1780
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastoral Song, on improving a natural Arbour.

Poems, Lyric and Pastoral. In Two Volumes. By Edward Williams

Edward Williams


A pastoral lyric in four double-quatrain stanzas "Written in 1780." The poet constructing an arbor sings for his Delia (a conventional name for the Muse): "Thou, for whom all my songs are in tune, | New songs where thy beauties I trace; | In smiles, like the mornings of June, | Return to thy Colin's embrace" 2:116. The poem, published in 1794, would have been written after Williams's return to Wales from Kent and London where he had worked for some years as a mason.

Author's note: "We often observe Shepherds, and other rural characters, diverting themselves with songs, which are always, in the proper sense of the word, "sung" to a "tune"; the verse of course must be Lyric; SHENSTONE'S Pastoral Ballads are, for this reason, amongst others, far more natural than the Bucolics of Theocritus, Virgil, and many more that could be named; this at least is a Welsh Bard's opinion, who admits of no authority but that of NATURE" 1:190.



The wilder'd luxuriance of thorn,
With tendrils of woodbine I blend;
Late ev'ning, or dew-spangled morn,
The task I with pleasure attend;
Here dressing, my Delia, for thee
This arbour, deep hid in the grove;
Come, charmer, and visit with me,
The peaceable mansions of Love.

How often, from walking the dale,
I fly for a silent recess;
And to song give my dolorous tale
Of Love, and its tender excess:
Or, pensive, I ramble the brake,
From all my companions apart;
Whilst, fair as yon swan of the lake,
My Delia prevails in my heart.

My thought ever dwells on thy form,
And my heart lives in constant alarms;
'Tis toss'd, like a wave in the storm,
When Delia flies far from my arms.
Thou, for whom all my songs are in tune,
New songs where thy beauties I trace;
In smiles, like the mornings of June,
Return to thy Colin's embrace.

White clover besprinkles the plain;
In thickets wild roses abound;
The birds in a musical vein
Sing sweet in full chorus around.
Far flown is the Winter's cold hour;
'Tis Summer — all charming and gay;—
We safely may sit in the bow'r,
And love the sweet moments away.

[2:115-17]