A Pastoral Song.

American Apollo (17 April 1794).


A pastoral ballad in sixteen anapestic quatrains, not signed. The shepherd Henry declaims on the happiness of humble life. His joys would be complete if only he were united to the fair Delia, the pride of the plain: "That shepherd true happiness knows, | Whose bosom by beauty is mov'd, | Who tastes the pure pleasure that flows, | From loving, and being belov'd." As is sometimes the case in later contributions to this series, pastoral qualities recede as the poet concentrates his attention on the moral affections. The poetry column in this Boston weekly newspaper was called the "Fount of Apollo."

The shepherd of fortune possest,
May scorn, if he please, my poor cot,
May think in his wealth to be blest,
But I never will envy his lot.

The pleasures which riches impart,
Are fleeting and feeble, when known;
They never give peace to the heart,
It scorns to be happy alone.

That shepherd true happiness knows,
Whose bosom by beauty is mov'd,
Who tastes the pure pleasure that flows,
From loving, and being belov'd.

'Tis a joy of angelical birth,
And when to poor mortals 'tis giv'n,
It cheers their abode upon earth,
And sweetens their journey to heav'n.

How briskly my spirits would move!
What peace in this bosom would reign!
Were I blest with the nymph that I love,
Sweet Delia, the pride of the plain!

Ye shepherds, she's fair as the light!
The critic no blemish can find;
And all the soft virtues unite,
And glow in her innocent mind.

Her accents are fitted to please,
Her manners engagingly free,
Her temper is ever at ease,
And calm as an angel's can be.

Yon lily, which graces the field,
And throws its perfume to the gale,
In fairness and fragrance must yield,
To Delia the pride of the vale.

She's pleasant as yonder cool rill,
To trav'lers who faint on their way;
She's sweet as the rose on the hill,
When it opens its bosom to day.

I ask not for wealth or for power;
Kind heav'n! I these can resign:
But hasten, O hasten the hour,
When Delia shall deign to be mind.

O teach her to pity the pain
Of a heart, that, if slighted, must break;
O teach her to love the fond swain,
That would lay down his life for her sake.

Though poor, I will never repine,
Content that my Delia is true;
I'll press her fond bosom to mine,
And think myself rich as Peru.

With her I'll stray through the grove,
And fondly I'll pour out my soul,
Indulge my effusions of love,
And think myself blest to the full.

With flowers I'll crown her dear hair,
Then gaze on her beauties, and cry,
What nymph can with Delia compare!
What shepherd so happy as I!

Thus cheerful the moments shall roll,
Of all my fond wishes possest,
And peace shall descend on my soul,
And make it her favourite rest.

Contentment my life shall prolong,
All trouble and sorrow forgot;
And time, as he hurries along,
Shall smile upon Henry's lot.