1789
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Absence.

Town and Country Magazine 21 (February 1789) 95.

Anonymous


Three double-quatrain stanzas, not signed. The poet runs afoul of a prudent lover: "Ah, Peggy! delightfully fair, | Believe my fond vows to be true, | My flock shall alone be my care, | My love shall be constant to you." The title may be a witty play on pastoral ballads similarly named. The quality of the poetry columns of the Town and Country Magazine had slipped in the 1780s, and the editor was increasingly relying on reprinted materials. One suspects that it was the fiction and flashy engravings more than the literary content that appealed to subscribers.



Haste, shepherds, from every vale,
And listen around while I sing;
Be silent ye birds of the dale,
For Peggy is sweeter than spring.
All you who my fair one have seen
Must own to the truth of my song,
That none is so fair in the green,
Or dances the meadows along.

"He's faithful, no doubt," wou'd she say,
"His lambkins at distance to leave,
His sheep unattended, a prey,
With innocence only to save.
Then what cou'd I hope or expect,
From a shepherd so fickle as he?
For one that his lambkins neglect,
Would never prove constant to me."

Then let me haste backward with speed,
And lead my flock over the lawn,
That sportingly skip to my reed,
Which I tune up the coming of dawn.
Ah, Peggy! delightfully fair,
Believe my fond vows to be true,
My flock shall alone be my care,
My love shall be constant to you.

[p. 95]