1778
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Absent Jockey.

Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (10 August 1778).

William Hawkins


Three double-quatrain stanzas: "A favourite Scotch Song, sung this Season by Miss Thornton, at Vauxhall. Written by Mr. Hawkins, and set to Musick by Mr. Hook." For some reason left unexplained, Jockey has left the banks of the Tweed, abandoning his sheep and lover both. Scotch songs like this doubtless paved the way for the reception of Robert Burns in England a decade later.



My Jockey is fled from the plain,
And left me in sorrow to mourn;
Was ever so cruel a swain?
Ah, when will the rover return?
No longer he pipes on his reed,
No longer his praises I'll tell;
Yet dull are the banks of the Tweed
Since Jockey has bid them farewel.

His crook he has broken in twain,
His sheep and his lambkins now stray;
They bleat for their master in vain,
And carelessly wander away:
Then haste thee some shepherd so free,
And call the poor flocks to their home.
O! be to them kinder than he,
Who caus'd the dear wand'rers to roam.

Each virgin so happy and gay,
Attend to the words I impart;
Be careful and cautious I pray,
How you give a young shepherd your heart.
Though Jockey was rural and neat,
To me was most loving and kind,
His manners were gentle and sweet,
'Till cruelty grew in his mind.

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