1766
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On Content.

Public Advertiser (11 July1766).

M.


Eight anapestic quatrains, signed "M." In this rather epigrammatic contribution to the Pastoral Ballad sequence the figure of Content is placed in competition with the poet's Delia: "She's a Thief, — and I know it by this, | Nay, Delia will sometimes complain; | For oft when I borrow a Kiss, | Content steals it from me again." The "ballad" aspect of the poem consists of the addresses to the reader in the first and last stanzas. John Cunningham's Poems, chiefly Pastoral (1766), recently praised in the Public Advertiser, was attracted renewed attention to the genre at this time.



Ye Shepherds, who idly lament,
That Fortune is harsh and unkind,
Who seek for the Virgin Content,
I'll tell you a Piece of my Mind.

Should you find her, ye'll get no Relief,
She'll still interfere with your Love!
She's a Vixen, a Witch, and a Thief,
And what I advance, I can prove.

Whenever my Delia I meet,
That Instant the Damsel is there,
And ere we can fix on a Seat,
She squats herself down in a Chair.

That she deals in the magical Art,
Sure none will pretend to deny,
Else how could she compass the Part,
To be always officiously by?

She's a Thief, — and I know it by this,
Nay, Delia will sometimes complain;
For oft when I borrow a Kiss,
Content steals it from me again.

She's a Vixen I boldly aver,
And blinded with Folly and Pride,
Thinks none can be blest without Her,
And all are unhappy beside.

T' other Day to my Delia I went,
With Anger and Spleen in my Hand,
When, soon as I enter'd, Content
Made 'em fly at the Word of Command.

Delighted with Frolicks like these,
For trust me, you'll have no Redress,
Ye Swains take her home if you please,
I'm Content with the Share I possess.

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