[Page [62]]


1 WHILE dusky shades eclipse the solar ray,
2 And fanning zephyrs 'mong the branches play,
3 Where varied beauties deck the verdant groves,
4 Let us recount the story of our loves.
5 Say, dear Almeda, why this pensive mood,
6 Which does thy wonted cheerfulness exclude?
7 The cause of this to Flavia I'll reveal:
8 It is a youth whose power I can't conceal.
9 'Tis Strephon, who long since obtain'd my heart,
10 When artful Cupid gave the killing dart.
[Page 63]
11 When Strephon's near, no anxious cares molest,
12 Nor access find to my enraptur'd breast;
13 But when he's gone, his absence still I mourn,
14 And spend my hours in sighs till he return.
15 You kindle into rapture at his name;
16 Be wise in time, and guard against a flame,
17 Which cherish'd, hopeless, will your charms efface,
18 And rob your features of each blooming grace.
19 The dear Castalia taught my heart to prove
20 The soft'ning charms and pleasing art of love,
21 Witness ye rural walks and verdant vales,
22 How charm'd I've listen'd to his melting tales;
23 While he, unskill'd in flatt'ry, did impart,
24 In flowing strains, the dictates of his heart.
25 Blind was my passion, long it bore the sway,
26 Suppress'd at last by the enliv'ning ray
[Page 64]
27 Of Reason wak'd, by some celestial pow'r,
28 To my relief, in an auspicious hour,
29 With open'd eyes I did the charmer view;
30 Deaf to his accents, from his presence flew.
31 Observe, my precepts are with prudence fraught,
32 What heart so stubborn would remain untaught?
33 Command the briny waves no more to slow,
34 Bid southern breezes ever cease to blow;
35 Say to the flowers, no more your fragrance yield,
36 Nor Ceres crown with joy the fertile field;
37 Bid Phoebus cease to gild the op'ning morn,
38 And Cynthia be of all her beauty shorn:
39 Would these obedient as thy vassals prove?
40 No more can I, dear Flavia, cease to love.
41 A youth possess'd of ev'ry moving art,
42 Quick access gains to the securest heart.
43 When he appears, to cheer the drooping plain,
44 Each nymph enamour'd spends her sighs in vain:
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45 And when in softest strains he tunes his lay,
46 Each shepherd, envious, throws his lute away.
47 In him all radiant virtues are combin'd,
48 True greatness centers in a humble mind;
49 Truth, candour, justice, in his gen'rous breast,
50 Firm fortitude and soft compassion rest.
51 Nor can the gods on mortals more bestow,
52 A bright example of their works below.
53 Young Strephon's charms, no tongue could e'er express;
54 I may be silent, but can't love him less.
55 Enough is said, Almeda dear, to prove
56 No fault is seen in those we truly love.
57 The son of Venus, by a magic art,
58 Deceives the sight, soon as he wounds the heart.
59 Blind as himself does all his vot'ries make,
60 Extremely happy in their own mistake.
61 In all his charms I have young Strephon seen,
62 Yet never by the youth have wounded been,
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63 Yet were he, as you paint him, thus complete,
64 And fond to lay his garlands at your feet,
65 Sure young men's minds still subject are to change,
66 Though from our plains he were not doom'd to range.
67 A change of scenes may, with distorted brows,
68 Pour swift contempt on all your former vows.
69 But let indiff'rence lodge within your breast,
70 Nor Strephon's absence e'er your mind molest;
71 The more his charms, the surer he'll succeed
72 'Mong pow'rful rivals, whom you now may dread.
73 I know his charms the gentlest dame might move,
74 But he'll admit no rival in his love:
75 My image still remains within his breast,
76 True to that hour I first my love confest.
77 This pleasing hope will soothe my anxious soul,
78 Nor let stern care its peaceful sway countroul,
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79 Diffuse into my heart its soft relief,
80 Dispel my fears and dissipate my grief.
81 I'll say the youth, for me by heaven design'd,
82 Is good, as lovely, constant, as he's kind;
83 So smoothly shall the seasons glide along,
84 Till Strephon's presence animate my song,
85 Then shall my pleasure as my love abound,
86 'Till Hymen's rites with purest joys be crown'd.
87 So may you sing, and sigh your years away,
88 With flatt'ring hope, perch'd on the feeble spray
89 Of Strephon's faith, the efforts rend'ring vain
90 Of such as would essay your love to gain,
91 Till his own choice, or some disaster show,
92 Your promis'd pleasures vanish'd like the snow.
93 Your charms are fled, no lover then in view,
94 The paths of discontent you will pursue.
95 That you despis'd Philander then you'll mourn,
96 Nor gave Lothario's suit a just return;
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97 Or for Alonzo sigh when 'tis too late,
98 And with reluctance meet your destin'd fate.
99 This will your slighted lovers laugh to see
100 Almeda then a maiden old will be.
101 The paths you paint I will not tread alone,
102 While Flavia lives I shall be sure of one.
103 Then hand in hand we'll smooth the rugged way,
104 And sigh for sigh shall bear our griefs away.
105 Why should we sigh? In smiles we will contend,
106 And laugh at what we have no power to mend.
107 Should fate deprive me of my darling swain,
108 Some braver youth perhaps may grace the plain,
109 And make me happy by the nuptial band,
110 When cheerfully he gives his heart and hand.
111 Or if despis'd and unadmir'd I rest,
112 I'll call my own sad destiny the best.
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113 I'll bliss the fate I oft have sought to shun,
114 And scorn the fool who would to wedlock run.
115 See Nature now in contrast with thy grief;
116 The warbling songsters seem to chant relief;
117 Their notes are cheerful, nor with sighs depress'd;
118 In concert join and soothe your cares to rest.
119 No warblers can give me delight,
120 How mournful and pensive their strain;
121 Nought sweet can appear to my sight,
122 Since Strephon's forsaken the plain.
123 With joy I these banks did survey,
124 With pleasure I've por'd on the stream:
125 Young Strephon then with me did stray,
126 And of nought but delight I could dream.
127 While he by my side did recline,
128 The flowers seem'd to brighten their bloom;
129 The sun with more lustre did shine,
130 And fragrance the fields did perfume.
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131 Still pleas'd with his whispers of love,
132 Still charm'd with his amorous tale;
133 Now beauty's forsaken the grove,
134 And his absence I'll ever bewail.
135 How gloomy and dismal the shade,
136 Where Strephon was wont to appear,
137 Where oft his addresses he made,
138 And his accents delighted my ear.
139 Those paths I revisit in pain;
140 Yet love them without knowing why.
141 When fortune no favour will deign,
142 I deem it a pleasure to sigh.
143 In vain have my visitants strove
144 My woes to divert by a smile;
145 Though I seem'd of their jest to approve,
146 My heart was with Strephon the while.
147 Society, spoil'd of each charm,
148 Without him no pleasure can give;
149 In solitude cares will alarm,
150 In his absence 'tis painful to live.
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151 When Sol, from the watery main,
152 Ascends to illumine the sky,
153 My thoughts to the loveliest swain,
154 More swift than the lightning can fly.
155 I muse on his charms all the day;
156 The theme seems enchantingly sweet,
157 Nor ends with bright Phoebus's ray;
158 In dreams I my wishes repeat.
159 Ye angels that succour the brave,
160 Prove guardians to the sweet youth;
161 Still may he with honour behave,
162 Integrity, wisdom and truth.
163 While through distant climes he may rove,
164 His image is fix'd in my view;
165 Let Strephon be constant in love,
166 And Almeda will ever be true.


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Title (in Source Edition): ALMEDA AND FLAVIA.
Genres: 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. [62]-71.  (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)