1778
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Faithless Shepherd: a Pastoral inscribed to the Fair Sex.

Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (24 July 1778).

William Hawkins


Five double-quatrain stanzas in the manner of Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, "Written by Mr. Hawkins, Author of several of the Vauxhall and Ranelegh Songs, &c." Sylvia complains of the unfaithfulness of her lover Strephon; the lyric concludes with a ballad-like injunction: "Ye fair that adorn this bright Isle, | Be guarded against such a snare; | On man be not eager to smile, | Lest the fate of poor Sylvia ye share."



Reclin'd in a vernal alcove,
Sat Sylvia, bemoaning her fate;
For Strephon had slighted her love,
And chang'd all his fondness to hate:
"Ah! why am I doom'd thus to mourn?"
(Replied the sweet maid with a sigh)
"How hard is my case to be borne?
What mortal's as wretched as I?

"O! Strephon, thou cause of my grief,
Cease, cease, cruel swain to torment,
Ah! give your poor Sylvia relief,
And fill her sad soul with content:
Remember, that once you was kind,
No shepherd excell'd you in mien;
But now you're as false as the wind,
And your love is converted to spleen.

"Tho' oft you have vow'd on the plain,
You'd ever be constant and free;
Nay more, you were won't to explain,
Yet still you are faithless to me.
By the side of the sweet silver stream,
That glides thro' yon neighbouring vale;
Ah! there you first made me your theme,
And I listen'd with joy to your tale.

"But now what a change do I find,
Nor solace, nor comfort I know;
Since thou art to me so unkind,
I'm wretched wherever I go:
For woe in my breast is replete,
Should death then my fortune betide;
O! tell each kind swain that you meet,
'Twas doating on thee that I died."

Thus spoke the dear nymph in soft strains,
While silent the birds hopp'd the spray;
In solitude still she remains,
And pines all her hours away.
Ye fair that adorn this bright Isle,
Be guarded against such a snare;
On man be not eager to smile,
Lest the fate of poor Sylvia ye share.

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