1784
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Temple of Love.

Boston Magazine 1 (March 1784) 169.

Anonymous


Fifteen anapestic quatrains, not signed. The poet imagines a fantastic pleasure-garden to which he will invite the fair Phillis. The landscape is the stuff of pure poetry: "The green river-sisters shall lend | Their urns to replenish my rills; | And hoary old Faunus attend | The flocks that inhabit my hills." Shepherd's huts and cottage gardens were a common theme in pastoral ballads; this poet varies the theme by elevating the topic and making the subject of a poem rather than an episode. The subject was likely suggested by the association of William Shenstone's garden at the Leasowes with pastoral lyric.

The Boston Magazine (1783-86) was edited by John Eliot, James Freeman, and George R. Minot.



Not far from a river's bright wave,
That murmurs thro' many a grove,
A little retreat wou'd I have,
And call it the Temple of Love.

On a slow rising hill shou'd it stand,
(There Health wou'd her blessing bestow)
Whose brow shou'd the prospect command;
The river shou'd babble below.

On whose opposite bank there must be
A grotto well cover'd in shade;
Sweet shelter for Phillis and me,
'Till the heat of the Heavens allay'd!

A light flying pinnace be mine,
To hurry us over the stream;
Some sweet-thrilling instruments join,
Its ecchoes to heighten the dream.

Such notes might the naiads allure,
And sedgy crown'd nymphs of the wave,
O then wou'd we glide on secure,
The gods of our river wou'd save.

Let the temple I mention'd above,
Neat, easy, and simple appear:
The near and the simple I love,
For Nature's own touches are there.

There Flora, gay daughter of spring,
Shall scatter variety round;
And autumn her wicker shall bring,
With Nature's own luxury crown'd.

The green river-sisters shall lend
Their urns to replenish my rills;
And hoary old Faunus attend
The flocks that inhabit my hills.

But hark! From the woodland and grove,
Whilst melody rings in the gale!
For Philomel warbles her love
And echo runs off with the tale.

Poor Philomel, wretched, alone,
That pitiful note is in vain:
Thy love, thy companion is gone,
And what are the charms that remain?

Sad emblems of me! what are all
My villas, my castles in air?
Like some little vision they fall,
When torn from my Phillis, my fair.

My gardens have lost their perfume;
No melody floats in the gale;
My hills, they are hidden in gloom;
And care is in ev'ry vale.

But ah! what cou'd prompt such a dream?
By Heavens the maid shall be there:
Sweet tho't — how it ushers a beam
That scatters the cloud of despair.

All, all shall look happy again;
My temple my vista return;
My hills a new verdure shall gain;
My valleys no longer shall mourn.

O come then, my Phillis, remove
To all that the Heaves bestow;
A region my Phillis must love,
Where love will eternally flow.

[p. 169]