Colin. A Pastoral.

Literary Magazine and American Register 5 (June 1806) 477-79.


A pastoral ballad mode in 21 double-quatrain stanzas signed "Sabina." The poet overhears Colin, abandoned by Rosa and rehearsing the history of his unfaithful love. But his song soon provokes a happy reconciliation as all is explained: "When Rosa step'd forth from the shade, | Nor tears could she longer restrain: | 'Forgive me, my Colin, she said, | Forgive me for causing thee pain.'" At the end of the ballad Colin and Rosa are described enjoying the caresses of their happy prattlers. Sabina was a regular contributor to the Literary Magazine, an ambitious Philadelphia monthly edited by Charles Brockden Brown.

William Dunlap: "Five volumes of the American Register were published before the lamented death of C. B. Brown. Besides annals of Europe and America, this work contained an abstract of laws and public acts, a review of literature, a chronicle of memorable occurrences, foreign and domestic scientific intelligence, American and foreign state-papers, and miscellaneous articles" Memoirs of Charles Brockden Brown, the American Novelist (1822) 182.

When Flora, the goddess of May,
Had strew'd with her favours the mead,
I trac'd her gay footsteps the way
Young Colin was tuning his reed.
The youth was reclin'd by a stream,
And o'er him sat moaning the dove;
As pensive as her's was his theme,
Expressive of anguish and love.

My shadow passed under his eye,
Yet he seem'd not to notice me there,
His late dulcet reed was thrown by,
While he warbled a sorrowful air.
"Since Rosa has left me alone,
He said, all bewildered I stray,
And envy the flocks that I own,
For they are all happy at play.

"The eglantine rose of the heath,
When bath'd in ambrosial dew.
Excels not in fragrance her breath,
Nor wears her cheek's elegant hue.
Her eyes they are mild as the dove's,
Enchantingly tender and sweet;
She is mild and as blithe as the loves,
Yet has flown from her shepherd's retreat.

"No more can the woodland or vale,
The blossom or verdure delight,
Though sweet as Arabia's gale,
My heart seems to droop at the sight.
For such were the days that have flown,
Ah me! and will never return,
The heart that she knew was her own,
The once gentle Rosa could spurn.

"My friends all in unison sought
In vain to unite me to peace;
They knew not my bosom was fraught
With sorrows that never would cease.
They bade me bid sighing adieu,
To hear it they could not endure;
They knew not my Roaa, 'tis true,
Or ne'er would they chide me, I'm sure.

"They fancied me caught in a snare
The arts of a syren can weave,
They knew not the beauteous fair,
Though cruel, would scorn to deceive.
Though on me, perhaps, she has smil'd,
'Twas the smile of a friend and no more,
Her voice was as May zephyrs mild,
I heard it, and could but adore.

"The gay may entangle awhile
The heart that's unwary, I own;
There is something that charms in a smile,
Though we know it to levity prone:
O'er hearts that are temper'd like mine
The tear has more power, I confess,
The tear energetic, divine,
Which flows at the sight of distress.

"That heart-fast'ning pearl I have seen,
And almost have worshipp'd it where
No trace of ill-nature had been
On the soft blushing cheek of my fair.
And sometimes, indeed, I have thought,
Though fancy may lead me astray,
With tears her dear eyes have been fraught,
To see my frame wasting away.

"So true and so ardent a flame
Could not have been hid from her eyes,
Though never, nor am I to blame,
Have I told her my love but by sighs.
Those sighs she has oftentimes heard,
And she seem'd to partake of my pain,
So tender she ever appear'd,
I thought she had loved me again.

"Young Colin, the shepherd, she said,
Will watch by my lambkins with care.
Ah, why was my name by the maid
Pronounc'd with so tender an air!
Though chilling, she said, be the snow.
Though boisterous the storm may descend,
Their shepherd will guard them, I know,
The brave will the helpless defend.

"Observe, and we ever shall find
Love binds, by such trifles as these,
The tender and delicate mind,
And holds it a captive at ease.
There dwelt in the mind of this youth
A passion akin to the skies;
For tenderness, virtue, and truth
All spoke in his eloquent eyes.

"Would she term me her shepherd again,
He said, and he brush'd off a tear.
But why not this fondness restrain?
I have nothing to hope for or fear.
For all that can torture the mind
I am sure I have witness'd to-day,
Since Rosa no longer is kind,
Her sheep, too, are driven away.

"O, had she a lambkin but left,
Methinks t'would have soften'd my woe;
It should in my bosom have slept,
Its fleece should have rival'd the snow.
My sheep, come return to your home,
Your loss, my dear flock, I deplore,
I'm hast'ning, I feel, to the tomb,
Your shepherd will soon be no more."

Then he rose, though the day was yet warm,
And left me his shady retreat,
But ne'er was so gentle a form,
Or never an aspect more sweet.
As musing he pass'd through the grove,
Forgetting his sheep were astray,
His reed was again tun'd to love,
And echo the notes bore away.

Again they were lull'd by despair,
And he tore, in a phrenzy of woe,
The ringlets of beautiful hair
That cover'd a forehead of snow,
When Rosa step'd forth from the shade,
Nor tears could she longer restrain:
"Forgive me, my Colin, she said,
Forgive me for causing thee pain.

"Yet couldst thou, O say, not divine,
And spar'd me this blush and this tear,
That none to this bosom of mine,
That none to my heart was so dear?
Yet had you, dear Colin, but known
How painful to me it would prove,
You ne'er would compell'd me to own
You were dear, by so doubting my love.

"I gave you nay lambkins to keep,
And what did the deed not impart?
Be tender, I said, to my sheep,
For they are all tied to my heart.
I fancied this plainly to say,
Take them, and my heart follows too;
'Twas the language I meant to convey,
And convincement, I thought, would ensue.

"But now drive your sheep to the fold,
Or lead them, dear Colin, the way,
Ere Phoebus's chariot of gold
Whirls from us the light of the day.
Together we'll stray in the morn,
And breathe the white clover's perfume,
A wreath shall thy temples adorn,
Of the wild-apple blossom in bloom."

But vacancy now veil'd his eye,
Such rapture her words did impart,
Too great to admit of reply
Was the feeling that throbb'd at his heart.
When prostrate before her he fell;
Emotion had conquer'd and flown,
Life seem'd to have bidden farewell,
His temples were cold as a stone.

But soon he recover'd and shed
A tear of delicious delight,
And the maid so beloved was led
Away from the grove and my sight.
Now happy she's ever reclin'd
On his arm, as delighted they stray,
Their eyes beam contentment of mind,
And virtue as pure as the day.

The infant he holds to his heart,
The prattlers that gaze on his face,
All waiting in turn for their part
Of his tender parental embrace,
Adds much to the charm of the scene,
And gives a most exquisite glow
To the heart that so favour'd has been
As to share others' raptures and woe.

[pp. 477-79]