1774
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

June. A Pastoral Poem.

Sentimental Magazine 2 (June 1774) 268-69.

Dr. William Perfect


Eleven, later fourteen double-quatrain stanzas, signed "Mallingiensis, June 8, 1774." The pastoral for June opens with a salute to the King's birthday (an annual subject for periodical verse) but concludes on a more sober and personal note, as William Perfect observes the death of his father: "And yearly as summer bedeck'd | With pomp and with wealth shall return, | Fresh wreaths shall affliction collect, | Honesto, to fix on thy urn."



Whilst Summer, bright child of the sun,
With mildness rekindles his fire,
And June, by his courtesy won,
Apparels in brightest attire;
To her prince Freedom offers the lay,
Her sons the fair tribute support;
In duty rejoice on the day,
By far the most splendid at court.

Admit humble zeal to prevail,
From a muse, thus unpolish'd, to spring,
Bear hence each Favonian gale,
The strains she devotes to her king.
No laureat — what merit have I?
Pretension to fabricate praise?
To low to be brib'd, or too high
To flatter in time-serving lays.

My heart, by sincerity led,
The day of his birth much reveres,
That Peace may her olive-branch spread
Through many additional years.
From my bosom warm wishes emane,
That virtue him blessings may send,
In the hearts of his subjects to reign,
Till time's latest period shall end.

—Behold in what splendour appears,
In majesty boundless and wide,
The sun, through the dawn's pearly tears
He pours his ineffable tide.
He beams in illustrious array,
And warms the etherial gale,
That nurtures the pride of the day,
From the hill to the sweet-clover'd dale.

The bleating of sheep from the hills,
The matins of mirth from the grove,
The murmurs that rise from the rills,
And the reed from the shady alcove.
The zephyrs that pinion the hours,
The fragrance the hay-fields diffuse,
The pasture empurpled with flowers,
Are themes which replenish my muse.

How smooth and how tranquil the stream
Meanders the valleys along,
Its chrystal improv'd by the beam
That calls up Aurora's first song.
The leaf by the gale unoppress'd,
The landscapes of beauty and grace,
Mild pleasures convey to the breast
The smiles of the heart to the face.

Yet whither, my muse, would you stray,
Evading this season of sweets?
Why turn from the bliss-giving day,
From pleasure's umbrageous retreats?
From the beech, ever vivid of shade,
The lime that elongates the lawn,
The oak, in dark foliage array'd,
Ah! why are thy numbers withdrawn?

From the parks and the sports of the field,
Where plenty and happiness reign,
Where the smiles of benevolence yield
The blessings from summer we gain.
Ah why, near yon sorrowful yew,
Of dark and disconsolate shade,
Do you lamentations pursue,
Must sensations long past never fade?

Shall Honesto, my father, and friend!
Around whose respectable tomb
The virtues dejected attend,
In plaint the sad dirges assume,
While elegy, genius, and worth,
The red eye of sorrow dilate;
All pensive bow down to the earth,
And weep his immutable fate.

Shall he be forgot whom I lov'd,
Whose breast was all gentle and kind,
Of principles noble approv'd,
The christian in precept and mind?
Shall time soothe the sigh of my breast?
The thunder that rolls on the hill
Shall sooner he sooth'd into rest,
Its lightnings no terrors fulfil.

Receive then my measure of woe,
Thou dearest, and much-honour'd shade,
If virtue departed may know
Affection by memory paid;
And yearly as summer bedeck'd
With pomp and with wealth shall return,
Fresh wreaths shall affliction collect,
Honesto, to fix on thy urn.

[pp. 268-69]