1801
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

[Pastoral Ballad.]

Port Folio 1 (18 April 1801) 128.

T. S.


A pastoral ballad in eight anapestic quatrains signed "T. S." The shepherds assemble to celebrate the coming of May, but Myrtilla, the Queen of the May, is absent: "Their garlands all strew'd on the green, | With willow and ivy inwove. | They lament, that Myrtilla, their queen, | Should fall a sad victim to love." A reference to the River Avon may indicate that this pastoral, though published in a Philadelphia periodical, is British production.

Headnote: "Mr. Oldschool, I inclose you one, of several fugitive productions, from the poetical pen of a juvenile correspondent: should it merit a place in the Port Folio, I shall be induced, to put you in possession of others, in my opinion less exceptionable. D. M."



The east in vermilion was drest,
The goldfinch sang sweet from the spray,
May-morn call'd the village from rest,
To join in the sports of the day.

The mountains all glitter'd with gold,
The dew-drops bespangled the thorn,
The sheep had just quitted the fold,
And the lark flew, to hail the new morn.

Bright Phoebus rose high in his sphere,
Whilst Avon reflected each ray;
The loves and the graces were there:
Myrtilla, alone, was away.

Myrtilla, the pride of the green,
Myrtilla, the theme of each song—
Last May, saw the fair one its queen,
The fairest, amid the gay throng.

A whisper, her absence makes known:
Each bosom now heaves with a sigh:
The loves and the graces seem'd flown;
Joy brighten'd no longer each eye.

Their garlands all strew'd on the green,
With willow and ivy inwove.
They lament, that Myrtilla, their queen,
Should fall a sad victim to love.

But, while the soft sadness prevails,
The knell of Myrtilla they hear:
The sound that's borne round on the gale,
Calls forth from each eye the sad tear.

As homeward they pensively stray,
The tale of their queen is made known
And grief seem'd to lengthen the way,
That led o'er the lawns, to their home.

[p. 128]