1 If we, O Dorset, quit the City Throng,
2 To meditate in Shades the Rural Song,
3 By your Commands; be present: And, O, bring
4 The Muse along! The Muse to you shall sing.
5 Begin. — A Shepherd Boy, one Ev'ning fair,
6 As Western Winds had cool'd the sultry Air,[Page 2]
7 When as his Sheep within the Fold were pent,
8 Thus plain'd him of his dreary Discontent;
9 So pitiful, that all the starry Throng
10 Attentive seem'd to hear his mournful Song.
11 Ah, well-a-day! How long must I endure
12 This pining Pain? Or who shall speed my Cure?
13 Fond Love no Cure will have; seeks no Repose;
14 Delights in Grief; nor any Measure knows.
15 And now the Moon begins in Clouds to rise;
16 The twinkling Stars are lighted in the Skies;
17 The Winds are hush'd; the Dews distil; and Sleep
18 With soft Embrace has seized my weary Sheep.
19 I only with the prouling Wolf, constrain'd
20 All Night to wake. With hunger is he pain'd,
21 And I with Love. His Hunger he may tame:
22 But who in Love can stop the growling Flame?
23 Whilom did I, all as this Pop'lar fair,
24 Up-raise my heedless Head, then void of Care,
25 'Mong rustick Routs the chief for wanton Game;
26 Nor could they merry make 'till Lobbin came.
27 Who better seen than I, in Shepherds Arts,
28 To please the Lads and win the Lasses Hearts?
29 How deffly to mine oaten Reed, so sweet,
30 Wont they, upon the Green, to shift their Feet?
31 And, when the Dance was done, how would they yearn
32 Some well devised Tale from me to learn?
33 For, many Songs and Tales of Mirth had I,
34 To chase the lingring Sun adown the Sky.
35 But, ah! since Lucy coy has wrought her Spight
36 Within my Heart; unmindful of Delight,
37 The jolly Grooms I fly; and, all alone
38 To Rocks and Woods pour forth my fruitless Moan.
39 Oh quit thy wonted Scorn, relentless Fair!
40 E're, lingring long, I perish through Despair.
41 Had Rosalind been Mistress of my Mind,
42 Tho' not so fair, she would have been more kind.
43 O think, unwitting Maid, while yet is Time,
44 How flying Years impair our youthful Prime!
45 Thy Virgin Bloom will not for ever stay;
46 And Flow'rs, tho' left ungath'red, will decay.
47 The Flow'rs anew returning Seasons bring;
48 But Beauty faded has no second Spring.
49 My Words are Wind! She, deaf to all my Cries,
50 Takes Pleasure in the Mischief of her Eyes.
51 Like frisking Heifers, loose in flow'ry Meads,
52 She gads where-e'er her roving Fancy leads;
53 Yet still from me. Ah me, the tiresome Chace!
54 While, wing'd with Scorn, she flied my fond Embrace. [Page 5]
55 She flies indeed: but ever leaves behind,
56 Fly where she will, her Likeness in my Mind.
57 Ah turn thee then! unthinking Damsel! Why,
58 Thus from the Youth, who loves thee, should thou fly?
59 No cruel Purpose in my Speed I bear:
60 'Tis all but Love; and Love why should'st thou fear?
61 What idle Fears a Maiden Breast alarm!
62 Stay, simple Girl! a Lover cannot harm.
63 Two Kidlins, sportive as thy self, I rear;
64 Like tender Buds their shooting Horns appear.
65 A Lambkin too, pure white, I breed, as tame,
66 As my fond Heart could wish my scornful Dame.
67 A Garland, deck'd with all the Pride of May,
68 Sweet as thy Breath, and as thy Beauty gay,
69 I'll weave. But why these unavailing Pains?
70 The Gifts alike and Giver she disdains.
71 Oh would my Gifts but win her wanton Heart!
72 Or could I half the Warmth I feel impart!
73 How would I wander ev'ry Day to find
74 The ruddy wildings! Were but Lucy kind,
75 For glossy Plumbs I'd climb the knotty Tree,
76 And of fresh Honey rob the thrifty Bee.
77 Or, if thou deign to live a Shepherdess,
78 Thou Lobbin's flock, and Lobbin, shalt possess.
79 Fair is my flock; nor yet uncomely I,
80 If liquid Fountains flatter not: and why
81 Should liquid Fountains flatter us? yet show
82 The bord'ring Flowers less beauteous than they grow.
83 O! come, my Love! nor think th' Employment mean,
84 The Dams to milk, and little Lambkins wean,
85 To drive a-Field by morn the fat'ning Ewes,
86 E're the warm Sun drinks up the cooly Dews. [Page 7]
87 How would the Crook beseem thy beauteous Hand!
88 How would my Younglings round thee gazing stand!
89 Ah witless Younglings! gaze not on her Eye:
90 Such heedless Glances are the Cause I die.
91 Nor trow I when this bitter Blast will end;
92 Or if kind Love will ever me befriend.
93 Sleep, sleep, my Flock: For happy you may take
94 Your rest, tho' nightly thus your Master wake.
95 Now, to the waining Moon, the Nightingale
96 In doleful Ditties told her piteous Tale.
97 The Love-sick Shepherd list'ning found Relief,
98 Pleas'd with so sweet a Partner in his Grief:
99 'Till by degrees her Notes and silent Night
100 To Slumbers soft his heavy Heart invite.