1780
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Love-sick Swain. A Pastoral on Winter.

General Evening Post (25 January 1780).

Northumbria


A pastoral lyric in seven anapestic quatrains signed (or addressed) "Northumbria." The descriptive passage that conventionally opens the pastoral eclogue here extends through six of the seven stanzas. Seasonal poems were popular items in eighteenth-century periodicals.



Behold! now how pensive the year,
Since summer is vanish'd and fled;
There's nothing to comfort or chear,
All rustical pleasures are dead.

No music is heard on the plains,
The shepherd has laid by his flute,
The nymphs are as sad as the swains,
At the milking my BETTY is mute.

Distressed the poor fleecy flocks
Run bleating about in the cold,
No succour for them on the rocks—
For shelter they hie to the fold.

The shrubs which were lately so gay,
Their fragrance and verdure have lost,
Their leaves are all wither'd away,
And blossoms destroy'd with the frost.

The groves are dejected as they,
Quite naked and languid the trees;
The blackbird sits dumb on the spray,
And pensive the thrush which did please.

The lark which approached the skies,
And pleased the plowman at morn;
In sorrowful silence she flies,
Impatient for summer's return.

But hapless! thrice hapless the swain!
Whose bosom's enraptur'd with love;
And dare not exhibit his pain,
Lest cruel the charmer should prove.

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