[PASTORAL 02] THE SECOND PASTORAL.
1 Thy cloudy Looks why melting into Tears,
2 Unseemly, now that Heav'n so blithe appears?
3 Why in this mournful Manner art thou found,
4 Unthankful Lad, when all things smile around?
5 Hear how the Lark and Linnet jointly sing!
6 Their Notes soft-warb'ling to the gladsome Spring.
7 Tho' soft their Notes, not so my wayward Fate:
8 Nor Lark would sing, nor Linnet in my State.
9 Each Creature to his proper Task is born;
10 As they to Mirth and Musick, I to mourn. [Page 9]
11 Waking, at Midnight, I my Woes renew,
12 And with my Tears increase the falling Dew.
13 Small Cause, I ween, has lusty Youth to plain;
14 Or who may then the Weight of Age sustain,
15 When, as our waining Strength does daily cease,
16 The tiresome Burden doubles its Increase?
17 Yet tho' with Years my Body downwards tend,
18 As Trees beneath their Fruit in Autumn bend;
19 My mind a chearful Temper still retains,
20 Spite of my snowy Head and icy Veins:
21 For, why should Man at cross Mishaps repine,
22 Sour all his Sweet, and mix with Tears his Wine?
23 But speak: For much it may relieve thy Woe
24 To let a Friend thy inward Ailment know.
25 'Twill idly waste thee, Thenot, a whole Day,
26 Should'st thou give Ear to all my Grief can say. [Page 10]
27 Thy Ewes will wander, and the heedless Lambs
28 With loud Complaints require their absent Dams.
29 There's Lightfoot, he shall tend them close; and I,
30 'Twixt whiles, a-cross the Plain will glance mine Eye.
31 Where to begin I know not; where to end:
32 Scarce does one smiling Hour on my Youth attend.
33 Tho' few my Days, as my own Follies show,
34 Yet are those Days all clouded o'er with Woe:
35 No gleam of happy Sun-shine does appear
36 My low'ring Sky, and wintery Days, to chear.
37 My piteous Plight, in yonder naked Tree,
38 Which bears the Thunder Scar, too well I see:
39 Quite destitute it stands of shelter kind,
40 The Mark of Storms and Sport of every Wind:
41 Its riven Trunk feels not th' approach of Spring,
42 Nor any Birds among the Branches sing. [Page 11]
43 No more beneath thy Shade shall Shepherds throng
44 With merry Tale, or Pipe, or pleasing Song.
45 Unhappy Tree! and more unhappy I!
46 From thee, from me, alike the Shepherds fly.
47 Sure thou in some ill-chosen Hour wast born,
48 When blighting Mil-dews spoil the rising Corn;
49 Or when the Moon, by Witchcraft charm'd, foreshows
50 Thro' sad Eclipse a various Train of Woes.
51 Untimely born, ill Luck betides thee still.
52 And can there, Thenot, be a greater Ill?
53 Nor Wolf, nor Fox, nor Rot among our Sheep;
54 From these Shepherd's Care his Flock may keep:
55 Against ill Luck all cunning Foresight fails;
56 Whether we sleep or wake, it naught avails.
57 Ah me the while! Ah me the luckless Day!
58 Ah luckless Lad! the rather might I say.
59 Unhappy Hour! when first, in youthful Bud,
60 I left the fair Sabrina's Silver flood:
61 Ah silly I! more silly than my Sheep,
62 Which on thy flow'ry Banks I once did keep.
63 Sweet are thy Banks! Oh when shall I once more
64 With longing Eyes review thy flow'ry Shore?
65 When, in the Crystal of thy Waters, see
66 My Face, grown wan thro' Care and Misery?
67 When shall I see my Hut, the small Abode
68 My self had rais'd and cover'd o'er with Sod?
69 Tho' small it be, a mean and humble Cell,
70 Yet is there room for Peace and me to dwell.
71 And what the Cause that drew thee first away?
72 From thy lov'd Home what tempted thee to stray?
73 A lewd Desire strange Lands and Swains to know:
74 Ah God! that ever I should covet Woe!
75 With wand'ring Feet unblest, and fond of Fame,
76 I sought I know not what, besides a Name.
77 Or, sooth to say, didst thou not hither roam
78 In hopes of Wealth, thou could'st not find at home?
79 A rolling Stone is ever bare of Moss;
80 And, to their Cost, green Years old Proverbs cross.
81 Small Need there was, in flatt'ring Hopes of Gain,
82 To drive my pining Flock athwart the Plain
83 To distant Cam: Fine Gain at length, I trow,
84 To hoard up to myself such deal of Woe!
85 My Sheep quite spent thro' Travel and ill Fare,
86 And, like their Keeper, ragged grown and bare,[Page 14]
87 Here, on cold Earth to make my nightly Bed,
88 And on a bending Willow rest my Head.
89 'Tis hard to bear the pinching Cold with Pain,
90 And hard is Want to the unpractis'd Swain:
91 But neither Want, nor pinching Cold is hard,
92 To blasting Storms of Calumny compar'd:
93 Unkind as Hail it falls, whose pelting Show'rs
94 Destroy the tender Herb and budding Flow'rs.
95 Slander, we Shepherds count the greatest Wrong:
96 For, what wounds sorer than an evil Tongue?
97 Untoward Lads, who Pleasance take in Spite,
98 Make Mock of all the Ditties I endite.
99 In vain, O Colinet, thy Pipe, so shrill,
100 Charms ev'ry Vale, and gladdens ev'ry Hill:
101 In vain thou seek'st the Cov'rings of the Grove,
102 In the cool Shade to sing the Heats of Love:
103 No Passion but rank Envy, canst, thou move. [Page 15]
104 Sing what thou wilt, ill Nature will prevail;
105 And ev'ry Elf has Skill enough to rail.
106 But yet, though poor and artless is my Vein,
107 Menalcas seems to like my simple Strain;
108 And long as he is pleas'd to hear my Song,
109 That to Menalcas does of right belong,
110 Nor Night, nor Day, shall my rude Musick cease;
111 I ask no more, so I Menalcas please.
112 Menalcas, Lord of all the neighb'ring Plains,
113 Preserves the Sheep, and o'er the Shepherds reigns:
114 For him our yearly Wakes and Feasts we hold,
115 And choose the fattest Firstling from the Fold,
116 He, good to all, that good deserve, shall give
117 Thy Flock to feed, and thee at Ease to live;[Page 16]
118 Shall curb the Malice of unbridled Tongues,
119 And with due Praise reward thy rural Songs.
120 First then shall lightsome Birds forget to fly,
121 The briny Ocean turn to Pastures dry,
122 And ev'ry rapid River cease to flow,
123 E're I unmindful of Menalcas grow.
124 This Night thy Cares with me forget; and fold
125 Thy Flock with mine, to ward th' injurious Cold.
126 Sweet Milk and clouted Cream, soft Cheese and Curd,
127 With some remaining Fruit of last Year's Hoard,
128 Shall be our Ev'ning Fare: And for the Night,
129 Sweet Herbs and Moss, that gentle Sleep invite.
130 And now behold the Sun's departing Ray
131 O'er yonder Hill, the Sign of ebbing Day.
132 With Songs the jovial Hinds return from Plow,
133 And unyoak'd Heifers, pacing homeward, low.