1768
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Imitation of Shenstone's Pastorals.

London Magazine 40 (January 1771) 50.

Anonymous


Five double-quatrains stanzas dated "Leverpoole, Dec. 19, 1768." The poem, published in 1771, is more of a pastoral lyric than a pastoral ballad: with Phillida by his side, the poet can bear the turning of the seasons and indeed the seasons of his life: "The turtle that cooes for its mate, | The lambkins that play in the grove, | New pleasure these objects create, | And supply us with topics of love." One supposes that the title was supplied by the editor of the London Magazine.



Tho' Summer exerts her sweet pow'r,
Tho' roses and jessamines bloom,
Tho' the eglantines twine round my bow'r,
And spread all my fields with perfume,
No joy can these prospects impart,
When Phillida she is not nigh;
Like a turtle then droops my fond heart,
When depriv'd of its mate and its joy.

When winter howls thro' the dark skies,
And the sun scarce illumines the day,
When the storms and the tempests arise,
And the thrush sits alone on the spray,
Then if Phillida grace my low cot,
How charming the prospects appear!
The cold of the season's forgot,
And it seems but the spring of the year.

Thro' the fields and the meadows so gay,
How oft do we carelessly roam,
Or past the soft riv'lets do stray,
Nor think of our distance from home;
The turtle that cooes for its mate,
The lambkins that play in the grove,
New pleasure these objects create,
And supply us with topics of love.

But hark! the hoarse tempests arise,
The torrents impetuous descend,
Black clouds sweep along the dark skies,
And we spy no kind refuge at hand;
Even so when our youth is no more,
And our juvenile sun-shine is past,
'Tis then the gay scenes are all o'er,
And we shiver before the bleak blast.

But love shall a refuge supply,
When youth, wit and beauty, shall fade,
'Tis love which shall ease the deep sigh,
And conduct our old steps thro' the glade;
And when we resign our last breath,
'Tis love shall his succours impart
Shall blunt the keen arrow of death,
And raise with soft comfort the heart.

[p. 50]