1789
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

September. A Pastoral.

Diary, or Woodfall's Register (11 September 1789).

Sylvus


A pastoral lyric in seven double-quatrain stanzas in the manner of William Perfect. While the stanza is that of the pastoral ballad, this poem, signed "Sylvus, Walworth, Surry," has a georgic topic, being an allegorical-descriptive ode to Autumn. The extensive personification of the season that opens the poem is quite delightful: "Of visage deep wrinkled with care, | His temples a chaplet surround, | With oak-leaves and acorns his hair, | And star-wort and saffron is bound."



He comes — shall my Muse wake the reed?
Ah, where are the notes of the bough!
When whilom the beech on the mead
Attested the Villager's vow:
When Philomel's pastoral lay
Pour'd forth her melodious pain;
The kids with the lambkins in play,
Skip'd frolicksome over the plain.

Of visage deep wrinkled with care,
His temples a chaplet surround,
With oak-leaves and acorns his hair,
And star-wort and saffron is bound.
The damsen its purple bestows,
A sash o'er his shoulder to throw;
In negligence easy it flows,
Immingled with spots of the sloe.

His right hand a scorpion suspends,
That, high-lifted, writhes in the air;
From his left, a rush basket impends,
Repleat with the walnut and pear;
His franchise it is to convoke
Thick fogs of blue mist on the hill,
Ascending like columns of smoke,
Exhal'd from the vale-loving rill.

No more to the Brook must I stray,
From the whisp'ring valley exil'd;
No longer these zephyrs shall play
Round Delia, that linger'd and smiled;
When near the smooth lapse of the brook,
I sought thro' the whispering vale,
The roses, which painting her crook,
Compar'd to her blushes were pale.

Farewell to the white-flaunting hop,
The garden so sweet to the sight;
The woodbine faint blooming I'll crop,
Convey to my fair with delight;
I'll gather autumnal perfume;
The suckle rejects not her sweet,
Convolvulus offers its bloom
To decorate Delia's retreat.

But who is this envoy of woes,
That wakes with Aurora's first ray,
His song of complaint to disclose
From the vine, or the jessamine spray?
He sings desolations to come,
Stern Winter predicts from aloof;
My shed, social bird, be thy home,
Securely perch under my roof.

Dost grieve that the Summer is past?
The trees their green ornaments shed?
The omens of Winter in haste
Impending press over thy head?
Prolong, tuneful Red-Breast, thy strains;
Contagions shall usher thy moan;
My sympathies share in thy pains,
Thy sorrows, poor bird, be my own!

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