1763
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Song.

Public Advertiser (22 June 1763).

Erastes


A love complaint in six double-quatrain stanzas, signed "Erastes." In this early variation on the theme of Rowe's Collin's Complaint and Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, Damon laments the day that Delia has wedded Corydon: "But Shepherds, let Delia ne'er know | The pangs I am doom'd to endure, | Lest a drop from her bright eyes should flow, | For sorrows she never must cure."



Ye Shepherds attend to my strain,
Attend to my woe and despair;
Your sorrows will lessen my pain,
And your pity alleviate my care:
Then I'll throw, all distress'd and forlorn,
My pipe and my numbers aside;
For the sun that enlighten'd this morn,
Saw Delia, gay Corydon's bride.

For him the bright Goddess of dawn
Enliven'd with crimson the skies,
And for him o'er the sad dusky lawn
The shades of pale eve will arise:
On Damon no Comfort must shine,
While Corydon joy waits on thee;
And the night which to bliss you consign,
Brings Anguish and Horror to me.

Ah, Delia! my foolish fond heart
Your beauties unknowingly stole;
And without the resources of art,
Unheeding you conquer'd my soul:
Your charms were the joy of my sight,
O'er each feature my raptur'd eye run;
You was fair, and I gaz'd with delight!
You smil'd, and my heart was undone!

So pleasing, so sweet was the pain,
And my mind could no danger foresee,
That with transport I bow'd to the chain,
And never once wish'd to be free:
Too late my pass'd error I prove,
For alas! now I feel to my cost,
That when Damon submitted to Love,
His peace and his pleasures were lost.

But Shepherds, let Delia ne'er know
The pangs I am doom'd to endure,
Lest a drop from her bright eyes should flow,
For sorrows she never must cure:
Better thousands, like Damon distress'd,
In silence those sorrows should bear,
Than one sigh swell my Delia's soft breast,
Or her cheek feel the weight of one tear.

Ye Woods and ye Meadows adieu,
My Flocks are dispers'd on the plain;
My woes now, young Shepherds, ye view,
Then attend to the close of my strain.
When Love first your bosom alarms,
The too pleasing poison ah shun!
She was fair, and I gaz'd on her charms!
She smil'd, and my heart was undone!

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