1787
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral, adapted to the Meridian of Bengal.

St. James's Chronicle or British Evening Post (17 February 1787).

Anonymous


Six anapestic quatrains, not signed, "imitated from an old English Ballad." This is William Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad, the second part of which is burlesqued in this lyric where a Nabob boasts of his wealth. Compare "I have bought a fine gift for my fair, | A young Minah, along with its dam, | They shall chant forth the name of my dear, | As already they join in 'Ram Ram'" to Shenstone's original: "I have found out a gift for my fair; | I have found where the wood-pigeons breed: | But let me that plunder forbear, | She will say 'twas a barbarous deed." As William Collins's reputation was rising in the 1780s the oriental eclogue was becoming a more popular form; by recasting it in the pastoral ballad form the poet ridicules both kinds of pastoral.



My Tanks they are full of fine Fish,
Whose Flavour invites one to eat,
My Jungles abound to my Wish,
With wild Hogs, a delicate Meat.

I never yet met with a Loss,
My Debtors pay up what they owe;
My Biggahs are cover'd with Moss,
Where the Gram and the Paddy does grow.

My Lambkins are fruitful and gay,
And my Kidlings do sport with my goats,
If my Flocks ever carelessly stray,
They're pick'd up by my Dandies in Boats.

My Trees they are fit for the Fire,
Which in Faggots I cut for my Fair;
Not a Bird that I heard her admire,
But I straight went and roasted it there.

I have bought a fine Gift for my Fair,
A young Minah, along with its Dam,
They shall chant forth the Name of my dear,
As already they join in "Ram Ram."

Then my Charmer will list to my Tale,
Ev'ry Day and each Night in her Praise,
To Tom Tom I never shall fail,
And my Bearers will echo my Lays.

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