1796
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Song.

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

Dr. William Perfect


A pastoral ballad in four double-quatrain stanzas. It is a bad sign when the perfidious Phillis accepts the "soft younglings" that Colin has stolen from the nest, and by the end of this lover's complaint Colin himself is prepared to lose his innocence: "Deceit was a snake in her smile, | Go, Phillis, my heart shall not break, | In turn I will learn to beguile, | And to-morrow begin at the wake." In this brief lyric William Perfect continues to explore the various modalities of pastoral ballad.

British Critic: "These poems are written in the metre and manner of Shenstone's pastorals, which will always find a certain portion of admirers. They are distinguished generally by the ease and elegance, with much ingenuity, and with considerable pathos" 8 (September 1796) 305.



What sorrow invades my fond breast,
How transient was Colin's delight,
I chearfully courted my rest,
When Phillis was kind in my sight.
I told her soft themes of my love,
And brought her a lamb from my fold,
My reed tun'd her praise through the grove,
And I valued her smiles more than gold.

A chaplet from Flora I stole,
Compos'd of the blossoms that grow,
Where the streamlets meandering roll
Through a valley of roses below.
I brought her a goldfinch's nest,
It hurt me to rob the poor bird;
To her cheek the soft younglings she press'd
And my innocent present preferr'd.

With pinks and with lilies her crook,
'Twas my care, ev'ry morning to dress,
Did she give in return a kind look,
My stars I was ready to bless.
But why did I dance on the lea?
Why partial to Phillis appear?
She smil'd not on love or on me—
Was ever a maid so severe?

'Twas Corydon, swain of the hill,
That Phillis to Colin preferr'd;
My eyes shall dissolve like a rill,
Whenever I mention the word.
Deceit was a snake in her smile,
Go, Phillis, my heart shall not break,
In turn I will learn to beguile,
And to-morrow begin at the wake.

[pp. 79-80]