1800
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Poem.

Walker's Hibernian Magazine (February 1800) 117-18.

P. O'C. Seapoint


A pastoral ballad in six double-quatrain stanzas. The poet makes the usual complaint: "Ye shepherds no more to the plains, | Beware how ye wander or stray, | Such woes there await upon swains, | Who whilom were sprightly and gay." The three archaisms in this poem ("welkin," "adown," "whilom") are somewhat unusual. I have not identified the poet. The Hibernian Magazine had suffered badly in the Irish uprising of 1798, and in 1800 was reduced to printing half the number of pages it had previously.



'Twas eve and the welkin look'd clear,
The lambkins in wantonness stray'd;
I mus'd on the charms of my dear,
Lain pensively under a shade:
A dove on a neighbouring spray,
Perch'd, mournfully wailing its mate;
I mark'd all the notes of its lay,
So nearly resembling my fate.

My Tray he lay faintly behind,
And mark'd ev'ry change in my look;
Alas! were my fair half so kind,
I'd willingly handle my crook:
You'll say the comparison's vain,
But O! were your tortures like mine?
My reason is lost thro' my pain,
In deep disappointment I pine.

Now Sol's bright career was adown,
Bland Zephyrus cool'd all the air;
The hum of the neighbouring town,
Bespoke them dissolving their care:
I drove home my flock to their field,
And thought that I penn'd them secure;
But ah! with what shame I unfold,
I left them devoid of all cure.

I play'd on my pipe through my grief,
And thought that I'd banish dull care;
In music find ease and relief,
Or humming some fav'rite air;
My accents were lost in the strain,
My lays they spontaneously flow'd,
And move most melodiously plain,
To the charms of the fair one I lov'd.

Ye shepherds no more to the plains,
Beware how ye wander or stray,
Such woes there await upon swains,
Who whilom were sprightly and gay:
The graces combine in their maids,
To move the most obdurate heart,
'Twas innocent haunting those shades
Of Cupid, I first felt the smart.

No more I frequent the sweet groves,
Where at morn such fragrance arose,
I shun to hear cooing the doves,
It renews all the pangs of my woes;
I for e'er bid adieu to the fair,
How fair and how constant they be,
One only engross'd all my care,
But me she thought proper to flee.

[pp. 117-18]