1787
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Jonty and Bridget, an Irish Eclogue.

The World, Fashionable Advertiser (22 June 1787).

Anonymous


A burlesque pastoral elegy in ten quatrains, dated "June 19." The anapestic meter is derived, possibly at several removes, from William Shenstone's A Pastoral Ballad (1743). The intention may be to burlesque the sentimental Shenstone in the manner that John Gay had burlesqued the British Philips — all three of the earlier poems are evoked in one way or another.

James Bannister: "The numbers of Shenstone, though in a long work they may tire by their languor and monotony, are smooth and harmonious; and all his poems are characterised by a peculiar simplicity both of language and sentiment, which none of his imitators have attained. His faults are easily copied" in Review of William Perfect, Poetic Effusions; Monthly Review NS 24 (October 1797) 206.



How tediously pass the sad hours
That whilom trip'd nimbly along!
Heart-broken I seek the deep bow'rs,
And fly from the village gay throng.

No longer their pastimes delight,
Nor afford me the joy they were wont;
My stomach grows sick at the sight,
Since Bridget, poor Bridget's — defunct!

May comforts await her, poor soul!
Her like is not now on this earth:
Mischance has me fast by the poll,
Since the moment that first gave me birth.

How oft at the grey dawn of morn,
Hand in hand have we trudg'd o'er the plains;
When the dew drop depends from the thorn,
And the lark first begins his sweet strains.

How oft from yon hill did we view,
And praise, the gay landscape around—
The remembrance my sorrows renew,
I'm as dull as a calf in a pound.

Near yonder old tow'r as we sat,
She'd mark the sad tale that I told;
And snivel and whine, and — all that,
And declare that her blood it ran cold.

When Lubin of Bridget did prate,
And call'd her a thick-legged lass,
I gave him a rap on the pate,
And measur'd his length on the grass.

But shortliv'd is all human bliss,
These joys are for evermore flown;
All my life the dear damsel I'll miss,
She's off! — and I'm left all alone.

The big tear now stands in my eye,
My sorrows have made me quite giddy;
My breast sadly heaves with a sigh,
For ever, farewell, dearest Biddy!

May thy manes for ever have rest,
Now thy carcase lies under the sod;
And the thistles that grow o'er thy breast,
For ever go niddity nod.

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