1801
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Corydon's Lamentation.

Universal Magazine 109 (August 1801) 132.

Juvenis


A pastoral elegy in eight double-quatrains, signed "Juvenis." Corydon was happily married to Phyllida, but she died; he has resolved to abandon his sheep-fold and take up residence in the woods: "To the woods, the wild woods, I'll retire, | And strive my lost peace to redeem, | I'll feed on the fruits of the briar, | And drink of the rivulet's stream." The absence of strong visual imagery in this poem is unusual for pastoral ballads. The poet was a regular contributor to the Universal Magazine at this time.



Oh hear the sad nightingale mourn
In the grove that I planted hard by,
She grieves for her innocence torn,
As for my lost treasure do I.
Ah see! how with freedom elate,
My lambkins, they frolic and play,
Time was, nor far distant the date,
When I was as happy as they.

When Phyllida, first of her train,
In beauty of person and mind,
Rejected each love-stricken swain,
And prov'd to her Corydon kind,
How jocund the time flew away,
When the sweet marriage knot it was tied,
But how sad, and how luckless the day,
When Phyllida sickened and died.

I remember it all with regret,
'Twas a day of most sorrowful date,
The sun did in gloominess set,
And the heavens did weep at my fate.
The heavens did weep, it is true,
And water my Phyllida's bier,
But not so could Corydon do,
For his heart was too full for a tear.

Long time the cold earth was the bed,
On which my sad limbs I have laid,
And the flocks which I often have fed,
To their folds untended have stray'd.
Oh haste, my fond lambkins, away,
And leave me to weep and to die,
Some other kind shepherd obey,
A shepherd much kinder than I.

But how useless the tears that I shed!
Why thus should I mourn and complain?
For Phyllida's spirit is fled,
And sorrow's petition is vain.
She has left me all sad and forlorn,
Hard lessons of sorrow to learn,
To weep for the days that are gone,
Those days that will never return.

To my cot, my sad cot I'll repair,
Where roses entwine round the door,
Oft water'd by Phyllida's care,
But now to be water'd no more.
I'll take leave of my desolate cot,
Or my brain it will madden and burn,
I'll hastily quite the sad spot,
I'll quit it, nor ever return.

To the woods, the wild woods, I'll retire,
And strive my lost peace to redeem,
I'll feed on the fruits of the briar,
And drink of the rivulet's stream.
I'll wander in sorrow alone,
Yet no — not so lonely my fate,
For I'll teach the wood-pigeon to moan,
As tho' it did moan for its mate.

Sad echo shall often repeat,
That Corydon's quiet is fled,
And every object I meet
Shall learn that my Phyllida's dead.
Farewell then my flocks, and my cot,
By the dawn of the day I will flee,
I will flee to some desolate spot,
A spot made for sorrow and me.

[p. 132]