1783
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral written in the Absence of an amiable Relation.

Hibernian Magazine (October 1783) 550-51.

Lesbia


A pastoral lyric in 22 anapestic quatrains, signed "Lesbia." Doris has abandoned the plains for the winter season (whether to Dublin or London is not specified) leaving nature to mourn and the villagers to sing her praises. The poet, however, anticipates her return with the Spring: "'Tis the soft voice of friendship that calls, | And sweetly invites to thy home, | O come to these ivy-bound walls, | Too long my Dorinda you roam" p. 551.



Dorinda is flown from her bowers,
The city has call'd her away,
Now heavily pass the soft hours,
Her presence could render so gay.

The country around seems to mourn,
The buds are afraid to appear,
So rough the sweet season is grown,
The pleasantest once of the year.

She's gone — and rude Boreas blows,
Instead of the zephyrus breeze,
Now troubled the rivulet flows,
To water her favourite trees.

The roses for sorrow will fade,
The vi'lets to blossom forbear,
And her flocks they will stray from the glade,
Since Doris no longer is here.

The bower she planted with care,
The woodbines she taught to entwine,
Forget their fresh blossoms to wear,
Since she can her bower resign.

The linnet renouncing her song,
Deserts for her sake the sweet vale,
No more bound the lambkins along,
But bleating their mistress bewail.

The thrush and the blackbird have chose,
For their fondest some sad moving notes,
No longer they perch on the rose,
Nor thro' air their bold music floats.

Each Shepherd attunes his soft lay,
The praise of Dorinda to sing,
Her flocks frisk about them and play,
And listen around in a string.

One says she is mild as the morn,
And sweet as the dew on the bud,
That nature she's form'd to adorn,
So gentle, so fair, and so good.

Another with energy tells,
She would weep for the death of a hare,
In her breast so much gentleness dwells,
That even an insect she'd spare.

A third gladly catches the tale,
And avers he has seen her with speed,
Hastening along thro' the vale,
To shun a poor kid that must bleed.

Old Strephon thus leans on his spade,
And crossing his arms on his breast,
He swears by the hill, grove and mead,
He would try to out do all the rest.

What he said I cannot disclose,
Dorinda might take it amiss,
To flatter would hurt her repose,
It never could add to her bliss.

Return, gentle Doris, return,
And with thee dear maid bring along,
New joy to the vallies that mourn,
And strength to the villagers song.

Then each northern blast shall away,
And zephyrs return to the grove,
The linnet will sing from her spray;
And warble a sonnet of love.

The vi'let shall hasten to blow,
And cowslips again gild the plain,
The rose all its beauties will shew,
To welcome her home to the green.

Her bower again shall look gay,
And woodbines embrace it around,
At her foot the young lambkins will play,
With many a frolicking bound.

The stream will glide smoothly adown,
The descent of yon grassy field,
Oh, are there such pleasures in town,
As that very meadow can yield.

The murmuring zephyrs their hope,
Breathe softly to each budding tree,
She will come — she will stray down the slope—
They whisper with pleasure and glee.

O how the white hyacinth longs,
In triumph to sit next her breast,
The goldfinch prepares with her songs,
To charm her sweet mistress to rest.

'Tis the soft voice of friendship that calls,
And sweetly invites to thy home,
O come to these ivy-bound walls,
Too long my Dorinda you roam.

The vale she was form'd to adorn,
Her absence all pleasure destroys,
Return, gentle Doris, return,
Thy absence is death to our joys.

[pp. 550-51]