1773
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Complaint. A Love Song.

London Magazine 42 (August 1773) 410.

Anonymous


A pastoral lyric in four double-quatrain stanzas, not signed. The title tells the story: "An hermitage stands by the brook, | By ivy all rudely o'ergrown, | There at noon I recline on my crook, | And attend to the turtle-dove's moan." The poet, so transformed that Colin no longer recognizes him, asserts to Delia that he is not long for this world.



Ah! why does the sun shed his beam,
Fair Nature to bless in the spring?
The fishes delight in the stream,
And the woodlark, ah! why does she sing?
Away with each flower and fruit,
The music that melts in the mind;
Can the adder be charm'd with the lute?
Or has Beauty a smile for the blind?

When the cottagers danc'd o'er the dew,
I was wont to be merry as they;
How bright was each pastoral view!
Till I wept the gay visions away.
Dear Delia, how long must I weep,
Till you love the poor shepherd alone?
Till you grant him the care of our sheep,
That the flock may be pen'd with his own!

An hermitage stands by the brook,
By ivy all rudely o'ergrown,
There at noon I recline on my crook,
And attend to the turtle-dove's moan.
When the day's busy duties are done,
I sit by the cypress' sad tree;
For while Corydon walks in the sun,
The shade is most proper for me.

Where the beech trees have darken'd the dale,
Young Colin my tears would attend;
He pitied a stranger so pale,
And forgot 'twas the face of a friend.
And soon shall the whole be forgot,
My pen, and my pipe, and my song;
And Delia, believe me or not,
I'm persuaded it cannot be long.

[p. 410]