1771
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Song.

Town and Country Magazine 3 (January 1771) 46-47.

Celadon


A pastoral ballad in four double-quatrain stanzas, signed "Celadon." The poet enters a retired grotto in which he encounters a goddess who responds to his praises by insisting that beauty is only to be won by worth: "'Tis not dress, or a gay easy air, | That will take with a sensible mind; | Be tender, polite, and ne'er fear | But the nymphs will be faithful and kind." Whether this goddess is of the celestial or mortal variety is left teasingly unclear.



As careless I cross'd the green mead,
My heart free from care and from pain,
Kind fancy (not will) took the lead,
And led to the end of a plain,
Where a grotto there stood in the mid
Of a shady and cool tufted grove,
Where virtue from vice might be hid,
And all seem'd to be sacred to love.

Enraptur'd I gaz'd all around,
My feet had not power to move;
So soften'd, no wonder I found
My heart was inclined to love;
For the goddess of this charming place,
Tho' not Venus, the Cyprian queen,
Had (without her coquetry) her grace,
And with virtue, an elegant mien.

Good humour with health's rosy hue
Were display'd in her eye and her cheek,
And good sense stood confest to your view,
E'er she open'd her mouth for to speak.
In each feature much sweetness did shine,
When I told her how much I was caught,
And she cry'd, with a voice half divine,
'Tis by worth I'm alone to be caught.

Then from hence learn, ye swains, who're afraid
That the nymphs will from constancy swerve,
That like me you may gain the dear maid,
If you study that bliss to deserve,
'Tis not dress, or a gay easy air,
That will take with a sensible mind;
Be tender, polite, and ne'er fear
But the nymphs will be faithful and kind.

[pp. 46-47]