1790
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Contrast. A Pastoral.

Walker's Hibernian Magazine (November 1790) 470.

C. M.


A pastoral ballad in six double-quatrain stanzas, signed "C. M." The poet describes a comfortable rural life which he hopes will prove attractive to Mary: "No palace can vie in my mind, | With my wheat'n thatch'd cottage of clay; | No monarch on earth will you find | Can say, he is happy one day." One is left with the impression that this clay cottage is something grander than a cabin.



What beauties does Nature disclose
When array'd in the charms of sweet May?
What melody flows from the grove?
What tints does sweet Flora display?
The bleating hills glisten with gold,
Declaring bright Phoebus is nigh;
The zephyrs their secrets unfold,
As they whisper the Virgin's reply.—

Oh! could I prevail with my love,
I'd persuade her with me to retire;
Where I've form'd for the nymph an alcove
Of the woodbine, the jessamine, briar:
The linnet has built its nest there,
In hopes to be pleasing to her:
And the dove sings my passion — Despair,
As he cooes from a neighb'ring fir.

No pleasure the great city yields,
That can't be excell'd in my groves,
What pleasure is like to my fields?
What harmony like to my doves?
Not a thorn but is powder'd all o'er,
Not a flow'r but is found in my mead,
Not a field but has plentiful store,
Nor a tree but in beauty array'd.

No palace can vie in my mind,
With my wheat'n thatch'd cottage of clay;
No monarch on earth will you find
Can say, he is happy one day;
No luxuries poison my board,
Nor wines from Constantia I buy;
My little I never do hoard,
For I always find poorer than I.

What rout can produce such a sight?
What pastime or mirth have you seen?
(When the villagers meet ev'ry night,)
To equal their dance on the green:
Health gay in his russet attire,
His fair one selects from the ring,
And Innocence blushes t' admire,
The heart she is eager to win.

Soft transports of bliss I shall find,
If Mary will hither repair;
A garland of roses I'll bind,
To present as a gift to my fair;
If she should but chance to approve,
And wear but the chaplet I've made,
I'll live on the smiles of my love,
And deem myself more than repaid.

[p. 470]