William Shenstone

(1714 - 1763 / England)

A Pastoral Ballad II: Hope


My banks they are furnish'd with bees,
Whose murmur invites one to sleep;
My grottos are shaded with trees,
And my hills are white-over with sheep.
I seldom have met with a loss,
Such health do my fountains bestow;
My fountains all border'd with moss,
Where the hare-bells and violets grow.
Not a pine in my grove is there seen,
But with tendrils of woodbine is bound:

Not a beech's more beautiful green,
But a sweet-briar entwines it around.
Not my fields, in the prime of the year,
More charms than my cattle unfold;
Not a brook that is limpid and clear,
But it glitters with fishes of gold.
One would think she might like to retire
To the bow'r I have labour'd to rear;
Not a shrub that I heard her admire,
But I hasted and planted it there.

O how sudden the jessamine strove
With the lilac to render it gay!
Already it calls for my love,
To prune the wild branches away.
From the plains, from the woodlands and groves,
What strains of wild melody flow!
How the nightingales warble their loves
From thickets of roses that blow!
And when her bright form shall appear,
Each bird shall harmoniously join

In a concert so soft and so clear,
As -- she may not be fond to resign.
I have found out a gift for my fair;
I have found where the wood-pigeons breed:
But let me that plunder forbear,
She will say 'twas a barbarous deed.
For he ne'er could be true, she aver'd,
Who could rob a poor bird of its young:
And I lov'd her the more, when I heard
Such tenderness fall from her tongue.

I have heard her with sweetness unfold
How that pity was due to -- a dove:
That it ever attended the bold;
And she call'd it the sister of love.
But her words such a pleasure convey,
So much I her accents adore,
Let her speak, and whatever she say,
Methinks I should love her the more.
Can a bosom so gentle remain
Unmov'd, when her Corydon sighs!

Will a nymph that is fond of the plain,
These plains and this valley despise?
Dear regions of silence and shade!
Soft scenes of contentment and ease!
Where I could have pleasingly stray'd,
If aught, in her absence, could please.
But where does my Phyllida stray?
And where are her grots and her bow'rs?
Are the groves and the valleys as gay,
And the shepherds as gentle as ours?

The groves may perhaps be as fair,
And the face of the valleys as fine;
The swains may in manners compare,
But their love is not equal to mine.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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