Pastorals, in imitation of Virgil and Pope.

Juvenilia; or a Collection of Poems: Written between the Ages of Twelve and Sixteen. By J. H. L. Hunt, late of the Grammar School of Christ's Hospital.

Leigh Hunt

Leigh Hunt's four pastorals were written at Christ's Hospital, perhaps at the suggestion of Bowyer, the master. They closely follow Pope, though "Rosalind" would allude to Spenser. It is notable that Hunt would mention Hayley and Southey as the contemporary poets he seeks to emulate. One might compare Gavin Turnbull's juvenile pastorals, which likewise emulate Pope, in Poetical Essays (1788). The fourth poem is an elegy for William Cowper.

Monthly Review: "In general, it is adviseagble that these early blossoms of genius should be kept from criticism so severe as that of the public: but in this instance we make a willing exception, and may advise Mr. Hunt to cultivate his propitious muse both early and late" NS 39 (October 1802) 206.

Poetical Register for 1801: "A considerable degree of taste and genius is manifest in this volume of juvenile poems. Many of the pieces would not disgrace authors of a more advanced age. The Palace of Pleasure in particular, is conceived and executed with great ability. The difficult stanza of Spenser is well managed, and many of the figures and personifications are appropriate and beautiful. The pastorals, and the pieces in blank verse, are of inferior merit. To render the common cant of pastoral at all interesting, is an Herculean task. Blank verse is often chosen by young writers, under the mistaken idea that it is of easier composition than rhyme; and the result is, what might be expected from such an idea, that their compositions are tedious and monotonous. Of all bad verse, bad blank verse is the worst" (1802; 1815) 364.

Season, Spring. — Time, Morning.

—Arcades ambo
Et cantare pares, et respondere parati.
Virg. Aeclog, vii. v. 4.

In fair Oxonia first, with vernal flow'rs,
I crown the Muse that cheers my peaceful hours;
Mild Isis, echo to the rural song,
That humbly skims thy silver stream along;
Ye willows, quiv'ring o'er your waters play,
And nod soft plaudits to the whisp'ring lay.

Offspring of him, belov'd of Heav'n, who join'd
The noblest wisdom with the purest mind,
Attend the verse; nor those, thy peers among,
Who on thy patriot voice so oft have hung,
Disdain these early numbers to receive,
That in the sunshine of thy smiles would live.
So round the gen'rous oak the mazy vine
Loves, in gay wreaths, his infant leaves to twine;
Yet blushes, as it pays admiring court,
And purples grateful o'er its high support.

Fair Morn yet linger'd in the op'ning east,
And careless tints on distant mountains cast;
When three young Shepherds, o'er the spreading lawn,
With early warblings hail'd the smiling dawn;
Till, as they pour'd their gather'd flocks along,
Thus gentle Hylas stopp'd the flowing song:

Lov'd Swains, the fav'rites of the rural Muse,
See waking morn her purple rays diffuse;
Smooth Isis' streams reflected splendor yield,
And gay, green Spring, enrobes the circling field:
Come then; the Muses love the vernal year;
Let songs, alternate, swell the cooling air;
While in yon waving Elm's embow'ring shade,
In decent shew the rural feast be laid.
Damon, begin; your gentle reed inspire;
Then, Thyrsis, answer with Apollo's fire.

What say you, Thyrsis? I, unskilful swain,
Tune the mean pipe along the distant plain;
And stake this crook, with iv'ry head, as fair
As Delia's neck, or Daphne's flaxen hair.

And I this horn which first my grand-sire found,
And thro' the hollow pour'd the length'ning sound;
A ring of gold enclasps the graceful curve,
His bright reward whose songs the prize deserve.

Fair blooming youth, O leave Idalia's grove,
Thy feasts ambrosial, and thy Psyche's love;
Glow thro' the verse, and smooth the rustic lays
That seek no theme, but thine eternal praise.

Melodious Phoebus, all my mind inspire
With Hayley's air, or Southey's kindling fire;
That not unequal to the task may prove
Of singing Delia's charms, and Delia's love.

Me laughing Daphne softly lurks behind,
Pelts the smooth plum, then trips along the wind;
Yet, while the bush conceals with sweet briar green,
She laughs aloud, and wishes to be seen.

While lovely Delia leads the floating dance,
At each quick step she darts the side-long glance;
While, winking round, in ev'ry soft retreat,
How much her eyes belie her sporting feet.

Sweet May is faithful to the honey'd flow'rs,
March to the winds, and April to the show'rs;
Yet still more constant, while her Damon's here,
Is charming Daphne all the varied year.

Fair Morning loves to court the tepid breeze;
Mild Eve the cooler, Noon the shady trees;
Yet more than all, my Delia joys to play,
Where faithful Thyrsis leads his fllocks away.

The peaceful Olive sage Minerva bears,
Bacchus the Vine, the Myrtle Venus wears;
Yet while my Fair admires the vi'let blue,
The vine, sweet flow'r, and myrtle, yield to you.

The hardy Oak is monarch of the plains,
O'er the soft stream the mournful Willow reigns;
If Delia love the Rose, with blushes gay,
The Oak and Willow shall the Rose obey.

When hoary Winter chains our fields in frost,
And lively Verdure in his snows is lost;
If Daphne smile, stern Winter frowns no more,
And greener verdure crowns the flow'ry shore.

When thirsty Sirius rages o'er the fields,
And fainting Nature to the tyrant yields;
In Delia's presence, her enliv'ning eye
Sparkles with life, and splendor paints the sky.

If in some distant grove my Daphne roam,
Far from her shepherd's flock and native home;
Hush'd are the birds, the sorrowing flow'rs droop low;
And the dull streams in languid silence flow.

If cruel Delia from her Thyrsis hide,
By yon dark elm, or Thames sedge-mantled side;
In vain bright Titan gilds the burnish'd plains;
He soothes the least who smiles upon our pains.

Ah, yield thee, Thyrsis; or with promptness tell,
What sweet is that from show'ring Heav'n that fell;
Unfold the riddle, and the crook is thine,
To curb the goats that crop the early vine.

Yet boast not Damon; first that flow'r declare,
That joins a metal with a virgin fair;
Then his loud horn shall conquer'd Thyrsis yield,
And all the praises of the wond'ring field.

Equal in wit, and in the flowing rhyme,
In years tho' greener than the youthful lime.
Admir'd by Phoebus, and by Love caress'd,
Who can discern the youth, who sings the best?
Blest in unrivall'd Friendship, still maintain
Th' admiring plaudit of each humbler swain;
While to thee, Damon, this transparent horn,
That clear reflects the purple tints of Morn,
Glad, I adjudge; and, Thyrsis, to thy care,
Commit this crook with mounting iv'ry fair.
But haste away; the sweet repast is laid,
Inviting Hunger in the rural shade:
Put up your pipes: the birds your notes prolong;
Let them take up the warbling of the song.

Season, Summer. — Time, Noon.

—Tantus dolor urit aruantes.
Ovid, Met. lib. iv. v. 278.

In Windsor groves, where cooling Zephyrs play,
And Thames smooth waters guide their chrystal way,
The gather'd Swains, with rural labour tir'd,
Sought the mild breezes, and the reed inspir'd;
While, where the oaks hang round their ample shade,
Their crooks neglected, and the flocks were laid.
Soft as they sung, along the verdant shore,
The feather'd songsters seem'd to charm no more;
All nature smil'd; gay sprung the blooming flow'rs,
And harmless Mirth led on the dancing hours.

Fred'rick, attend; hear one sad lay complain,
That to our friendship adds this length'ning chain;
How swains, tho' faithful as thyself, have mourn'd
Affection scorn'd, or friendship unreturn'd;
Hear all the griefs, and all the ills of love;
For thou can'st pity, and may chance approve.

Alone retir'd from this enliv'ning scene,
Palemon slowly pac'd the distant green;
Where, on his head, Sol pour'd his burning ray,
And in hot splendor, flam'd the cloudless day.
Loose, o'er his shoulders, fell his airy flute,
So lively once, but now so sadly mute;
O'er his blue eyes his flaxen tresses hung,
While mournful thus in gentle plaint he sung:—

Ye radiant sun-beams, parching from above,
Ah fierce, indeed, but not so fierce as love;
Ye fields of azure sapphire, sparkling fair,
And ye, beneath, that Summer's verdure wear,
All Nature, listen to the piteous lay,
That longs, like you, yet sickens to be gay;
And, oh, if Grief should spoil the heart-felt verse,
Him pity most, who fails it to rehearse!

Ah! thinks my Rosalind, what restless pain,
Her faithless breast inflicts upon her swain;
While o'er the thirsty fields he seeks to trace
Some footstep printed on the trodden grass!
Fond, simple youth, when, joying in her love,
Thy Rosalinda sought the shady grove,
Where oft enraptur'd on the bank she stood,
As in the blushing stream my face I view'd;
And told me, bending o'er the gurgling wave,
Not morn herself such lovely blushes gave;
Why did I eager drink her perjur'd praise,
Why round her head enwreathe the grateful bays?
Yet cruel Love still wrings my wo-worn breast,
Nor laughing Summer brings Palemon rest!

Come, view my cottage, that, on yonder hill,
Climbs o'er the hedge, and looks upon the rill;
O'er its smooth top the bow'ring elm survey,
That shades my windows from the scorching ray:
While creeping upwards on its cover'd side
The winding ivy mounts in verdant pride.
Around, like silver peeping from the grass,
Thame's subject stream directs its waves of glass;
Till spreading slowly as it onward moves,
It bounds below, and rushes to the groves.
Here will we love; and when the bright-eyed Morn
Wakes to new light and life the purpling Dawn,
Thy liquid voice in heav'nly notes shall rise
With my low flute, soft warbling to the skies;
Or if it please thee better, from the cotes,
Thy tender hand shall drive the udder'd goats:
While round the plain, where fresh'ning Zephyr breathes,
Thy careful swain the colour'd garland wreathes;
To deck thy bosom, or attentive spread
The rifled Summer on thy bashful head!

The yelling lion pants the wolf to seize,
The wolf the kid, the kid the tender trees;
The sad Palemon, with enquiring eyes,
And eager haste, for Rosalinda flies;
Yet the fierce lion lives not in his breast,
No savage Hunger robs his soul of rest;
Love, gentle Love, the shepherd's anxious care,
Urges him on, and shews the promis'd fair;
Yet as I haste to clasp her in these arms,
Fled is her form, and all her glowing charms!

And is it thus, malicious god, the youth
Is robb'd of all, that vow'd eternal truth?
That he, who spoils the flow'ry pride of Spring,
His votive garlands on thy shrine to bring;
That he, who sings thy praises all the year,
For Rosalinda clasps the shadowy air?

O'er distant fields no more my feet shall roam,
Nor sad Palemon leave his peaceful home.
This flute, which Moeris with his dying breath,
Gave as a pledge that Friendship lives in Death;
This flute no more shall unregarded hang,
With which so sweetly thro' the groves he sang;
To yon thick shade, lamenting, I'll retire,
And to soft plaints my mournful reed inspire!
Yet, why bright Phoebus fly! a livelier flame,
With cherish'd hate, exhausts my drooping frame.
Still, still I burn! ah, rather let me say,
Palemon's free when Rosalind's away:
Reflecting Reason blot the fatal word,
And to rough Love be smooth Content preferr'd.
But haste, Palemon; to yon shady green,
Where limpid Thame adorns the verdant scene,
Urge the quick step: for, on the margin gay,
The heedless flock in wild disorder play.
Farewel, ye plains, ye verdant lawns, adieu,
Ye fields of green, and ye of azure blue!
Farewel, false Rosalind; my beating breast
Denies me more; let tears declare the rest!

Season, Autumn. — Time, Evening.

Amor, che per gli affani cresce.
Petr. p. 33.

Fair was the eve; and o'er the western sky
Departing Phoebus cast his gentler eye;
Autumnal glories mark'd the yellow plain,
And golden Ceres spread her waving reign,
When wand'ring Strephon, mourning o'er the mead,
With gentle breath inspir'd the plaintive reed;
While pitying Zephyrs wafted thro' the grove,
The mingled notes of Sorrow and of Love.

Thou, whom a nation's love, a nation's praise
Crowns yet unwearied with immortal bays;
Whom gracious Heav'n, in pity to mankind,
Gave to scourge Vice, and curb the erring mind;
O let my Muse, by thy great name inspir'd,
With Erskine's native eloquence be fir'd!
From thy warm eye expressive Pity sent,
Shall mountains melt, and bid the rocks relent;
The woods shall mourn, and heap'd upon the shore,
Old Thamus weep, and Isis smile no more!

From Strephon's bosom burst the tender sigh,
And grief's big drop stood trembling in his eye!
Streaming it fell: Love caught the pearly tear,
And whisper'd comfort in the shepherd's ear.

Ah, cruel god, reply'd the care-worn swain,
Thy smiles are sorrow, and thy pleasure pain!
Still, as I bow beneath thy burning shrine,
Contempt, Refusal, and Despair, are mine!
No promis'd joys by love-sick Fancy drest,
No promis'd raptures throb within my breast!
Fair Peace, adieu! and ah! no more be mute;
But mourn with me, my sweetly-warbling flute!

And does Menalcas, rev'lling in her charms,
On Sylvia's breast repose his iron arms?
Perverted Nature, mourn thy banish'd reign,
And weep with me o'er ev'ry murm'ring plain;
The savage eagle, screaming, courts the dove,
To snowy hinds the lion roars his love;
Wild in the flock the rav'ning wolf's preferr'd,
And foaming tygers sport among the herd!
Fair peace, adieu! And ah, no more be mute;
But mourn with me, my sweetly-warbling flute!

In this lorn breast, where Sylvia's image lies,
Love asks in vain, while vanish'd Hope denies!
Once could I wish, when artless was my age,
And smiling Time unroll'd his brightest page;
Once could I wish, when first my Sylvia rose,
Like op'ning flow'rs their budding charms disclose;
When first she rose, the splendour of the plain,
And stole the heart of ev'ry simple swain;
Till Disappointment drove me from my land,
And dash'd the cup of Rapture from my hand.
Weep, hapless youth! and ah! no more be mute;
But mourn with me, my sweetly-warbling flute!

Ye groves, forsaken by your wretched swain;
Ye mazy woodlands, nodding o'er the plain;
Ye bleating folds, once Strephon's fleecy wealth,
My slender crook, fond pleasure, and fair health,
All, all, adieu! To me, the shady grove
Has lost its charms, since Sylvia has her love!
For some new swain my wand'ring flock must look,
And all the garlands wither on my crook!
Weep, hapless youth! and ah! no more be mute;
But mourn with me, my sweetly-warbling flute!

Soft sung the shepherd; and on distant plains
Delighted Echo spread the plaintive strains.
Thame rais'd his head, and bending o'er the meads,
Told the mild numbers to his waving reeds;
While Windsor fields, forgetful to rejoice,
Caught the sad influence of his magic voice.

Hark! What sweet murmurs break from yonder grove!
What chanting Nymph laments her bleeding love;
Still on mine ear the silver numbers steal,
And rising throbs within my breast I feel!
The shepherd paus'd: while, floating gently near,
These mournful numbers trembled in his ear:—

Sweet is the light that glitters thro' the sky,
And sweet soft Ev'ning with her virgin eye;
Dear is the hope that flatters me to rest,
And lov'd the purple stream that warms my breast!
But ah! How sweet, how dear, how lov'd, the youth,
That to this wretched bosom vow'd his truth!
Who from these lips love's warm avowal heard,
That love to Pleasure and to Peace preferr'd!
Sigh on, ye Zephyrs, that around me breathe;
And mourn, ye bubbling streams, that purl beneath!

Once soft Content reveal'd her placid charms,
And Joy, with smiles, would woo me to her arms!
Once from his shrine Love bow'd his yielding head;
But Love, and Joy, and soft Content, are fled!
Care on my lips compels his bitter bowl,
And Woe's rude tempest shakes my tortur'd soul!
Sigh on, ye Zephyrs, that around me breathe;
And mourn, ye bubbling streams, that purl beneath!

Ye playful Nymphs, that haunt the woodland scene,
The flow'ry valley, or the upland green;
Or ye, in Thame's smooth flowing stream, that lave,
And cleave with polish'd arm the chrystal wave;
In what cool bow'r, what wat'ry grotto's shade,
To sad complaint impervious, were you laid;
When Force unmanly dragg'd me from my fields,
And all the joys my peaceful cottage yields?
Sigh on, ye Zephyrs, that around me breathe;
And mourn, ye bubbling streams, that purl beneath!

If Health's warm smile these drooping charms restore,
And hope's unalter'd eye be dim no more;
If Love has pow'r to bind the hearts of swains,
(And that he has, O tell my native plains!)
This weary hand that props my tearful cheek,
With painful toil and trembling mis'ry weak,
This weary hand shall be the youth's alone,
Who call'd so oft that weary hand his own!
Witness, ye groves, with gilding Autumn gay,
Ye waving fields, that glitter on the day,
Ye whisp'ring leaves, with yellow border bright,
And ye, ye floating splendors of the light!
Despis'd Menalcas mourns my flight in vain,
And Sylvia's Strephon shall be hers again!
Sport now, ye Zephyrs, that around me breathe;
And smile, ye bubbling streams, that purl beneath.

Soft ceas'd the Fair; then beam'd from out the grove
In all the luring languishings of love;
Caught by the breezes shook her clust'ring curls,
Shook, as when Eve her trembling veil unfurls;
An airy robe her floating form betray'd,
And o'er her breast in ruffling eddies play'd;
From her bright eyes a thousand glances speak,
And blushing beauty purples on her cheek.
Enraptur'd Strephon gaz'd upon her charms,
And wildly rush'd, and clasp'd her in his arms:
"These fond caresses," sigh'd the blooming swain,
"These dear embraces bind us once again!
O may no more the wiles of fortune part
This panting bosom from thy Shepherd's heart!
If Love, too cruel, smile but to deceive,
And Woe once more the loom of mis'ry weave;
That ruffian hand, that tears me from thy side,
Shall point the grave, where hapless Strephon died!"

Season, Winter. — Time, Night.

Quis desiderio sit pudor, aut modus
Tam chari capitis? praecipe lugubres
Cantus, Melpomene; cui liquidam Pater
Vocem cum cithara dedit.

Ergo — perpetuus Sopor
Urget! cui Pudor, & justitia soror
Incorrupta Fides, nudaque Veritas,
Quando ullum invenient parem?
Hor. Lib. i. Od. 24.

Not summer-airs that fan the rustling grove,
Or the warm whispers of enraptur'd Love;
Not the smooth streamlets that with rippling tide
In murm'rings mild the chrystal pebbles chide;
Not Pan himself can so beguile mine ear,
As when Amyntas' gentle reed I hear;
But, ah! his sweet celestial strains are gone,
And rich Elysium claims her tuneful son!

See solemn Night begins her dreary reign,
And Winter bleaches o'er the icy plain;
Pale Luna sleeps behind the dark'ning cloud,
And Nature lies beneath her frozen shroud:
So drear to me is Rapture's dancing ray,
So cold to Moeris Pleasure's warmest day;
So darken'd, Youth's bright sunshine, now no more,
So frozen Health, whose blushes glow'd before;
For, ah! with thee I weep our Shepherd's death,
And raptur'd Harmony's forgotten breath!

As the tall Poplar waves above the reed,
Or Windsor groves rise graceful o'er the mead;
As lovely Roses blush upon the thorn,
Or flow'ry Buds the tangled hedge adorn;
Thus lov'd Amyntas rivall'd every swain;
Thus with his warblings grac'd the ravish'd plain;
Thus bow'd each Shepherd to his mellow flute,
Till Verse, Amyntas, and Delight were mute!
Mourn, mourn, ye horrors of the frozen year,
And melt in tears of anguish o'er his bier!

Yon aged tree, where once his sculptur'd name
Would Admiration's passing tribute claim,
The envious snows in clus'tring heaps conceal,
And graven boughs no more the charm reveal;
Beneath the frost of Death's relentless hand
Thus dies the Muse, thus leaves a weeping land;
Thus fades the landscape from our straining sight,
Where soaring Rapture wing'd her visions bright;
Where Fancy planted gay her colour'd goal,
And magic Melody enchain'd the soul!
For, ah! Amyntas droops his gentle head,
And Rapture, Fancy, Melody, are fled!

Chain'd is the music of the purling spring,
And stiff the tender turtle's useless wing;
So fast in Death the fetter'd Muses lie,
So fixt our tuneful Swain's enliven'd eye!
And, ah! no more shall Summer's glowing reign
Restore his numbers to their native plain;
No more light Autumn wake to visions gay
Those eyes, cold hidden from the light of day;
Though melting Spring again shall soothe the grove,
And pliant pinions oar the sailing dove!
Weep, Moeris, weep! Amyntas charms no more;
And Pan chants vainly o'er the desart shore!

Ah, down these cheeks full oft the tearful stream
Steals in the day, and dews the nightly dream;
Full oft Remembrance thorns within my breast,
And Meditation lures me from my rest!
O'er this cold grave that decks the snowy way
With old o'er-waving cypress sadly gay,
O'er this cold grave pale vigils will I keep,
And bid the wand'ring pilgrim pause and weep;
While thus the sorrow, by his sighs betray'd,
Shall soothe in pensive lay the list'ning Shade:—

"Thee, sweet departed Warbler of the plain,
Who charm'd so oft lorn Echo's mournful reign;
Thee, when green Spring her verdant mantle weaves,
And laughing Summer crowns her head with leaves;
Thee, when bright Autumn paints the golden land,
And hoary Winter waves his icy hand;
Thee shall Remembrance fancy in her way,
Chanting with tuneful reed thy placid lay;
And, with her wonted rapture wildly warm,
Present the laurel to th' ideal form;
Thee shall Affection mourn, along thy bier
Mingling with silent grief the bursting tear;
Thee Honour, acting in his noblest part,
Hold in each eye, and grave within each heart;
Till Spring no more, or Summer's sparkling eye,
Or yellow Autumn beam along the sky;
Till hoary Winter loose his icy chain,
And Joy, immortal as thy numbers, reign!"

[Second edition; pp. 73-96]