1779
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Song.

United States Magazine 1 (June 1779) 273-74.

Anonymous


Nine double-quatrain stanzas, addressed from "York-town, Pennsylvania." The poet disdains riches and vows to embrace poverty and love: "Though poor, I will never repine, | Content that my Emma is true; | I'll press her dear bosom to mine, | And think myself rich as Peru." The Pastoral Song offers a succinct presentation of the sentimentalist's creed. In 1789 the poem was "ascribed to W. Bradford, esq." in the American Museum. William Bradford may be the Philadelphia publisher (1722-1791) or his son (1755-1795) who was attorney-general of the United States 1794-95. The United States Magazine, edited by Hugh Henry Brackenridge, was published in Philadelphia.



The shepherd of fortune possest
May scorn, if he please, my poor cot,
May think in his wealth to be blest,
But I will not envy his lot.
The pleasures which riches impart
Are fleeting and feeble when known;
They never give peace to the heart,
It scorns to be happy alone.

That shepherd true happiness knows,
Whose bosom by beauty is mov'd,
Who tastes the pure pleasure that flows
From loving and being beloved.
'Tis a joy of angelical birth,
And when to poor mortals 'tis given,
It cheers their abode upon earth,
And sweetens the journey to heaven.

How briskly my spirits would move!
What peace in this bosom would reign!
Were I blest with the nymph that I love,
Sweet Emma, the pride of the plain.
Ye shepherds, she's fair as the light!
The critic no blemish can find;
And all the soft virtues unite,
And glow in her innocent mind.

Her accents are formed to please,
Her manners engagingly free,
Her temper is ever at ease,
And calm as an angel's can be.
Her presence all sorrow removes,
She enraptures the wit and the clown,
Her heart is as mild as the dove's,
Her hand is as soft as its down.

Yon lilly, which graces the field,
And throws its perfume to the gale,
In fairness and fragrance must yield
To Emma, the pride of the vale.
She's pleasant as yonder cool rill
To travellers who faint on the way;
She's sweet as the rose on the hill,
When it opens its bosom to day.

I ask not for wealth, or for power;
Kind Heaven! I these can resign;
But hasten, O hasten the hour,
When Emma shall deign to be mine.
O teach her to pity the pain
Of a heart that, if slighted must break;
O teach her to love the fond swain,
That would lay down his life for her sake.

Though poor I will never repine,
Content that my Emma is true;
I'll press her dear bosom to mine,
And think myself rich as Peru.
With her I will stray through the grove,
And fondly I'll pour out my soul,
Indulge my effusions of love,
And find myself blest to the full.

And oft in the cool of the day,
We'll ramble to hear the sweet chorus,
That vibrates so soft from each spray,
Along the green banks of Codorus.
With flowers I'll crown her dear hair,
Then gaze on her beauties, and cry,
What nymph can with Emma compare!
What shepherd so happy as I!

Thus cheerful the moments shall roll,
Of all my fond wishes possest,
And peace shall descend on my soul,
And make it her favourite rest.
Contentment my life shall prolong,
All trouble and sorrow forgot,
And time, as he hurries along,
Shall smile upon Corydon's cot.

[pp. 273-74]