1773
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Verses written on the Banks of the Thames, near Twickenham, last Summer.

Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (18 January 1774).

Anonymous


A suburban pastoral lyric in nine anapestic quatrains. As the poet complains of the loss of his Nancy the river, in unison, complains of the loss of Alexander Pope. The poet resolves to abandon love and pursue friendship instead: "But Venus may boast of her pow'r, | And Cupid contemptuously smile— | In Friendship I'll spend ev'ry hour— | No longer shall Love me beguile." The poem, not signed, is part of the series of imitations of William Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, so popular in the 1770s.



As musing beside the clear stream
To Twick'nham's gay village ally'd,
Of Nancy I sung, and my theme
Kept pace and complain'd with the tide.

That murmur'd at loss of its POPE—
I mourn'd for the loss of my FAIR,
As each was like without hope
To meet with a jewel so rare.

Adieu ye sweet meadows and lawns!
No more on your paths shall I stray—
Or like the brisk lambkins and fawns,
So blithesomely speed the long day!

For Nancy (the cruellest maid!)
Hath left me alone to despair!
Nor heeds the soft things I have said—
Nay sworn to so oft in her ear.

O fool that I am to complain!—
Fly, Love! quickly fly from my breast!—
Too long have I worn the slave's chain—
Too long been a stranger to rest!

Since Nancy will not lend an ear,
A nymph that's more kind I'll attend;
But nought of Love' tale shall she hear—
I'll promise to be her firm Friend.

Methinks I see Venus the gay—
The little rogue Cupid beside,
Directing an arrow this way,
And, smiling, my maxim deride.

But Venus may boast of her pow'r,
And Cupid contemptuously smile—
In Friendship I'll spend ev'ry hour—
No longer shall Love me beguile.

On Friendship grave Reason attends—
It warms as it grows, and takes root;
And gradually rip'ning, ascends—
Producing the wholesomest fruit.

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