1768
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Enquiry.

Public Advertiser (4 March 1768).

M. K.


Fourteen anapestic quatrains, signed "M. K., March 2." In this original variation on the pastoral ballad theme, the speaker enquires of her friends whether her lover has betrayed any subtle signs of affection since their late falling out: "E'er Absence of Mind has he shewn, | And casual, addressing some Fair, | Pronouncing my Name for her own, | That wand'ring his Thoughts on me were?" These beguiling verses attracted an answering poem, The Appeal, published a few weeks later and dated 4 March; it appears that "Damon's" anger was unabated, to say the least: "And for this can you think him to blame? | To you, ye kind Swains, I appeal, | When 'tis common to find such a Flame | The Pen of a H—t reveal" (29 March 1769).



In Pity, ye Nymphs, to my Pain,
Among whom thy Damon does rove,
Has Chance, say, disclos'd in my Swain
For me any Symptoms of Love?

When he with the Shepherds does vye
Whose Fair-one in Charms does excel,
By him celebrated am I,
Or sings he some happier Belle?

On the Bark of Love's sacred Tree
Engrav'd, when 'gainst them you recline,
Do you interwoven e'er see
In Love-knots his Cypher and mine?

Or sudden, when seemingly gay,
With Tears does his Eyes overflow?
Or Sighs unawares e'er betray
He merry alone is in Shew?

E'er Absence of Mind has he shewn,
And casual, addressing some Fair,
Pronouncing my Name for her own,
That wand'ring his Thoughts on me were?

For Love when offended, the Guise
In some, tho' of Scorn 'twill assume,
And Prudence may also advise
To mask in Indifference' Gloom;

Yet still when 'tis true and sincere,
Howe'er we may strive to conceal,
Unknown to ourselves 'twill appear,
And Accident often reveal.

For none can still cautious remain,
Whom he a Dominion has o'er;
And short is of Anger the Reign,
If Love was despotic before.

And thus if't has prov'd with my Swain,
Sweet, blest Reconcilement once more
May back to my Bosom again
Soft Peace and Contentment restore!

But if, when with Swains he contests
To whom Beauty's Wreath shall belong,
Some other's brght Charms he attests,
And I am forgot in his Song;

If of me your Groves still are seen
No tender fond Record to bear,
And equal he acts and serene,
Then nothing is left but Despair.

For then has Aversion took Place,
And Pity too feeble will prove
My Folly, alas! to efface,
And kindle his Bosom to Love.

Then secret, ye Nymphs, from him keep
That anxious Enquiry I make,
Nor whisper discons'late I weep,
If nothing he feels for my Sake.

But soften'd if he is become,
And to me addresses the Strain,
Ah! tell him, thro' Doubt, I am dumb,
And Fear of offending again.

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