The Shepherd's Week/Fifth Pastoral

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4040948The Shepherd's Week — Fifth PastoralJohn Gay




Bumkinet. Grubbinol.

WHY, Grubbinol, dost thou so wistful seem?
There's sorrow in thy look, if right I deem.
'Tis true, yon oaks with yellow tops appear,
And chilly blasts begin to nip the year;
From the tall elm, a show'r of leaves is born, 5
And their lost beauty riven beeches mourn.
Yet ev'n this season pleasance blithe affords,
Now the squeez'd press foams with our apple hoards.
Come, let us hye, and quaff a cheery bowl,
Let cyder new wash sorrow from thy soul. 10

Ah Bumkinet! since thou from hence wert gone,
From these sad plains all merriment is flown;
Should I reveal my grief 'twould spoil thy chear,
And make thine eye o'erflow with many a tear.

Hang sorrow! let's to yonder hutt repair,[2] 15
And with trim sonnets cast away our care.
Gillian of Croydon well thy pipe can play.
Thou sing'st most sweet, O'er hills and far away.
Of Patient Grissel I devise to sing,
And catches quaint shall make the vallies ring. 20
Come, Grubbinol, beneath this shelter, come,
From hence we view our flocks securely roam.

Yes, blithesome lad, a tale I mean to sing,
But with my woe shall distant vallies ring.
The tale shall make our kidlings droop their head,
For woe is me!———our Blouzelind is dead. 26

Is Blouzelinda dead? farewel my glee![3]
No happiness is now reserv'd for me.
As the wood-pidgeon cooes without his mate,
So shall my doleful dirge bewail her fate. 30
Of Blouzelinda fair I mean to tell,
The peerless maid that did all maids excel
Henceforth the morn shall dewy sorrow shed;
And ev'ning tears upon the grass be spread;
The rolling stream with watry grief shall flow, 35
And winds shall moan aloud—when loud they blow.
Henceforth, as oft as autum shall return,
The dropping trees, whene'er it rains, shall mourn;
This season quite shall strip the country's pride,
For 'twas in autum Blouzelinda dy'd. 40
Where-e'er I gad, I Blouzelind shall view,
Woods, dairy, barn and mows our passion knew.
When I direct my eyes to yonder wood,
Fresh rising sorrows curdles in my blood.
Thither I've often been the damsel's guide, 45
When rotten sticks our fuel have supply'd;
There, I remember how her faggots large,
Were frequently these happy shoulders charge.
Sometimes this crook drew hazle boughs adown,
And fluff'd her apron wide with nuts so brown;
Or when her feeding hogs had miss'd their way, 50
Or wallowing 'mid a feast of acorns lay;
Th' untoward creatures to the stye I drove,
And whistled all the way———or told my love.
If by the dairy's hatch I chance to hie, 55
I shall her goodly countenance espie;
For there her goodly countenance I've seen,
Set off with kerchief starch'd and pinners clean.
Sometimes like wax, she rolls her butter round,
Or with the wooden lilly prints the pound. 60
Whilome I've seen her skim the clouted cream,
And press from spongy curds the milky stream.
But, now, alas! these ears shall hear no more
The whining swine surround the dairy door:
No more her care shall fill the hollow tray, 65
To fat the guzzling hogs with floods of whey.
Lament, ye swine, in gruntings spend your grief,
For you, like me, have lost your sole relief.
When in the barn the sounding flail I ply,
Where from her sieve the chaff was wont to fly, 70
The poultry there will seem around to stand,
Waiting upon her charitable hand.
No succour meet the poultry now can find,
For they, like me, have lost their Blouzelind.
Whenever by yon barley mow I pass, 75
Before my eyes will trip the tidy lass.
I pitch'd the sheaves (oh could I do so now)
Which she in rows pil'd on the growing mow.
There ev'ry deale my heart by love was gain'd,
There the sweet kiss my courtship has explain'd. 80
Ah Blouzelind! that mow I ne'er shall see,
But thy memorial will revive in me.
Lament, ye fields, and rueful symptoms show,
Henceforth let not the smelling primrose grow;[4]
Let weeds instead of butter-flow'rs appear, 85
And meads, instead of daisies, hemlock bear;
For cowslips sweet let dandelions spread,
For Blouzelinda, blithesome maid, is dead!
Lament ye swains, and o'er her grave bemoan,
And spell ye right this verse upon her stone.[5] 90
Here Blouzelinda lies———alas, alas!
Weep shepherds,———and remember flesh is grass.

Albeit thy songs are sweeter to mine ear,[6]
Than to the thirsty cattle rivers clear;
Or winter porridge to the lab'ring youth, 95
Or buns and sugar to the damsel's tooth;[7]
Yet Blouzelinda's name shall tune my lay.
Of her I'll sing for ever and for aye.
When Blouzelind expir'd, the weather's bell
Before the drooping flock toll'd forth her knell; 100
The solemn death-watch click'd the hour she dy'd,
And thrilling crickets in the chimney cry'd;
The boding raven on her cottage sat,
And with hoarse croaking warn'd us of her fate;
The lambkin, which her wonted tendance bred, 105
Drop'd on the plains that fatal instant dead;
Swarm'd on a rotten stick the bees I spy'd,
Which erst I saw when goody Dobson dy'd.
How shall I, void of tears, her death relate,
While on her darling's bed her mother sat! 110
These Words the dying Blouzelinda spoke,
And of the dead let none the will revoke.
Mother, quoth she, let not the poultry need,
And give the goose wherewith to raise her breed,
Be these my sister's care ——— and ev'ry morn 115
Amid the ducklings let her scatter corn;
The sickly calf that's hous'd, be sure to tend,
Feed him with milk, and from bleak colds defend.
Yet e'er I die ——— see, Mother, yonder shelf,
There secretly I've hid my worldly pelf. 120
Twenty good shillings in a rag I laid,
Be ten the parson's, for my sermon paid.
The rest is yours ——— My spinning wheel and rake,
Let Susan keep for her dear sister's sake's
My new straw hat that's trimly lin'd with green,
Let Peggy wear, for she's a damsel clean. 126
My leathern bottle, long in harvests try'd,
Be Grubbinol's ——— this silver ring beside:
Three silver pennies, and a ninepence bent,
A token kind, to Bumkinet is sent. 130
Thus spoke the maiden, while her mother cry'd,
And peaceful, like the harmless lamb, she dy'd.
To show their love, the neighbours far and near,
Follow'd with wistful look the damsel's bier.
Sprigg'd rosemary the lads and lasses bore, 135
While dismally the parson walk'd before.
Upon her grave their rosemary they threw,
The daisie, butter-flow'r and endive blue.
After the good man warn'd us from his text,
That none could tell whose turn wou'd be the next;
He said, that heav'n wou'd take her soul no doubt,
And spoke the hour-glass in her praise ——— quite out.
To her sweet mem'ry flow'ry garlands strung,
O'er her now empty seat aloft were hung. 144
With wicker rods we fenc'd her tomb around,
To ward from man and beast the hallow'd ground,
Lest her new grave the parson's cattle raze,
For both his horse and cow the church-yard graze.
Now we trudg'd homeward to her mother's farm,
To drink new cyder mull'd, with ginger warm;
For gaffer Treadwell told us by the by, 151
Excessive sorrow is exceeding dry.
While bulls bear horns upon their curled brow,[8]
Or lasses with soft stroakings milk the cow;
While padling ducks the standing lake desire,
Or batt'ning hogs roll in the sinking mire; 160
While moles the crumbled earth in hillocks raise,
So long shall swains tell Blouzelinda's praise.
Thus wail'd the louts, in melancholy strain,
'Till bonny Susan sped a-cross the plain;
They seiz'd the lass in apron clean array'd, 165
And to the ale-house forc'd the willing maid;
In ale and kisses they forget their cares,
And Susan Blouzelinda's loss repairs.

  1. Dirge, or Dyrige, a mournful ditty, or song of lamentation over the dead, not a contraction of the Latin Dirige in the popish hymn Dirige Gressus meos, as some pretend; but from the Tutonick Dyrke, Laudare, to praise and extol: Whence it is possible their Dyrke and our Dirge, was a laudatory song to commemorate and applaud the dead. Cowell's interpreter.
  2. Line 15. Incipe Mopse prier si quos aut Phyllidis ignes,
    Aut Alconis habes Laudes, aut jurgia Codri.

  3. 27. Glee, Joy, from the Dutch, Glooren, to recreate.
  4. {[blockref}}

    Line 84. Pro molli viola, pro purpureo Narcisso
    Carduus, & spinis surgit Paliurus acutis.Virg.

  5. 90. Et tumulum facité, & tumulo superaddito Carmen.
  6. 93.Tale tuum Carmen nobis. Divine Poeta,
    Quale sopor fessis in gramine: quale per æstum
    Dulcis aquæ saliente sitim restinguere rivo.
    Nos tamen haec quocumque modo tibi nostra vicissim
    Dicemus, Daphninque tuum tollemus ad astra.Virg.

  7. 96. Κρἑοσοτ μελωομένω τεν ακουἐμεν ὐτ μέλτ λεἰχειν.Theoc.
  8.  Line
    153. Dum juga montis Aper, fluvios dum Piscis amabit
    Dumque Thymo pascentur apes, dum rore cicadæ,
    Semper honos nomenque tuum, laudesque manebunt.