The Progress of Love. In Four Sonnets.

Public Advertiser (15 November 1786).


Four sonnets constructed of three anapestic quatrains and a couplet. This anonymous poem picks up on the "progress" arrangement in William Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, which had similarly been divided into parts. Compare also George Lyttleton's The Progress of Love. In Four Eclogues (1732 — one of Shenstone's sources); Samuel Johnson of Shrewsbury, "A Pastoral Ballad in Four Parts" (1774), and William Hawkins's "The Progress of Love: in Four Pastoral Ballads" (1781). This sequence of four pastoral sonnets develops a floral conceit. The poem is not signed.

In 1818 "The Progress of Love, by an Old Poet" was reprinted in The Sun over the signature "D." This suggests that the poet was an acquaintance of the editor of The Sun, John Taylor Esq.

Compell'd by a passion most pure,
I rose with the loud-singing lark,
In hopes of my charmer secure,
Cross'd over the lawn of the park.
The smiles of Aurora I hail'd,
But I wanted my Phillida's smile;
In pursuit of the charmer I sail'd,
And fear she despises my toil.
Farewell to the daisy-dress'd mead—
Dejection! I fly to thy cell!
For some other more wealthy decreed,
Is Phillida destin'd, they tell.
Cease, warblers, your songs; and henceforward be mute!
For my muse is in sorrow, and silent my flute.

I gathered this violet so blue;
Its colour spoke peace to my breast;
An emblem of love that is true,
My love for my fair-one exprest.
The primrose invited my view,
I lik'd not its colour so pale,
Expressive of jealousy too—
I left it to fade in the vale.
Such caution 'twere needless to take,
For Phillida yester was seen,
With gifts of a swain at the Wake,
And at night shared his dance on the green.
Since jealousy's poison has harrow'd my breast,
Adieu, ye soft blossoms of comfort and rest!

The flower of love have ye seen,
Ye shepherds who honour the May?
Delightfully sweet is its mien,
When warm'd by Aurora's first ray.
So Phillida's smiles to my breast
Contentment and pleasure impart—
The sun was set down in the West,
When I bowed to the pride of my heart.
As ling'ring we travers'd the vale,
The suit of her shepherd she heard;—
More sweet than the rose-breathing gale
Were her lips when she utter'd the word.
A pleasing delirium steals over my breast,
For my Phillida's hand strews the poppies of rest.

Two roses twin sisters that grew,
Of turtles a pair from their nest,
Begirt with a ribbon of blue,
The sweet nuptial union express'd.
Dear emblems of innocent bliss,
Did you merit my Phillida's smile?
Your presents I sealed with a kiss,
And bade a farewell to my toil.
Next morning our gay village band
To church my dear Phillida bore:
With pleasure I gave her my hand;
My heart had been her's long before:
And now, gentle Hymen, your blessings bestow,
The turtles shall bill, and the roses shall blow.