1801
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Love. A Song.

St. James's Chronicle or British Evening Post (22 September 1801).

Anonymous


A pastoral ballad in six double-quatrain stanzas, not signed. In this lyric the pastoral ballad shifts rather uncharacteristically into the anacreontic mode as the poet observes philosophically of Love, "If sometimes the source of much pain, | Its joys, in proportion, are greater; | And though long we suffer in vain, | Reward will come sooner or later."



You ask for a song, and, by Jove!
I'll sing one as well as I'm able;
The theme I have chosen is Love,
A theme known to all at this table:
For where is the soul that escapes
The subtle and searching sensation?
It comes in all manner of shapes,
And fills the whole range of creation.

It spares neither aged nor young,
But travels the blessed world over;
And though never told by the tongue,
The eyes are sure to discover.
'Tis the essence of spiritual flame,
The source of each tender emotion;
A feeling that fills the whole frame,
And speaks in each feature and motion.

It warms ev'ry thought of the soul,
It opes a new world to the senses;
Fair fancy it frees from controul,
And breaks down stupidity's fences.
It opens the mind of the Sage;
The growth of bright genius it quickens;
Gives warmth to the coldness of age,
And health to the bosom that sickens.

If sometimes the source of much pain,
Its joys, in proportion, are greater;
And though long we suffer in vain,
Reward will come sooner or later.
Thus Phyllis once broke my repose,
But Myra is not so hard-hearted;
Her kindness has banished my woes,
And cur'd all the wounds that once smarted.

Now, as for myself, I declare,
The passion I ne'er will let languish;
For sweet are the smiles of the fair,
And frowns are my torment and anguish.
O those who have known well as I,
The value of Love's sacred pleasures,
Find charms in the glance of an eye,
Surpassing the world's richest treasures.

The Sex then, in bumpers, I'll boast,
Whilst wine I can purchase or borrow;
For comfort without them were lost,
And life would be nothing but sorrow.
They e'er shall be prais'd by my pen;
Their health I will drink in my glasses;
For who cares a straw for the men,
So long as he's lov'd by the lasses?

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