1806
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral.

The Companion and Weekly Miscellany 2 (15 February 1806) 128.

Emily


A pastoral ballad signed "Emily" in eleven double-quatrain stanzas. Lorenzo proposes to Aminta, offering a cottage, lilacs and roses, and a life of tasteful poverty. Aminta refuses him, but quickly repents of her rash decision: "He left me with grief on his brow, | His last look set my soul on the rack; | And though I said, carelessly, go, | Yet my heart said in secret — come back." All works out happily in the end. The Companion was a Baltimore periodical.

Headnote: "Many a neglected son and daughter of Genius pass through the world without leaving a trace behind them. The constant occurrence of this lamentable fact, has two causes: one is, an insurmountable diffidence in the person, which excludes all chance of improvement in composition; the other, the want of professed literary papers in many parts, wherein youth, shielded by the aegis of fictitious names, might fight their way into the Temple of Fame. A modest diffidence, amiable, because not unconquerable, has for some time restrained the efforts of a young lady whose taste for polite literature, is evinced in the following pastoral. Now that she has broken the charm of virgin bashfulness, with no small degree of confidence and pleasure we anticipate many fine flowers from her hand" p. 128.



AMINTA one morning in May
Arose with the rise of the dawn,
And thus artlessly chaunted her lay
As she thoughtfully travers'd the lawn.
How gloomy those woodbines appear,
How mournful yon thrush on the bough,
Her notes were once sweet to my ear,
But how changed, ah! they're sorrowful now.

No pleasure the flowrets impart,
No pleasure the breezes of spring;
Their comforts are left on the heart
Which the pains of ingratitude wring.
LORENZO, an honest young swain,
Once modestly proffer'd his love,
And strove my affections to gain
By each art which the virtuous approve.

He said that he lov'd me so well
He could live in a cottage with me,
And think himself bless'd in his cell
More highly than monarchs could be.
Tho' their palaces riches contain,
And each dainty their tables afford;
Yet luxury's followed by pain
I scorn the superfluous hoard.

For happiness cannot be bought;
'Tis a blessing no grandeur can give;
But will always be found in the cot
Where truth and sincerity live.
Aminta, this cot may be thine,
I'll erect it in yonder green shade,
Where lilachs and roses combine
To scent with sweet odour's the glade.

You may plant it, as fancy may lead,
And I will that fancy improve;
For this cause — it no other can need—
'Tis a fancy which pleases my love.
We'll rise at the dawn of the morn,
When the songsters first wake on the spray,
Our flocks to attend on the lawn
And be cheerful and happy as they.

When our sheep have their hunger allay'd
And are scorch'd by the sun-beams of noon,
We'll repair to some far distant shade
And seat ourselves peacefully down.
And a crown of sweet flowers I'll weave,
My lovely Aminta, for thee,
With which thy fair temples I'll wreath;
Oh Heaven's, how happy we'll be!

At eve to our cot we'll repair
And safe having folded our sheep,
We'll lay us down free from all care
And let Nightingales sing us to sleep.
If the rich to our mansion should come,
Who are happy and proud of their lot,
They, struck with amazment, will say,
We envy the bliss of your cot.

Thus my shepherd his heart did unfold.
He'd a heart as unsulli'd as snow;
But unhappily mine was as cold,
For I carelessly answered him — no.
He left me with grief on his brow,
His last look set my soul on the rack;
And though I said, carelessly, go,
Yet my heart said in secret — come back.

But he's gone to some far distant plain,
And with him my pleasures are flown;
I do nought but lament my lost swain,
Every morn, as I wander alone.
Had I known that I lov'd him so well
I'd ne'er have said carelessly no,
Nor had cause thus with sorrow to tell
That I'd forced my fond shepherd to go.

Thus in sorrow lamented the maid,
Nor dream'd that her shepherd was near;
But the youth lay conceal'd in a glade,
Transported her musick to hear.
He suddenly rush'd from his stand,
Quick terror Aminta alarms;
But eagerly grasping her hand,
She gently reclin'd in his arms.

Dear nymph, put an end to your care,
In rapturous transports he cry'd:
This day to the church we'll repair,
Where I'll joyfully make you my bride.
She could not say carelessly — no;
But obligingly answered him — yes;
Then they mutually plighted a vow,
And the bargain they seal'd with a — kiss.

[p. 128]