1762
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Ballad.

St. James's Magazine 1 (November 1762) 207-08. [Robert Lloyd, ed.]

N.


Five double-quatrain stanzas, signed "N." This variation on the pastoral ballad is written in the gothic manner: "All mournful the midnight bell rung, | When Lucy, sad Lucy, arose; | And forth to the green turf she sprung, | Where Colin's pale ashes repose" p. 207. This oft-reprinted poem was written as a sequel to Nicholas Rowe's "Collin's Complaint," one of the most popular pastoral ballads of the century. The author probably regarded his original as a traditional ballad; certainly traditional ballad forms are adopted here, where Colin makes his appeal from the grave and the once-fickle Lucy responds to the gothic imperative: "As thus she lay sunk in despair, | And mourn'd to the echoes around, | Inflam'd all at once grew the air, | And thunders shook dreadful the ground." This ballad forms a singular contrast to the earlier "Answer to Collin's Complaint" published in the London Magazine 5 (December 1736) 695-96.

In 1781 "A Ballad" was reprinted in the Scots Magazine under the title "A Love-Ballad"; in 1785 it was reprinted in the St. James's Chronicle where it is titled "Lucy" and signed "J. Gunston, Eaton College." No "Gunston" appears in the Eton College Register for that year. In 1789 it appeared without signature in Philadelphia's Columbian Magazine with the title "Colin and Lucy." In 1796 it was printed in Charleston, South Carolina as by "Mrs. Moore."



Hark, hark, 'tis a voice from the tomb,
Come Lucy, it cries, come away,
The grave of thy Collin has room
To rest thee beside his cold clay.
I come, my dear shepherd, I come,
Ye friends and companions adieu,
I haste to my Colin's dark home,
To die on his bosom so true.

All mournful the midnight bell rung,
When Lucy, sad Lucy, arose;
And forth to the green turf she sprung,
Where Colin's pale ashes repose.
All wet with the night's chilling dew,
Her bosom embrac'd the cold ground,
While stormy winds over her blew,
And night-ravens croak'd all around.

How long, my lov'd Collin, she cry'd,
How long must thy Lucy complain?
How long shall the grave my love hide?
How long ere it join us again?
For thee thy fond shepherdess liv'd,
With thee o'er the world would she fly;
For thee has she sorrow'd and griev'd;
For thee wou'd she lie down and die.

Alas! what avails it how dear
Thy Lucy was once to her swain?
Her face like the lilly so fair,
And eyes that gave light to the plain.
The shepherd that lov'd her is gone;
That face and those eyes charm no more;
And Lucy forgot, and alone,
To death shall her Collin deplore.

While thus she lay sunk in despair,
And mourn'd to the echoes around,
Inflam'd all at once grew the air,
And thunder shook dreadful the ground.
I hear the kind call, and obey,
Oh, Collin receive me, she cried,
Then breathing a groan o'er his clay,
She hung on his tomb-stone and died.

[pp. 207-08]