1764
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Ballad.

Court, Country, and City Magazine 1 (April 1764) 134.

John Nichols


Five anapestic quatrains, not signed. In celebration of the Spring season, this poem adapts the carpe diem argument to the pastoral ballad measure: "Oh! be wise, my dear charmer, in time, | Whilst the Graces your person adorn; | For, when once you have pass'd life's sweet prime, | You may long live a maiden forlorn!" This magazine had the peculiar habit of changing its name on an annual basis, over its short career evolving from the Court Magazine, to the Court and City Magazine, to the Court, City, and Country Magazine.

John Nichols, afterwards editor of the Gentleman's Magazine, acknowledged this poem when it was republished in his Select Collection (1780-82). In 1764 he was stilll serving his apprenticeship in the print-shop of William Bowyer.



Hark, my fair one, the summons of love,
Cries, Away, my dear vot'ries, away:
Lovely Polly, beware how you prove
The mischances attending delay.

See the vernal spring bloom all around,
And the gay fields in verdure array'd;
See the blythe Nymphs advance o'er the ground,
By their Shepherds so willingly fed.

Then away with your ill-grounded fears,
Your romantic and idle alarms;
See the priest at the altar appears,
To secure you to Corydon's arms!

Oh! be wise, my dear charmer, in time,
Whilst the Graces your person adorn;
For, when once you have pass'd life's sweet prime,
You may long live a maiden forlorn!

Let us haste the sweet bliss to secure,
We can each to the other impart;
And, in joys which shall ever endure,
Drive affliction away from our heart.

[p. 134]