1792
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Jessy, or the Disappointment. An Elegiac Ballad.

Parnassian Trifles. Being a Collection of Elegiac, Pastoral, Nautic, and Lyric Poetry. By J. Cross, Author of the Dialogue of the Divertisement, &c.

John Cartwright Cross


A pastoral ballad in thirteen anapestic quatrains. Jessy pays a call on her lover only to discover that his affection has grown cold: "But why of his cruelty speak? | Ah! why of his coldness complain? | My Form, my endowments are weak, | And he is the Pride of the Plain." Parnassian Trifles consists of trifles indeed, and yet was published as an expensive quarto (printed at the Minerva Press). This seems to have been his first publication.



In vain I the Muses address,
My pangs they can never declare
The Pen must be dipp'd in distress,
That transcribes the sad tale of Despair.

From the fair, lucid prospect of bliss,
Where the Hours sweetly sped in delight,
I've fell to the lowest Abyss,
And sunk into darkness and Night.

How light was my bosom that morn,
When gaily I hied through the Grove,
On the wings of Affection was borne,
Speeding quickly to gaze on my Love.

A thousand fond thoughts fill'd my breast,
The pleasant reception he'd give,
For, oh! he had fondly confess'd,
"In my presence alone could he live!"

The kiss which he gave, when (by Heav'n,)
From a Form so much lov'd I was torn,
I panted as pure as 'twas given,
Untained again to return.

To the Earth Sol had now bade adieu,
In dew-drops the sky shed a tear,
When the Mansion appear'd feint in view,
That contain'd all my Bosom held dear:

With rapture my Senses all glow—
I flew the dear Youth to enfold;
But unkindly his doors open'd slow,
And, oh! my reception was cold!

His embraces but feintly express'd,
The Love I expected to meet,
I was chill'd he so coldly caress'd,
And his smiles were the smiles of Deceit.

But why of his cruelty speak?
Ah! why of his coldness complain?
My Form, my endowments are weak,
And he is the Pride of the Plain.

Suspicion, that bane to the mind,
Panted eager his falsehood to prove;
Every look I then construed unkind,
And harsh seem'd the language of Love.

My presence he strives to avoid,
Alas! I'm not now worth his Care!
Our contract of Love is destroy'd,
And he doats on some happier Fair.

Rack'd thus, a few hours did I droop,
Hours creeping on pinions of lead;
When the news came to damn every Hope,—
From his Jessy the false one was fled.

'Ere the story my Ears did assail,
Kind Jove should have robb'd me of breath,
Or the wretch who proclaim'd the sad Tale,
Have brought too the Summons of Death.

[pp. 48-51]