1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Farewel to Dee-Side.

Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 29 (14 September 1775) 369.

C.


A pastoral lyric in twelve anapestic quatrains signed "C., Dee-side, Aberdeen-shire." In this pastoral ballad the images and sentiments of the retirement ode are recast as an emigration eclogue: "The endearments of no foreign clime | Shall estrange the lov'd scene of my youth, | The nurse of instruction sublime— | Of virtue, sincerity, truth." Emigration had been a regular theme in Scottish poetry since the rebellion of 1745, with Scottish emigration to America rising dramatically since the period of the Seven Year's War. The Weekly Magazine, in contrast to most of the London periodicals, took a dim view of American affairs.



Ye scenes of contentment and glee,
Where peace and pure innocence dwell;
Ye musical woodlands of Dee,
I now bid these woodlands farewel.

How oft, in the sweet birchen bow'r,
Secure from the world's rude alarms,
Have I sat with retirement — mild pow'r!
And tasted her delicate charms!

How oft have I hied to the hill,
On Fancy's adventurous wing;
Or mus'd by the side of the rill,
Nor envy'd or noble or king!

Unfetter'd by fashion or mode,
Pure nature held absolute sway,
In the chearful and peaceful abode,
Where love and sweet liberty stray.

I priz'd, o'er the juice of the vine,
Yon fountain of heav'n-gifted pow'r;
Where health has erected her shrine—
Where votaries grateful adore.

Ye shepherds who frolic and toy
On the flow'ry, green margins of Dee,
Rejoice in the bliss you enjoy,
From pride and ambition set free.

When I think on the charms of the plain,
What raptures my bosom shall soothe!—
When I think on each nymph and each swain,
That I lov'd in my childhood and youth!

But chiefly my heart ye must warm,
Ye pride of the pastoral throng!
Ye souls whom the beauties can charm
Of harmony, nature and song!

That day, when I dare to decry
The pleasure such beauties inspire,
May the Muse her sweet solace deny,
And untune both my tongue and my lyre.

Enrapt with thy converse refin'd,
O Kn—l—s! how I pitied the croud—
To folly and fashion resign'd
The thoughtless, the pert, and the proud!

The endearments of no foreign clime
Shall estrange the lov'd scene of my youth,
The nurse of instruction sublime—
Of virtue, sincerity, truth.

Farewel, ye dear nymphs and ye swains!
Be innocent, happy and free:—
Farewel, my dear native green plains,
The rural retirements of Dee!

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