1778
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Spring. A Pastoral.

Poems on Various Occasions, chiefly Pastoral, by J. Richardson, a Yorkshire Volunteer.

John Richardson


A carpe-diem pastoral ballad in five anapestic quatrains signed "Traveller." The manner and seasonal theme suggests the influence of Dr. William Perfect, whose pastorals in the ballad measure were widely reprinted. Very little is known of Richardson; writing many decades later in his Poets of Yorkshire, John Holland recalled him as a longtime schoolmaster in his native in Sheffield Park, noting that this 1796 volume failed to make much of an impression. Richardson, who pursued a military career before taking up teaching, was likely an autodidact.



Now Spring's (chearful season) return'd,
Be joyous, ye sons of the spray;
Why longer should Nature be mourn'd?
Come, Phillis, and listen my lay.

O come, my delight and my love,
Thy shepherd no artfulness knows;
The wreath that you yesterday wove,
To day shall be fix'd on my brows.

And Flora shall lend me her stores,
(For Flora must shortly be here)
To crown thee, my fair one, with flow'rs,
Such crowns, even goddesses wear.

See, see how the primroses grow,
What violets the hedges adorn;
Already the sloe-bushes blow,
Diffusing their sweets to the morn.

Bright Phoebus in golden array,
Revisits our borders again,
Ye villager virgins be gay,
Be jovial, each jocular swain.

[unpaginated]