1778
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Love-Sick Shepherdess; a Pastoral.

Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (14 October 1778).

F. B.


Nine anapestic quatrains, after Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, signed "F. B., Little Britain, Oct. 12, 1778." The Shepherdess complains of her fickle lover: "For ah! my lov'd shepherd is gone, | 'Twas he that gave grace to my steps; | His presence inspir'd the glad song | That so oft wou'd escape from my lips." Like the Della Cruscan phenomenon a generation later, the fashion for pastoral ballads of the 1760s and 1770s seems to have been driven largely by newspaper publication.



Ah! why to indulge my fond mind,
Despair thus in solitude seek,
My hair flowing loose in the wind,
And faded the rose on my cheek.

No more to yon favourite hill
I fly to salute the gay morn;
My lambkins left quite to their will,
Like me now they wander forlorn.

So chang'd is the once pleasant glade,
It hateful appears in my eyes,
While the breeze thro' the whisp'ring shade
Soft murmuring echoes my sighs.

No more I prepare for the dance,
No more at the tabret rejoice;
A song if I hear now by chance,
I weep at the sound of the voice.

For ah! my lov'd shepherd is gone,
'Twas he that gave grace to my steps;
His presence inspir'd the glad song
That so oft wou'd escape from my lips.

When he with my hand in his press'd,
A story of love wou'd recite,
My eyes a fond answer confess'd,
And sparkl'd with conscious delight.

And when his fond tales to repeat,
We've stray'd by the light of the moon,
I never once dreamt of deceit,
Or his vows wou'd be broken so soon.

Alas! to another he's flown,
His heart I no longer possess;
But oh! with confusion I own,
I still cannot love him the less.

But adieu to content, then, my soul,
To seek after peace is in vain,
My passion I cannot controul,
'Tis death must extinguish the flame.

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