Summer, an Academick Eclogue.

Port Folio NS 5 (23 July 1808) 59-60.


A pastoral singing contest in which Daniel and Dicky, two students at Harvard College, sing the praises of their Betty and Molly: "There are, who dread a Hebrew lecture most; | To some no evil's like an honour lost; | Some think suspension is the greatest ill; | While others think a fine is greater sill; | Suspension, Hebrew, Fine, nor loss of part, | Like Betty's frown can ever rend my heart." The burlesque in this late eclogue is distinctly tame, the point of the poem being to characterize the students as dutiful if simple children. A "detur" is a prize of books awarded in an academic competition. The Peter, who turns the spit, is identified in a note as "African professor of the Culinary Arts."

The topic of this poem was likely suggested by Anna Laetitia Barbauld's A School Eclogue, which had been reprinted in the Port Folio in March 1807. The Port Folio reprints this poem, which is not signed, from The Repository.

Headnote: "Dr. Park, The inundation of amatory jingle, by which we are daily in danger of being drowned, would almost make one believe, that the Parnassian flood-gates had pulled up, and that Cupid had tumbled in, and was hurried along by the rapid current of the water. I have attempted an Academick Eclogue, in imitation, for the most part, of the first Pastoral of Pope; for the scene of which I have taken the College in our vicinity. As to the two principal character; by Daniel, we are to understand a plain rustick youth; and by Dicky, one who is decking himself out in the plumage of fantastick words."


Soon as each class, from close confinement free,
Pour'd forth from Holden, all elate with glee;
Daniel and Dick to Hollis-Hall retir'd,
Both warm'd by love and both by wine inspir'd.
Now noon-day Phoebus shone on Hollis' side;
Thus Dicky spoke, and Daniel thus reply'd.

Seraphick sounds! on yon sonorous sprays
Melodious locusts lift their lofty lays.
Ecstatick notes! list Daniel to the sound,
And let it on your tympanum rebound.
Why are we mute when Sol's meridian rays
Illume the plain, and locusts lift their lays?

Sing then, since here, our task perform'd, we sit,
While Peter turns his slow-revolving spit.
But Levi comes, well skill'd to judge, and he
Shall hear the contest and the prize decree.
These boots I'll stake, which, four long summers past,
Have yet the strength four summers more to last.

My boots I dare not stake; these boots have run
In long succession down from sire to son;
But what you'll own your proffer'd pledge transcends,
That cloak I'll stake, which from the wall depends,
Of lucid blue, before with velvet lin'd.
And what is that with velvet trimm'd behind?
I hung it there, methinks, three months ago,
When brumal Boreas ceas'd his blast to blow.

Sing then in turns, while Echo fills the plains,
For reas'ners argue in alternate strains;
Daniel begin your lay, but briefly sing,
For soon I ween the Commons-bell will ring.

Inspire me Phoebus, in my Betty's praise,
And on thine altar shall my Horace blaze,
O! let me show in sweetly-sounding song,
To Betty's eyes what heav'nly charms belong.

Grant me O love, in softly flowing verse,
My charming Molly's graces to rehearse;
For her the prize to gain and in return
A new Majora to thy name shall burn.

Not all the Nymphs that o'er the woodland rove
Can beauteous Betty from my thoughts remove:
When last I left her, in my trunk she laid
Two cakes divine, her lily fingers made;
Two glitt'ring needles and four balls of yarn,
Of diff'rent dies, my sev'ral hose to darn.

Molly, before all other maids, I love,
Who haunt the river's bank or shady grove:
When last vacation o'er, I hither sped,
Pellucid tears the fair profusely shed;
Thus from her lips mellifluous accents fell,
"Farewell dear Dicky, ah! a long farewell."

There are, who dread a Hebrew lecture most;
To some no evil's like an honour lost;
Some think suspension is the greatest ill;
While others think a fine is greater sill;
Suspension, Hebrew, Fine, nor loss of part,
Like Betty's frown can ever rend my heart.

To some their joy supreme Vacation brings,
To others Sleep when early pray'r bell rings;
Some in a Detur place their chief delight;
While some in drinking choose to spend the night;
Vacation, Detur, Sleep, nor midnight bowl,
Like Molly's smile could e'er enchant my soul.

Say, Dicky, say, in what glad soil appears
A cheese immense, the wondrous work of years;
On whose vast rind or flocks and herds may rove,
Or numerous hosts in martial order move;
Tell me but this, and freely I disclaim
The prize, and yield it to thy Molly's name.

Rather declare, in what more happy clime,
A marv'lous mountain rears its head sublime;
Whose sides with salt, of purest white, o'erflow,
Which far extending fills the vales below;
Declare but this, the contest I resign,
Betty unrivall'd ever shall be thine.

Cease to contend, for, Dicky, I decree
The cloak to Daniel, and the boots to thee.
"Blest swains! whose nymphs in ev'ry grace excel;
Blest nymphs! whose swains those graces sing so well."
Now quickly rise, to yonder Hall repair,
The bell has rung, and dinner waits you there;
The board with various dainties shall be crown'd,
And viands breathe Calebian odours round.
Exeunt Daniel and Dicky, preceded by Levi.

[pp. 59-60]