1786
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Acasto and Thyrsis, a Pastoral. Addressed to his Royal Highness the Prince of Wales.

St. James's Chronicle or British Evening Post (12 August 1786).

W. M.


A pastoral ballad in seven anapestic quatrains, signed "W. M., Bath, August 12, 1786." The poem makes rather bold with the character of the Prince of Wales: "The Old and the Prudish repin'd | The Heir of their Lord was so wild; | But those who well knew him could find | He candid was, courteous, and mild." In 1785 the Prince had married Mrs. Fitzherbert, only to deny the marriage to appease Parliament; he was also running into debt.

The poetry column of the St. James's Chronicle, which in the 1760s had been the best in the London newspapers, had by 1786 fallen upon evil times.

This theme had previously been treated in The Royal Dream: or, the P— in a Panic. An Eclogue, with Annotations, printed in the Whitehall Evening Post, 17 May 1785. It is an eclogue in name only.



Young Thyrsis, the thoughtless and gay,
Was first at each Revel and Sport;
He frolick'd most jocund the Day,
At Eve to each Nymph paid his Court.

Wherever a Pastime, or Show,
Caus'd Pleasure's gay Circle to meet,
Young Thyrsis was certain to go—
His Presence gave Zest to the Treat.

The Sports of the Chase and the Field
Afforded to Thyrsis delight;
The Joys that sweet Musick can yield,
Crown'd often with Rapture his Night.

The Old and the Prudish repin'd
The Heir of their Lord was so wild;
But those who well knew him could find
He candid was, courteous, and mild.

At Length good Acasto, his Sire,
Met Time — who had Charge of his Doom;
The Shepherds all wept, and each Lyre
Tun'd mournfully over his Tomb.

Now Thyrsis is Lord of the Dale,
And throws all his Foibles aside;
His Actions his Goodness reveal;
The Villager's Patron and Pride!

Acasto's good Deeds, and mild Worth,
As Brilliant in Thyrsis appear;
So Britain! in Time will burst forth
The Virtues of George in his Heir.

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