ye birds that fill each spray
Your sonnets cease, and be no longer gay.
Ah, blent thy face, bright sun, in mirky tears;—
How ill thy sheen at sick a time appears?—
Surcease ye babbling rills, or as ye flow,
Contrive to sing of drearyment and woe.
Be hush'd, ye zephyrs, if ye n'ill inspire
With woeful dirges some Aeolian lyre.
Lambkins no more your pleasant pastimes keep,
But pining learn of us to wail and weep.
Weep, weep ye swains! for peerless Lubin's dead,
And cause of joyaunce from the plain is fled.
Ye buckthorns cease your budding leaves to show;—
Let nothing thrive but cypress, sign of woe.
Let daffodils their golden semblance lack,
And eke the primrose dight in sooty black;
Let crocusses no various colours know,
But them b'dight in livery of woe.
From glens and groves is rural joyaunce fled:
Mourn, mourn ye sylvan scenes! for Lubin's dead.

HOBBINOL.
Ah, me! each various object pains my heart;
Each wonted pastime wakes my dol'rous smart.
Farewel to books that wont to glad my mind;
No pleasaunce now in rural songs I find.
Yet, whilom, when I wont to pine and grieve,
Would Colin's lovelays eft my mind relieve;
But now no lovelays can my grief assuage:
My Lubin's form's depeinten on each page.
Each rustic lay, which erst with joy I read,
Now but reminds me that my friend is dead.
How eft his converse would my taste refine?
How eft explain the beauties of each line;
And with soote praise inspire me to rehearse
My artless lays, and copy Colin's verse?
But now farewel to pipe and artless lays;
For he is gone who wont my skill to praise.
Weep, Cuddy, weep! let scalding tears descend!
Joyaunce is flown; for we have lost our friend.
Groves, bourns, and rivers but my dole renew,
For there the image of my friend I view.
In dreary cot, or o'er embraved glennes,
Where'er I won still, still the tender scenes,
And eke blithe hours in friendly pleasaunce spent,
My woeful mind loves all to represent.
How eft times would we rise at early dawn,
Whiles glitterand dews besprint the humid lawn,
And to some rivers cooling marge ystray,
With pleasing talk aye glad'ning all the way:
Thus was I wont a double good to find,
The walk my health improv'd, his lore my mind.
But, ah! such pleasaunce I must ken ne more
Sithence with Lubin I each joy forlore.
Weep, Cuddy, weep! let scalding tears descend:
Joyaunce is flown; for we have lost our friend.
Farewel the joys of valley, grove, and spring,
Desporting lambkins, birds that sootly sing:
Ne more, ne more your vernal charms invite;
Ne more, alas! your merry makes delight.
Weep, Cuddy, weep! let scalding tears descend:
Joyaunce is flown; for we have lost our friend.
Farewel to rustic verse and music sweet,
Ne more the loves of shepherds I repeat:
But thus my erst-lov'd bagpipe throw away
Sithence he's dead for whom I wont to play.
Weep, Cuddy, weep! let scalding tears descend:
Music is harsh; for we have lost our friend.
Yet hold, and let us stint our selfish tears;
For not our friendship in our grief appears:
Forthy, he 'as left this vale of dole below
For heav'nly realms, where never yet was woe.
Death's dart, that shent us with such sore annoy,
Exalted Lubin to sublimer joy.
Then stint ye impious tears, ne more descend;
Heav'n gain'd a cherub when we lost a friend.

ECLOGUE II.
THE WEEPING LYRE.
I tell the dreary ditties of two swains,
Who 'neath a poplar sung their doleful strains.
Death, ugsome death! had both their joyaunce crost;
Hobbin his friend, his love had Argol lost.
And now, their daily rural business done,
Each one began his nightly task — to moan:
The silver moon, yshining o'er their heads,
Her glitterand beams upon the streamlet sheds,
Whose doleful murmurings o'er the pebbled ground
Invite the mourners by their plaintive sound.
The yellow'd dews bewet the hawthorn spray,
And in the west did wained Phoebus' ray
Dapple with fainty red eve's dusky grey.

Wilt thou, oh T—, lend my lays an ear,
And with my sorwe's mingle eke thy tear?
Thou wilt I wot; tho' artless been my verse,
Thou'lt feel the tender subject I rehearse;
The tear adown thy manly cheek will steal—
Oh hide it not, for it becomes thee wele.
I'll mingle mine, and echo groan for groan,
Mourning thy loss whiles I waiment my own.
Each ones I pine, each ones at once I grieve;
Their memories both in Doric verse shall live.
Both I esteem'd, albe it is confest,
Lubin my friend was dearnest to my breast.
Albeit for him my heart is most forlorn,
Stella naith'less with unfeign'd dole I mourn;
And had ne Lubin drain'd the bitter tear,
My waiments sad had wetted Stella's bier.

Begin my Muse, b'dight in sable 'weed,
The joy-lorn shepherds' mournful tales aread.

HOBBINOL.
Argol, our flocks are in their cootes ypent,
And day's illum'ning waine in ocean blent;
The happier herd-grooms been all lull'd in sleep,
But we by sorwe kept awake to weep.
Better I trow we hail the sheen-clad moon
With woeful dirges, and our minstrels tune
To dreariment beside this murmuring stream
Than pining press the restless bed I deem.
Here set we down, our mutual teen rehearse:
For sorwe's oft reliev'd by mournful verse.

ARGOL.
Thy council, Hobbin, I arread is good:
Then let us here indulge the dreary mood.
I have a dirge, which ones erewhile I wrote,
Wherein my teen for Stella's death I note;
Thilk same I'll sing, and tune my sorweing tale
To the sad wailings of the nightingale.

HOBBINOL.
And I last night, ystretch'd upon the ground,
Whiles pastime slept, and sadness reign'd around,
Where weeping willows darkling shade the stream,
That murmuring flows these delved banks between,
Her voice to dole where Philomel attunes,
And mate-lorn doves yspill the night in moans,
To Lubin's praise compos'd a doleful verse:
The same if tears permit I will rehearse.
And eke I've made of maple ware a lyre,
Deftly attun'd with various sounding wire;
At top whereof's encarved a hollow shell;
From whence, like tears, adown the chordings well
Slow drops of water, and the whiles they flow
They give each note a sooter sound of woe.
Amuling this, mine Elegy I'll sing,
Touching with all my art each thrillant string.

ARGOL.
Eftsoons then Hobbinol begin thy tale,
And, after thee, I will my hap bewail.

HOBBINOL.
Adown the wires while tears melodious rain,
Awake elegiac lyre the plaintive strain.
Ah woe is me! how mickle is the smart
The heart of Sensibility doth rend,
When we, deep shent by Mis'ry's trenchant dart,
Our dearnest joyaunce lose, a bosom friend.
Nought to the feeling bosom been so dear
As the elected brother of the heart:
That dearnest blessing I enjoy'd while-ere,
But now bereaved am by Death's fell dart.
Ah, me! that dearnest friends so soon must part!

Adown the wires, while tears melodious rain,
Awake elegiac lyre the plaintive strain.

Oh Friendship! passion of celestial birth!
Oh hailey flame! oh joyaunce most divine!
How eft profess'd? how scantly met on earth!
Thou wont to glad this drooping heart of mine.
But friendship's joysomness been now all o'er,
And ah! for aye with dearnest Lubin fled;
I'm doom'd to taste of joyaunce now no more,
But hang in pining dole my drooping head;
For social pastime is with Lubin dead.

Adown the wires while tears melodious rain,
Awake elegiac lyre the plaintive strain.

Ne more the hautboy shall my bosom cheer;
'Mongst blithesome louts ne more my time I'll spend;
In lonely silence eft the darkling tear
Shall swell my eyne, and sighs my heart yrend.
Oh come, ye Muses, help me now to weep,
Help me to tell my Lubin's peerless worth.
Shall Lubin's virtues with his ashes sleep?
Sicker thilk gems been not of mould'ring earth:
Then letten verse ygive them second birth.

Adown the wires while tears melodious rain,
Awake my lyre, and Lubin's worth explain.

The social virtues fram'd his youthly heart,
And modell'd eke each movement of his soul;
And dulcet graces deftly did their part,
With lovely manners cloathing soote the whole:
Philanthropy, and eke her sister fair,
Hight Sensibility, the parent-queen
Of generous passions, eachones did repair
To dwell my Lubin's tender heart within.
But mean Self-love there ne'er found place I ween.

Adown the wires, while tears melodious rain,
Awake my lyre, and Lubin's worth explain.

Love, of his neighbour's deeds yjudging kind;
And Justice, only to himself severe,
By Mercy made to other's failings blind;
And Prudence als, whose lorings all revere;
And Pity, from whose dawn-resembling eye
Distils for aye a teen-appeasing balm,
Before whose face all shents and dolours flee—
Of sick a mickle potence been her charm:
These virtues did and more his bosom warm.

Adown the wires, while tears melodious rain,
Awake my lyre, and Lubin's worth explain.

Deep Sapience, with mirthsome Wit combin'd,
Free from all surquedry, and eke from pride;
And manly strength of philosophic mind
Shone in his lore, did o'er his tongue preside.
Then sicker all have cause to weep and wail,
And eke, like me, to hang in drearyment,
That death has wrought so soon my Lubin's bale,
So soon this lamp of virtue is yblent.
Ah me! with dark despair I'm overhent.
Here cease my lyre, here cease the plaintive strain,
'Tis past thy art his virtues to explain!

Vain been the efforts of the tuneful Nine
To paint such peerless worth in plaintive lays
In tears, alas! my Lubin's praise shall shine;
For all who konn'd him speak in tears his praise.
A sister's sorwes and a mother's moans,
Aread his praise as brother and as son.
His pheers deep sighs, his friends heart-rending groans
Aread how true in Friendship's race he run:
Ah me! a virtuous race too soon foredone.
Then cease my lyre, then cease thy plaintive strain;
Cease down the wires melodious tears to rain.

With much of tears thus wail'd the gentle wight,
Then Argol 'gan his ditty to recite.

ARGOL.
Ah, Stella! Stella! how shall I relate
My dolourous teen at thy untimely fate?
Ah me! my heart is overhent with woe,
To think how thou wert ravish'd from my arms:
Sweet bud of beauty! ah how short thy date!
Must Death's fell worm devour thy youthly charms?
Descend ye tears, ye floods of sorwe flow!
For Death hath blent soft Hymen's joyous fire,
Hath seiz'd his amorous torch to light the fun'ral pyre.
Sad Philomela, from the humid spray,
Thy trembling notes awhile prolong,
And make the dolourous undersong
To my waimenteous dirge my love-lorn lay.

Ah Stella! Stella! how shall I relate
My dolourous teen at thy untimely fate?
Mourn, Venus, mourn thy earthly image dead;
And Love waiment thy daintiest darling lost;
Great been your woe, but mine been far more great:
How is each hope of tender pleasaunce crost!
Bright Pleasure's bow'r in fogs of anguish fled!
My saffron robe ychang'd to sable stole,
My madrigals to dirges turn'd, my glee to dole!
Sad Philomela! from the humid spray
Thy trembling notes awhile prolong
To make the dolourous undersong
To my waimenteous dirge, my love-lorn lay.

Ah Stella! Stella! how shall I relate
My dolourous teen at thy untimely fate?
That eye, where wit and pleasaunce wont to play,
Ah woe's my heart! shall pleasure me no more:
That vermil'd cheek, b'dight with dimpled state
The rose and lily eke I did adore,
All, all, alas! are sunk in sad decay.
The flow'ry garlands cull'd to grace each brow
Must be ychang'd to wreaths of baneful cypress now.
Sad Philomela! from the humid spray
Thy trembling notes a while prolong,
And make the dolourous undersong
To my waimenteous dirge, my love-lorn lay.

Ah Stella! Stella! how shall I relate
My dolourous teen at thy untimely fate?
The virgins meant to chaunt the amorous hymn,
To herryings soote to dance the heighdregue,
Must now their sportive merry-makes abate;
Must tear their chaplets on thy grave to strew;
Their sonnets chang'd to dirgeous waimentings,
Must d'off their snowy robes for weeds of woe;
Changing their wimble steps to traces sad and slow.
Sad Philomela! from the humid spray
Thy trembling notes a while prolong,
And make the dolourous undersong
To my waimenteous dirge, my love-lorn lay.

Ah Stella! Stella! how shall I relate
My dolourous teen at thy untimely fate?
But oh my Stella! tho' Death's cruel dart
Hath snatch'd from me so rear thy bloomy form,
Thy virtues, all for utterance too great,
Which more than beauty's waste did thee adorn,
Shall live for aye depeincted on each heart
That kenn'd thy worth. Tho' ah! what wont to joy
Their minds, must now, alas! fulfil them with annoy.
Sad Philomela! from the humid spray
No more thy trembling notes prolong,
Here cease thy dolourous undersong,
Here ends my solemn dirge, my love-lorn lay:
For ah my grief is all for speech too great,
Nor can my feeble wit's device relate
My dolourous teen at Stella's timeless fate.

Thus wail'd the youths their deep-wrought drearyment,
Till bright Aurora o'er the mountains sent
Her changeling beams (besprinting o'er the plain
With spangleous sheen) forerunning Phoebus waine.
Then rose the woeful swains to loose their sheep
From the pent folds, where they them nightly keep;
The whiles all heedy of their dreary dole
Adown each cheek the floods of sorwe roll.

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