1785
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastoral.

Morning Post and Daily Advertiser (22 October 1785).

I. N.


Ten anapestic quatrains, signed "I. N." The poem is a pastoral elegy that complicates its sentimental situation by introducing a third party, the singer, to witness the sorrows of Nancy and Corydon: "His sorrows flow'd all for his friend, | He sigh'd and he wept at his pain, | Yet he ceas'd not his plaints to attend, | Nor did Corydon cease to complain."



Near the foot of a wide spreading yew,
Reclin'd at the close of the day,
Young Corydon wept, full in view
Was the tomb where his dear Nancy lay.

By his side sat the friend of his heart,
And endeavour'd his sadness to cheer;
But whilst comfort he strove to impart,
Still answer'd each sigh with a tear.

Well knew he the cause of his grief,
And shar'd in his Corydon's woe;
But, alas! he could give no relief,
Nor forbid his own sorrows to flow.

His sorrows flow'd all for his friend,
He sigh'd and he wept at his pain,
Yet he ceas'd not his plaints to attend,
Nor did Corydon cease to complain.

When first I forsook the gay scene,
And fled from the paths of the great,
Content in my cottage was seen,
And tranquility bless'd my retreat.

Fair Phillis I saw, and I lov'd,
She with smiles fann'd the soft rising flame;
Her parents my passion approv'd,
And at length Hymen made us the same.

Together we sought the cool shade,
And avoided the sun-garish ray,
In Spring we both travers'd the mead,
And Winter appear'd but as May.

Ah! now all those pleasures are o'er,
They are fled like a false golden dream,
My Phillis, alas! is no more,
My anguish, what shepherd can blame.

Why did I such happiness feel,
Why did I such pleasure e'er prove;
If sorrow press'd close at its heel,
If destin'd a victim to love?

He said — the cold arrow of death,
Put a stop to his tears and his pain;
He sigh'd as he yielded his breath,
I go to meet Phillis again.

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