1776
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Smile. A Pastoral Poem.

Sentimental Magazine 4 (January 1776) 38.

Dr. William Perfect


A pastoral ballad in seven double-quatain stanzas, signed, dated " Mallingiensis, Jan.11." Young Ancaster, returning from the hunt, encounters the lovely Florida singing under a tree. Smitten, he offers himself and all of his possessions, only to be rejected with cause, for Florida is true to Corydon: "On flattery if frowns she bestow'd, | She met thy caress with a smile." William Perfect had been making monthly contributions to the Sentimental Magazine since its inception, almost all of them in the anapestic measure. This poem circulated in the periodicals into the nineteenth censtury.



Now Chanticleer's clarion of morn
Announc'd the gay twilight at hand,
Arous'd by the hound and the horn,
Young Anacaster hied to the band;
Whom rapture wing'd over the dale,
Resounded with Echo the rocks;
The pack mouth'd it loud on the trail,
Pursuing the fugitive fox.

Now finish'd the chace, and the Eve,
Immaculate daughter of day,
So tranquil and calm, that a leaf
Scarce mov'd on the aspenny spray.
The lark from the aerial tower
Descended in verdure to rest;
Apollo completed his tour,
And sunk in Amphitrite's breast.

Brown Ceres to sheep bells gave ear,
Or listen'd to Colinet's flute;
—An oak which for many a year
In peace had extended its root;
A canopy solemn of shade
O'er Florida maid of the vale,
Its ample protection display'd
—Her sonnet enchanted the gale.

What wonder that sudden surprise
Arrests the young sportsman's career,
The minstrel of magic he eyes,
Is Florida silent with fear.
"Sweet maid, who prefer's to the Court
The seats of sequester'd repose,"
He said, "the young breezes in sport
For thee their ambrosia disclose.

"No Emigrant am I in love;
O dart not disdain from your eyes,
More bright than stellations above
Their glances of kindness I prise.
Soft flower, my possessions are thine;
No treachery lurks in my speech,
Be all thy lov'd paradise mine,
To bless thee each moment I'll teach."

If Florida turn'd from the swain,
In haste bade her suitor adieu!
We shepherds who live on the plain,
Pronounce her both faithful and true:
For Corydon, down from the steep
That bent o'er the current below;
Releas'd from the charge of her sheep,
Repair'd her endearments to know.

Could modest fidelity cheer?
Then Corydon great was thy bliss,
Of Ancaster's suit could'st thou hear
Without an additional kiss?
Her heart as she told it soft glow'd,
Her tenderness cherish'd no guile,
On flattery if frowns she bestow'd,
She met thy caress with a smile.

[p. 38]