1763
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Song.

Lloyd's Evening Post (15 August 1763) 154.

Anonymous


A pastoral ballad in four double-quatrain stanzas dated "Nandee's Coffee-house, Aug. 13." In this song Damon celebrates his success in courting his Laura. The introduction of classical deities in the last stanza is somewhat unusual: "Haste, Phoebus, haste down to the West, | Nor loiter with Thetis, I pray; | But quickly roll round to the East, | And rise with thy pleasantest ray." While Lloyd's Evening Post was at this time something of a trendsetter among periodicals, it was slow to anticipate the coming fashion for pastoral ballads. John Cunningham's lyrics, which largely defined the genre, were appearing in the London newspapers in the course of the summer of 1763.



Ye shepherds, who pitied my pain
Where late my fond sorrows I told,
Who saw, with concern, on the plain
My flocks straggling far from their fold;
Attend the reverse of my care,
And learn from the echo-taught grove,
That Laura, grown kind, has been there,
And Damon is bless'd in her love.

The willow-twin'd token of woe,
The sorrow-sought ribbon of green,
(Prepar'd as a wreath for my brow)
Behold at my feet they are seen:
Those emblems of dying despair
No longer (thank pity) are mine;—
Ah! Colin, young shepherd, take care,
I hope they will never be thine!

Last eve, when my Fair I o'ertook,
How gay was the blush-improv'd smile!
How kind were her words by the brook!
How soft was her hand at the stile!
O why was old Time in such haste?
O why did I let her depart?
Her presence yields rapture a feast,
Her absence draws grief from my heart!

Haste, Phoebus, haste down to the West,
Nor loiter with Thetis, I pray;
But quickly roll round to the East,
And rise with thy pleasantest ray:
Impatient I wait thy return
To smile on kind Hymen's design;
His blessing I claim in the morn,
For Laura is then to be mine.

[p. 154]