1796
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To Friendship.

Poetic Effusions; pastoral, moral, amatory, and descriptive. By William Perfect, M.D.

Dr. William Perfect


Three double-quatrain stanzas in which William Perfect presents a Horatian retirement ode in the pastoral ballad manner: "In friendship together we'll walk, | And mark the decline of the day, | With chearfulness wander and talk, | Till Phoebus withdraw his last ray." Perfect's volume extends this mode to a variety of literary forms; To Friendship, for example, is followed by a sonnet to Delia composed in anapestic quatrains. Celadon (the Friend) and Delia (the sweetheart) appear repeatedly.

Analytical Review: "English verse, in all it's varieties respecting structure of stanza or length of line, is distinguished by the general prevalence of the iambic measure. Hitherto, other measures have been only occasionally and sparingly introduced. In the present publication a different plan is pursued; the iambic measure is seldom used, and by far the greater number of the pieces are written in anapests. The author was, probably, early enamoured with Shenstone's beautiful pastoral, 'Ye shepherds, so cheerful and gay, &c.' His ear seems to have caught the melody of this poem; and he has transferred it, with tolerable success, into his own compositions, which are, almost throughout, closely copied from this model. These verses, however, we apprehend, will be perused by few readers, without a feeling a satiety, similar to that which is produced in music by the too frequent recurrence of similar combinations of harmony. In other more important respects, these poems are entitled to no higher praise, than that of mediocrity. The sentiments are chaste and tender: the descriptions are generally just, and often appropriate and uncommon: but we do not discover any peculiar richness of fancy, or elegance of poetical diction. There is so much uniformity of poetic character through the volume, that our readers will gain a very complete idea of the merit of the pieces, from perusing a single specimen" 24 (November 1796) 483-84.



The ev'ning how calm it appears,
How tranquil! how pleasant! and cool;
From labour returning the steers,
Refresh at the green-crested pool.
Come, Celadon, pomp lay aside,
To grandeur no longer attend;
Thou foe to unciviliz'd pride,
To me thou unvarying friend.

The shepherds sing carols of love,
The ploughmen are blithe on their way;
The turtles soft coo in the grove,
The green is all jocund and gay;
With music re-echoes the glade,
The valley with harmony rings;
The tabor and pipe in the shade
Make the rustics as happy as kings:

In friendship together we'll walk,
And mark the decline of the day,
With chearfulness wander and talk,
Till Phoebus withdraw his last ray.
Then to my lov'd cottage repair,
And share the convivial glass;
What pleasure to hear you declare
The charms of your favourite lass.

[pp. 71-71]