1774
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Paridel's Complaint; or, the Laudable Resolution.

Town and Country Magazine 6 (August 1774) 440-41.

Charles Graham


A pastoral ballad in nine double-quatrain stanzas, signed "C. Graham, Penrith, July 13, 1774." The title is taken from a truncated version printed in the Universal Magazine the same month. In the Town and Country Magazine the poem is simply titled "Imitation of Mr. Shenstone's Pastorals"; in Grahem's Miscellaneous Pieces (1778) it is given as "Parridel's Complaint, or the laudable Resolution. A Pastoral. In imitation of Shenstone." The poet, an autodidact schoolmaster from the north of England, presents a particularly disarming narrative of erotic hopes deferred. Not that Phillis was pursued with less than all due diligence: "Her breath I'd compare to the sweets | Which pinks in a morning diffuse, | And many more pretty conceits | Escap'd not my vigilant muse." In the end, the poet decides that Sylvia might be a better proposition. The name "Paridel" appears in Shenstone's Pastoral Ballad.



Ye shepherds so chearful and gay,
Who wanton it over the plains,
Reject not my poor plaintive lay,
But listen to Paridel's strains:
Time was when you eagerly strove
Who most could my music prolong;
When I chaunted sweet sonnets of love,
Ye always applauded my song.

Young Phillis too mix'd with the train,
Whilst Corydon clasp'd her dear waist;
Heav'n knows how I envy'd the swain
The joys of so sweet a repast:
To seize her fond heart by surprize
My musical pow'rs I'd exert;
Expecting a glance from her eyes,
To cherish the flame in my heart.

Oh! tell me (for ye can declare)
How 'tentive she listen'd the while;
And when she approv'd of an air,
She'd kindly vouchsafe me a smile:
Enraptur'd I join'd in the dance;
Young Phil seem'd reserved and coy;
But I constru'd each trivial glance,
As a prelude to rapturous joy.

When gardens were just in their prime,
How ardent I've labour'd the strain,
Not doubting but flow'rets and rhime,
Some favour with Phillis might gain;
Then quickly I'd hie to the bow'r,
My well-chosen song to rehearse;
And as I selected each flower,
Recited its beauties in verse.

Yet none of them all must compare,
Or dare with my charmer to vie;
The vi'lets must droop in despair,
The woodbines and eglantines die:
Her breath I'd compare to the sweets
Which pinks in a morning diffuse,
And many more pretty conceits
Escap'd not my vigilant muse.

A smile I accepted as praise;
(So fond is a swain that's in love)
I believe she esteem'd my lays,
But could not my person approve:
A swain, uninspir'd by the muse,
Young Strephon who lives in the vale,
Had a person no nymph could refuse,
And Phillis — she heard his fond tale.

And now it recurs to my mind,
(Ah! wou'd I had ne'er seen the day!)
When the lads and the lasses were join'd,
And the birds swell'd their notes on the spray:
When I too resumed my place,
And pip'd while young Phillida sung;
The graces all play'd round her face,
While her voice did each accent prolong.

But why do I languish in vain?
Young Phillis is deaf to my moan;
Why should I forsake the gay plain,
And wander these deserts alone?
Young Coridon travers'd these shades,
Abandon'd to grief and despair,
Frequented these fountains and glades,
Undone by the frowns of my fair.

Let me other projects pursue,
That soon may fresh vigour impart,
My health and complexion renew,
And drive sullen grief from my heart:
'Tis granted young Phillis had charms,
Yet all were to Strephon resign'd;
Me Sylvia invites to her arms,
I'll fly, and give grief to the wind.

[pp. 440-41]