1790
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Ballad. In imitation of Shenstone.

Poems, chiefly in the Scottish Dialect. By David Morison.

David Morison


Twelve quatrains, after William Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad. David Morison was a provincial haberdasher about whom further information appears to be lacking. In the poem, the singer mourns for his Maria: "No more will I 'tend these few sheep, | My pipe and my crook I'll forsake, | In wild dreams she appears when I sleep, | But she's gone from my sight when I 'wake."



Ye shepherds attend to my tale,
And mourn, for Maria is gone,
Each zephyr and soft blowing gale,
In compassion give ear to my song.

Here a shepherd, forlorn I mourn,
Depress'd with the clouds of dispair
In solitude, ev'ry return,
Of each day but increases my care.

Why was it ordain'd I should stray,
On the soft mossy banks of the Esk?
Where Lambkins do wantonly play,
And their dams in the Sun-beams do bask.

No more will I 'tend these few sheep,
My pipe and my crook I'll forsake,
In wild dreams she appears when I sleep,
But she's gone from my sight when I 'wake.

If I view the sweet scenes of our youth,
When Innocence taught us to love,
When a frown or a gentle reproof,
As a check to fond passion did prove.

How pleasant the moments would glide!
When Maria as fair as the morn,
From morning to night by my side,
The banks of the Esk did adorn.

Sweet garlands of flowers I oft wove,
To deck my lov'd shepherdess' hair,
The bloom of the rose from the grove,
Soon vanish'd when plac'd near my fair.

She talk'd and my heart did o'erflow,
Each word so enchanted my ear,
Her cheeks as the crimson did glow,
Where artifice ne'er had a share.

Why lov'd I a maiden so fair,
So gentle so true and so kind?
How could she do less than endear,
When possess'd of each grace of the mind?

Maria was bright as the day,
That peeps from yon clear op'ning sky,
She'll ne'er on these banks again stray,
To view my flocks as they pass by.

Ye maidens, your pastimes forbear,
With willows adorning each brow,
And drop on her grave a soft tear,
Who was constant, was kind, and was true,

Her grave with the Jessamine flower,
I'll deck as an emblem of love,
While mourning shall fill my lone bower
Forlorn, as the plaints of the dove.

[pp. 56-59]