Page images

But yet,

Sing what thou wilt, ill-nature will prevail;
And ev'ry elf has skill enough to rail.


and artless is my vein,
Menalcas seems to like my simple strain ;
And long as he is pleas'd to hear my song,
That to Menalcas does of right belong,
Nor night, nor day, shall my rude music cease ;
I alk no more, so I Menalcas please.


Menalcas, lord of all the neighb'ring plains,
Preferves the sheep, and o'er the shepherds reigns.
For him our yearly wakes and feasts we hold,
And choose the fattest firstling from the fold,
He, good to all that good deserve, shall give
Thy flock to feed, and thee at ease to live ;
Shall curb the malice of unbridled tongues,
And with due praise reward thy rural fongs.


First then shall lightsome birds forget to fly,
The briny ocean turn to pastures dry,
And ev'ry rapid river cease to flow,
Ere I unmindful of Menalcas grow.


This night thy cares with me forget; and fold Thy flock with mine, to ward th' injurious cold. Sweet milk and clotted cream, soft cheese and curd, With some remaining fruit of last year's hoard, Shall be our ev’ning fare : and for the night, Sweet herbs and moss, that gentle sleep invite. And now behold the sun's departing ray O'er yonder hill, the sign of ebbing day.


With songs the jovial hinds return from plow,
And unyok'd heifers, pacing homeward, low.


[blocks in formation]

WHEN Virgil thought no shame the Dorick reed

To tune, and flocks on Mantuan plains to feede With young Augustus' name he grac'd his song; And Spenser, when amidst the rural throng He carol'd sweet, and graz'd along the flood Of gentle Thames, made ev'ry founding wood With good Eliza's name to ring around; Eliza's name, on ev'ry tree was found. Since, then, thro’ Anna's cares at ease we live, And see our cattle in full pastures thrive; Like them will I my slender music raise, And teach the vocal valleys Anna's praise. Mean time on oaten pipe a lowly lay, While


kids browse, obscure in shades I play: Yet not obscure, while Dorset thinks not scorn To visit woods, and swains ignobly born.

Two eountry fwains, both mufical, both young,
In friendship's mutual bonds united long,
Retir'd within a moffy cave, to shun
The crowd of shepherds, and the noon-day fun,
A melancholy thought poffefs'd their mind:
Revolving now the folemn day they find,


When young Albino dy'd. His image dear
Bedews their cheek with many a trickling tear:
To tears they add the tribute of their verse;
These Angelot, those Palin did rehearse.

Thus yearly circling by-past times return;
And yearly thus Albino's fate we mourn:
Albino's fate was early, short his stay;
How sweet the rofe! how speedy the decay!

Can we forget how ev'ry creature moan’d,
And sympathizing rocks in echo groan'd,
Presaging future woe, when, for our crimes,
We loft Albino-pledge of peaceful times,
The pride of Britain, and the darling joy
Of all the plains and ev'ry shepherd boy?
No joyous pipe was heard, no flocks were feen,
Nor shepherds found upon the grassy green;
No cattle graz'd the field, nor drank the flood,
No birds were heard to warble thro' the wood.

In yonder gloomy grove stretcht out he lay,
His beauteous limbs upon the dampy clay;
The roses on his pallid cheeks decay'd,
And o'er his lips a livid hue display'd:
Bleating around him lay his pensive sheep,
And mourning shepherds came in crouds to weep:
The pious mother.comes, with grief oppress'd;
Ye, conscious trees and fountains, can attest
With what fad accents, and what moving cries,
She fill'd the grove, and importun'd the skies,
And ev'ry star upbraided with his death,
When in her widow'd arms, devoid of breath,


[ocr errors]

She clafp'd her son. Nor did the nymph for this
Place in her darling's welfare all her bliss,
And teach him young the filvan crook to wield,
And rule the peaceful empire of the field.

As milk-white swans on silver streams do show,
And silver streams to grace the meadows flow;
As corn the vales, and trees the hills adorn,
So thou to thine an ornament wast born.
Since thou, delicious youth, didft quit the plains,
Th’ ungrateful ground we till with fruitless pains;
In labour'd furrows sow the choice of wheat,
And over empty sheaves in harvest sweat:
A thin increase does our whole substance yield,
And thorns and thistles overspread the field.

How all our hopes are fled, like morning dew!
And we but in our thoughts thy manhood view.
Who now shall teach the pointed spear to throw,
To whirl the sing, and bend the stubborn bow?
Nor doft thou live to bless thy mother's days,
And share the facred honours of her praise;
In foreign fields to purchase endless fame,
And add new glories to the British name.

O peaćeful may thy gentle spirit rest,
And flow'ry turf lie light upon thy breast;
Nor shrieking owl nor bat Ay round thy tomb,
Nor midnight fairies there to revel come!


No more, mistaken Angelot, complain ; Albino lives, and all our tears are vain. And now the royal nymph who bore him, deigns To bless the fields, and rule the simple swains,

While from above propitious he looks down.
For this, the golden skies no longer frown,
The planets shine indulgent on our isle,
And rural pleasures round about us smile.
Hills, dales and woods with shrilling pipes resound;
The boys and virgins dance with garlands crown

And hail Albino blest: the vallies ring
Albino bleft! O now, if ever, bring
The laurel green, the smelling eglantine,
And tender branches from the mantling vine,
The dewy cowslip, that in meadow grows,
The fountain violet and garden rose:
Your hamlets strew, and ev'ry public way,
And consecrate to mirth Albino's day.
Myself will lavish all my little store,
And deal about the goblet, flowing o'er :
Old Moulin there shall harp, young Mico fing,
And Cuddy dance the round amidft the ring,
And Hobbinol his antic gambols play.
To thee these honours yearly will we pay,
When we our shearing feast and harvest keep,
To speed the plow, and bless our thriving sheep.
While mallow kids, and endive lambs pursue ;
While bees love thyme, and locusts fip the dew;
While birds delight in woods their notes to ftrain,
Thy name and sweet memorial shall remain.



« PreviousContinue »