1769
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[The Countryman in London.]

Whitehall Evening Post (12 August 1769).

Anonymous


Three double-quatrain stanzas excerpted from Love and Innocence, a "pastoral serenata." In a pastoral device as old as Virgil, a rural villager ventures to town, concluding that country pleasures are preferable: "But what I did mostly admire, | Was the busy air of each creature; | Which seem'd so their thoughts to inspire, | Dull care was imprest in each feature." The simplicity of the character is common to pastoral ballad, though the rustic diction ("Odzookers!") is not.

Headnote: "Thursday night at Marybone Gardens, a new Pastoral Serenata was performed, called Love and Innocence; from which the following favourite song is taken, which was sung by Master Herryman, in the character of a Countryman."



When I was a young man I long'd
To know what the world was a doing,
To London with others I throng'd,
Nor knew well what I was pursuing.
But, good lack-a-day, what a din!
I through the croud scarcely could bustle:
In every place I was in,
To pass the folks I had a tustle.

But what I did mostly admire,
Was the busy air of each creature;
Which seem'd so their thoughts to inspire,
Dull care was imprest in each feature.
In highest and lowest degree,
Odzookers! in every station,
They all Politicians would be,
And govern and settle the nation.

I found it a folly to roam,
Such hurry and bustle was teazing:
The joys I had tasted at home,
A thousand times sure were more pleasing.
So back to our hamlet I came,
And entered in Hymen's soft fetters,
With Dolly, my fond loving dame,
And left care and strife to my betters.

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