A PASTORAL BALLAD.
1 WHEN approach'd by the fair dewy fingers of Spring,
2 Swelling buds open first, and look gay,
3 When the birds on the boughs by their mates sit and sing,
4 And are danc'd by the breeze on each spray:
5 When gently descending, the rain in soft showers,
6 With its moisture refreshes the ground,
7 And the drops, as they hang on the plants and the flowers,
8 Like rich gems beam a lustre around:
9 When the wood-pigeons sit on the branches and cooe,
10 And the cuckow proclaims with his voice,
11 That Nature marks this for the season to wooe,
12 And for all that can love to rejoice:
13 In a cottage at night may I spend all my time,
14 In the fields and the meadows all day,
15 With a maiden whose charms are as yet in their prime,
16 Young as April, and blooming as May:
17 When the lark with shrill notes sings aloft in the morn,
18 May my fairest and I sweetly wake,
19 View the far distant hills which the sun beams adorn,
20 Then arise, and our cottage forsake.
21 When the sun shines so warm, that my charmer and I
22 May recline on the turf without fear,
23 Let us there all vain thoughts and ambition defy,
24 While we breathe the first sweets of the year.
25 Be this spot on a hill, and a spring from its side
26 Bubble out and transparently flow,
27 Creep gently along in meanders, and glide
28 Thro' the vale strow'd with daisies below.
29 While the bee flies from blossom to blossom and sips,
30 And the violets their sweetness impart,
31 Let me hang on her neck, and so taste from her lips
32 The rich cordial that thrills to the heart.
33 While the dove sits lamenting the loss of its mate,
34 Which the fowler has caught in his snares,
35 May we think ourselves blest that it is not our fate,
36 To endure such an absence as theirs.
37 May I listen to all her soft, tender, sweet notes
38 When she sings, and no sounds interfere,
39 But the warbling of birds, which in stretching their throats
40 Are at strife to be louder than her.
41 When the daisies, and cowslips, and primroses blow,
42 And checquer the meads, and the lawns,
43 May we see bounding there the swift light-footed doe,
44 And pursue with our eye the young fawns.
45 When the lapwings just fledg'd o'er the turf take their run,
46 And the sirstlings are all at their play,
47 And the harmless young lambs skip about in the sun,
48 Let us then be as frolic as they.
49 When I talk of my love, should I chance to espy,
50 That she seems to mistrust what I say,
51 By a tear that is ready to fall from her eye,
52 With my lips let me wipe it away.
53 If we sit, or we walk, may I cast round my eyes,
54 And let no single beauty escape,
55 But see none to create so much love, and surprize,
56 As her eyes, and her face, and her shape.
57 Thus each day let us pass, till the buds turn to leaves;
58 And the meadows around us are mown,
59 When the lass on the sweet-smelling haycock receives,
60 What she afterwards blushes to own.
61 When evenings grow cool, and the flowers hang their heads
62 With the dew, then no longer we'll roam,
63 With my arm round her waist, in a path thro' the meads,
64 Let us hasten to find our way home.
65 When the birds are at roost, with their heads in their wings,
66 Each one by the side of its mate;
67 When a mist that arises a drowsiness brings
68 Upon all but the owl and the bat:
69 When soft rest is requir'd, and the stars lend their light,
70 And all Nature lies quiet and still;
71 When no sound breaks the sacred repose of the night,
72 But, at distance, the clack of a mill:
73 With peace for our pillow, and free from all noise,
74 So that voices in whispers are known,
75 Let us give and receive all the nameless soft joys,
76 That are mus'd on by lovers alone.