1800
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Elegy.

Walker's Hibernian Magazine (June 1800) 373.

Sylvius


A pastoral ballad in eight anapestic quatrains signed "Sylvius, Trinity-College." In this plaintive elegy a robin becomes an emblematic figure for lyric poetry as embodied in the departed lover: "When responsive thy lute to his song, | He warbled with pride on the bough; | But drooping he mourns the day long, | Since Matilda ne'er answers him now."



Thy beauties, sweet Spring, I resign,
Thy approach hath no charms for me;
In vain does the woodbine entwine,
The bow'r rais'd, Matilda, by thee.

When oft at stern Winter's retreat,
We've watch'd the sweet seasons return;
There once was, Matilda, thy seat,
There now stands, ah me! thy cold urn.

I've deck'd it with fresh gather'd flow'rs,
Sweet lilies and primroses pale;
I sigh for those once happy hours,
That fled with the then passing gale.

At eve, when the last fading ray
Of the sun, leads the flocks to their fold,
To thy grave I re-measure my way,
And whisper my griefs yet untold.

Poor Robin perch'd high on that tree,
Our names on whose bark I've entwin'd,
In fond imitation of thee,
With a song tries to solace my mind.

When responsive thy lute to his song,
He warbled with pride on the bough;
But drooping he mourns the day long,
Since Matilda ne'er answers him now.

At times through the trees by the stream,
The zephyrs in wanton career,
Seem to whisper my name in a dream,
In that voice once so sweet to my ear.

Methinks that you tenderly chide,
And tell me how long I delay,
Ah! I'll soon be laid cold by thy side,
We'll wing then together away.

[p. 373]