1763
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Ingrate. A Rural Picture.

Court and City Magazine 1 (October 1763) 495.

Anonymous


A verse character of a farmer indifferent to the beauties of nature, in the pastoral ballad measure: "Thus unconscious of beauty he strays, | Where beauties alone can be seen; | And heeds not the winde of the maze, | And regards not the sweets of the green." This poem opposes pastoral to georgic themes, labor to leisure, in a way that seems to suggest some connection to William Shenstone's aesthetic ideas — one might compare the sentiments in his Rural Elegance, for instance. As the pastoral ballad sequence developed, it tended to assimilate the two genres, as perhaps is already beginning here where the cycles of natural life are presented as objects for leisurely contemplation. The poem is not signed.



Not the winter which mellows the earth,
And defends by a carpet of snow,
Not the spring, which to nature gives birth,
Nor the summer's more vehement glow;
'Tis the autumn alone that can yield
Aught the farmer thinks worthy his sight;
'Tis the produce alone of his field
Which affords him a moment's delight.

Not the faint rosy blush of the morn,
Nor the bright-beaming glories of day,
When the sun to the center is borne,
And the clouds fly before him away;
Not the ev'ning, all soft and serene,
When the god bending down to the west,
Leaves the nymphs and the swains of the green
To recline on his Thetis's beast;

Nor the silver-bright beauties of night,
Full orb'd when the sun does appear,
Can engage for a moment his sight,
Or suspend for a moment his care.
Surrounded with all that is fair,
Surveying each beauty that grows;
If it rains — why the wretch will despair,
And revile the great cause, if it snows.

If the sun shines — 'twill burn up his corn,
And the wind will destroy all his fruit;
And if cloudy advances the morn,
More cloudy — behold the vile brute.
Thus unconscious of beauty he strays,
Where beauties alone can be seen;
And heeds not the winde of the maze,
And regards not the sweets of the green.

[p. 495]