At the sight of Corydon's woeful visage, Cloddipole inquires the cause of grief: is it love? has he lost a lamb? "Perhaps some hungry Frenchmen have got o'er, | In their flat-bottom'd boats, to England's shore; | Oh! tell me, Corydon — If that's the case, | My blood's on fire the enemy to face." But no: "our Sov'reign, GEORGE the Good, the Great, | Hath yielded to inevitable Fate." After a eulogy for the dead monarch, Strephon enters to offer a prophecy of good things from his pious successor: "Cease then, my friends, your unavailing moan, | And welcome GEORGE the Third to Britain's Throne; | He, the true heir of royal Brunswick's line, | With matchless splendor shall unrivall'd shine." The poem is signed "T. S." — conceivably for the Irish poet Thomas Spring, who was studying law at the Middle Temple.
CORYDON, CLODDIPOLE, STREPHON.
Say, Corydon, why hangs thy nether lip?
Why stops thy bagpipe? Wherefore droop thy sheep?
Why spreads this sudden gloom around thy brow,
To grief a perfect stranger until now?
Speak; is your fav'rite lambkin gone astray?
Or has fair Phoebe stol'n your heart away?
No lambkin, Cloddipole, is gone away,
Nor has fair Phoebe stol'n my heart away;
Yet does my pipe its joyous notes lay by,
My flock catch sorrow from their master's eye;
Now, gentle Swain, your jests untimely come,
And soon must change to universal gloom.
If love nor loss have prov'd thy adverse fate,
What motive can thy sudden woes create?
Has any friend at wrestling lost the prize?
Or does thy grief from heavy Taxes rise?
Perhaps the Smut hath spoil'd thy rip'ning grain,
Perhaps 'tis scorch'd for want of timely rain;
Tell me, my friend, the source of this thy grief,
For oft' communication yields relief.
My grief will now no consolation bear,
Thou too must shortly all my sorrows share;
No Drought, no Blast, no Taxes cause my smart,
Nor doth a Friend's Disgrace affect my heart;
Too soon to ev'ry Swain the news will come,
And all must feel the universal gloom.
Has then ill news thy merry humour cross'd?
For all the news, that comes, thou quickly know'st.
Perhaps some hungry Frenchmen have got o'er,
In their flat-bottom'd boats, to England's shore;
Oh! tell me, Corydon — If that's the case,
My blood's on fire the enemy to face;
What British youth that can a pitchfork wield,
Would let a scurvy Frenchman keep the field!
Resolve me what I cannot learn myself,
As thou'rt a Schollard, I a witless Elf.
Our arms kind Heaven has so greatly bless'd,
No foreign foe can now disturb our rest,
Yet have we all sufficient cause to grieve
For what nor strength nor valour can relieve.
The grim invader Death, himself is come
To fill us with an universal gloom.
Is good old Corydon thy father dead?
—I see my answer in thy looks to read.
Poor good old man! who from our tender year,
Made our Instruction still his chiefest care;
First bent our minds to Innocence and Truth,
And taught us Fortitude in earliest youth.
Well may we share thy grief, and join thy moan,
When such an universal Friend is gone.
My private griefs I should not chuse to spread,
But Corydon, my father, is not dead;
Better had Death swept all our race away,
Than spar'd us to behold so black a day.
The cruel Tyrant now hath made an end
Of our kind Master, and our common Friend;
Old Corydon still lives to hear our doom,
And share with us the universal gloom.
If still thy father lives our grief to share,
Perhaps we've lost the rich Avaro's heir,
The tenderest Damon, ev'ry Shepherd's friend;
If so, — our sorrows ne'er will have an end;
For then, to fill the Muck's insatiate chest,
Each Swain with double rents will be oppress'd;
And he, the tim'rous Hinds to keep in awe,
Will soon let loose the Harpies of the Law.
—No more shall chearfulness our brows o'erspread,
If our kind Guardian tender Damon's dead.
On that occasion, set thy heart at rest,
Damon still lives to joy each Shepherd's breast;
He lives, to mourn with us our wretched state;
For GEORGE our Sov'reign, GEORGE the Good, the Great,
Hath yielded to inevitable Fate;
This will to Damon's gentle heart strike home,
And make him feel with us the universal gloom.
Your grief I blame not, now I know the cause;
We cannot mourn enough so great a loss:
His gentle sway long bless'd Britannia's isle,
In ev'ry part made joy and plenty smile.
But tell me, Corydon, I fain would know,
By what strange means you learn'd this tale of woe;
And if no dreadful omen from on high
Foretold you that our gracious Lord must die.
Tyrants and base Usurpers, Authors say,
With direful omens have been snatch'd away;
But to the Prince, who was his subjects friend,
All gracious Heaven gave a milder end;
And, from all earthly troubles did remove,
To live for ever in the realms of Love.
I from gay Strephon did these tidings learn,
Who shares with us the heart-felt deep concern;
But see himself, with lengthen'd visage, come
To spread more wide the universal gloom.
Your honest grief I cannot discommend,
Yet think your sorrows now should have an end,
To thank kind Heav'n he staid so long a space,
T' inspire with Virtue all his Princely Race,
To spread throughout the world his People's Fame,
Make farthest shores resound with GEORGE'S Name;
Nor till his earthly bliss was at the height
He left his temp'ral Crown for one of endless light.
If then your Prince you did sincerely love,
Envy not thus his Happiness above.
Another GEORGE now mounts the British Throne,
Whose budding Virtues, Envy needs must own,
Reflect such splendor on the destin'd Crown,
As bright's the rising as the new-set sun.
Religion is his first, his greatest care,
Which to the Subject must the Prince endear;
What Hopes! — when he so early doth begin
To raise up Virtue, and discourage Sin.
As late his royal Grandsire was, so he
Our common Friend and Father now will be.
On England now no nation shall impose;
His British Heart will feel for Britain's Woes.
Cease then, my friends, your unavailing moan,
And welcome GEORGE the Third to Britain's Throne;
He, the true heir of royal Brunswick's line,
With matchless splendor shall unrivall'd shine.