1778
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Ballad. The Lover's Complaint. To Miss H. B.

Poetical Register and Repository for Fugitive Poetry for 1810-11 (1814) 124.

Eyles Irwin


A pastoral ballad in six double-quatrain stanzas, dated "1778" and published three decades later in 1814. The famed oriental traveler returns to throw himself at the feet of his chosen fair: "'Tis late, that I came to the plain, | But late, I consulted my ease; | My youth was an era of pain, | And my quiet — the sport of the seas!" The appeal was evidently successful, for Irwin married a Miss Brooke of County Longford in 1778. The Poetical Register published a number of Irwin's occasional verses in its volume for 1810-11, the last to be published.



O! what shall my feelings declare?
O! how shall I number my woes?
Since I caught such a glance of the fair,
As has banish'd all hope of repose.
At beauty how oft have I gaz'd,
Of beauty, how oft have I sung:
For beauty was form'd to be prais'd,
And her smiles to unfetter my tongue!

Hither throng, all ye tender desires!
Ye Muses! ye Loves! hither throng;
HONORIA awakens my fires,
'Tis HONORIA who merits the song.
But all my endeavours are vain;
'Twere madness her praises to scale;
A poet! and not breathe a strain—
A lover! and courage to fail!—

But what would avail all his art,
When the poet considers the theme?
The lover with firmness might part,
Whose happiness seems but a dream!
From a task, that would pose bigot-zeal,
'Tis sure no discredit to fly;
At her feet too, where monarchs might kneel,
Methinks, 'twere a pleasure to die!

'Tis late, that I came to the plain,
But late, I consulted my ease;
My youth was an era of pain,
And my quiet — the sport of the seas!
But still, on what shore I was thrown,
The rigors whate'er of the clime;
My liberty sweet, was my own,
And I dreaded no victor, but time!

Alas! that a nymph of the grove,
More fatal than tempests should be;
Alas! that the arrows of Love,
Should only be poison'd for me!
Whene'er on my rivals I muse,
To what depths of despair am I hurl'd—
For how but to doubt, can he choose,
Whose rivals consist — of a world!

Then, since neither titles nor birth,
Nor talents, her hand can ensure;
Since Kingdoms fall short of her worth,
For the purchase — a CROESUS were poor!
Cease, cease, thy demerits to heed,
Essay her compassion to move;
Tho' a shepherd — thy truth may succeed,
For the price of HONORIA, is love!

[pp. 124-25]