1773
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Collin and Lucy. A Pastoral Elegy.

Oxford Magazine 10 (August 1773) 323-24.

T. N.


A pastoral ballad in seven double-quatrains stanzas signed "T. N., Silver-street, Aug. 1." This awkward and fomulatic poem, is, very unusually, introduced by two elegiac quatrains. Collin laments the unexpected death of his Lucy, though he refrains from making the conventional gesture: "No more I of joy shall partake, | Ah! Lucy, for ever adieu, | My flute 'gainst the willows I'd break, | If 'twas not devoted to you." The Oxford Magazine had been sold since its founding and was beginning to fall upon hard times. It would expire with the volume for 1776.



Recumbent on his staff, sad Collin stood,
Beneath a yew tree's melancholy shade;
He wept o'er Lucy's grave; the kind, the good,
The hamlet never new a sweeter maid.
When from the love-lorn shepherd's big swoln eye,
The tears of real grief no more could flow,
He smooth'd his visage with a look serene,
And solac'd thus his heart-corroding woe.

Ah! Lucy! dear virgin adieu!
Thy graces I'll sing on the plains;
That maids may take pattern by you,
And win the true love of the swains.
I'll study to blazon your fame,
The fair to their shepherds untrue,
Your precepts would often reclaim,
And ev'ry endearment renew.

No pleasure could equal your love,
What poet your sweetness can tell?
You were gentle, and true as the dove,
That nurtures her brood in the dell.
You'd beauty, what foe can deny?
Your cheek by the roses were drest,
The tear that oft brighten'd your eye,
Spoke tenderness reign'd in your breast.

Of late, when we met in the grove,
I offer'd a nest I had ta'en,
You conjur'd (Ah! Lucy! by love,
With haste to replace it again.
Together we fled o'er the lee,
With care the young charge I bestow'd,
But Lucy, rejoiced to see,
The Finch flies to cherish her brood.

Last yeaning an ewe of my fold,
Expir'd with anguishing throes;
The lambkin you took from the cold,
And rear'd it in spite of its woes.
With flow'rets you braided its fleece,
How oft would the villagers say,
Lo! yonder's the emblem of peace,
Her Lamb, and sweet Lucy the gay.

Your tenderness, ravish'd my heart,
What great ones have envy'd my bliss?
How hard with such treasures to part?
What woe can be equal to this?
No more shall we stray by the brook,
No more to the broom hill repair,
No more I shall garnish her crook,
Nor weave the wild thyme in her hair.

No more I of joy shall partake,
Ah! Lucy, for ever adieu,
My flute 'gainst the willows I'd break,
If 'twas not devoted to you.
To you, who made cheerful the house,
In the dreary extreme of the year,
Ah! why did you take her, great pow'r,
From a shepherd that lov'd her so dear.

She'd smile when my pleasures were known,
She'd sigh when I told her my fears;
Ah! can I do less than bemoan,
And sprinkle her grave with my tears.
Without her, ah! what can delight,
Her equal, ah! where shall I find;
Altho' she's no more in my sight,
She for ever shall live in my mind.

[pp. 324-25]