1778
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Blithe Colin.

Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (4 June 1778).

William Hawkins


Three double-quatrain stanzas: "A favourite Scotch Song, sung this Season by Miss Sharpe, at Ranelagh, written by Mr. Hawkins, and set to Music by Mr. Bates." The singer is unrepentently in love with Colin: "The maidens all envy my bliss, | And tell me I'm simple and vain; | Yet I'm not displeased at this, | Nor heed their contempt and disdain." While this oft-reprinted ballad seems to have caught the public imagination in 1778 William Hawkins seems to have been unable to follow up with sustained success as a poet.



By the side of the sweet river Tay,
Or else on the banks of the Tweed,
Young Colin he whistles all day,
Or merrily pipes on his reed.
His mind is a stranger to care,
For he is blithe, bonny, and free;
At harvest, at wake, and at fair,
No swain is so chearful as he.

At eve, when we dance on the green,
How sprightly he joins in the throng;
So pleasing his air and his mien,
So gailey he trips it along;
The lasses his manners adore,
And strive his affections to gain,
When absent, for him they deplore,
All sigh for the smiles of the swain.

But I am the girl of his mind,
He chose me above all the rest,
And vows that to me he'll be kind,
With me he will ever be blest.
The maidens all envy my bliss,
And tell me I'm simple and vain;
Yet I'm not displeased at this,
Nor heed their contempt and disdain.

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