1776
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Complaint.

Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 32 (20 May 1776) 306.

S-n


Four double-quatrain stanzas, signed "S—n, Dumbarton, May 18." Damon was once a happy shepherd: "Once sported the swain void of care, | The deftest that dwelt on the plain; | He carrol'd his strains to the fair, | Their friendship and favour did gain." But since being smitten by love "He sighs — a disconsolate man!"



What hardships must Damon endure!
What ills and what changes of fate!
Such griefs as no mortal can cure,
Nor Time's rueful hand e'er delete.
Once sported the swain void of care,
The deftest that dwelt on the plain;
He carrol'd his strains to the fair,
Their friendship and favour did gain.

Each morn he arose at the dawn,
And drove his few sheep to the hill,
While careless they rov'd o'er the lawn.
No thought — but content did him fill;
Contentment he sung thro' the vale,
Practis'd in his cot what he sung,
The villager heard the sweet tale,
And blest his melodious tongue.

They wonder'd a shepherd whose store
Was the smallest that graz'd on the mead,
Could Nature's deep secrets explore,
And all other shepherds exceed;
That one who was bred like a clown,
Could stars and their orbits describe,
The heavenly systems expound,
And all the aetherial tribe.

But, alas! how much chang'd is the scene;
Poor Damon no comfort can find;
No more pleasing thoughts him detain,
For fled is the peace of his mind.
His pleasure and joys are all gone,
He sighs — a disconsolate man!
He mourns his hard fate when alone,
Since contemn'd and despis'd by — Miss *****.

[p. 306]