1801
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Anna. A Pastoral Ballad.

Port Folio 1 (25 April 1801) 135.

Anonymous


A pastoral ballad in ten anapestic quatrains "Written by a young gentleman of Baltimore." The young gentleman pays the formidable Anna a double-edged compliment, complaining the lovely visitor has left the plain in a sad state: "For now every nymph of the place | Delights in the gloomiest wood; | And the youth, who wore smiles on his face, | Is found on the brink of a flood." To this Anna ("a young lady of Baltimore") replies with eight quatrains in something of the same spirit, announcing that though she was very sorry to leave her friends, she has no intention of returning: "But are those effusions sincere; | And the offering of virtue and truth? | Anna bows at your shrine, and as dear, | Will acknowledge the pastoral youth." The Port Folio was a Philadelphia publication.



A nymph has appear'd on our plains,
Of beauty and manners divine—
Bewitching the hearts of our swains,
And ruffling the calmness of mine.

Why comes she among us, to spoil
Our quiet, contentment, and ease?
Why make us relinquish our toil,
And follow wherever she please?

Not a maid in the village but sighs,
When Anna appears on the green;
Not a glance that she throws from her eyes,
But ruins the peace of the scene.

For vain, then, is Corydon's skill:
Discordant the pipe he has tried;
And ne'er danc'd each shepherd so ill,
As when she has mov'd at his side.

Altho' in the charms of her face
Kind nature has lavish'd her art,
Her form is endow'd with such grace,
As soon to entangle the heart.

But least by the charms I have sung,
Are the youth of the village ensnar'd;
And many, the wit of her tongue
Has lost, when her beauty has spar'd.

How cruel in her, to destroy
The pleasures tranquillity brings:
Why suffer us not to enjoy
That, which from society springs?

For now every nymph of the place
Delights in the gloomiest wood;
And the youth, who wore smiles on his face,
Is found on the brink of a flood.

Oh, then let this Anna beware,
How she causes the shepherds to mourn,
How urge us to schemes of despair—
But back to her village return.

Or if her own heart she but yields
To the youth most deserving her love,
Again shall joy gladden our fields,
Again shall it visit our grove.


ANSWER TO THE PRECEDING.
Yes, Anna from hence must depart,
Where peace and tranquillity reign;
Oh, what anguish affects her sad heart,
When she sighs an adieu to the plain.

Farewell, then, sweet mansion of love,
Soft scenes of contentment and peace,
Where oft Anna's fancy will rove,
And each long lost pleasure increase.

Can she ever forget those delights,
Which she tastes, uncorroded by care,
Or forget where true pleasure invites,
And enchants her glad bosom while here.

Oh, no! airy thought's on the wing,
And fancy, obtrusive, will fly:
Past scenes of true happiness bring,
When her soul breathes a last parting sigh.

Oh, ye shepherds, why tell her "beware,
How she ruin'd the peace of the scene?"
While her bosom feels nought but despair,
As she slowly returns from the green.

'Twere ungen'rous, 'twere cruel, to pain,
To add wounds to a poor tortur'd breast,
That strives to forget, but in vain,
Those scenes that have robb'd it of rest.

Yet she goes — and perhaps ne'er again,
From her own native village will stray;
Syren flattery assails her in vain,
It ne'er her soul's feelings shall sway.

But are those effusions sincere;
And the offering of virtue and truth?
Anna bows at your shrine, and as dear,
Will acknowledge the pastoral youth.

[p. 135]