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A Shepherd's Boy (he feeks no better name)
Led forth his flocks along the filver Thame,
Where dancing fun-beams on the waters play'd,
And verdant alders form’d a quivering shade.
Soft as he mourn'd, the streams forgot to flow,
The flocks around a dumb compassion show,
The Naiads wept in every watery bower,
And Jove consented in a silent shower.
Accept, O Garth, the Muse's early lays,
That adds this wreath of ivy to thy bays ;
Ver. 1, 2, 3, 4. 'were thus printed in the first edition :
A faithful swain, whom Love had taught to fing,
Bewail'd his fate beside a silver spring ;
Where gentle Thames his winding waters leads
Thro' verdant forests, and thro' fowery meads.
Ver. 3. Originally thus in the MS.
There to the winds he plain’d his hapless love,
And Amaryllis fill'd the vocal grove.
Hear what from Love unpractis'd hearts endure,
From Love, the sole disease thou canst not cure.
Ye shady beeches, and ye cooling streams,
Defence from Phoebus', not from Cupid's beams,
To you I mourn, nor to the deaf I sing,
The woods shall answer, and their echo ring.
The hills and rocks attend my doleful lay,
Why art thou prouder and more hard than they?
The bleating sheep with my complaints agree,
They parch'd with heat, and I inflam’d by thee.
The sultry Sirius burns the thirsty plains,
While in thy heart eternal winter reigns.
Where stray ye, Mufes, in what lawn or grove,
your Alexis pines in hopeless love ?
In those fair fields where sacred Ifis glides,
Or else where Cam his winding vales divides?
As in the crystal spring I view my face,
Fresh rising blushes paint the watery glass ;
But since those graces please thy eyes no more,
I shun the fountains which I sought before.
Once I was skill'd in every herb that grew,
And every plant that drinks the morning dew;
Ah, wretched thepherd, what avails thy art,
To cure thy lambs, but not to heal thy heart!
Oft in the crystal spring I cast a view,
And equal'd Hylas, if the glass be true;
Lut since those graces meet my eyes no more,
I thun, &c.
Let other swains attend the rural care, :
Feed fairer flocks, or richer fleeces sheer :
But nigh yon' mountain let me tune my lays,
Embrace my Love, and bind my brows with bays.
That flute is mine which Colin's tuneful breath
Inspir’d when living, and bequeath'd in death :
He said; Alexis, take this pipe, the fame
That taught the groves my Rosalinda's name :
But now the reeds shall hang on yonder tree,
For ever filent, fince despis'd' by thee.
O! were I made by some transforming power 45
The captive bird that fings within thy bower!
Then might my voice thy liftening ears employ,
And I those kiffes he receives enjoy.
And yet my numbers please the rural throng,
Rough Satyrs dance, and Pan applauds the song : 50
The Nymphs, forsaking every cave and spring,
Their early fruit and milk-white turtles bring!
Each amorous nymph prefers her gifts in vain,
On you their gifts are all bestow'd again,
For you the fwains the fairest flowers design, 55
And in one garland all their beauties join ;
Accept the wreath which you deserve alone,
In whom all beauties are compria'd in one.
See what delights in sylvan scenes appear!
Descending Gods have found Elysium here.
In woods bright Venus with Adonis ftray'd,
And chaste Diana haunts the forest shade.
Come, lovely nymph, and bless the filent hours,
When fwains from sheering seek their nightly bowers;
When weary reapers quit the fultry field,
And crown'd with corn their thanks to Ceres yield.
This harmless grove no lurking viper hides,
But in my breast the ferpent Love abides.
Here bees from blossoms fip the rofy dew,
But your Alexis knows no fweets but you.
Oh deign to visit our forsaken feats,
The mossy fountains, and the green retreats !
Where'er you walk, cool gales shall fan the glade,
Trees, where you sit, shall croud into a shade :
Where'er you tread, the blushing flowers shall rise, 75
And all things flourish where you turn your eyes.
Oh! how I long with you to pass my days,
Invoke the Muses, and resound your praise !
Your praise the birds shall chant in every grove,
And winds shall waft it to the powers above. 80
But would you sing, and rival Orpheus' strain,
The wondering forests foon should dance again,
The moving mountains hear the powerful call,
And headlong streams hang listening in their fall!
But see, the Ahepherds fhun the noon-day heat,
The lowing herds to murmuring brooks retreat,
To closer shades the panting flocks remove;
Ye gods! and is there no relief for Love?
Ver. 79, 80.
Your praise the tuneful birds to heaven shall bear,
And listening wolves grow milder as they hear. So the verses were originally written : But the author, young as he was, soon found the absurdity, which Spenser himself overlooked, of introducing wolves into Eng. Land.
But soon the sun with milder rays descends
To the cool ocean, where his journey ends :
On me Love's fiercer flames for ever prey,
By night he scorches, as he burns by day.
VARIATION. Ver. 91. Me love inflames, nor will his fires allay.