1780
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral addressed to the Contributors to the Miscellany.

Weekly Miscellany or Instructive Entertainer 14 (24 April 1780) 89-90.

Maria


A pastoral elegy in twelve anapestic quatrains signed "Maria." The poet laments the absence from the plains (pages of the Weekly Miscellany?) of Strephon and Colin, the latter identified as "Theophrastus, of Chacewater." Alicia is specified in a note as "Alicia, of Horsington," and Corydon as "J. N. Puddicombe." Puddicombe, who had contributed to the earliest numbers of the Miscellany, had long since departed Lyme Regis for Pembroke College in Cambridge, where he took his B.A. in 1778. He published a number of poems in the 1780s.



Ye nymphs and ye shepherds who rove
Where lately soft harmony dwelt;
Where breasts full of friendship and love
The raptures of poetry felt,

Now cease the dull strain of your lays;
Let your sports, let your pastimes be o'er;
Let pleasure no more crown your days;
Let the dance and the song be no more.

Where is Strephon, the pride of the plain,
Who caroll'd so sweetly of love;
Who gladden'd each nymph and each swain;
Whose pipe has made vocal each grove?

Where is Colin the witty and gay;
More sweet than the linnet's his strains;
More blithe than the thrush on the spray?
Alas! they have quitted the plains!

Ah! the days are still fresh in my view
When ye sought where the wild daisy grows,
And cull'd each sweet flow'ret that grew
To deck fair Monimia's brows.

In your bosoms when generous fire
The charms of Narcissa could move;
And who but the strains must admire
Of genius inspir'd by love?

Then the shepherds were happy around,
Then Corydon pride of the throng,
Oft made his soft warblings resound
The vallies and woodlands along.

Then Alicia rais'd such sweet strains
As wantonly melt in the throat,
Resounding thro' woods and thro' plains,
While echo prolong'd each breath'd note.

Each shepherd acknowledged the praise
That to merit superior is due,
And grateful the well-deserv'd bays
They, Strephon, allotted to you.

For virtue approv'd thy sweet airs,
And pleasure in soft silken chains
In bondage could lead all our cares
And bind the grim giant of pain.

But now no bright objects appear
The once ravish'd sense to delight;
No music to charm the dull ear;
No beauty to gladden the sight.

The plains are all gloomy around;
Each swain joyless tends his few sheep;
His tabor each throws on the ground—
They have nothing to do but to weep.

[pp. 89-90]