Sentimental Magazine 2 (October 1774) 462-63.


A pastoral ballad in twelve double-quatrains signed "Candaliensis." This poem was written in emulation of William Perfect's seasonal ballads that had been appearing in the Sentimental Magazine over the course of the previous year (Perfect's offering for October is printed on the preceding pages). But where Perfect was using the ballad measure for descriptive odes, this poem, after its opening descriptive passage, unfolds as a Horatian ode comparing the seasons of human life to the seasons of the year: "Whilst blest in the sun-shine of May, | Your infancy smoothly glides on, | And revels in innocent play, | When lo! the sweet season is gone." The poet points his moral with the story of Mira and Florimont who overcame the rigors of time by uniting love and friendship.

Headnote: "Sir, If you think the following poem worth a place in this month's Magazine, the inserting it will oblige your's, Candaliensis, Kendal, Oct. 8, 1774."

Ah! whither, ye joys of pure May,
Too soon are your blessings withdrawn?
Or Phoebus, thy life-giving ray,
To barbarous climates is flown?
No more your soft influence cheers
Creation's enamel'd champains;
Swift fly thus, O man! thy vain years,
Which labour nor patience regains.

No longer high-perch'd on the spray,
The gay flutt'ring linnet conspires
To sooth, with his sonorous lay,
The sylvan throng's innocent fires:
The red-breast, whose song on the bough,
Betray'd a heart falsely secure,
Descends for his sustenance now
To peck at the cottager's door.

Whilst blust'ring October begins
The prelude of winter to sound,
And fierce-raging Aeolus wins
Dominion o'er Thetis' profound:
Thy beauties, Pomona, are fled,
And with them hot summer's remains;
Ye forrests, why shake your tall heads,
To russet the withering plains?

No more to the clear purling brook
The blythe panting shepherds repair;
No more, in the woodbine bow'r, look
With extacy on the gay fair.
Those scenes of delight, as a tale
Unfinish'd, too hasty are gone;
Now desolate horrors prevail,
And each young enjoyment is flown.

Thus measure your time, ye vain tribe,
That reason's dominion can boast;
Whose life narrow bounds circumscribe,
And quick the fair vision is lost.
Whilst blest in the sun-shine of May,
Your infancy smoothly glides on,
And revels in innocent play,
When lo! the sweet season is gone.

Exulting beneath the hot beams,
Of manhood, your summer arrives;
What's past a delusion but seems,
Nor pleasure nor torment it gives.
Lo! form'd by the warmth of wild youth,
Fond schemes to maturity rise,
Beguiling with mask of fair truth
With flattering prospects your eyes.

'Till soon the thin veil is withdrawn,
And sober clad autumn appears;
The visions of summer are flown,
And manhood quick fades into years.
The mind now, with vigour replete,
Exerts its best reasoning pow'rs:
Now use the blest season, whilst yet
The season of autumn is yours.

For lo! as the glad minutes roll,
In tempests tremendous array'd,
Grim winter, sure lagging and foul,
Comes stalking with horrible head.
Then let not his terrible pow'r
A wretch in dull indolence drown'd
Arrest, and of vengeance secure,
Drag down to the dreadful profound.

O happy! twice happy! are they
Whose infancy glides up to years,
When youth's to no passion a prey,
Then age without terror appears:
The silver-hair'd head can rejoice,
And wrinkles break forth with a smile
To him who, O conscience! thy voice
Still follows, nor harbours a guile.

Thus blest in fond innocence, once
With Mira young Florimont rov'd;
Endued with each blessing of sense,
Whose youth fond ambition ne'er mov'd:
Now friendship's mild influence grows;
A nearer affection they prove;
Each breast with pure sympathy glows,
And friendship is ripen'd to love.

United by nature's first ties,
Their season of summer now rolls;
To them Hymen yielded the joys,
Fit only for heaven born souls.
To them autumn wears a blythe face,
And winter can ne'er bring dismay;
They view, in the spring of their race,
New mortals as happy as they.

And now but one wish can they find
Together to yield up their breath:
At once to this duty consign'd
To smile 'midst the horrors of death.
Whilst living one truth, they still preach,
To lead erring mortals to right:
"That none can this happiness reach,
But where love and friendship unite."

[pp. 462-63]