1767
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastorals, in imitation of William Shenstone, Esq.

Universal Magazine 40 (June 1767) 318-19.

Anonymous


A pair of pastoral ballads of thirteen and fourteen anapestic quatrains, not signed. In the first Colin, a timid and jealous swain, doubts Delia's constancy and resolves to let his cottage garden go to seed: "Whatever I heard her admire, | Whatever gave Delia delight, | Sad Colin, with grief will inspire, | It must straight be remov'd from my sight." In the second Delia visits the garden, but Colin is too ashamed to reveal himself, being tortured by self-doubt: "See Colin, the shepherds will say, | That bid us of falshood beware, | Was seen with his Delia to-day, | Whom he swore was as fickle as fair." In the end he resolves that should she visit again he will reveal himself. The gardening theme is connected with William Shenstone, whose landscaped farm was famous both during his life and after his death.



PASTORAL I.
My flocks will soon miss my kind care,
I must leave 'em to wander alone,
Whatever sad hardships they'll bear;
For Colin has cares of his own.

Whilst Delia continu'd to smile,
My flocks to gay meadows I led,
And I sat on the bank all the while,
And whistl'd, or pip'd, while they fed.

But now I'm forlorn, and forgot,
How tedious each moment appears!
It's two days since I saw Delia's cott,
And to me it appears like two years.

That path, to my Delia's retreat,
How often, with pleasure I've stray'd!
How oft has my wandering feet
The credulous lover betray'd!

Yet now! was it rash, Oh ye swains?
I've sworn that I'll trace it no more,
Nor, whatever it cost me the pains,
Lift the latch of my dear Delia's door.

For, since she has prov'd so unkind,
Of pleasure, and peace, I'm bereav'd;
But I'll banish her quite from my mind,
For sure never was swain so deceiv'd.

Not only my Delia deceives;
Gay Hope found the way to my breast.—
Ah! woe to the wretch who believes,
For Hope is as false as the rest.

The window she us'd to admire,
That looks down the slope o'er the vale,
Shall now be grown over with briar,
For 'twill soon reach as high as the pale.

Whatever I heard her admire,
Whatever gave Delia delight,
Sad Colin, with grief will inspire,
It must straight be remov'd from my sight.

Ah, shepherds! of falshood beware,
Love tortures and ruins your minds:
Each object increases despair,
And of some happy moment reminds.

Not a flower in my garden I find,
That's beauteous, sweet, blooming, or gay,
But Delia it brings to my mind,
Tho' still she's far sweeter than they.

If a rose other roses outvies,
It's the blush that's spread over her cheek;
The morning's bright gems are her eyes,
And the snowy white lilly's her neck.

Ah, let me then gaze with delight—
They were flow'rs she nurs'd and improv'd;
And what pleasure it gave me each night,
To water the plants that she lov'd!

Ah, Colin, then would you forget,
How we sat, the sweet woodbines among?
How you prais'd the sweet silent retreat,
Where you sat with your Delia and sung?


PASTORAL II.
'Twas Delia that pass'd by yon brook,
I saw here go over the vale;
She stopp'd at my cottage to look,
And methought, as she look'd she turn'd pale.

She knew not her Colin was nigh;
A hawthorn her lover conceal'd;
But I trembled so, when she pass'd by,
That I thought I should straight been reveal'd.

Perhaps she at last may repent,
And she came her lost lover to meet;
If so, my fond heart will relent,
For I feel it with transport now beat.

'Twill be her's then to gladden each hour,
And soothe these wild tumults again:—
But alas! 'twill be then in her pow'r
To treat me with scorn and disdain.

See Colin, the shepherds will say,
That bid us of falshood beware,
Was seen with his Delia to-day,
Whom he swore was as fickle as fair.

But Delia is constant and true,
And Colin alone was in fault;
But what could a poor shepherd do,
With envy and jealousy fraught?

Alas! ye can none of you tell
The envy that sprung in my breast
At Corydon's dancing so well,
And the pleasure that Delia express'd.

For Delia had sworn to be mine,
And I us'd to excel in her eyes;
So I envy'd a lover so fine,
And fear'd that he'd carry the prize.

She looks with so winning an air,
That every swain she beguiles,
And I'm tortur'd with doubts and despair
To see her address 'em with smiles.

Ah Colin! ne'er doubt of her truth,
But confide in her sacred vow,
Tho' she smil'd on the amorous youth;
For a frown could not sit on her brow.

I'll trust her to smile like sweet May,
And gladden the heart of each swain;
For no shepherd can tempt her to stay,
She'll return back to Colin again.

Not a nymph with my Delia can vie,
Then why should I blame any swain?
No shepherd's more favour'd than I,
Then wherefore should Colin complain?

I'll wander the brook-side along;
My flute shall reach Eccho's quick ear;
If Delia should chance to return,
She'll know that her Colin is near.

[pp. 318-19]