A Shepherd's Complaint to his Lamb. In the Manner of Shenstone.

Edinburgh Magazine or Literary Miscellany NS 9 (May 1797) 382.


A pastoral ballad in thirteen elegiac quatrains signed "Julius." The shepherd has fallen in love with a court lady who has strayed upon the plains, and despairs of winning her affection without a title and a fortune. The novel element of this pastoral ballad is in the title. The muse of sensibility had of late been busy with the brute creation, which seems to have suggested the conceit of this lyric: "Away, soft affectionate pet! | For thy soothing endearments are vain, | It fills me with tender regret | To hear thee so fondly complain."

Adieu to each beautiful scene,
To those haunts once so fondly admir'd;
And adieu to those sports of the green,
Which my bosom with rapture inspir'd!

Adieu to the rich verdur'd field,
Where the gay dance encircled the tree,
And to all that once pleasure could yield,
Adieu, my fond lamb, e'en to thee!

Once this heart thy sweet innocence mov'd,
When thy gentle simplicity taught
Those virtues I tenderly lov'd,
And with meekest humility sought.

Mild emblem of Patience, adieu!
No more thy caresses I prize;
No more thy dear path I pursue
Where Pleasure and Happiness lies.

Away, soft affectionate pet!
For thy soothing endearments are vain,
It fills me with tender regret
To hear thee so fondly complain.

Ah why did she quit those proud courts
Where nought but magnificence reigns,
To join in our innocent sports,
And visit our peaceable plains?

In pity she should have conceal'd
Those charms which such passion diffuse,
And ne'er those perfections reveal'd
Which ruin so closely pursues.

For now, with her virtues impress'd,
I think of her merits in vain,
And the passion that tortures my breast
Must its anguish in silence contain.

For lowly and mean is my lot,
Contented and humble at most;
My name no proud title has got,
And love is the All I can boast.

Oh torturous, heart-rending thought!
That worth is dependent on gold;
That virtue and honour is bought
With the riches a villain may hold.

Shall such my affection possess?
Shall the purchase from riches arise?
And a miser that bounty caress
Who with scorn from my poverty flies?

Then adieu to the tender desires
Too warmly, too fondly caress'd;
And adieu to those emulous fires
That kindled false hopes in my breast.

For I know my pretensions are vain,
My hopes I must learn to resign;
'Tis fruitless, 'tis weak to complain,
For, alas! she can never be mine.

[p. 382]