On Mr. Robert Fergusson.

Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 26 (17 November 1774) 242.

A Lady

Eleven anapestic quatrains signed "A Lady, Edin. Nov. 7." An Edinburgh matron indulges in an erotic fantasy concerning the recently-deceased Robert Fergusson: "When prostrate I lay on his urn, | Fancy brought all his form to my view; | But, alas! he can never return, | He had wav'd an eternal adieu." In the first stanza Stella takes exception to a remark in an elegy that had appeared in the Weekly Magazine two weeks earlier: "When the news to the city were brought, | It seem'd to partake of the pain; | But almost as quickly as thought, | Mad mirth reassum'd its wild reign." That poem, "An Attempt towards a Pastoral Elegy," had been signed "C. K.," identified in a hand-written in the British Library copy of the Weekly Magazine as "Charles Keith."

Dear shepherd, how came you to say
That our grief was succeeded by mirth,
When the soul of the BARD flew away,
And his body scarce cold in the earth.

For myself I will answer with truth,
Altho' it is twelve years and more
Since wedlock did join me (in youth)
To a swain that I love and adore;

Yet surely I may be allow'd
Young CORYDON'S death to bemoan,
For, amongst a numerous croud,
I am not dejected alone.

Each night, when the nymphs and gay swains
Gather round me to spend the cool eve,
I silently steal from the plains,
And wander away to his grave.

Whilst thro' the lone church-yard I stray,
I gather some cypress and yew;
Pale Luna's soft beams show the way
To his grave, where these mourners I strew.

When prostrate I lay on his urn,
Fancy brought all his form to my view;
But, alas! he can never return,
He had wav'd an eternal adieu.

In great perturbation of mind,
I follow'd in hopes to embrace;
But I found that I grasp'd at the wind,
Tho' fancy still view'd the dear face:

Then shaking his head, seem'd to mourn,
Saying STELLA, go home to thy love;
Thy CORYDON ne'er can return,
He's singing with seraphs above.

The garland I wore he did make,
With buds from his own, he did say;
While he liv'd I did wear't for his sake,
But now I will throw it away.

His wreath sweetly blossom'd at morn,
While on his dear brow it did sit;
But at eve thrown into his urn,
No brow but his own it would fit.

That wreath by the muses was giv'n;
They with myrtles immortal did twine,
And now he's immortal in heav'n,
While his works will immortally shine.

[p. 242]