1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Caution.

Pennsylvania Magazine and American Monthly Museum 1 (July 1775) 330-31.

Anonymous


An American ballad in eight anapestic quatrains, not signed. The poem recounts the sad fate of a young made of the west, given to the simplicity of natural ways: "Her dress was a garment of green, | Set off with a border of white, | And all the day long might be seen, | Like a bird that is always in flight." Her destroyer wooes "her with novels and books" before casting her away like a faded flower. The Pennsylvania Magazine published eighteen monthly issues before closing in July 1776.



She came from the hills of the west,
A smile of contentment she wore,
Her heart was a garden of rest,
But ah! the sweet season is o'er.

How oft by the streams in the wood,
Delighted she'd ramble and rove,
And while she stood marking the flood,
Would tune up a stanza of love.

Her dress was a garment of green,
Set off with a border of white,
And all the day long might be seen,
Like a bird that is always in flight.

In rural diversion and play,
Her summers glide smoothly along,
And her winters pass'd briskly away,
Cheered up with a tale or a song.

At length a destroyer came by,
A youth of more person than parts,
Well skill'd in the arts of the eye,
The conquest and havoc of hearts.

He led her by fountains and streams,
He woed her with novels and books,
He told her his tales and his dreams,
And mark'd their effect in her looks.

He taught her by midnight to roam,
Where spirits and spectres affright,
For passions encrease with the gloom,
And caution expires with the light.

At length like a rose from the spray,
Like a lily just pluck'd from the stem,
She droop'd and she faded away,
Thrown by and neglected like them.

[pp. 330-31]