1774
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Stella.

Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 26 (24 November 1774) 273.

C. K.


Sixteen anapestic quatrains addressed to Stella "on her being dissastisfied with a Passage in the Author's Elegy on Mr. R. Fergusson." The lines are signed "C. K." identified in one copy as a Charles Keith. Stella, who perhaps had exposed herself a little too much in replying to the elegy, is enticed to write more, even teased with the possibility of a meeting: "Alas! I'm far distant from you, | Or to church-yard we gently should tread, | And bedeck his green grave with the yew, | And pour our sad 'plaints to his shade." She answered his verses in the next number.



Dear STELLA (for dear is each maid,
And dear all the sorrowful throng,
For the loss of the swain who display'd
Such ravishing wonders in song),

'Twas pity perhaps that I told,
When the matchless young CORYDON fled,
That sorrow soon quitted its hold,
And mirth thro' the city was spread:

With joy I'd retract the sad thought—
Alas! all my efforts are vain.
Fine feelings but seldom are wrought
Where vice and vile selfishness reign.

You tell me your grief is sincere,
I believe it the dictate of truth;
Nor doubt that the myrtle thou'lt wear
For the Muses' most favourite youth.

I never design'd to reflect
On the noble and soul-melting few;
For such I most highly respect,
And their generous passions pursue.

In town, tho' grief seem to abound,
From the many so quickly it flies,
Few traces, alas! can be found,
When Aurora but opes her grey eyes.

So, STELLA, I know you'll excuse
What dropp'd from my grief-guided pen,
When I mourn'd for the pride of the Muse,
When I wept for the pride of the plain.

You say you retire to his urn,
Conducted by Cynthia's ray,
And while o'er his pale ashes you mourn,
Fancy aims to enliven the clay.

Alas! I'm far distant from you,
Or to church-yard we gently should tread,
And bedeck his green grave with the yew,
And pour our sad 'plaints to his shade.

We would scorn suspicion's dark brow,
And folly's contemptuous leer;
For the virtue that's solid and true
Should always undaunted appear.

Now list to the words of a friend,
And take my advice in kind part;
For friendship would always commend—
It blames with reluctance of heart.

You tell me the garland you wore,
He compos'd with sweet buds from his own;
That now it can please you no more,
But away must be carelessly thrown.

Dear STELLA, forbear the rash thought;
On thy brow it will richly perfume:
What CORYDON'S fingers have wrought,
Must delight, and unfadingly bloom.

"Since he's wav'd an eternal adieu,"
Each relique we'll faithfully keep,
And often present to our view,
And in rapture luxuriantly weep.

He was universally dear,
The amuser of youth and old age;
We never will look on his peer,
But he lives in his life-giving page.

O this is my favourite theme,
On it I love often to dwell;
But, lest you prolixity blame,
Farewel, gentle STELLA, farewel!

[p. 273]