1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral.

Town and Country Magazine 7 (December 1775) 663-64.

Anonymous


A pastoral ballad in eleven anapestic stanzas, "Addressed to Eliza B—" and dated "Moon's Field, Oxon, Dec. 14." After describing a dreary scene in the water meadows, the Oxonian presents Eliza with a version of the carpe diem argument: "Yet time cannot rob thee of joy, | Tho' envy should rifle thy charms, | If virtue endears the soft tie, | And locks the fond swain in thy arms." This poem is evidently by the poet who signs himself "Leander" in the number for January.



As lately I saunter'd awhile,
To muse on the triumphs of fate,
Where Phoebus vouchsafes us a smile,
And says his is Cherwell's retreat.

All nature look'd haggard and sad,
The verdure had left the lone shade:
No rose bud with blushes was clad,
The violets were wither'd and dead.

The walks, which like mansions of state,
Frown'd awful, and bid us be wise,
Late haunts of the learned and great,
Deserted, in terrors arise.

Sad Isis around her dear mead,
And willows now murmurs her woe,
While Cherwell's to sooth the dear maid,
Swoln waters in concert o'erflow.

Then, fairest Eliza, say true,
And pardon the suit of the swain;
Shall time ever blast the fair hue,
Or wither the roses? explain.

Her blushes an answer deny,
And say she's the sweetest of flowers;
Then, shepherds, her swain shall reply,
And speak for the fair he adores.

Fond nature too kind to the maid,
Has deckt her in all that was fair,
Each virtue has lent her its aid,
And innocence own'd her her care.

Oh! could I (but ah! 'tis in vain)
Conceal what I dread to relate,
Eliza, thou pride of the plain,
Must yield to the mandate of fate.

Thy roses, those daughters of joy,
Those eyes which now sparkle delight,
The winter of time shall destroy,
Nor shepherds confess they are bright.

Thy suitors no longer will praise,
No longer they faulter and sigh:
When age is equipp'd with thy bays,
And says Libitina is nigh.

Yet time cannot rob thee of joy,
Tho' envy should rifle thy charms,
If virtue endears the soft tie,
And locks the fond swain in thy arms.

[pp. 663-64]