1787
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

June. A Pastoral Poem.

Gentleman's Magazine 57 (August 1787) 716.

Dr. William Perfect


Fourteen double-quatrain stanzas, subscribed "Malling." The June pastoral celebrates the lights and shades of summer, the first part concluding with a celebration of the King's birthday: "To her Prince Freedom offers the lay, | Whose sons the choice tribute support; | In duty rejoice at the day, | By far the most splendid at court." William Perfect concludes the poem on a more sombre note: "The author's father died in this month; he therefore deplores his loss afresh, as an anniversary tribute of filial love" p. 716.



The dog-rose, of light-blushing hue,
Or painted in crimson-like vest,
Profuse in her bloom to the view,
The hedge-rows in splendour has drest.
The season of pleasure my lay
Extends in the country so bright;
The sweets of the new-tedded hay,
Each object of sound and of sight.

The trees we beheld in full dress,
Profusion of flowers around
The beauties of Nature confess,
In vivid sublimity crown'd,
On the banks of the river so clear,
Emerg'd from its wave are the flocks;
They mark the gay time of the year,
Depriv'd of their white fleecy locks.

When past is the soft copious shower,
The sweets of Arabia we find;
From the beds of the clover to flower,
And the bee-loving suckle resign'd.
More delicious the odours that rise
On the gales from the blue-bosom'd bean;
All Sweetness herself can comprize
Is pour'd in extend through the scene.

Whilst Summer, bright child of the Sun,
With mildness rekindles his fire;
And June, by his courtesy won,
Apparels in golden attire.
To her Prince Freedom offers the lay,
Whose sons the choice tribute support;
In duty rejoice at the day,
By far the most splendid at court.

Admit humble zeal to prevail,
From a Muse through unpolish'd to spring;
Bear hence, each Favonian gale,
The strain she devotes to her King.
No Laureat — what merit have I?
Pretension to fabricate praise?
Though humble and weak, yet too high
To flatter in time-serving lays.

My heart, by sincerity led,
The day of his birth shall revere,
That Peace may, her olive-branch spread,
Extend through each following year.
From my bosom warm wishes emane,
Ye Powers this blessing to send:
In the hearts of his subjects to reign
Till Time's latest period shall end.

Behold in what splendour appears,
In majesty boundless and wide,
The Sun through the dawn's pearly tears
Pouring down his ineffable tide.
Now beams in illustrious array,
And warms the aetherial gale,
Which nurtures the pride of the day,
From the hill to the green-herbag'd dale.

The bleatings of sheep from the hills,
The silence and peace of the grove,
The murmurs that rise from the rills,
And the reed from the shady alcove;
The zephyrs that pinion the hours,
The fragrance they widely diffuse,
The pasture, thick chequer'd with flowers,
Are themes that embellish my Muse.

How smooth and how tranquil the stream
Meanders the vallies along,
Its crystal improv'd by the beam
That wakens Aurora's first song!
The leaf by the gale unoppress'd,
The landscapes of Beauty and Grace,
Soft pleasures convey to the breast,
The smiles of the heart to the face.

Yet whither, my Muse, would you stray,
Evading this season of sweets?
Why turn from the purple-ey'd day,
From Pleasure's umbrageous retreats?
From the beech, ever vivid of shade,
The lime that elongates the lawn,
The oak, in dark foliage array'd,
Ah, why are thy visits withdrawn?

From the parks and the sports of the field,
Where plenty and happiness reign,
Where the smile of Benevolence yield
What blessings from Summer we gain;
Ah why, near yon sorrowful yew,
Of dark and disconsolate shade,
Must Elegy ever renew
Afflictions which never can fade?

Shall HONESTO, my father and friend,
Around whose respectable tomb
The Virtues all sorrowful bend,
In plaint recent dirges assume;
While Memory, Genius, and Worth
The red eye of Sorrow dilate;
Must pensively bow to the earth,
And weep his immutable fate?

Can he be forgot whom I lov'd,
Whose breast was so gentle and kind;
Of principles noble approv'd,
The Christian in precept and mind?
Can Time soothe the sigh of my breast?
The thunder that rolls on the hill
Shall sooner he sooth'd into rest,
Its lightnings no terrors instill.

Receive then my measure of woe,
Thou dearest and much-honour'd Shade:
If Virtue departed may know
Affection by relatives paid.
And yearly in Summer, bedeck'd
With splendour and wealth shall return;
My feelings fresh wreaths shall collect,
HONESTO, to garnish thy urn.

[p. 716]