1780
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elegy.

Westminster Magazine 8 (November 1780) 613.

Anonymous


A pastoral ballad in five double-quatrain stanzas, not signed. A particularly disgruntled swain, having been supplanted in Delia's affections by a wealthier man, resolves to live retired on vegetables and creek-water: "Tho' fortune to him is more kind, | And for grandeur she'll give her consent; | Yet perjur'd — with guilt in her mind, | She ne'er can be blest and content."



I will fly to some secret retreat,
Where sorrow no bosom disturbs;
With the boughs I'll entwine me a seat,
And my food it shall only be herbs.
From a clear limpid stream that runs by,
I'll drink when I thirsty am grown;
Then stretch'd on the banks I will lye,
And unpity'd will make my sad moan.

With the leaves I'll contrive me a bed
Whereon I at night may recline;
Tho' no pillow will ease my poor head,
Yet I'll make it all gaudy and fine.
I'll deck it with shrubs, and with flowers,
The sweetest that are to be found;
Here pensive I'll pass the still hours,
When night draws her curtain around.

When Aurora enlightens the sky,
Thro' the woods and the vales I'll relate,
How from Delia's unkindness I fly,
And how cruel and hard is my fate.
I'll tell how my passion began,
How fondly I lov'd, and how true;
How she own'd that there ne'er was a man
Who for tenderness could me outdo;

How with transport I sat by her side,
And prest her dear hand to my heart;
And how oft to my vows she reply'd,
That we ne'er from each other would part:
How once she could pity my pain,
And my fondness with passion return;
Yet now smiles on a wealthier swain,
Who ne'er with my ardour did burn.

Tho' fortune to him is more kind,
And for grandeur she'll give her consent;
Yet perjur'd — with guilt in her mind,
She ne'er can be blest and content.
I no more this inconstant shall see,
Sequester'd I'll pass all my days;
'Tis by death I alone can be free,
For Love in my bosom still preys.

[p. 613]