1776
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Elegy on O**** R***.

Pennsylvania Magazine and American Monthly Museum 2 (June 1776) 287-88.

W. Bradford


A pastoral ballad in five double-quatrain stanzas, not signed. The poet invites the shepherds of the plain to join the shepherdesses now gathered around the grove where poor Colin is laid to rest: "This morn, as a ramble I took, | I mark'd they had gather'd them there; | Each mournfully lean'd on her crook, | Each water'd his grave with a tear." Among the mourners is the fair Hebe, Colin's love.

In 1795 this poem was reprinted in the New-York Magazine where it is "ascribed to W. Bradford, Esq." William Bradford might be the Philadelphia publisher (1722-1791) or possibly his son (1755-1795) who was attorney-general of the United States 1794-95.



Come, shepherds, let's visit yon grove,
And weep as we enter its shade;
There lies the dear object of love,
There Colin the shepherd is laid:
A tribute of sorrow we owe,
That tribute of sorrow we'll pay;
We'll join the young nymphs in their woe,
We lov'd him as dearly as they.

This morn, as a ramble I took,
I mark'd they had gather'd them there,
Each mournfully lean'd on her crook,
Each water'd his grave with a tear.
The spot they industriously drest
With flowers, the pride of the plains;
They number'd the charms he possest,
They call'd him, The sweetest of swains.

There Hebe, sweet mourner, I saw,
Whom Colin would fondly approve;
They talk'd of their friendship — but ah!
That friendship had ripen'd to love.
Distracted with sorrow she fell,
And kissing the grave of the swain,
Thrice bade her dear Colin farewell,
And weeping return'd to the plain.

Thy Colin, fair Hebe, was young;
By nature as mild as the dove,
And the accents that fell from his tongue
Were always the accents of love:
Accomplish'd in body and mind,
He dropt like the rose on the plain;
His equal thou never wilt find,
Nor look on his fellow again.

His virtues shall ne'er be forgot;
But oft as the new moon appears,
We'll haste to the sorrowful spot,
And water his grave with our tears.
This duty instruction will give,
Our virtue with vigour supply,
Will teach us like Colin to live,
Will teach us like Colin to die.

[pp. 287-88]