Tag Archives: pastoral

John Hughes, “A Letter to a Friend in the Country”


“A Letter to a Friend in the Country”

Whilst thou art happy in a blest Retreat,
And free from Care dost rural Songs repeat,
Whilst fragrant Air fans thy Poetick Fire,
And pleasant Groves with sprightly Notes inspire,
(Groves, whose Recesses and refreshing Shade                                 5
Indulge th’ Invention, and the Judgment aid)
I, ‘midst the Smoke and Clamours of the Town,
That choke my Muse and weigh my Fancy down,
Pass my unactive Hours; ——
In such an Air, how can soft Numbers flow,                                         10
Or in such Soil the sacred Laurel grow?
All we can boast of the Poetick Fire,
Are but some Sparks that soon as born expire.
Hail happy Woods! Harbours of Peace and Joy!
Where no black Cares the Mind’s Repose destroy!                             15
Where grateful Silence unmolested reigns,
Assists the Muse and quickens all her Strains.
Such were the Scenes of our first Parents Love,
In Eden’s Groves with equal Flames they strove,
While warbling Birds, soft whisp’ring Breaths of Wind,                       20
And murmuring Streams, to grace their Nuptials join’d.
All Nature smil’d; the Plains were fresh and green,
Unstain’d the Fountains, and the Heav’ns serene.
Ye blest Remains of that illustrious Age!
Delightful Springs and Woods! ——                                                         25
Might I with You my peaceful Days live o’er,
You, and my Friend, whose Absence I deplore,
Calm as a gentle Brook’s unruffled Tide
Shou’d the delicious flowing Minutes glide;
Discharg’d of Care, on unfrequented Plains,                                           30
We’d sing of rural Joys in rural Strains.
No false corrupt Delights our Thoughts shou’d move,
But Joys of Friendship, Poetry and Love.
While others fondly feed Ambition’s Fire,
And to the Top of human State aspire,                                                     35
That from their Airy Eminence they may
With Pride and Scorn th’ inferior World survey,
Here we shou’d dwell obscure, yet happier far than they.


4 sprightly “Bright, clear, cheerful; lively, energetic” (OED).

8 Fancy That is, poetic imagination.

10 Numbers Poetry.

11 sacred Laurel Associated with Apollo, Greek god of poetry. Wreathes of laurel were crowned upon renowned poets, meant to symbolize divine inspiration.

15 black “Full of gloom, melancholy, misery, or sadness” (OED); Repose “State… of being free from care, anxiety, or other disturbances; ease, serenity” (OED).

18 first Parents Adam and Eve. In Christian theology, created as the first humans, meant to dwell in harmony with the idyllic Garden of Eden.

20 warbling “Of birds: To sing clearly and sweetly” (OED).

31 Strains “A musical sequence of sounds; a melody, tune” (OED).

35 State “A person’s social, professional, or legal status or condition” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems upon Several Occasions (London, 1735), pp. 111-113. [Google Books]

Edited by Joy Seydel

Aphra Behn, “The Dream. A Song”


“The Dream. A Song”

The Grove was gloomy all around,
Murm’ring the Streams did pass,
Where fond Astrea laid her down
Upon a Bed of Grass.

I slept and saw a piteous sight,                                     5
Cupid a weeping lay,
Till both his little Stars of Light
Had wept themselves away.

Methought I ask’d him why he cry’d,
My Pity led me on:                                                    10
All sighing the sad Boy reply’d,
Alas I am undone!

As I beneath yon Myrtles lay,
Down by Diana’s Springs,
Amyntas stole my Bow away,                                           15
And Pinion’d both my Wings.

Alas ! cry’d I, ‘twas then thy Darts
Wherewith he wounded me:
Thou Mighty Deity of Hearts,
He stole his Pow’r from thee.                                    20

Revenge thee, if a God thou be,
Upon the Amorous Swain;
I’ll set thy Wings at Liberty,
And thou shalt fly again.

And for this Service on my Part,                                         25
All I implore of thee,
Is, That thou’t wound Amyntas Heart,
And make him die for me.

His Silken Fetters I Unty’d,
And the gay Wings display’d;                                        30
Which gently fann’d, he mounts and cry’d,
Farewel fond easie Maid.

At this I blush’d, and angry grew
I should a God believe;
And waking found my Dream too true;                              35
Alas I was a Slave.


3 Astrea “Goddess of justice and virtue” (Dictionary of Classical Mythology).  Also Behn’s poetic name for herself.

6 Cupid “God of love” (OED).

13 Myrtles “Various evergreen shrubs or small trees” (OED).

14 Diana “Goddess of wild animals and the hunt” (Britannica).

15 Amyntas Here a pastoral name for a swain.

16 Pinion’d “Clipped wings” (OED).

22 Swain “Country lover” (OED).

29 Fetters Restraints (OED).

SOURCE: Poems upon Several Occasions: With A Voyage to the Island of Love (London 1684), pp. 78-80. [Google Books]

Edited by Madina Tutakhil

Christopher Smart, “A Noon-Piece; or, The Mowers at Dinner”


“A Noon-Piece; or, The Mowers at Dinner”


Jam pastor umbras cum grege languido,
Rivumque fessus quaerit, & horridi
Dumeta Silvani, caretque
Ripa vagis taciturna ventis.             HOR[ACE].

The Sun is now too radiant to behold,
And vehement he sheds his liquid Rays of Gold;
No cloud appears thro’ all the wide expanse;
And short, but yet distinct and clear,
To the wanton whistling air                                                         5
The mimic shadows dance.

Fat Mirth, and Gallantry the gay,
And romping Extasy ‘gin play.
Now Myriads of young Cupids rise,
And open all their joy-bright eyes,                                           10
Filling with infant prate the grove,
And lisp in sweetly-fault‘ring love.
In the middle of the ring,
Mad with May, and wild of wing,
Fire-ey’d Wantonness shall sing.                                              15

By the rivulet on the rushes,
Beneath a canopy of bushes,
Where the ever-faithful Tray,
Guards the dumplings and the whey,
Colin Clout and Yorkshire Will                                                 20
From the leathern bottle swill.

Their scythes upon the adverse bank
Glitter ‘mongst th’ entangled trees,
Where the hazles form a rank,
And court’sy to the courting breeze.                                             25

Ah! Harriot! sovereign mistress of my heart,
Could I thee to these meads decoy,
New grace to each fair object thou’dst impart,
And heighten ev’ry scene to perfect joy.

On a bank of fragrant thyme,                                                   30
Beneath yon stately, shadowy pine,
We’ll with the well-disguised hook
Cheat the tenants of the brook;
Or where coy Daphne’s thickest shade
Drives amorous Phoebus from the glade,                               35
There read Sydney’s high-wrought stories
Of ladies charms and heroes glories;
Thence fir’d, the sweet narration act,
And kiss the fiction into fact.

Or satiate with nature’s random scenes,                                           40
Let’s go to the gardens regulated greens,
Where taste and elegance command
Art to lend her daedal hand,
Where Flora’s flock, by nature wild,
To discipline are reconcil’d,                                                         45
And laws and order cultivate,
Quite civiliz’d into a state.

From the sun, and from the show’r,
Haste we to yon boxen bow’r,
Secluded from the teizing pry                                                    50
Of Argus’ curiosity:
There, while Phoebus’ golden mean,
The gay meridian is seen,
Ere decays the lamp of light,
And length’ning shades stretch out to night—-                         55

Seize, seize the hint—each hour improve
(This is morality in love)
Lend, lend thine hand—O let me view
Thy parting breasts, sweet avenue!
Then—then thy lips, the coral cell                                               60
Where all th’ ambrosial kisses dwell!
Thus we’ll each sultry noon employ
In day-dreams of exstatic joy.


Epigraph Horace, Odes, Book III, no. XXIX, lines 21-24. “Now the weary shepherd with his languid flock seeks the shade, and the river, and the thickets of rough Sylvanus; and the silent bank is free from the wandering winds.”  Translation by Christopher Smart, The Works of Horace Translated Literally into English Prose (London, 1755).

2 vehement “Of heat…intense, strong” (OED).

5 wanton “Free, unrestrained” (OED).

16 rivulet “A small river; a stream” (OED).

18 Tray “A utensil of the form of a flat board with a raised rim, or of a shallow box without a lid, made of wood, metal, or other material, of various sizes” (OED).

27 meads Meadows; decoy “To entice or allure” (OED).

34 Daphne “In Greek mythology, the personification of the laurel;” here a reference to laurel bushes (Britannica).

35 Phoebus “Apollo as the god of light or of the sun; the sun personified” (OED).

36 Sydney Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586), courtier, statesman, soldier, poet; his long pastoral romance, Arcadia, was published in 1593 (Britannica).

43 daedal “Skilful, cunning to invent or fashion” (OED).

44 Flora “In Latin mythology, the goddess of flowers; hence, in modern poetical language, the personification of nature’s power in producing flowers” (OED).

51 Argus “A mythological person fabled to have had a hundred eyes,” hence an allusion to the prying eyes of the curious (OED).

60 coral Red.

61 ambrosial “Exceptionally sweet or delightful” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1752), pp. 9-12. [Google Books]

Edited by Ulises Canchola

Elizabeth Gooch, “Sonnet. Addressed to–“


“Sonnet. Addressed to —”


Selecting from the sweetest flow’rs, the Bee
Roves, unrestrain’d, the perfum’d walks among;
I cull Parnassus’ giddy heights for thee,
Or sing thy praises in the love-sick song.

Sometimes, mayhap, in melancholy mood,                                                   5
Contemplative, the desert paths I range;
And watch the parting sun-beams o’er the wood,
The leafless branches, and autumnal change.

In my sad heart alone no change appears;
Of ev’ry thought thy image is the end;                                                      10
I wander through a wilderness of tears,
Bereft of thee, and ev’ry earthly friend.
Will then my heavy suff’rings never cease,
But lies in death my only road to peace?


2 Roves  “To wander, roam” (OED).

3 Parnassus “Mount Parnassus, regarded as the source of literary, esp. poetic, inspiration” (OED).

5 mayhap Perhaps.

12 Bereft “Forcibly deprived” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Various Subjects (London, 1793), p. 33. [Google Books] 

Edited by Halsey Williamson

John Gay, “Panthea. An Elegy”


“Panthea. An Elegy”


Long had Panthea felt Love’s secret smart,
And hope and fear alternate rul’d her heart;
Consenting glances had her flame confest.
(In woman’s eyes her very soul’s exprest)
Perjur’d Alexis saw the blushing maid,                                             5
He saw, he swore, he conquer’d and betray’d:
Another love now calls him from her arms,
His fickle heart another beauty warms;
Those oaths oft’whisper’d in Panthea’s ears,
He now again to Galatea swears.                                                     10
Beneath a beech th’ abandon’d virgin laid,
In grateful solitude enjoys the shade;
There with faint voice she breath’d these moving strains,
While sighing Zephyrs shar’d her am’rous pains.

Pale settled sorrow hangs on upon my brow,                       15
Dead are my charms; Alexis, breaks his vow!
Think, think, dear shepherd, on the days you knew,
When I was happy, when my swain was true;
Think how thy looks and tongue are form’d to move,
And think yet more—that all my fault was love.                           20
Ah, could you view me in this wretched state!
You might not love me, but you could not hate.
Could you behold me in this conscious shade,
Where first thy vows, where first my love was paid,
Worn out with watching, sullen with despair,                              25
And see each eye swell with a gushing tear?
Could you behold me on this mossy bed,
From my pale cheek the lively crimson fled,
Which in my softer hours you oft’ have sworn,
With rosie beauty far out-blush’d the morn;                                30
Could you untouch’d this wretched object bear,
And would not lost Panthea claim a tear?
You could not sure—tears from your eyes would steal,
And unawares thy tender soul reveal.
Ah, no!—thy soul with cruelty is fraught,                                      35
No tenderness disturbs thy savage thought;
Sooner shall tigers spare the trembling lambs,
And wolves with pity hear with their bleating dams;
Sooner shall vultures from their quarry fly,
Than false Alexis for Panthea sigh.                                                  40
Thy bosom ne’er a tender thought confest,
Sure stubborn flint had arm’d thy cruel breast;
But hardest flints are worn by frequent rains,
And the soft drops dissolve their solid veins;
While thy relentless heart more hard appears,                            45
And is not soften’d by a flood of tears.

Ah, what is love! Panthea’s joys are gone,
Her liberty, her peace, her reason flown!
And when I view me in the watry glass,
I find Panthea now, not what she was.                                           50
As northern winds the new-blown roses blast,
And on the ground their fading ruins cast;
As sudden blights corrupts the ripen’d grain,
And of its verdure spoil the mournful plain;
So hapless love on blooming features preys,                               55
So hapless love destroys our peaceful days.

Come, gentle sleep, relieve these weary’d eyes,
All sorrow in thy soft embraces dies:
There, spite of all thy perjur’d vows, I find
Faithless Alexis languishingly kind;                                                 60
Sometimes he leads me by the mazy stream,
And pleasingly deludes me in my dream;
Sometimes he guides me to the secret grove,
Where all our looks, and all our talk is love.
Oh, could I thus consume each tedious day,                               65
And in sweet slumbers dream my life away;
But sleep, which now no more relieves these eyes,
To my sad soul the dear deceit denies.

Why does the sun dart forth his cheerful rays?
Why do the woods resound with warbling lays?                          70
Why does the rose her grateful fragrance yield,
And the yellow cowslips paint the smiling field?
Why do the streams with murm’ring musick flow,
And why do groves their friendly shade bestow?
Let sable clouds the cheerful sun deface,                                    75
Let mournful silence seize the feather’d race;
No more, ye roses, grateful fragrance yield,
Droop, droop, ye cowslips, in the blasted field;
No more, ye streams, with murm’ring musick flow,
And let not groves a friendly shade bestow:                                80
With sympathizing grief let nature mourn,
And never know the youthful spring’s return;
And shall I never more Alexis see?
Then what is spring, or grove or stream to me?

Why sport the skipping lambs on yonder plain?                  85
Why do the birds their tuneful voice strain?
Why frisk those heifers in cooling grove?
Their happier life is ignorant of love.

Oh! lead me to some melancholy cave,
To lull my sorrow in a living grave;                                                90
From the dark rock where dashing waters fall,
And creeping ivy hangs the craggy wall,
Where I may waste in tears my hours away,
And never know the seasons or the day.
Die, die, Panthea—fly in this hateful grove,                                 95
For what is life without the Swain I love?


Title  Panthea  This name means “of all gods” in Greek.

1  smart  “Mental suffering, sorrow” (OED).

10  Galatea  “In Greek mythology, a Nereid who was loved by the Cyclops Polyphemus. Galatea, however, loved the youth Acis” (Britannica).

14  Zephyrs  Greek god of gentle winds.

18  swain  “Lover” (OED).

39  quarry  Here a reference to the vulture’s “prey” or carrion (OED).

42  flint  “Hard stone” (OED).

45  hard  “Unyielding” (OED).

49  watry glass  Water serving as a mirror.

51  northern winds  Refers to Boreas, Greek god of the cold northern winds.

61  mazy  “Twisting” (OED).

70  warbling  “Singing with sweet quavering notes” (OED).

72  cowslips  “Well-known plant in pastures and grassy banks, blossoming in spring” (OED).

87  heifers  “Young cows” (OED).

92  craggy  “Hard and rough” (OED).

SOURCE: Poems on Several Occasions: Volume 2 (London, 1737), pp. 109-113. [Google Books]

Edited by Joanna Tran





Christopher Smart, “A Morning Piece, or, An Hymn for the Hay-Makers”


 “A Morning Piece, or, An Hymn for the Hay-Makers”


Quinetiam Gallum noctem explaudentibus alis
Auroram clara consuetum voce vocare.         LUCRET[IUS].

Brisk chaunticleer his mattins had begun,
And broke the silence of the night,
And thrice he call’d aloud the tardy sun,
And thrice he hail’d the dawn’s ambiguous light;
Back to their graves the fear-begotten phantoms run.                            5

Strong Labour got up with his pipe in his mouth,
And stoutly strode over the dale,
He lent new perfumes to breath of the south,
On his back hung his wallet and flail.
Behind him came Health from her cottage of thatch,                             10
Where never physician had lifted the latch.

First of the village Colin was awake,
And thus he sung, reclining on his rake.
Now the rural graces three
Dance beneath yon maple tree;                                                            15
First the vestal Virtue, known
By her adamantine zone;
Next to her in rosy pride,
Sweet Society, the bride;
Last Honesty, full seemly drest                                                              20
In her cleanly home-spun vest.
The abby bells in wak’ning rounds
The warning peal have giv’n;
And pious Gratitude resounds
Her morning hymn to heav’n.                                                                 25

All nature wakes—the birds unlock their throats,
And mock the shepherd’s rustic notes.
All alive o’er the lawn,
Full glad of the dawn,
The little lambkins play,                                                                         30
Sylvia and Sol arise,—and all is day—

Come, my mates, let us work,
And all hands to the fork,
While the Sun shines, our Hay-cocks to make,
So fine is the Day,                                                                                        35
And so fragrant the Hay,
That the Meadow’s as blithe as the Wake.

Our voices let’s raise
In Phoebus’s praise,
Inspir’d by so glorious a theme,                                                                        40
Our musical words
Shall be join’d by the birds,
And we’ll dance to the tune of the stream.


Epigraph  Quinetiam Gallum noctem explaudentibus alis/Auroram clara consuetum voce vocare  From Lucretius, De Rerum Natura, Book IV, ll. 714-715.  “For the Cock, that claps his Wings and drives away the Darkness, and by his clear Notes calls forth the Morning Light” (Guernier, and others, T. Lucretius Carus Of the Nature of Things, in Six Books [London, 1743], vol. 2, p. 63).

1  chaunticleer  Proverbial name for a rooster; mattins  “The service of morning prayer, especially in the Anglican Church compare evensong, vespers” (OED).

flail  “A tool that has a long handle with a stick swinging from it, used especially in the past to separate grains of wheat from their dry outer covering, by beating the wheat” (OED).

17  adamantine  “Rigidly firm: unyielding adamantine discipline” (OED).

23  peal  “A loud ringing of a bell or bells” (OED).

30  lambkins  “Young lambs”  (OED).

33  fork  Pitchfork.

37  blithe  “Cheerful” (OED); Wake “Rows of green damp grass”  (James Orchard Halliwell, Dictionary of Archaic and Provincial Words, vol. 2 [London, 1872], p. 913)

39  Phoebus  “God identified with the sun” (OED).

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1752), pp. 7-9.  [Google Books]

Edited by Mark Novak

Mary Masters, “To Clemene”


“To Clemene”

To the same, early in the Spring, occasioned by
her taking a journey, and my retiring into
the Country soon after.

Wheree’er I go, or whatsoe’er I do,
How pleasing ’tis to tell it all to you!
Hear then, auspicious Mistress of my Theme,
What now I dictate by a purling Stream.
The Grief, by your Departure first imprest,                                            5
Encreasing grew a Burden at my Breast:
Depriv’d of you, I sought no new Delight,
Nothing could please but Solitude and Night:
These suited best my melancholy Mind,
Which no Redress in length of time could find:                                     10
Pensive and sad, in secret still I griev’d,
Till soothing Scenes my anxious Pain reliev’d.

By a kind Friend oft courted, I repair
To breathe the Fragrance of the Country Air:
Here oft in Silence by myself I rove,                                                         15
In Paths perplex’d thro’ all the naked Grove,
Yet find a Pleasure in the sylvan Scene,
Void as it is of ornamental Green.
The Primrose oft I see, scented and pale
Adorn the rising Hill, or sinking Vale:                                                        20
Near it (for Nature stains with various Dies)
The Violet does in purple Odours rise,
Which with descending Hand I strait arrest,
Pluck the young Flow’rs, and plant them in my Breast:
And then reflect, were my CLEMENE here,                                              25
How soon would I the Vernal Pride transfer?
Pleas’d, if I could the early Buds convey
To Thee more sweet, to Thee more fair than they.
The Charms of Nature, wheresoe’er I go,
In lovely Negligence her Beauties show.                                                   30
A Flood transparent in Meanders glides,
The silver Swan upon its Surface slides.
Within its Current sports the scaly Breed,
And on its Bank up shoots the bending Reed:
Around, the verd’rous Meads extended lye,                                            35
And with new Graces catch my wand’ring Eye.

Sometimes I mark th’ Inclosures wooded Rows,
Whose swelling Banks luxurious growth disclose:
And on their sloping sides display to view,
A thousand Shrubs of diff’rent size and hue.                                            40
A Mind contemplative has Joy in these,
Whose various Figures can so justly please.
For while I view the Products of the Spring,
I find a GOD in the minutest Thing.
I grow inspir’d, and hardly can restrain                                                      45
The struggling Muse, that would begin again,
Prompts me again to view the Wonders round,
The genial Springs and ornamented Ground.
Bids me behold but with astonish’d Eyes
The bright Expansion of the vaulted Skies;                                               50
The radiant Planet, that enkindles Day,
And warms the World with his benignant Ray:
From Causes numberless I might explore
The CAUSE SUPREME, and as I write, adore.

Oh! had I Time and Judgment to indite,                                             55
The pious Muse should not in vain excite:
Her noble Dictates gladly I’d rehearse,
And dress my Theme in the sublimest Verse,
Expatiate on the Miracles I see,
And dedicate the finish’d Piece to Thee.                                                   60


 Title  Clemene  Although “Clemene” has not been identified, this name appears, either in title or text or both, in at least nine of Masters’ poems in this volume, which suggests that Clemene must have been an important friend.

10  Redress  “A remedy for or relief from troubles or loss” (now obsolete) (OED).

13  repair  “To return to or from a specified place or person; to come back again” (OED).

33  scaly Breed  Fish.

35  verd’rous Meads  Green fields.

44  I find a GOD in the minutest Thing  Possibly an allusion to Ephesians 4:6: “God…who is over all and through all and in all.”

54  The CAUSE SUPREME  An indirect allusion to God.

SOURCE:  Poems on Several Occasions (London, 1733), pp. 34-38.  [Google Books]

 Edited by Tyrone C. Ellingberg

Aphra Behn, “The Golden Age”


“The Golden Age”
A Paraphrase on a Translation out of French

Blest Age! when ev’ry Purling Stream
Ran undisturb’d and clear,
When no scorn’d Shepherds on your Banks were seen,
Tortur’d by Love, by Jealouise, or Fear;
When an Eternal Spring drest ev’ry Bough,                                                              5
And Blossoms fell, by new ones dispossest;
These their kind Shade affording all below;
And those a Bed where all below might rest.
The Groves appear’d all drest with Wreaths of Flowers,
And from their Leaves dropt Aromatick Showers,                                                   10
Whose fragrant Heads in Mystick Twines above,
Exchang’d their Sweets, and mix’d with thousand Kisses,
As if the willing Branches strove
To beautifie and shade the Grove
Where the young wanton Gods of Love                                                            15
Offer their Noblest Sacrifice of Blisses. 

Calm was the Air, no Winds blew fierce and loud,
The Skie was dark’ned with no sullen Cloud:
But all the Heav’ns laugh’d with continued Light,
And scatter’d round their Rays serenely bright.                                                        20
No other Murmurs fill’d the Ear
But what the Streams and Rivers purl’d
When Silver Waves o’er Shining Pebbles curl’d;
Or when young Zephirs fan’d the Gentle Breez,
Gathering fresh Sweets from Balmy Flow’rs and Trees,                                      25
Then bore ’em on their Wings to perfume all the Air:
While to their soft and tender Play,
The Gray-Plum’d Natives of the Shades
Unwearied sing till Love invades,
Then Bill, then sing agen, while Love and Musick makes the Day.                         30

The stubborn Plough had then,
Made no rude Rapes upon the Virgin Earth;
Who yielded of her own accord her plentious Birth,
Without the Aids of men;
As if within her Teeming Womb,                                                                            35
All Nature, and all Sexes lay,
Whence new Creations every day
Into the happy World did come:
The Roses fill’d with Morning Dew,
Bent down their loaded heads,                                                                            40
T’Adorn the careless Shepherds Grassy Beds
While still young opening Buds each moment grew
And as those withered, drest his shaded Couch a new;
Beneath who’s boughs the Snakes securely dwelt,
Not doing harm, nor harm from others felt;                                                             45
With whom the Nymphs did Innocently play,
No spightful Venom in the playful wantons lay;
But to the touch were Soft, and to the sight were Gay.

Then no rough sound of Wars Alarms,
Had taught the World the needless use of Arms:                                                     50
Monarchs were uncreated then,
Those Arbitrary Rulers over men;
Kings that made Laws, first broke ’em, and the Gods
By teaching us Religion first, first set the World at Odds:
Till then Ambition was not known,                                                                          55
That Poyson to Content, Bane to Repose;
Each Swain was Lord o’er his own will alone,
His Innocence Religion was, and Laws.
Nor needed any troublesome defence
Against his Neighbours Insolence.                                                                          60
Flocks, Herds, and every necessary good
Which bounteous Nature had design’d for Food,
Whose kind increase o’er spread the Meads and Plaines,
Was then a common Sacrifice to all th’ agreeing Swaines.

Right and Property were words since made,                                                            65
When Power taught Mankind to invade:
When Pride and Avarice became a Trade;
Carri’d on by discord, noise and wars,
For which they barter’d wounds and scarrs;
And to Inhaunce the Merchandize, miscall’d it Fame,                                                  70
And Rapes, Invasions, Tyrannies,
Was gaining of a Glorious Name:
Stiling their salvage slaughters, Victories;
Honour, the Error and the Cheat
Of the Ill-natur’d Bus’ey Great,                                                                                  75
Nonsence, invented by the Proud,
Fond Idol of the slavish Crowd,
Thou wert not known in those blest days
Thy Poyson was not mixt with our unbounded Joyes;
Then it was glory to pursue delight,                                                                            80
And that was lawful all, that Pleasure did invite,
Then ’twas the Amorous world injoy’d its Reign;
And Tyrant Honour strove t’usurp in Vain.

The flowry Meads the Rivers and the Groves,
Were fill’d with little Gay-wing’d Loves:                                                                      85
That ever smil’d and danc’d and Play’d,
And now the woods, and now the streames invade,
And where they came all things were gay and glad:
When in the Myrtle Groves the Lovers sat
Opprest with a too fervent heat;                                                                             90
A Thousand Cupids fann’d their wings aloft,
And through the Boughs the yielded Ayre would waft:
Whose parting Leaves discovered all below,
And every God his own soft power admir’d,
And smil’d and fann’d, and sometimes bent his Bow;                                             95
Where e’er he saw a Shepherd uninspir’d.
The Nymphs were free, no nice, no coy disdain,
Deny’d their Joyes, or gave the Lover pain;
The yielding Maid but kind Resistance makes:
Trembling and blushing are not marks of shame,                                                   100
But the Effect of kindling Flame:
Which from the sighing burning Swain she takes,
While she with tears all soft, and down-cast eyes,
Permits the Charming Conqueror to win the prize.

The Lovers thus, thus uncontroul’d did meet,                                                          105
Thus all their Joyes and Vows of Love repeat:
Joyes which were everlasting, ever new
And every Vow inviolably true:
Not kept in fear of Gods, no fond Religious cause,
Nor in Obedience to the duller Laws.                                                                        110
Those Fopperies of the Gown were then not known,
Those vain those Politick Curbs to keep man in,
Who by a fond mistake Created that a Sin;
Which freeborn we, by right of Nature claim our own.
Who but the Learned and dull moral Fool                                                                115
Could gravely have forseen, man ought to live by Rule?

Oh cursed Honour! thou who first didst damn,
A Woman to the sin of Shame;
Honour! that rob’st us of our Gust,
Honour! that hindred mankind first,                                                                      120
At Loves Eternal Spring to squench his amorous thirst.
Honour! who first taught lovely Eyes the art,
To wound, and not to cure to heart:
With Love to invite, but to forbid with Awe,
And to themselves prescribe a Cruel Law;                                                                125
To Veil ’em from the Lookers on,
When they are sure the slave’s undone,
And all the Charmingst part of Beauty hid;
Soft Looks, consenting Wishes, all deny’d.
It gathers up the flowing Hair,                                                                                 130
That loosely plaid with wanton Air.
The Envious Net, and stinted order hold,
The lovely Curls of Jet and shining Gold,
No more neglected on the Shoulders hurl’d:
Now drest to Tempt, not gratify the World,                                                                  135
Thou Miser Honour hord’st the sacred store,
And starv’st thy self to keep thy Votaries poor.

Honour! that put’st our words that should be free
Into a set Formality.
Thou base Debaucher of the generous heart,                                                             140
That teachest all our Looks and Actions Art;
What love design’d a sacred Gift,
What Nature made to be possest,
Mistaken Honour made a theft,
For Glorious Love should be confest:                                                                    145
For when confin’d, all the poor Lover gains,
Is broken Sighs, pale Looks, Complaints and Pains.
Thou Foe to Pleasure, Nature’s worst Disease,
Thou Tyrant over mighty Kings,
What mak’st thou here in Shepherds Cottages;                                                         150
Why troublest thou, the quiet Shades and Springs?
Be gone, and make thy Fam’d resort
To Princes Pallaces;
Go Deal and Chaffer in the Trading Court,
That busie Market for Phantastick Things;                                                                   155
Be gone and interrupt the short Retreat,
Of the Illustrious and the Great;
Go break the Politicians sleep,
Disturb the Gay Ambitious Fool,
That longs for Scepters, Crowns, and Rule,                                                         160
Which not his Title, nor his Wit can keep;
But let the humble honest Swain go on,
In the blest Paths of the first rate of man;
That nearest were to Gods Alli’d,
And form’d for love alone, disdain’d all other Pride.                                                   165

Be gone! and let the Golden age again,
Assume its Glorious Reign;
Let the young wishing Maid confess,
What all your Arts would keep conceal’d:
The Mystery will be reveal’d,                                                                                        170
And she in vain denies, whilst we can guess,
She only shows the Jilt to teach man how,
To turn the false Artillery on the Cunning Foe.
Thou empty Vision hence, be gone,
And let the peaceful Swain love on;                                                                      175
The swift pac’d hours of life soon steal away:
Stint not yee Gods his short liv’d Joy.
The Spring decays, but when the Winter’s gone,
The Trees and Flowers a new comes on
The Sun may set, but when the night is fled,                                                                180
And gloomy darkness does retire,
He rises from his Watry Bed:
All Glorious, Gay, all drest in Amorous Fire.
But Sylvia when your Beauties fade,
When the fresh Roses on your Cheeks shall die,                                                          185
Like Flowers that wither in the Shade,
Eternally they will forgotten lye,
And no kind Spring their sweetness will supply.
When Snow shall on those lovely Tresses lye
And your fair Eyes no more shall give us pain,                                                             190
But shoot their pointless Darts in vain.
What will your duller honour signifie?
Go boast it then! And see what numerous Store
Of Lovers, will your Ruin’d Shrine Adore.
Then let us Sylvia yet be wise,                                                                               195
And the Gay hasty minutes prize:
The Sun and Spring receive but our short Light,
Once sett, a sleep brings an Eternal Night.


24 Zephirs “The west wind, frequently personified” (OED).

25 Balmy “Delicately and deliciously fragrant” (OED).

30 Bill “To caress, make show of affection” (OED).

44 boughs Branches.

57 Swain “A country or farm labourer, frequently a shepherd; a countryman, rustic” (OED).

63 Meads “Meadows” (OED).

70 Inhaunce “Enhance” (OED).

73 salvage One of several Anglo-Norman spellings for “savage” in use during this period (OED).

135 Miser “A person who hoards wealth and lives miserably in order to do so” (OED).

137 Votaries “A person who has made a particular vow” (OED).

140 Debaucher “A corrupter or seducer” (OED).

154 Chaffer “To bargain, haggle about terms or price” (OED).

160 Scepters “An ornamental rod…a symbol of regal authority” (OED).

SOURCE:  Mrs. A. Behn, Poems upon Several Occasions: with a Voyage to the Island of Love (London, 1684), pp. 1-12. [EBBO]

Edited by ENG 690 students (Fall 2020)




John Hoy, Junior, “Delia’s Farewel, An Elegy”




Once more, O Muses! ere you leave this grove,
Awake the strain, but sing in accents new:
DELIA no more attends the tale of love,
Such love as flows from DAMON or from you.

But tune to nobler themes the heav’nly lyre,                                        5
And, unreprov’d, the darling strain prolong;
Swell the big note with Friendship’s sacred fire,
Or sound in DELIA’s ear the moral song.

Alas! alas! Love’s subtle lurking flame,
Which feeble Reason never can control,                                       10
Kindles anew at DELIA’s long lov’d name,
And fills again, and warms my raptur’d soul.

In ev’ry tender tie to Friendship known,
In all the kind endearments Love affords,
How many years together we have grown,                                          15
Ye Muses know, and still your song records.

My song was DELIA’s praise when first I lov’d,
And DELIA listen’d to the tender strain;
Yes, DELIA listen’d! and my song approv’d,
Nor scorn’d the passion of a simple swain.                                   20

‘Twas DELIA’s love inspir’d the early song,
And kindled rapture in my infant breast:–
Alas! why could I not the strain prolong?
Ah! why has Heav’n forbid me to be blest?

Fond wish! I hop’d to call young DELIA mine;                                         25
But, ah! can wishes thwart eternal fate?
Would mortals regulate the deep design
Of Heav’n, presiding wisely o’er our state?

Now DELIA’s gone! and each dejected muse,
In sullen sounds, the absent nymph deplores:                                30
The sad remembrance of my loss renews,
Where ev’ry scene her memory restores.

Methinks I see her still in virgin charms —
Such as no more these faded eyes shall view;
Such as no more shall raise the soft alarms,                                            35
And Love’s sweet passion in my breast renew.

Can I forget those soft enchanting smiles?
Those cordial looks beam’d from the inmost soul?
Those gentle offices, and friendly toils,
With which she strove my sorrows to control?                                 40

How oft, O DELIA! has thy tender care
Giv’n to my sense of pain a kind relief?
How oft thy sympathy repress’d despair,
And wip’d the drops from my pale cheek of grief?

(Thy pity still I claim, for still ’tis dear,                                                         45
And Pity, sure, is due to misery!
Ah! shall one sigh, or shall one tender tear,
Be deem’d too much to DAMON’s memory?)

Oft as I watch’d the lonely midnight hour,
Each black idea fled when thou wast nigh :                                        50
No more I languish’d for the balmy pow’r;
And Night’s dull wheels roll’d swifter o’er the sky.

But now, alas! the melancholy scene
(How chang’d!) presents me with a dreary waste,
Save where my absent friend, by fancy seen,                                            55
Augments the horrors of my tortur’d breast.

I blame not DELIA:– DELIA’s soul was kind: —
‘Twas envious Fortune tore my love away: —
But still thou’rt here, and from my sadden’d mind
My DELIA’s image never shall decay.                                                   60

I saw what anguish swell’d her gentle breast,
What horrors shook her when she slow withdrew;
What load of grief her fainting voice supprest,
When Fate oblig’d her to pronounce,–Adieu !

Thrice o’er her face the waving crimson spread,                                        65
And thrice her visage chang’d to deadly pale;
Her speech forsook her when she wou’d have said,
“Farewel, ye groves! and, DAMON, O farewel!”

Ah! then, what anguish tore my bursting heart!
Scarce could my breast its tide of grief control,                                   70
When, beam’d tremendous, like a mortal dart,
Her parting look transfix’d me to the soul.

Less cruel pangs had pierc’d my wounded breast,
Had Fate’s dread mandate stopt thy vital breath;
Less had I griev’d to see my DELIA drest                                                       75
In all the sad and awful pomp of death.

I then a pleasing melancholy joy
Had felt, to wander near my DELIA’s tomb;
To press the turf where her dear dust should lie,
And tell my woes to Night’s surrounding gloom.                                 80

Quick Fancy, fir’d, should mount th’ etherial height,
And view the lovely maid, my DELIA there,
Array’d in robes for mortal eyes too bright,
Alive, immortal, more divinely fair!

But now I see the idol of my soul                                                                  85
For ever ravish’d from my longing arms,
Another’s joy to share, his griefs control; —
–Another’s raptures kindle at her charms!

My deep distresses all relief refuse:
Ev’n gentle STREPHON’s friendship is in vain,                                     90
Tho’ to his aid he call th’ inspiring muse,
And cheer his DAMON with the rural strain.

In vain, to soothe the troubles of my breast,
Fair Science opens all her copious store ;
Soft magic song no more can give me rest,                                                  95
And wit and genius charm my soul no more.

No more bold MILTON, on the car of morn,
Whirls my rapt soul above th’ etherial sphere,
Where fiery seraphs fierce for combat burn,
While front to front the shadowy hosts draw near.                            100

In vain great SHAKESPEARE, taught of Heav’n alone,
Unfolds the scene of Nature to my view: —
Fly! magic pictures! and, with DELIA gone,
Farewel the ecstasy which once I knew!

Perhaps the lenient hand of Time may ease                                               105
The lively sense of grief which now I feel,
That peace restore which makes ev’n sorrow please,
And wipes the gall from keen affliction’s steel.

If not, — should ev’ry other refuge fail,
O Death! thou still remain’st to give relief: —                                        110
In vain thy all-composing pow’rs assail
The frowns of Fortune, and the stings of grief.

To thee, O melancholy pow’r! I call;
To thee, with hasty steps, impatient fly: —
O grant a shelter in thy dusky hall,                                                                 115
To me the child of pain and misery!


1 Muses “In greek mythology each of the nine goddesses regarded as presiding over and inspiring learning and the arts, esp. poetry and music” (OED).

20 swain “A country gallant or lover” (OED).

51 balmy “Deliciously soft and soothing” (OED).

65 crimson “Of or relating to blood; sanguinary” (OED).

76 pomp “Splendid display or celebration; magnificent show or ceremony” (OED).

94 Science “Knowledge or understanding acquired by study; acquaintance with or mastery of any branch of learning” (OED).

97 No “Mo” emended to “No” (printer’s error); MILTON John Milton (1608–1674), poet and polemicist; the following lines in this stanza appear to reference Paradise Lost (1667).

99 seraphs Angels.

101 SHAKESPEARE, taught of Heav’n alone Shakespeare was considered a “natural genius” in this period, a notion popularized by Joseph Addison in Spectator no. 160 (1711).

SOURCE:  Poems on Various Subjects (Edinburgh, 1781), pp. 52-57. [Google Books]

Edited by Yesenia Rodriguez

Susanna Blamire, “Hope”




SEE, from yonder hill descending,
Hope, with all her train attending!
“Quips, and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles;”
Fancies light that tread on air,                                                                          5
Building fairy castles there;
Aeolus his harp new stringing,
Tuning to the breezes singing;
Zeph’rus sweeping softest chords;
Fancy setting airs to words;                                                                              10
Words that seem another sound,
And lighter than a breath are found.
Here Morpheus comes, a wandering guest,
By plaintive murmurs lull’d to rest;
Round him painted vapours stream,                                                              15
Weaving soft the chequer’d dream,
Which on silken wings they spread,
Shaking o’er his drowsy head;
Subtile fumes waft round the brain,
And fan these joys so light and vain,                                                               20
Which soft slumber loves to dress
In long robes of happiness.
See where come the dancing Hours,
Sprinkling Hope’s gay path with flowers;
“Thyme that loves the brown hill’s side,”                                                        25
Heath in lasting colours dyed;
Feathery sprays that softly blow,
And load the sweet gales as they go
Unheeded,—though the scented air
Fragrance steals we know not where.                                                             30
Sweet Hope! lightly dost thou tread,
Bending not the weak flower’s head;
Watching every changeful scene,
Sliding gilded shows between
Where new prospects open still,                                                                     35
Rising fair behind the hill.
‘Tis true stern Reason scorns thy sway,
Nor basks beneath thy sunny ray;
Nor hears thy accents clear and sweet,
Where sprightly airs and softness meet,                                                        40
Mixing with harmonic chords,
Pouring melody on words.
Nor will his fix’d eye deign to glance
On the mirthful mazy dance,
When the Hours, all hand in hand,                                                                  45
Link with thee, a jocund band;
When thy white robes float on air,
Catching rays that tremble there,
Tinted with the varying beam,
Ending in prismatic stream.                                                                              50
On thy head a wreath of flowers
Nods in time to dancing Hours,
Feathery-footed, trim, and light,
Flitting round from morn till night;
From morn till night, thou gaily leads                                                              55
Through dark green woods and painted meads,
With rose-ting’d cheeks, and clear blue eye
Looking through another sky,
Till we reach th’ enamell’d lawn
Round which a river journeys on,                                                                    60
Where many a bridge is taught to please
Gothic eyes, or gay Chinese,
Thrown in every point of view
Arch can add a beauty to,
While here and there an ashling weaves                                                        65
Verdant knots of summer leaves.
Now we reach thy mansion high,
Spiral turrets climb the sky,
Gilding clouds of varied light,
Changing underneath the sight.                                                                       70
See what crowds surround the gate,
See what Expectations wait;
And, running out, surround their queen,
Ask all at once where she has been ;
And if the promis’d Hours were found                                                           75
With Elysian garlands crown’d;
Or if yet she’d leave to tell
Where true Happiness would dwell;
Or yet had seen the promis’d Day
When Expectation, grave or gay,                                                                     80
In happy, blissful bands should be
United into Certainty.
She sweetly smil’d, and wav’d her hand,
At which a specious flattering band
(Quick through the ear their credence reaches)                                            85
Bow’d round, —and, full of soothing speeches
Declar’d the Hours would soon appear;
Then, whispering softly in the ear,
Taught smiles along the cheek to glow,
As if those Hours they well did know.                                                              90
Ye Promises! ye Flatterers vain!
That dress out Hope and varnish Pain,
And make the dullest things appear
Of shining surface, smooth and clear;
Handing the cup to Hope’s sweet lip,                                                               95
Of which we guests so fondly sip,
While seeing all the bottom shine,
Ne’er think there’s poison in the wine:—
Dark Lethe’s cup each grief subdues,
That used on former joys to muse;                                                                  100
For to Hope’s enchanted dome
Dreaded Ills dare never come;
Not one mask’d Sorrow can you see
In all her court of revelry: —
What though ye pull the careless sleeve,                                                       105
And would tempt us to believe
These noon-joys are waning fast,
Form’d only for an hour to last;
Hence, miscreants!—let me, while I may,
Enjoy the gewgaws of my day.                                                                         110
Descend, sweet Hope, from thy bright throne
Glittering with each precious stone,—
Rubies red, and sapphires blue,
Amethysts of purple hue,
Topazes of sun-like blaze,                                                                                 115
And diamonds with their thousand rays;
Descend! and mount yon hill with me,
There let me opening prospects see,
Which, step by step, shall fairer grow
The while as fades this scene below.                                                               120
Forests of immortal oak;
Rocks by tumbling torrents broke;
“Shallow brooks, and rivers wide,
Verdant meads, with daisies pied;”
Distant cities, large and proud;                                                                         125
Mountains dim, that seem a cloud;
Castles high, that live on hills;
Little cots, that seek the rills;
Upland grounds, where flocks are seen
Mixing white with darkest green;                                                                     130
What! though painted on the air,
Still they look serene and fair.
Though my foot be left to tread
Barren heaths with brambles spread,
Yet if thou check one falling tear,                                                                     135
Or bathe the eye till it grow clear,
I’ll freely pardon all thy wiles,
And fancy good in all thy smiles;
Still pleas’d to find the ills we dread
Thy fairy wing can overspread;                                                                        140
And though thy promises deceive,
Bless my kind stars that I believe;
Thy cranks and wiles who would not see!
For happy they who doubt not thee.


3 Quips, and cranks “A sharp, sarcastic, or cutting remark, esp. one cleverly or wittily phrased” (OED).

3-4 A quotation from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” ll. 27-28.

7 Aeolus  Greek keeper of the winds, and king of the island of Aeolia.  His musical instrument was a harp played by the winds instead of human hands (OED).

9 Zeph’rus Greek god of the West Wind (OED).

13 Morpheus Greek god associated with sleep and dreams; in Ovid’s Metamorphosis he is the son of Sleep (OED).

19 Subtile Variant spelling of “subtle” (OED).

25 A variant quotation from John Langhorne’s “Owen of Carron:” “With thyme that loves the brown hill’s breast,” l. 105 (The Poetical Works of J. Langhorne, D. D. with the Life of the Author [London, (1789?) ], p. 104).

44 mazy “Giddy, dizzy, confused” (OED).

46 jocund “Feeling, expressing, or communicating mirth or cheerfulness” (OED).

50 prismatic “Brightly colored, colorful, brilliant” (OED).

56 painted meads Meadows, bright and picturesque (OED).

62 Gothic “Belonging to, or characteristic of, the Middle Ages; mediæval, ‘romantic’, as opposed to classical. A style of architecture”; Chinese From Chinoiserie, “a Western decorative style, popular in the 18th century, that drew from Chinese forms, motifs and sometimes techniques,” and which was part of a trend of Orientalist architecture (OED).

65 ashling A young ash tree (OED).

76 Elysian “Relating to Elysium, an imagined, idyllic place often identified with Pastoral poetry; indicates Pastoral qualities” (OED).

99 Dark Lethe’s cup  “In Greek mythology Lethe is a river within Hades, whose water, when drunk, produces forgetfulness” (OED).

110 gewgaws  “A gaudy trifle, plaything, or ornament, a pretty thing of little value, a toy or bauble” (OED).

118 prospects “The view (of a landscape, etc.) afforded by a particular location or position; a vista; an extensive or commanding range of sight” (OED).

123-124 A quotation from John Milton’s “L’Allegro,” ll. 75-76.

124 with daisies pied Daisies multiplied.

128 Little cots A small house, a little cottage, now chiefly poetical, and connoting smallness and humbleness; rills A small stream, a rivulet, or a brook (OED).

SOURCE: The Poetical Works of Miss Susanna Blamire (Edinburgh, 1842), pp. 148-153. [HathiTrust]

Edited by Emily Nicol