1801 ca.
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Julia; or, the Victim of Love. A Pastoral Ballad.

The Beauties of English Poetry, selected from the most esteemed Authors. By Dr. Wolcot. Containing several original Pieces, never before printed.

Dr. John Wolcot


A pastoral elegy in sixteen anapestic quatrains, signed "Peter Pindar, Esq." In this fine example of the sentimental lyric Julia, having been betrayed by a cruel lover, addresses her canine companion without once complaining of the sad treatment she has met with: "When I'm gone, thou, poor fellow, wilt pine, | And seek me, uneasy, around; | Beseeching the swains, with a whine, | To tell where thy Friend may be found" 1:129. This poem introduces a whole series of songs and elegies by and about Julia, a young woman shamefully abandoned by her husband. The poem would have made its first appearance in a British newspaper.

While Wolcot became famous for his satirical odes, he also enjoyed a considerable reptutation as a lyric poet. The contents of this collection, plainly a commercial venture, reflect the editor's tastes in burlesque and lyric poetry. It opens, rather oddly, with Pope's Temple of Fame, and reprints several of William Mason's anonymous "Malcolm Macgreggor" satires, along with lyrics by the likes of Hammond, Jago, Burns, and Wolcot himself.

Poetical Register and Repository of Fugitive Poetry for 1804: "This is a miserable catchpenny publication. It is inferior in merit to every other selection. About one sixth of this compilation from 'the most esteemed authors,' the author has, with his wonted modesty, devoted to his own verses. Over these verses the reader may pore a long while before he discovers any thing of beauty. But whatever the public may think of Peter Pindar, his publisher appears quite delighted with him; so much so, that he has thought proper to prefix to the volumes an advertisement, in which he claims a high rank among the bards for his friend Peter, and roundly asserts that the said Peter has transplanted into his works every poetical phrase which is to be found in the compass of the English language! Who, in the name of wonder, made this publisher a judge of such things? It is the business of Booksellers to sell books, not to criticise them" (1806) 492.



She is dead who gave life to the grove,
And covers our valley with gloom!
She who led all the Pleasures and Loves,
No joins the pale band of the Tomb.

She whose beauty commanded the heart,
So prais'd, so ador'd, so desir'd;
Sunk, the innocent victim of art,
And the passion her beauty inspir'd.

Yet silent was she on the Swain
Whose cruelty doom'd her to mourn;
In secret her soul would complain,
In secret her anguish would burn.

Tho' faint was the blush on her cheek,
And deep in her bosom the thorn;
A smile 'midst her sorrows would break,
Like a ray through the clouds in the morn.

She would sit near yon willow and sigh,
And pant in the shade of the trees:
"Sweet ZEPHYR, bring health," she would cry;
But HEALTH never came with the breeze.

And oft she would drink of the brook,
But HEALTH never came with the rill;
Then around on the heights she would look,
But HEALTH never came to the hill.

On her Dog she look'd down with a tear,
And sigh'd, as she patted his head,
"Poor FIDELLE! thou wilt suffer, I fear,
When thy Mistress, who loves thee, is dead.

"Thou hast ever been constant and kind;
My fondness ne'er met with a slight:
In thee a firm friendship I find:
How unhappy when out of my sight!

"When with speed I could travel the plain,
With thy Mistress to sport was thy pride;
And now I am weak and in pain,
Thou art heartless and dull by my side.

"When I'm gone, thou, poor fellow, wilt pine,
And seek me, uneasy, around;
Beseeching the swains, with a whine,
To tell where thy Friend may be found.

"Shouldst thou find my cold dwelling at last,
Near my sod thou wilt mope the long day:
Nor the night, nor the rain, nor the blast,
Nay, nor hunger, will force thee away."

Thus she spoke to her Fav'rite, whose eye
Was fix'd upon those of the MAID:
Then he lick'd her fond hand at her sigh,
As if conscious of all she had said!

Sweet nymph! What a sudden decay!
Now her limbs she could scarcely sustain;
Now her head would sink feebly away,
Like the lily press'd down by the rain.

At length on her pillow she fell;
In silence we watch'd her last breath;
When she bade us for ever farewell,
How divine, tho' the whisper of Death!

No struggle in dying she knew,
Life pass'd with such sweetness away!
So calm from the world she withdrew,
Her last sigh seem'd the zephyr of May.

Beneath a plain stone she is laid,
For needless of praise is the tale;
Since the virtues that shone in the MAID,
May be seen in the tears of the VALE.

[1:127-31]