1790
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastoral Ballad.

English Chronicle and Universal Evening Post (23 January 1790).

Dr. John Wolcot


Four anapestic quatrains, signed "Peter Pindar." In addition to his famous diatribes against the court, the laureate, and the royal academicians, John Wolcot also published occasional poems in more conventional forms. The lyric condensation in this pastoral ballad is knowing and noteworthy. In the same measure, though not a pastoral ballad, is Wolcot's "Song" in the Star and Evening Advertiser (5 December 1788).

George Dyer: "Dr. Wolcot, known by the name of Peter Pindar, Esq. a poet, whom every reader must admire for his genius, and every poet envy for his success, however differently they may judge concerning the temper of his writings: — 'Neque ego illi detrahere ausim | Haerentem capiti multa cum laude coronam.' Hor. Serm. lib. i. x. Peter now enjoys a handsome annuity, settled on him by the London booksellers" The Poet's Fate (1797) 5n.



The Swains and the Virgins so gay
Resort to my fountains and groves;
Joy follows wherever they stray,
And my vales seem the Court of the Loves.

But with wonder they mark me forlorn,
'Mid fountains and valleys so fair—
Ah! their hearts have no reason to mourn,
Nor to heave the sad sigh of despair.

To love, and be not lov'd again,
Is a curse that embitters each hour;
Then dull are the songs of the plain,
And faded the blooms of the bower!

But with her who will smile on our sighs,
Even rocks of the Desert must bloom,
Pale Night be a Sun to our eyes,
And the Dungeon depriv'd of its gloom!

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