1779
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Wreath: a Pastoral Ballet.

Morning Chronicle and London Advertiser (11 July 1781).

J. S.


Nine anapestic quatrains, signed "J. S., written, Jan. 7, 1779." In this contribution to the pastoral ballad series the poet prefers to glory acquired in the American wars the pleasure of singing his lover's charms: "Let the soldier preferment pursue, | And boast of the scars in his face; | Phillis' frowns are the foes I subdue, | My triumph is in her embrace." The poem was published the same day without signature in the Morning Herald and Daily Advertiser; the poem must have pleased since it was reprinted by two of the magazines.



Fie, Shepherd, ingloriously laid,
Like an insect that chirps in the grass,
Your songs are indulg'd in the shade,
While a garland you twine for your lass.

Vain garland that fades in a day,
Cull'd with care, and accepted with pride,
War's laurels are lasting as gay,
And Britain bids arm on her side.

Thus the swains who repine at the smile,
That Phillis bestows on my song,
With prospects more bright would beguile,
To persuade me th' employment is wrong.

Let the soldier preferment pursue,
And boast of the scars in his face;
Phillis' frowns are the foes I subdue,
My triumph is in her embrace.

What modesty blooms in her looks!
What mildness is heard from her tongue!
Nor flow'rets so fair by the brooks,
No bird-notes so sweetly are sung.

Like the sun 'tis her fortune to shine,
From the blessing I dare not exclude;
Tho' the pulse of her bosom is mine,
She's obliging to all but the rude.

Her hair more than ebon I prize;
Her neck may compare with the dove;
Her wit is as bright as her eyes,
And her goodness is pure as my love.

If the noble her manners disclaim,
When the head of the mourner she'd raise,
Yet her cheek is a stranger to shame,
But she blushes to hear of her praise!

To fair Phillis I constantly vow,
All my songs with her name I repeat;
The wreath shall adorn her gay brow,
And this verse I will lay at her feet.

[unpaginated]