1791
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastoral Ballad.

Gentleman's Magazine 61 (December 1791) 1144.

Mary Locke


A love-complaint in nine anapestic stanzas, signed "Miss Locke," presumably Mary Locke, author of Eugenius, or Virtue in Retirement (1791). In this a very classical example of the pastoral ballad in the tradition of Shenstone and Cunningham, a young shepherd, smit with love, discovers that his rural felicity has flown: "Both the dance and the song I avoid, | For they cannot remove my despair; | Those pleasures I might have enjoy'd, | Had my Florimel's form been less fair."



To the grove 'tis in vain I repair,
'Tis not theirs one gay charm to impart;
They afford not a refuge from care,
Or give ease to a love-stricken heart.

To the streams, on whose banks I reclin'd,
I must now bid a lasting adieu,
Since, by bringing the past to my mind,
They the cause of my sorrows renew.

Both the dance and the song I avoid,
For they cannot remove my despair;
Those pleasures I might have enjoy'd,
Had my Florimel's form been less fair.

But felicity once was my lot,
Gay pleasure encircled me round;
Than a palace more bless'd was my cot,
There peace and content might be found.

In the dance I then mov'd with delight,
I then could be joyous and gay,
Soft repose was my portion each night,
And chearfulness welcom'd the day.

Health spread her soft tinge o'er my cheek,
My limbs with fresh vigour were strung,
With indiff'rence of love I could speak,
And in years, as in sorrow, was young.

I have sat on the bench at my door,
With a pleasure to monarchs unknown,
For I was not dependant, though poor,
And my flocks, tho' but few, were my own.

But why of my flocks should I sing,
Of my bench, or my cottage so neat!
For, had I the wealth of a king,
I would lay it at Florimel's feet.

But, alas! like a fond, foolish swain,
To the winds I my sorrows relate;
Then, since she regards not my pain,
Let me learn to submit to my fate.

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