The Shepherd's Week/Second Pastoral

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4022024The Shepherd's Week — Second PastoralJohn Gay




YOUNG Colin Clout, a lad of peerless meed,
Full well could dance, and deftly tune the reed:
In ev'ry wood his carrols sweet were known,
At every wake his nimble feats were shown.
When in the ring the rustick louts he threw, 5
The damsels pleasures with his conquests grew;
Or when aslant the cudgel threats his head,
His danger smites the breast of ev'ry maid,
But chief of Marian. Marian lov'd the swain,
The parson's maid, and neatest of the plain. 10
Marian that soft could stroak the udder'd cow,
Or lessen with her sieve the barley mow;
Marbled with sage the hard'ning cheese she press'd,
And yellow butter Marian's skill confess'd;
But Marian now devoid of country cares,
Nor yellow butter nor sage cheese prepares; 51
For yearning love the witless maid employs.
And love; say swains, all busy heed destroys.
Colin makes mock at all her piteous smart,
A lass that Cic'ly hight, had won his heart; 20
Cic'ly the western lass that tends the kee,[1]
The rival of the parson's maid was she.
In dreary shade now Marian lies along,
And mixt with sighs thus wails in plaining song.
Ah woful day! ah woful noon and morn! 25
When first by thee my younglings white were shorn;
Then first, I ween, I cast a lover's eve,
My sheep were silly, but more silly I:
Beneath the shears they felt no lasting smart,
They lost but fleeces while I lost a heart. 30
Ah Colin! canst thou leave thy sweetheart true!
What I have done for thee will Cic'ly do?
Will she thy linnen wash or hosen darn,
And knit thee gloves made of her own-spun yarn?
Will she with huswife's hand provide thy meat, 35
And ev'ry Sunday morn thy neckcloth plait?
Which o'er thy kersey doublet spreading wide,
In service-time drew Cic'ly's eyes aside.
Where-e'er I gad I cannot hide my care,
My new disasters in my look appear. 40
White as the curd my ruddy cheek is grown,
So thin my features that I'm hardly known;
Our neighbours te!l me oft in joking talk
Of ashes, leather, oatmeal, bran and chalk;
Unwittingly of Marian they divine; 45
And wist not that with thoughtful love I pine.
Yet Colin Clout, untoward Shepherd Swain,
Walks whistling blithe, whilst pitiful I plain.
Whilom with thee 'twas Marian's dear delight
To moil all day, and merry make at night. 50
If in the soil you guide the crooked share,
Your early breakfast is my constant care.
And when with even hand you strow the grain,
I fright the thievish rooks from off the plain.
In misling days when I my thresher heard, 55
With nappy beer I to the barn repair'd;
Lost in the musick of the whirling flail,
To gaze on thee I left the smoaking pail:
In harvest when the sun was mounted high,
My leathern bottle did thy drought supply; 60
When-e'er you mow'd I follow'd with the rake,
And have full oft been sun-burnt for thy sake:
When in the welkin gath'ring show'rs were seen,
I lagg'd the last with Colin on the green;
And when at eve returning with thy carr, 65
Awaiting heard the gingling bells from far,
Strait on the fire the sooty pot I plac't,
To warm thy broth, I burnt my hands for haste;
When hungry thou stood'st staring, like an oaf,
I flic'd the luncheon from the barley loaf, 70
With crumbled bread I thicken'd well thy mess.
Ah, love me more, or love thy pottage less!
Last Friday's eve, when as the sun was set,
I, near yon stile, three fallow Gypsies met:
Upon my hand they cast a poring look, 75
Bid me beware, and thrice their heads they shook;
They said that many crosses I must prove,
Some in my worldly gain, but most in love.
Next mom I miss'd three hens and our old cock,
And off the hedge two pinners and a smock. 80
I bore those losses with a christian mind,
And no mishaps could feel, whilst thou wert kind;
But since, alas! I grew my Colin's scorn,
I've known no pleasure, night, or noon, or morn.
Help me, ye Gypsies, bring him home again, 85
And to a constant lass give back her swain.
Have I not sat with thee full many a night;
When dying embers were our only light,
When ev'ry creature did in slumbers lye,
Beside our cat, my Colin Clout, and I? 90
No troublous thoughts the cat or Colin move,
While I alone am kept awake by love.
Remember, Colin, when at last year's wake,
I bought the costly present for thy sake:
Couldst thou spell o'er the posie on thy knife, 95
And with another change thy state of life?
If thou forget'st, I wot, I can repeat,
My memory can tell the verse so sweet.
As this is grav'd upon this knife of thine,
So is thy image on this heart of mine. 100
But woe is me! such presents luckless prove,
For knives, they tell me, always fever love.
Thus Marian wail'd, her eye with tears brimful,
When goody Dobbins brought her cow to bull.
With apron blue to dry her tears she sought, 105
Then saw the cow well serv'd, and took a groat.

  1. Line 21. Kee, a west-country word for kine or cows.