1805
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Eliza and Corydon. A Pastoral.

Morning Post (26 July 1805).

R. C.


A pastoral ballad in ten double-quatrain stanzas signed "R. C., Jedd-place, East." The poem is "Dedicated, Agreeably to Promise, to Miss D—s." While this poem consists largely of description, it also involves a misunderstanding between a pair of lovers that is cleared up in the concluding stanzas: "But it prov'd soon the maid was sincere, | And the villager only a friend, | Then his eyes overflow'd with a tear, | For thus having dar'd to offend!" Readers of the Morning Post were perhaps expected to make an application to the situation of the poet.



In a bow'r at the door of her cot,
Sat the pride of the village employ'd,
In adorning so rural a spot,
Which her well belov'd often enjoy'd;
PALEMON was couch'd at her feet,
While the blushing ELIZA reclin'd,
Like a rose, on a moss cover'd seat,
Which the nymphs of sweet FLORA entwin'd.

With the woodbine and violet array'd,
Herself the most beautiful flow'r,
And the lute of the villager play'd,
Which enliven'd the scene in the bow'r.
In the valley a cottage is seen,
Where around the young jessamine grows,
And the village girls dance on the green,
While the full tide of harmony flows.

The sheep, unacquainted with fear,
Are seen in the meadows to graze,
Where, arousing the timorous deer,
They would start up affrighted and gaze:
And the shepherd, reclining at ease,
Sweetly playing his musical reed;
With the linnet's reply in the breeze
To the note which she hears in the mead.

Nature soon will be hush'd in repose,
Each beast is preparing for rest,
And fainter the western sun glows,
While the crow takes her flight to her nest.
Now a sheep-bell afar off is heard,
And the shepherd's dog driving his flock;
With the croak of the ominous bird,
And the nine distant chimes of a clock.

No longer the evening remain'd,
Or the beautiful glare of the sky;
Night's Queen in a moment proclaim'd
The watch of her sentinels nigh:
For the stars in the heavens appear,
Which illume its ethereal blue;
And the flow'ret's impearl'd with a tear,
Now the evening's retir'd from a view.

The nightingale, down in the lane,
Gaily chaunting her song in the gale,
While she pensively warbles her strain,
Sweetly echo her notes in the vale.
Then the maiden would think of the youth
Whom jealousy banish'd away,
As she heav'd her fair bosom, the truth—
That she lov'd him — her sighs would display.

Ah! Corydon, where is thy flute,
Ah! why art thou absent from me,
Alas! I, the reason impute,
To a want of affection in thee!
Not so was her Corydon's heart,
But the cause of his absence arose,
From jealousy's hurling a dart,
Which fill'd his fond bosom with woes!

When he thought he was robb'd of her love,
In the wood he would ramble and sigh,
For he found if he didn't remove,
'Twere death to remain in her eye!
O'er the fields he would wander by night,
Or watch the meandering stream,
When the moon-beams refulgently bright,
On the riv'let resplendently gleam.

But it prov'd soon the maid was sincere,
And the villager only a friend,
Then his eyes overflow'd with a tear,
For thus having dar'd to offend!
Pity hung it on Sympathy's brow,
And it glisten'd a gem in her dress,
For the tears which Compassion avow;
Eliza could never suppress!

Nor would the fair maiden reprove,
Ah! no it was thus she was heard,
So sweet's the renewal of love,
There is nothing our joy shall disturb;
For when the rude tempest is o'er,
More lovely the jessamine grows,
And though it was fragrant before,
Yet sweeter than ever it blows.

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