1757
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral.

London Magazine 26 (April 1757) 199.

Anonymous


Five double-quatrain stanzas, not signed. The poet laments the passing of his beloved Susan, in one of the first imitations to show the influence of Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad (first published in Dodsley's Collection of Poems in 1755), an influence that appears in the dialectical contest between art and nature: "She was all my fond wishes could ask, | She had all the kind gods could impart, | She was nature's most delicate task, | The despair, and the envy of art." These lines appeared nearly a quarter of a century later in the Bristol and Bath Magazine, where they are titled "A Pastoral Song" and signed "W. T."



What shepherd or nymph of the grove
Can blame me for dropping a tear,
Or lamenting aloud as I rove,
Since Susan no longer is here!
My flocks, if at random they stray,
What wonder, since she's from the plain!
Her hand they were us'd to obey,
She rul'd both the sheep and the swain.

Can I ever forget how we stray'd
To the foot of yon neighbouring hill,
To the bower we had built in the shade,
And the river that runs by the mill!
Then sweet, by my side as she lay,
And heard the fond stories I told,
How sweet was the thrush from the spray,
And the bleating of lambs from the fold!

How oft would I spy out a charm
That before had been hid from my view,
And as arm was infolded in arm
My lips to her lips how they grew!
How oft the sweet contest wou'd last
Till the hour of retirement and rest,
What pleasures and pains each had past,
Who longest had lov'd, and who best!

No changes of place or of time
I felt while my fair-one was near,
Alike was each weather and clime,
Each season that chequers the year.
In winter's rude lap did we freeze,
Did we melt on the bosom of May,
Each morn brought contentment and ease,
If we rose up to work or to play.

She was all my fond wishes cou'd ask,
She had all the kind gods can impart,
She was nature's most beautiful task,
The despair and the envy of art.
There all that was worthy to prize
In all that is lovely was drest,
For the graces were throng'd in her eyes,
And the virtues all lodg'd in her breast.

[p. 199]