1801
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Lines in the Manner of Shenstone.

Port Folio 1 (17 January 1801) 32.

Anonymous


A pastoral ballad in seven anapestic quatrains, not signed. This poem is somewhat unusual, involving as it does neither love nor sheep. The poet, betrayed by false friends, bemoans the loss of his childhood innocence: "But ah! these fair visions of youth, | Disappointment has chas'd from my mind; | And the friends, whom I fancied all truth, | Alas! can be sometimes unkind." This unassuming poem appears in one of the very first numbers of the Port Folio, published weekly in Philadelphia, and for many years the leading literary periodical in the United States.



How bright was my youth's early morn,
Ere reflection had clouded my brow;
I selected the rose from the thorn,
And was happy, I hardly know how.

I join'd in the sports of the plain,
With rapture I heard the bright song;
In the dance, I was first of the train,
And was gayest among the gay throng.

'Tis true, my heart oft breath'd a sigh,
But it rose from mild pity alone;
If a tear sometimes stray'd from my eye,
It flow'd not for griefs of its own.

No sorrow corroded my heart,
No falsehood awakened a fear;
For my bosom, a stranger to art,
Believ'd every friend was sincere.

But ah! these fair visions of youth,
Disappointment has chas'd from my mind;
And the friends, whom I fancied all truth,
Alas! can be sometimes unkind.

I have seen the bright azure of morn,
With darkness and clouds shadow'd o'er;
I have found that the rose has a thorn,
Which will wound, when its bloom is no more.

The sigh, that from sympathy rose,
Now heaves not for others alone;
And the tear, as it silently flows,
Confesses a source of its own.

[p. 32]