1796
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

New May. A Pastoral.

Columbian Herald or, the New Daily Advertiser (10 October 1796).

Aeneas Lamonte


A pastoral ballad in seven double-quatrain stanzas, signed "Aeneas Lamonte, of Belfast." As the poet is admiring a particularly lovely landscape he encounters a most remarkable figure: "Her head with a chaplet was dress'd, | Of May-flow'rs and cowslips combin'd, | A garland hung over her breast, | With blue-bells and vi'lets entwin'd." He asks after her name and is given a somewhat ambiguous reply. Several poems with this signature were printed in this South Carolina newspaper.



As down by the wood-land I stray'd,
Where daisies enamell'd the way,
Where Flora her frolics had play'd,
Unveiling her charms to the day;
The warblers awaken'd the song,
The dew-drops hung down on the thorn,
The Zephyrs went gently along,
And Phoebus embellish'd the morn.

In rapture I went through the grove,
Delighted with richest perfume,
Saw nature devoted to love,
And the birds their fond labours resume;
The lark had its ditty re-told,
The blackbird was heard from the vine,
The herdsman was driving from fold,
And sung, "'Tis a shame to repine."

With gratitude musing I view'd
The landskip, so splendidly dress'd;
Gay Fancy her magic renew'd,
Imprinting her scenes on my breast:
When lo! from an opening I saw
A damsel come tripping the glade;
I trembled with transport and awe,
Afraid to offend the sweet maid.

No language her charms could unfold,
No pencil her beauties display,
Her hair hung like ringlets of gold,
Her eye was the di'mond's bright ray;
Her bosom the lily out-vy'd,
Her lips which I panted to view,
In the blush of the rose-bud were dy'd,
And her fingers all glitter'd with dew.

Her head with a chaplet was dress'd,
Of May-flow'rs and cowslips combin'd,
A garland hung over her breast,
With blue-bells and vi'lets entwin'd;
Her garment, in negligent flow,
Her graces all artless display'd—
'Twas dipp'd in the tint of the bow
That Iris in April had made.

New flowrets her footsteps bestrew'd,
For all was enchantment around,
The cuckow her ballad renew'd,
And mix'd with the music her sound—
Forgive me, ye pow'rs! If I bow'd
To worship a form so divine,
A mortal might sure be allow'd
To bend at a goddess's shrine.

I gaz'd as each look were my last;
With rapture I think on her now—
And said as she carelessly pass'd,
"Thy name to thy vot'ry avow—
Say, nymph, so delightful and gay,
Art thou from the mansions above?"
She smil'd and she answer'd — "NEW MAY,
And mine are the mansions of Love."

[unpaginated]