1794
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Eliza: a Pastoral Song.

New York Magazine and Literary Repository 5 (March 1794) 186-87.

Aemulus


A pastoral ballad in six double-quatrain stanzas signed "Aemulus." The poet discovers Marcus singing a song to the fair Eliza who he had discovered on the bank of a smooth gliding brook: "Her curling and beautiful hair | O'er her back hung gracefully down; | Like the snow her loose garments were fair— | There grace and simplicity's found." The use of a narrative frame is unusual in pastoral ballads. This poet contributed several poems to the New York Magazine.



While his sheep play cheerful around,
And crop the fresh grass off the plain,
The notes of soft Music resound,
The notes of young Marcus the swain:—
To Eliza he tunes his sweet voice,
In grace and in beauty array'd,
The vallies responsive rejoice,
While silence and stillness pervade.

On the bank of yon smooth gliding brook,
With aspect in sweetness serene,
As she gracefully lean'd on her crook,
The lovely Eliza I've seen:
While pensive the flood she survey'd,
Which stole in soft murmurs along,
Unnoticed I lay in the shade,
While the birds tun'd their evening song.

Eliza! ah, who can describe?
Who her beauty and charms can unfold?
Who can paint great Sol in his pride,
When he mounts his bright chariot of gold?
Her curling and beautiful hair
O'er her back hung gracefully down;
Like the snow her loose garments were fair—
There grace and simplicity's found.

Eliza I've oft seen before,
Tho' nought but our eyes have yet spoke;
Her in silence I calmly adore,
For her now the Muse I invoke;
My bosom now points to the day,
When I with this maid shall be known,
When we'll pass the swift hours away,
When my passion for her I may own.

With his tinges of beautiful hue
The sun is now gilding the sky,
All Nature is charming to view,
The scene draws the heart's pensive sigh:—
Come my sheep, return to your fold,
While your shepherd points the known way,
Who covets nor honour nor gold,
The crook, not the sceptre to sway.

Thus Marcus indulg'd his soft strains,
While graceful reclin'd in a shade,
I, thoughtfully rambling the plains,
Directed my steps where he lay'd.
Congenial in sorrow and thought,
His musical notes struck my ear;
I pensive survey'd the fond spot,
And dropt to Eliza a tear.

[pp. 186-87]