1798
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Shepherd's Complaint: a Pastoral.

Philadelphia Minerva 3 (13 January 1798).

Thomas Dermody


A pastoral ballad in five double-quatrain stanzas. The topic of this lover's complaint is a familiar one; Lucy has abandoned Corydon for the wealthier Floridel: "No more to my flocks will I sing, | No more tend the cells of the fold, | No more shall the glad vallies ring, | Since affection is barter'd for gold." Thomas Dermody gives his pastoral ballad a new twist, however, by introducing a variable refrain. This poem was apparently reprinted in the Philadelphia Minerva from a British periodical; it makes its first appearance in a collected edition of Dermody's poems in the posthumous Harp of Erin (1807). Dermody expresses his admiration for John Cunningham in the preface to Poems Moral and Descriptive (1800).



My Lucy was charming and fair,
Love shot every shaft from her eyes;
So sweet, so commanding her air,
It could soften, at once, and surprise;
Such pity, such tenderness play'd,
Serene, in her face, in her mind!
But the vision of hope is decay'd,
Though the shadows still linger behind.

My flute was melodious and soft,
The joy of the pastoral throng,
The linnet would join from aloft,
And Lucy embolden the song;
My cheeks (which pale sorrow will fade)
Were the red rose and lilly combin'd,
But the vision of hope is decay'd,
Though the shadows still linger behind.

Past pleasures no more shall beguile,
Sad dreams rend the pinions of sleep,
When I look on her beauty, I smile,
When I look on her scorn, I must weep.
Ungrateful! what vows hast thou made,
Vows, fickle and false as the wind,
The vision of hope is decay'd,
But its shadows still linger behind.

Ah! fair as the blossoms of spring,
Ah! how could that bosom be sold?
More love lay in Corydon's ring,
More wealth, than in Floridel's gold.
The dotard now wooes my sweet maid,
Now feels ev'ry rapture refin'd,
The vision of hope is decay'd,
But its shadows still linger behind.

No more to my flocks will I sing,
No more tend the cells of the fold,
No more shall the glad vallies ring,
Since affection is barter'd for gold.
I will fly, with despair to some shade,
I will die, on some rude rock reclin'd,
The vision of hope is decay'd,
And naught but its shadows behind.

[unpaginated]