1780
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Farewell: a Pastoral Poem.

Hibernian Magazine (October 1780) 568.

Anonymous


A pastoral ballad in twenty anapestic quatrains, not signed. The poet, a bashful swain, could not bring himself to confess his love to Fidelia, who upon parting had complained of the restraints society imposes upon sincere friendships. Now the poet despairs of ever winning her love: "No cattle have I that might low | The music of wealth in her ear; | Not a sheep, not a lamb, can shew, | To prove my affection sincere." He gives himself over to despair while expressing nothing but good wishes towards Fidelia.



In vain, foolish heart, do you grieve
And fruitless those tears that do flow,
Yet weeping does sorrow relieve;
And a sigh is a comfort for woe.

Ah me! my Fidelia, no more
With thee thro' the valley I'll stray
The valley that pleas'd me before,
Alas! it no longer seems gay.

How heavenly then was her speech!
How fondly upon it I hung!
She spoke what an angel might teach:
And wisdom dropp'd sweet from her tongue.

Yet ne'er cou'd my simpleton heart,
Tho' goodness beam'd rich from her eye,
The flow of its feeling impart,
No language it knew but — a sigh.

Did I but attempt to disclose
The passion that reign'd in my breast,
In love-taught confusion it rose,
And the new-born accents represt.

Yet sure she ne'er pointed a frown;
Ne'er drest her in dignity look;
No guardian contempt sent down,
To discourage the freedom I took.

Oh no! she is meek as the morn,
In May that illumines the green;
As the air from the sweet-scented thorn;
As the breath of honey-mouth'd bean.

She is mild as the Moon's milky beam,
That silent steals over the hills;
She is gentle as heavens sent dream,
That the mind of an innocent fills.

When we parted she tenderly sigh'd;
Soft pity her bosom did swell
When I wept with compassion she cry'd,
She scarcely cou'd sob out — farewell.

"How vain are all forms and and art!
How mean!" my Fidelia wou'd say;
"They fetter the spring of the heart,
And dim the affectionate ray.

"Sure nought can forbid, that is good,
The pleasing converse of a friend;
True modesty ne'er was a prude;
On shew it can never depend."

Then can my Fidelia grieve?
Can friendship her bosom so move?
Must he whom she weeps so to leave,
Despair of obtaining her love?

Hush'd-dead be such thought in my breast—
O no! She must never be mine—
Tho' to think it be death to my rest,
Compell'd by my fate I resign.

Some youth she's allotted to bless
Who shines in a loftier sphere—
He may triumph — my fortune is less—
But I'll die if he hold her so dear.

No cattle have I that might low
The music of wealth in her ear;
Not a sheep, not a lamb, can shew,
To prove my affection sincere.

Ah! thus may the fortunate woo,
Who have drank of felicity's show'r—
I have nought but a heart that is true—
Alack! What a pitiful dow'r.

Yet shed, ye kind Gods, on the pair
The joy that I never can have—
Long after I'm eas'd of my care—
Long after I'm laid in — my grave.

A stranger henceforth to delight,
To solitude's comfort I'll fly—
I will court the sweet gloom of the night,
And chaunt to the nightingale's sigh.

When midnight's black horrors do creep,
Like frost, thro' the wanderer's breast—
When flow'rets in sorrow do weep,
And all nature in mourning is drest;

O then before heaven I'll kneel—
"May God my Fidelia defend—
May the pangs and the torture I feel,
Ne'er wreath the dear heart of my friend."

[p. 568]