1815
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Summer. The Second Pastoral; or Zetus.

The Deserted Village Restored; The Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green, in three Cantos: Pastorals, &c.

Arthur Parsey


Arthur Parsey's summer pastoral relates the heats of amorous passion, as Zetus sings his unhappy love: "Yon hateful brook, which oft reflects her face, | And shews each beauty in the liquid glass. | Obstructs my peace, and fills her head with pride— | Yet she alone adorns the woodland's side" p. 116.



Young ZETUS, love-crost, melancholy swain,
Expert in music and th' enchanting strain,
Beneath a shade the British oaks afford.
Pour'd forth his moan, and echoes bore each word.
Is this unkind, RUSINA? — my return,
Must love and thee bid all my heart to burn?
And thus alone must I disturb the shade,
With plaints of hardships, and by love betray'd?
These deep dark vistas of the woods display
The pending gloom, which o'er my senses play.
Yon twining ivy up the rough barks creep,
And with the dews of morn still gently weep;
Like those sweet, clinging, tender, gay woodbines
The canker-worm of love my heart entwines.
My sheep recline, and court the mountain's shade,
The sun casts umber on each cheek display'd.
Nor thou, RUSINA, kindly dost ordain,
To bless one hope, or sooth despairing pain.
The scorching heat with songsters fills the grove,
They press'd with heat, and I consum'd with love.
They court the shade, and revel in thick trees—
No shade has love to grant me wanted ease.
If willing ears th' obdurate maid would lend,
The passion's art would surely, surely bend;
Yet she, with scorn, alike my love and tale,
Averts her head, and gives them to the gale.
Yon hateful brook, which oft reflects her face,
And shews each beauty in the liquid glass.
Obstructs my peace, and fills her head with pride—
Yet she alone adorns the woodland's side.
Ah! lovely maid, I can perceive thy cot
O'er yonder thorn — a lovely, verdant spot!
My rival's yoke I see ascend the hill,
Whose sturdy oxen fallow uplands till;
I see the herds which happier shepherds keep:
But I must mourn, and to the woodlands weep;
And all the flow'rs, the sweet product of spring,
Must droop and die, while I too, drooping, sing.
The tender lilies must unheeded blow,
The vi'lets, pale, must all their sweets forego;
The fragrant thorn must wither in the gale,
And I must fall within the dying pale.
Ah! ZETUS, wretched, sad, despairing swain!
What shall allay while love supports thy pain?
And fair RUSINA all my gifts refuse—
The thick-wove garland, or my sprightly muse?
The tender cresses from the brook I bring;
Nor cresses for the fair RUSINA spring.
Ah! cruel creature, what dost thou despise?
I am not frightful, nor are cross my eyes:
My voice is good — I make the mountains ring;
What could I more, if I were born a king
Late in the spring with CORYDON I strove,
And not a bird remain'd within the grove;
Pan left the woods to hear my tuneful reeds,
And all admir'd as on my lay proceeds.
The herds left grazing in a mighty drove;
The joyous lambs skipt playful as I strove;
And, when the contest gave me all the prize,
The ev'ning's blush seem'd joyous in the skies.
Besides all this, I have a num'rous herd—
Twelve lusty steers as ever trod a yard;
As many heifers, and as many cows,
And twenty goats, and fifty thrifty ewes;
One bull I have, as fine as e'er was bred,
With nimble heels, and with a hornless head:
Yet all this wealth is not so great a prize
As sweet RUSINA, and RUSINA'S eyes.
Ah! fly me not, sweet lair one! fly not me;
Yet, will is thine, and it must still be free.
More easy 'tis to brave the torrid sun,
Than sink beneath relentless love undone:
I sound these reeds, and touch th' Aeolian lyre,
But other charms this cold, fair maid require;
And panting, sinking, dying, I must roam:
Ye sighing gales are deaf to ev'ry groan;
Ye warbling linnets! why so light and gay?
Cease, cease! thy notes accord not with my lay.
Ye, humming bees! upon industrious tour,
With purport visit ev'ry fragrant flow'r.
Ye doves! which bill in am'rous mutual love,
Let not a charm forsake this blissful grove.
Ye violets, lilies, daffodils! arise—
Ye lose no lovers, and ye heave no sighs.
Browse on, my lambs! unconscious of thy swain;
Ye streamlets! murmur through the myrtle plain.
Wave, distant crops of infant-bearded corn!
Reflect thy gold ere comes the sportsman's horn;
Breathe all around in agricult'ral charms
'Tis not for me — for love my soul disarms.
Stray, lovers! stray, and listen to each sound
Of tender accents in each other bound.
By little acts do mighty parts to please:
The world's an uproar and a passing breeze;
We cannot tell from whence it first arose.
Nor can we tell how far, or whence it goes.
Love has no bounds — 'tis like the great expanse
We guess its causes, and construe by chance:
It comes, like storms, unask'd and rages, till
It either clears the air, or mortals kill.
I sink forlorn! RUSINA, hear my cries!
RUSINA! hear, before sad ZETUS dies!

[pp. 115-20]