1794
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Pastoral Song, in the Welsh Manner.

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

Edward Williams


A pastoral ballad in six double-quatrain stanzas. Meeting Phillis in an arbor, the poet urges his love by directing her attention to the fleeting glories of nature: "The birds have a musical strain! | How fragrant the beautiful rose! | But, seeking, we seek them in vain, | When woodlands are cover'd with snows" 2:149.

Author's note: "There is nothing in the Welsh poetic taste, however defective in other respects it may appear, absurdly derived from the mythology, sentiments, and scenery, of the Greek and Roman Poets; but all is then natural growth of BRITAIN" 2:147n.



An arbour sequester'd I found,
Of hawthorn with woodbines attir'd;
'Tis hid by green thickets around,
'Tis by my dear Phillis admir'd;
I led her one day to the place,
From all observation apart;
And, urg'd with a lover's embrace,
I told her the tale of my heart!

See, Phillis, the gladness of Love,
On ev'ry sweet object impress'd;
It softly distills from above,
To soothe our afflictions to rest;
Though saddest misfortunes arise,
Assuming each terrible form;
Love's willing attention supplies
A shield that can baffle the storm.

Unblest are all those who decline
What Love, only Love, can bestow!
Nought else can our pleasures refine,
Nought else of true comfort we know;
'Twill brighten the gloom of our days,
'Twill keep our best feelings awake;
O! let us, avoiding delays,
Of Love's balmy raptures partake.

Observe the gay thickets and vales,
The skies that are fulgent above;
The fragrance we breathe in the gales;
All die with the season of Love!
For, all that is charming of Spring,
The Summer's high fervor will burn;
And, bearing the storm on it's wing,
Stern Winter will quickly return.

How sweet are the valleys of May!
Delicious the mornings of June!
We'll prize them, be jocund and gay,
To joy the new carol attune;
The birds have a musical strain!
How fragrant the beautiful rose!
But, seeking, we seek them in vain,
When woodlands are cover'd with snows.

Our moments incessantly waste,
Soon vanish unheeded away;
Youth flies on the pinions of haste,
Nor listens to mortal delay;
Then let us, my Phillis, improve
Our time that is dwindling apace,
And, yielding to Nature and Love,
The joy that's allow'd us embrace!

[2:147-150]