1774
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Corydon's Absence: a Pastoral Elegy.

Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 25 (30 June 1774 )17-18.

M.


Six double-quatrains stanzas in the pastoral ballad manner signed "M—, Banks of the Tay. The poet laments the departure of Corydon, a shepherd notable for his taste and education: "Can you boast of a shepherd so fair, | So gentle, so modest, and kind; | His easy and elegant air, | And the graces that shone in his mind!" Corydon's present whereabouts are not specified. The poet was a regular contributor to the Weekly Magazine.



Reclin'd on the banks of the Tay,
All mournful a shepherd was laid,
When finish'd the toils of the day,
And cool were each covert and shade.
His flock they were penn'd in the fold,
His crook it lay carelessly by;
And each moment in sorrow he told,
When thus he began with a sigh:

"Ye hills, and each woodland, and grove,
In summer's gay verdure array'd,
Sweet haunts of fair friendship and love,
Where with Corydon oft I have stray'd:
No more can you yield me delight;
No longer the landscape can please;
I love the dull silence of night,
And to sigh to the sighs of the breeze.

"For, alas! the dear shepherd is gone,
Has fled from this valley so gay,
And has left, o'er the moorlands, alone
His lambkins to bleat and to stray.
'What anguish I felt at my heart,'
When the swains crouded round with concern;
I scarce could behold him depart:
'Twas friendship that taught me to mourn.

"Can you boast of a shepherd so fair,
So gentle, so modest, and kind;
His easy and elegant air,
And the graces that shone in his mind!
Ye songsters, that warble all day
The groves and the thickets among,
Could ye equal his musical lay,
Or the scenes of his pastoral song?

"'Twas his to unravel the page,
The source of wisdom to show;
To reprove, and yet sweetly engage,
While we listen'd, and learned to know.
By whom was not Corydon lov'd?
By whom were his strains not rever'd?
He spoke — and the passions were mov'd;
He taught — and with rapture we heard.

"Ah me! how delightsome the plain,
Where his cot sweetly rose to the view!
The scene but increases my pain:
I have bid the dear shepherd adieu.
Along the green banks of the Tay,
Or the meadows, so pleasant before,
All lonely and weary I'll stray,
And my Corydon's ABSENCE deplore."

[pp. 17-18]