1780
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[A Pastoral Ballad in Four Parts.]

Hibernian Magazine (December 1779, May, June, July 1780) 704, 279, 335-36, 399.

P. H-y


A cycle of four pastoral lyrics in 60 anapestic stanzas, signed "P. H—y." In the first part Strephon complains that Eliza, for some unexplained reason, has abandoned the plains, and he gives himself up to despair. In the second part he resolves to remain constant to her memory, and sends the feathered choir in pursuit of her. In the third part he is visited by the allegorical figure of Hope, who gives some advice: "Assuage thy wild fury dear swain, | And seek, as your wail you give o'er, | Your once enjoy'd peace to regain, | And calm reason peace shall restore" p. 336. Strephon does not believe that he can ever be happy, though in the fourth part, having returned to his fields and flocks, he discovers that it is possible to be content, even as he sighs over Eliza's dear name. The cycle of poems adopts a seasonal theme, beginning with hay making in the summer and concluding with the restoration of the verdant landscape in spring.

Note: "As the author of the above pastoral requests our opinion of what he calls 'the first offspring of an infant muse,' we shall give it with that freedom and impartiality, which an ingenuous mind must approve, however painful it may be to self love. If the piece be really a first production, it shews the author possesses a genius and vigour that may soon give birth to a fairer offspring. We have had many imitators of Shenstone, but few who rose above mediocrity. This pastoral has some stanzas, that come as near that sweet simplicity that marked the bard of the Leasowes and the late Cunningham, as any we have read; and would the author be more perspicuous and accurate than he is in several passages, we have no doubt but he might in time be considered as no contemptible rival to the two pastoral writers we have mentioned. We have taken the liberty to alter many of his lines which greatly required it. Had we not done this, the piece could by no means have been inserted; and it would have been highly cruel to have suppressed the first beaming of an ingenious, and apparently ingenuous mind, that promises much greater radiance in the course of its poetical circuit" 704n.



A PASTORAL.
As late I had trip'd o'er the green,
And stray'd thro' the meadows new mow'd,
Believe me I never had seen,
Such richness by nature bestow'd.

The gold locks of Ceres gay wav'd,
And rewarded the husbandman's toil,
Each sickle's production when sheav'd,
Enraptur'd they bore off the spoil.

Whilst pleasure smil'd sweet on their brow,
And beam'd with sereneness divine,
I wish'd, but I cou'd not tell how,
To alter their station for mine.

For O! never more shall I know,
That spring of perfection so chaste,
Call'd bliss; but the weight of keen woe,
Evermore I am doomed to taste.

Ah! sure my Eliza is flown!
That form so angelic and fair,
Is fled, and left Strephon alone,
In absence sigh and despair.

Each power to please and to gain,
Was by the dear cherub possest,
Which ev'ry nymph of the plain,
Her perfections superior confest.

Not the hue of a dew-spangled rose,
When opening before the fresh day,
Such blushes as here could disclose,
Nor such sweets to my lips cou'd convey.

The mildness of new infant spring,
In its vernal soft beauties array'd,
Ne'er such raptures from nature could bring,
As the smiles my Eliza display'd.

The swift-twinkling orbs of the night,
Whose lustres both please and surprize,
Dispens'd not a splendor so bright,
As the rays of her love-sparkling eyes.

Had their radiance less fire express'd
I then might have view'd without pain,
But soon did they wound my fond breast,
And its peace I can never regain.

For fate, cruel fate, not long since,
Had stol'n the fair nymph far away,
From a constant fond heart bore her hence,
And darken'd, my hopes with dismay.

Say then, to what shade shall I run,
What desertless path shall pursue?
Since Eliza for ever is gone,
I must bid to the world an adieu.

Yes, quick to the covert I'll fly,
Where my charmer and I often stray'd,
Tho' there I no more shall descry,
Those blisses with her it convey'd.

No more will its warbling sweet train,
Bear sympathy with our fond verse,
Nor seek in their wonted soft strain,
Her softer sweet notes to rehearse.

Alone I shall enter its bow'r,
Alone to the grove I shall hie,
Alone there I'll languish each hour,
There alone for Eliza I'll die.


PASTORAL II.
Behold the sweet banks of the grove,
Whose flowrets enamell'd the green;
Far away with Eliza thy rove,
And their beauties no longer are seen.

The clear gliding streams that did flow,
In numbers harmonious along,
No more their enchantments bestow,
Or gently keep pace with the song.

All blasted the woodbines appear,
Their verdures are faded away,
And no more shall the jessamine here,
Its wide-spreading branches display.

While the swelling round tears quickly fall,
As his woes no kind solace cou'd find,
Reflection, with pain to recall,
By a willow young Strephon reclin'd.

As trembles the note of the lyre,
When touch'd it neglectedly strung,
In plaintive weak murmurs expire,
The faultering notes from his tongue.

To calm his rack'd bosom he try'd,
In sorrow, essay'd oft in vain,
Alternate, dull echo reply'd,
And return'd his sad wail back again.

O ye zephyrs, who sportively play,
Your wantons give o'er, and draw nigh,
On swift, fleeting pinions convey
To my charmer each tender breath'd sigh.

Then fly nimbly, and tell the dear maid,
That for ever I've bade her adieu:
Strephon's love, it will ne'er be betray'd,
But still will prove constant and true.

O ye songsters, who fill'd the wide air,
As you warbled your notes from each spray,
When hither I led my fond fair,
Say, say, whither now do you stray?

O forsake not your wonted retreat,
Each shade it invokes your return;
When you chaunted, my bliss was compleat,
Now sympathize with me, and mourn.

But Eliza, 'twas she cou'd inspire,
With raptures your loud swelling song;
For her, you assembled the choir,
And hail'd her approaches along.

Be ye heedful then whither you fly,
Return, and pray cease for to rove,
If you catch but a glance of her eye,
Farewell to the grot and the grove.

And ye swains who oft trip o'er the dew,
Of her artless attractions beware,
If you shou'd the dear Sylvan pursue,
No hopes, can you find, but despair.

For the fair one, where-ever she goes,
All nature enflames with desire,
And, as sure will she blast the repose,
Of the youth, who but dares to admire.


PASTORAL III.
Hark! hark! to the plaintiff that roams
Amidst the entwining deep shade;
'Tis Philomel — hither she comes;
'Twas her plaints to the breeze she convey'd.

See! see! her wide wing she extends
On quivering pinion, to fly,
By the slope of my willow descends,
And doleful reanswers each sigh.

As speeds the fleet moments that bear
Off the short earthly bliss we enjoy;
As swift as the flash rends the air,
Or the tempests fierce rage can destroy:

So flew the drear vision amain,
Whilst a ray of sublimity stole
From my woeing companion, whose strain
Soon reanimated the whole.

Attend, O my Strephon, she cried,
Whilst her form Seraphic, express'd
All Heaven — for, loe, by my side
The genius of hope stood confest.

Assuage thy wild fury dear swain,
And seek, as your wail you give o'er,
Your once enjoy'd peace to regain,
And calm reason peace shall restore.

Tho' your violets and roses that bloom'd,
Are faded and sunk to decay;
Think not that they less are perfum'd,
Since Eliza is gone far away.

Tho' the smiles that the charmer may wear,
With their tints so resplendently shine,
Yet, ne'er shall the plants of my care,
By her absence their odours resign.

Speed swiftly unto the blithe plain,
Where pleasures await the glad way,
'Tis then that your flowrets shall deign
Their long o'ercast bloom to display.

Go, welcome the young rising spring,
Attend the mild sport of the fields;
Taste the raptures calm nature can bring,
And her rural simplicity yields.

Then, for thee shall the tender plants blow,
Spread their opening foliage apace,
And the light tranquil smile on the brow,
The years youngest blossoms shall grace.

No never, celestial, I cried,
Can I my sad sorrows forgoe:
The effort, too dearly I've tried,
And life can no solace bestow.

For think not, O genius divine,
Tho' I'd sport with the festive gay trains,
My woes I could ever resign,
Whilst breath in my bosom remains.

Since fortune denies for to bless
My hopes with th' angelical fair;
Yet still, she this heart shall possess;
This heart, 'tis she only, shall share.

But if to yon circlet I bound,
Where sylvan and wood nymph do dwell,
My plaints o'er the plains shall resound,
—O ye pensive recesses — Farewell.


PASTORAL IV.
Where the fountains soft murmuring flow,
The fragrance fresh breathes from the thorn;
Where the hill tops are shaded with snow,
Whilst sweet verdures the vallies adorn.

The opening landscape new deck'd,
Spreads its roseate mantle along,
And the smooth gliding stream can reflect
The sports of the festival throng.

Beside the embowering dale
My humble retirement lies;
And the flocks that o'erspread yonder vale,
Beyond its contentment I prize.

There I've planted the red blushing vine;
I have set me a slip from the rose;
And the May-blossom'd branches entwine
My younglings domain to inclose.

Not a hue o'er the mead can be found
But the vest of my villa contains;
My arbours melifluous resound,
And ring with the woodlark's loud strains.

For now the bleak season ne'er dares
To invade or disrobe the gay green;
And the longer its vista it wears,
More splendid appears the gay scene.

When the grey smiling mattin awakes,
To illume the dark gloom of the spheres,
The fond bird his young nestling forsakes,
And his shrill salutation prepares.

At the wonted approach of the morn
He mounts and he hails the glad skies,
Whilst confusion of notes from each thorn
The blissful retreats harmonize.

Light ting'd with the languid pale red,
The wide space of heaven appears,
Till Phoebus's bright flaming head,
O'er the golden capt mountain he rears.

His genial refreshing faint beams,
The clear trickling dew-drops disclose,
Ensilvers the serpentine streams,
And awakes the dull swain from repose.

Then my lambkins with innocent bleat,
O'er the lawn how they sportively run,
And with their fond pleasures elate,
They wantonly frisk in the sun.

Here my lonely retire it lies,
Tho' no longer impatient I mourn,
Since fate, cruel fate it denies—
Hapless thought! — my Eliza's return.

Yet my breast its repose can regain;
For peace, sweet enchantress! bestows
A balm to assuage ev'ry pain,
And to ease the fierce rage of my woes.

Tho' the simple led vigil no more
Wakes my soul to its festal alarms,
My grotts and my white fleecy store
Can await me with gentler charms.

But still shall I waft with a sigh
O'er the green, my Eliza's dear name,
And the beauties that beam'd from her eye,
To the wide spreading valleys proclaim.

[pp. 704, 279, 335-36, 399]