[Page [50]]


1 THE sun with keenness darts his sultry ray;
2 To some cool shade Philander haste away,
3 Nigh yon smooth riv'let, where the southern breeze
4 So softly plays among the bord'ring trees.
5 Beneath yon spreading elm let's rest a while,
6 And with our songs the tedious hours beguile:
7 There will I tune my pipe to Delia's praise,
8 While ev'ry swain's attentive to my lays.
9 O Damon! how insipid is thy theme?
10 Philander's sick of thy lov'd Delia's name:
11 Nor can the fairest nymph enslave my heart;
12 Man's soul was form'd to act a nobler part.
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13 This gewgaw train can ne'er my thoughts employ;
14 Such would dispel but can't augment my joy.
15 I'll sing the beauties of the breathing spring,
16 The treasures Autumn to my barns will bring.
17 To notes of transport ever tune my reed,
18 While on the plains my num'rous flocks I feed.
19 Let Damon's breast such trivial joys disdain;
20 What though my flocks o'erspread the wide domain?
21 What though my barns were with abundance stor'd,
22 And gen'rous nectar ever grac'd my board?
23 Nor honour, riches, though their force unite,
24 In Delia's absence ever can delight.
25 O Delia! sweeter than the op'ning dawn,
26 More bright than rays that cheer the dewy lawn.
27 Her sparkling eye the orient gem outshines,
28 Or brightest lustre of Golconda's mines:
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29 Her cheeks of roseate hue, her flaxen hair,
30 In easy curls, waves gently in the air.
31 Her coral lips ambrosial sweets retain;
32 She rivals Juno in her air and mien;
33 She far exceeds what ancient painters drew,
34 When fancy's flights the Cyprian queen pursue.
35 Such excellence might grace a prince's arms;
36 Yet this must yield to her interior charms.
37 In her fair bosom virtue bears the sway;
38 There wisdom sheds a pure unmingl'd ray.
39 Truth, innocence, and modesty combine
40 T' adorn her mind, where all perfections shine:
41 Apollo's wit does to the maid belong;
42 Her voice more charming than the Syren's song.
43 Hold, hold, dear Damon, sure too much is said;
44 Your Delia's then a most bewitching maid:
45 As blind men judge of colours, so you trace
46 The matchless beauties of her charming face,
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47 Recount her virtues, and, with partial eyes,
48 Admire in her what others would despise.
49 A sad delirium sure has seiz'd thy brain,
50 Which makes thee fancy what the poets feign,
51 Of love, and such like vain fantastic whims,
52 'Tis wild chimera all, and idle dreams.
53 And dost thou doubt of such a thing as love?
54 If once thy breast, like mine, the smart should prove,
55 More than is painted by the poet's art,
56 In genuine colours will affect thy heart.
57 But wherefore now contemn my rural lays?
58 Thy notes were swell'd once with Lucretia's praise!
59 Does she thy favours treat with disrespect,
60 Which makes thee now all other maids neglect!
61 Lucretia still appears in all her charms,
62 A match most fitting for Philander's arms.
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63 What she possesses yields most solid joy,
64 Since bags of wealth buy pleasures ne'er can cloy,
65 These beauties catch; they set my heart on fire;
66 Her farm, her flocks, are all I do admire:
67 Her darts are powerful, of a yellowish hue,
68 More fierce than those the fam'd Alcides threw.
69 Her striking beauty in full bloom appears,
70 At the dull period of full fifty years:
71 Then Delia will no admiration claim,
72 But dear Lucretia ever is the same.
73 For this you love her; now I truly find,
74 That none but gilded cords your heart can bind;
75 Nor wit nor beauty can obtain your vow;
76 At Mammon's shrine you still devoutly bow.
77 Vain would th' attempts of either be to hold
78 My am'rous heart, without the force of gold:
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79 Beauty an empty trifle still I deem,
80 A childish toy, unworthy of esteem.
81 Its gaudy foliage may attract the eye;
82 But as the tulip it will fade and die:
83 The glowing cheek enamour'd fops may prize,
84 But men of sense can ruby lips despise.
85 And what is wit? a giddy flutt'ring thing,
86 Which can no real satisfaction bring.
87 A thousand ills attend his wretched life,
88 Whose dear companion is a witty wife:
89 Still she is right, and ever in the wrong,
90 Such elocution dwells upon her tongue.
91 But if assisted by the Muse's skill,
92 He sure may dread the poison of her quill;
93 She with keen satire lashes all around,
94 And with the rest her husband feels the wound.
95 Should poverty, by sudden threats alarm,
96 Can wit with all its power now prove a charm?
97 The fairest flowers Parnassus ere could boast,
98 Yield to the treasures of the golden coast.
99 The maid who comes fraught with that precious ore,
100 Brings virtue, wit, and beauty all in store;
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101 This gives the palid cheek a crimson glow,
102 The tawny skin the tincture of the snow.
103 This makes the dwarf complete in ev'ry part:
104 She wounds most sure who throws the golden dart.
105 Short of one foot, distorted of one eye,
106 Struck by its lustre, no defects I spy.
107 Thus does Philander waste his wits to prove
108 A happy marriage destitute of love.
109 Gold, cursed gold, the bane of ev'ry bliss,
110 Thy summum bonum, all thy happiness.
111 Say, to what purpose do thy words avail?
112 Beauty and wit to give us joy may fail.
113 Wit cease to please, and beauty may decay,
114 Riches make wings and swiftly fly away;
115 Depriv'd of all, what will Philander say?
116 But to secure thee of thy darling's charms,
117 Go to the mines, and lodge within her arms;
118 Enfold thy mistress in a fond embrace,
119 For ever banish'd from the shepherd race.
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120 Nor quit thy mansion till thou breathe thy last:
121 Such sordid souls no social joys should taste.
122 Blest with my Delia on this happy plain,
123 Where peace and pleasure in perfection reign,
124 I'll more serenely pass life's hours away,
125 Than without her, though crown'd with princely sway.
126 To please my charmer all my care shall be;
127 Can I be wretched when she smiles on me?
128 But we must go, our fleecy charge attend.
129 Farewell, Philander, I am still thy friend.
130 The maid whose real charms the heart can hold,
131 Must not be deem'd one whit the worse for gold.


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Title (in Source Edition): DAMON AND PHILANDER.
Genres: heroic couplet; dialogue

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Little, Janet, 1759-1813. The Poetical Works of Janet Little, the Scotch Milkmaid. Air: Printed by John & Peter Wilson, 1792, pp. [50]-57.  (ESTC T126549) (Page images digitized from a copy in the Library of the University of California, Los Angeles.)

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Typography, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation have been cautiously modernized. The source of the text is given and all significant editorial interventions have been recorded in textual notes. This ECPA text has been edited to conform to the recommendations found in Level 5 of the Best Practices for TEI in Libraries version 4.0.0.

Other works by Janet Little (later Richmond)