1790
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Damon's Complaint. A Pastoral Ballad.

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

David Morison


Eight quatrains, after William Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad. Damon complains that his Phoebe has made off with a wealthier shepherd: "My flocks in some lonely retreat, | Still bleating unheaded shall stray, | With willows I'll deck me a seat, | And list to the Philomel's lay." David Morison (not identified) was a Scottish autodidact; his volume, printed at Montrose, consists largely of Scots poems in the Habbie measure, and an imitation of Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd. The presence of a glossary at the back may indicate that it was intended for genteel readers.



Alone in an arbour was laid,
Young Damon the pride of the dale;
While carelessly wrap'd in his plaid,
His sighs fill'd each neighbouring vale.

Ah! faithless bewitching dear maid,
How oft have you lull'd me to sleep;
And turn'd my small charge when they've stray'd,
Yet left me to murmur and weep!

Can he who now reigns in your heart,
More sweet, soothing pleasures bestow?
Or has he a soul to impart
More love than I lavish'd on you?

What though he can boast of more gold,
And drive larger teams to the field;
Must the heart of my Phoebe be sold?
Must affection to avarice yield?

But ah! 'tis in vain to complain,
Or mourn at the fate's hard decree;
The winds only hear my sad strain,
The winds are more gentle than she.

Ambition sure taught her to stray,
And lonely thus leave me to mourn;
The hours that soft glided away,
Are gone and shall never return.

My flocks in some lonely retreat,
Still bleating unheaded shall stray,
With willows I'll deck me a seat,
And list to the Philomel's lay.

Till worn out with grief and despair,
I'll forget every youthful fond scene,
And all that my heart has held dear,
Shall seem as it never had been.

[pp. 88-90]