1792
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Ballad.

Poems, chiefly by Gentlemen of Devonshire and Cornwall. In Two Volumes. [Rev. Richard Polwhele, ed.]

Edward Drewe


A nonsense burlesque of Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, the second part of which begins, "My Banks are all furnish'd with Bees | Whose murmur invites one to sleep." Thomas Moore later composed a burlesque beginning: "My banks are all furnish'd with rags, | So thick, even Freddy can't thin 'em." Edward Drewe was a retired officer living in Exeter. Since he died in 1793, it may be that his Shenstone burlesques were composed at an earlier period. In 1820 these lines were recast by "Lucius Tantabrabobus" in the British Stage and Literary Cabinet under the title "A Cheshire Pastoral. Parody on Shenstone."

Anna Seward to Richard Polwhele, 25 May 1792: "My grateful devotion to the charming, though now neglected Muse of Shenstone, will not permit me to restrain my expression of the regret and disgust I feel, to see those pleasing volumes disgraced by a feeble attempt to ridicule her natural and beautiful effusions. Shenstone appears to me the only professed pastoral writer, who has struck the true pastoral chords; who possesses the graceful simplicity which those of Virgil and Pope want, without any of that coarseness, into which, attempting to be more natural by painting vulgar nature, Spenser, Gay, and Philips fell" Polwhele, Traditions and Recollections (1826) 1:294-95.

Richard Polwhele to J. T., 20 December 1811: "Miss Seward, addressing Mr. Cary, says: 'Several of the simply beautiful and touching parts in Shenstone's charming pastorals have been laughably travestied.' — This burlesque occurs in our Devon and Cornwall poets. It is ostensibly my old friend Major Drewe's. Had I told Miss Seward, that the ridicule which has thus raised her indignation, was started and pursued by the Major and myself, tete-a-tete, over a bottle of Claret, my name would never have occurred in the list of her honoured friends!" Polwhele, Traditions and Recollections (1826) 2:646-47.



My beds are all furnish'd with fleas,
Whose bitings invite me to scratch;
Well stock'd are my orchards with jays,
And my pig-sties white over with thatch.
I seldom a pimple have met,
Such health does magnesia bestow;
My horse-pond is border'd with wet,
Where the flap-docks and sting-nettles grow.

I have found out a gift for my fair,
In my Cheshire some rotten I've found;
But let me the plunder forbear,
Nor give that dear bosom a wound:
Though oft from her lips I have heard,
That the rotten her palate would please;
Yet he ne'er could be true, she averr'd,
Who would rob the poor mite of his cheese.

And where does my Dorothy stray?
And where are her pattens and clogs?
As dirty as ours is the way;
In the country as fruitful in bogs?
The land may be fruitful in bogs,
And dirty may be all the ways;
The shepherds in manners like hogs,
For mine are the manners to please.

[pp. 103-04]