1800
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Colin and Anna.

Weekly Museum 12 (3 May 1800)

Puer


A pastoral ballad in nine double-quatrain stanzas signed "Puer, New-York, April 23, 1800." The poem opens with the description of a neglected cottage, and proceeds to relate the sad history of Anna, once the pride of the plain: "Young COLIN she lov'd to despair— | He swore he would ever be true; | For COLIN was comely and fair, | But ah! he was treacherous too." The ballad unfolds along traditional lines. The name of the village in this poem, like its theme, is taken from Goldsmith's The Deserted Village.



Ah! where is the beautiful maid
That dwelt in yon cottage so gay?
The roses beginning to fade,
Proclaim the fair character away—
They once of her hand were the care,
The lilies were flourishing too;
But the lilies no longer are fair,
The roses have lost their sweet hue.

Her sheep are all bleating for food,
They once were her principal pride;
She leads them no more thro' the wood,
To drink of the smooth flowing tide;
No more the gay songsters at dawn,
Forth warble their heavenly strains,
For oh! the sweet maiden has gone,
The pride and delight of the plain.

"Ah! where is the charmer," they cry,
"That once our young choristers blest?
She instructed our infants to fly,
And gather'd soft down for their nest."
The groves her departure bewail,
The fountains themselves seem to mourn,
The flocks of the valley all hail
The sweet nymph of the plains to return.

Young COLIN she lov'd to despair—
He swore he would ever be true;
For COLIN was comely and fair,
But ah! he was treacherous too.
Young COLIN had riches in store,
But for wealth ANNA never repin'd;
She lov'd him and wish'd nothing more,
For he was the choice of her mind.

All his days he swore with her to pass,
She believ'd ev'ry word that he said;
She lov'd him too fondly, alas!
He left her the victim of shame—
He left her deserted — forlorn—
Each blushes to mention her name,
Each nymph passes by with a scorn.

No more she trips over the green,
The delight of the neighboring swains,
No more she enlivens the scene,
For no more she's the pride of the plains.
She once was the loveliest flow'r
That the village of Auburn could boast;
But ah! it was snapp'd in a show'r,
Its fragrance forever was lost.

"Ah! COLIN was faithless!" she sigh'd,
"And left the lost ANNA to mourn,
To seek him a worthier bride,
Perhaps nevermore to return.
My days are all pass'd in despair,
The night never lulls me to sleep;
Had COLIN been constant as fair,
He had never left ANNA to weep.

"My father forbids me, with rage,
To enter his peaceable shed;
I once was the child of his age,
But now has my innocence fled:
No comfort on earth can I find,
Here friendless and famish'd I roam,
No swain to relive me inclin'd,
To shield me from tempests no home.

"Oh! where shall I rest my sad head,
My bosom with sorrow beats high!
The glory of virtue has fled,
And ANNA determines to die."
She plung'd in the fast rolling stream,
That winded its course thro' the vale,
The shepherd awhile ceas'd his theme,
And gently along blew the gale.

[unpaginated]