1791
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastoral Ballad. By a young Lady under 15.

New Lady's Magazine, or, Polite, Entertaining, and Fashionable Companion for the Fair Sex 6 (May 1791) 239-41.

L. S.


Ten anapestic quatrains signed "L. S." by a very young pastoralist. This disarming ballad tells of an encounter between two very shy shepherds: Corydon offers to mind Laura's flock: "With leave I will tend o'er your sheep, | I will watch them by day and by night; | Will sing till your flocks are asleep, | And when wak'd, they shall be my delight." The New Lady's Magazine, while it published some of the familiar small poets of the day, also admitted to its pages many original poems by the likes of L. S.



CORYDON TO HIMSELF.
Ah! Corydon, why dost thou stray
From the plains thou wer't wont to admire?
Or why dost thou wander away,
From the cot that was once thy desire?

LAURA CASUALLY MEETING HIM.
O hear! 'tis the same now with me,
I wander, yet I know not for why;
But mistaken's my path as you see,
And it makes you, blithe shepherd, look shy.

CORYDON.
Why shy does bright Laura appear?
Is she vex'd she has met with her swain?
Perhaps we each other may cheer,
Our lost road we perhaps may regain.

LAURA.
O Lord! nay, what time have I lost,
I'll go seek my poor sheep with all speed;
They wonder in what I've been cross'd,
I must leave you, young shepherd, indeed.

CORYDON.
With leave I will tend o'er your sheep,
I will watch them by day and by night;
Will sing till your flocks are asleep,
And when wak'd, they shall be my delight.

LAURA.
Oh! Corydon, you are too kind,
To make them so much all your care;
To absence they'd soon be resign'd,
But I love them, and cannot forbear.

CORYDON.
Dear lass, sure you do not mistake,
Or can think I e'er wish'd you to fly;
No, I hope you'll them never forsake,
If you do, they will certainly die.

LAURA.
Ah me! I've forgot my lov'd crook,
I have left it, and cannot tell where?
Perhaps 'tis beside yonder brook,
I'll go fetch it, and bring it you here.

CORYDON.
Then both to the brook let's repair,
And the groves with our harmony fill;
I'll then lead you on, my sweet fair,
To the cottage that stands on yon hill.

LAURA.
The distance indeed is too long,
Lazy hours I am sure I've but few;
When we meet next I'll give you a song,
And so now, gentle shepherd, adieu.

[pp. 239-40]