1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Tear. A Pastoral Poem.

Sentimental Magazine 3 (October 1775) 468-69.

Dr. William Perfect


A pastoral ballad in twenty double-quatrain stanzas signed "Mallingiensis." The Tear relates the events of a friendship between the poet and his friend Paridel that began at school and was interrupted when Paridel became enamoured of the lovely Clara (later Laura), whom he wooed with his verses and then married. The latter stanzas revert to poet himself, who was less happy with Emma (later Delia), who it turns out had previously promised herself to "young Edwin." The poet observes, "The passions, a dangerous crew, | Embark on this ocean of strife, | With sense and with competence few | Can combat the troubles of life."

The name "Paridel" is most likely taken from Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad rather than Spenser, though with little more propriety, one might think. A note identifies "Russell" as "At that time master of the grammar-school at Maidstone" 469n.



Gay health to your haunts of repose,
Where innocence, harmless of blame,
Her jewels of peace, in the close,
Has scatter'd to brighten the fame
Of Paridel, conscious of truth
Whose heart's as remote from disdain
As envy's unknown to his youth,
Or dissimulation the plain.

Gay health, to your haunts I repair'd,
Fair summer had brighten'd each field,
The hills and the vallies declar'd
The pleasures which nature reveal'd;
'Twas friendship to Paridel's seat
My muse in soft transport convey'd;
In friendship he hasten'd to meet,
And shorten my steps as I stray'd.

At life's earliest spring we began
By trifles our friendship to shew,
And as we matur'd into man,
Substantial and firmer it grew;
When absent he liv'd in my breast,
Unrival'd his joys were my own,
'Till love, profess'd rebel to rest,
Our intercourse view'd with a frown.

His thoughts were close link'd in my heart,
Their rivets affection had tied;
'Twas not in the slanderers art
Our mutual good-will to divide;
But cupid had Paridel found,
As well as his comfortless friend,
Reciprocal deepen'd the wound,
The other could each reprehend.

With day-spring whenever he rose,
Thy vales cultivation he sought;
The sun when unclouded it glows
Was not more refin'd than his thought;
His sentiment learning might teach,
Beam'd wisdom in Paridel's mien;
But beauty the wisest can teach,
Can brighten or sadden each scene.

Where plashes yon' murmuring fall,
As pensive meandring he stole
In silence to list to the call
Of whispers that waken the soul:
Here coolly oft eager to fly,
He woo'd the retirement of ease;
The muse with a fugitive eye,
Attended her master to please.

The pencil instructed to blend
The sylvan with subjects sublime,
To point the soft lays of a friend,
To love at once offer'd the rhime.
He sung of fair mildness and grace,
Of elegance sweetly refin'd:
The look that beams forth from the face,
From virtue irradiates the mind.

'Twas Clara he'd seen in his walk,
She stray'd by the lapse of the stream,
To Clara he ventur'd to talk,
Her beautiful form was his theme.
Of matchless allurements the maid
His tribute of passion receiv'd,
Believ'd what his sentiment said,
What his tenderness utter'd believed.

The mines of Potosi were poor
Compar'd to the wealth of his breast,
Felicity long to insure,
And lap his fond heart into rest;
The village was rouz'd with the morn,
God Hymen united the pair,
And thro' the brown vallies of corn,
Forgot was each sorrow and care.

In beauty's bright garden no flow'r
More brilliant than Clara was seen,
Had Venus display'd all her power,
Her charms would have rivall'd the queen
Of manners untinctured by pride,
With softness that won on the heart,
The sweetness of Paridel's bride,
Could all the engaging impart.

Happy shepherd, love's pinion of joy,
Your wishes has form'd into birth,
Be yours her bright smiles to employ,
With patronage honour her worth:
The lilies that whiten her neck,
To you in soft fragrance are given;
The roses that vermile her cheek,
Were gifts pre-ordain'd you by heav'n.

Her mind glows with elegant thought,
Supported by modesty's sense,
With all the serenity fraught
Which feelings unclouded dispense.
'Twas nature and love that combin'd
This union of bosoms to plan,
For happiness lasting design'd;
Live, Paridel! thrice happy man!

You knew me, dear friend of my youth,
When pastime expanded her sail,
When friendship was measur'd by truth,
And health honied every gale.
Shall fancy look back on the scene,
When revell'd our hearts o'er the plain,
Revert to the sports of the green,
And call up puerility's reign.

When trifles as light as the air
Were objects of deepest concern;
'Twas mine my friend's lesson to share,
A monarch unpunish'd to learn;
And shall we on Russell bestow,
As well as his sceptre of birch,
What we from pure gratitude owe,
His precepts at school and at church.

Well pleas'd I remember the day,
When free from confinement and smart,
Our hearts were as jocund as May,
From learning and birch to depart.
Recall the warm transports we found,
December amid all thy gloom,
When Christmas with holidays crown'd,
Return'd us in jollity home.

But O these sensations of joy,
Unknown to disturbance and guile,
No longer our bosoms employ,
No longer compose with their smile.
Shall manhood than childhood less please,
Blest state, little shaded with care,
Maturity, stranger to ease,
Thy letters must Corydon wear.

The passions, a dangerous crew,
Embark on this ocean of strife,
Good sense and with competence few,
Can palliate the troubles of life.
Oh Paridel! blest without pain,
How jocund your Corydon spoke,
How jovial he brought up the train
To dance in the shade of the oak.

To captivate, Emma was there,
Her smiles the young archer display'd,
Her dimples and innocent air
Exalted to notice the maid.
In vain I caress'd to be heard,
To picture what strongly I felt,
In stanza to utter the word,
'Twas pride that forbade her to melt.

Ah no, let me wrong not the fair,
Resentment be banish'd my breast,
For soon she found cause to declare
How much her fond heart was distrest.
Young Edwin her vows had approv'd,
Fair honour induc'd her to speak,
How much he deserv'd to be lov'd,
Yet a tear I perceiv'd on her cheek.

'Twas the dew drop of pity and grief,
The that from sympathy stole,
Thro' clouds it convey'd me relief,
Gave ease to the pangs of my soul.
How gen'rous and candid my maid,
Thy bosom's compassionate stream,
Has furnish'd me, delicate aid,
The tear for a pastoral theme.

[pp. 468-69]