1790
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

On the Absence of Anna. A Pastoral.

Walker's Hibernian Magazine (March 1790) 279.

J. B.


A pastoral lyric in eight anapestic quatrains, signed "J. B., Belfast, March, 1790." The poet was much taken by his Anna: "When she sung! her sweet notes of accord, | To my heart thrill'd so pensively sweet, | What music her voice did afford! | Methought I could fall at her feet." But now she is away and he longs for her return.

1790 would be a banner year for pastoral ballads in the Hibernian Magazine.



Why heaves my fond bosom with sighs,
Which I anxiously wish to conceal?
And why do my tale-telling eyes,
The cause of my sorrow reveal?

Why cannot I gladly enjoy,
The pleasures that daily invite?
And why do the pastimes now cloy,
Which once were my greatest delight?

My flute was once sweet to my ear,
When breathing the soft swelling strain;
Its notes now no longer can cheer,
They serve but to cherish my pain?

What pleasure my fond heart did feel,
When with ANNA I join'd in the dance?
What transports my eyes did reveal,
When her's met my heart-speaking glance?

What exquisite raptures o'erpour'd,
My love-stricken heart when we stray'd,
From the sun's piercing rays 'till imbower'd,
In the grove we enjoy'd the cool shade!

When she sung! her sweet notes of accord,
To my heart thrill'd so pensively sweet,
What music her voice did afford!
Methought I could fall at her feet.

Why seems the green wood and the grove,
Where music and melody reign,
To look sad — and the warblers now rove,
From the trees to the sweet scented plain.

'Tis the absence of ANNA they mourn,
They sing not their notes with true glee,
Then haste, my dear ANNA, return,
And cheer the sad songsters and ME.

[p. 279]