Love and Friendship: A Pastoral


While from the skies the ruddy sun descends;

And rising night the ev’ning shades extends;

While pearly dews o’erspread the fruitful fields;

And closing flowers reviving odours yield;

Let us, beneath these spreading trees, recite

What rom our hearts our muses may indite.

Nor need we, in this close retirement, fear,

Lest any swain or am’rous secrets hear.


To ev’ry shepherd I would mine proclaim:

Sin[c]e fair Aminta is my softest theme:

A stranger to the loose delights of love,

My thoughts the nobler warmth of friendship prove,

And while its pure and sacred fire I sing,

Chaste goddess of the groves, thy succour bring.


Propitious god of love, my breast inspire

With all thy charms, with all thy pleasing fire:

Propitious god of love, thy succour bring:

Whilst I thy darling, thy Alexis sing,

Alexis, as the op’ning blossoms fair,

Lovely as light, and soft as yielding air.

For him each virgin sighs, and on the plains

The happy youth above each rival reigns;

With such an air, and such a graceful mein,

No shepherd dances on the flow’ry green:

Nor to the echoing groves, and whisp’ring springs,

In sweeter strains the tuneful Conon sings;

When loud applauses fill the crouded groves,

And Phoebus the superior song approves.


Beauteous Aminta is as early light,

Breaking the melancholy shades of night.

When she is near, all anxious trouble flies:

And our reviving hearts confess her eyes.

Young love, and blooming joy, and gay desires,

In ev’ry breast the beauteous nymph inspires:

But on the plain when she no more appears,

The plain a dark and gloomy prospect wears,

In vain the streams roll on; the eastern breeze

Dances in vain among the trembling trees.

In vain the birds begin their ev’ning song,

And to the silent night their notes prolong:

Nor groves, nor chrystal streams, nor verdant field

Can wonted pleasure in her absence yield.


Alexis absent, all the pensive day,

In some obscure retreat I lonely stray:

All day to the repeating caves complain,

In mournful accents, and a dying strain.

Dear, lovely youth! I cry to all around:

Dear, lovely youth! the flatt’ring vales resound.


On flow’ry banks, by ev’ry murm’ring stream,

Aminta is my muse’s softest theme:

’Tis she that does my artful notes refine,

And wither name my noblest verse shall shine.


I’ll twine fresh garlands for Alexis’ brows,

And consecrate to him my softest vows:

The charming youth shall my Apollo prove;

Adorn my songs, and tune my voice to love.

Text: Poems on Several Occasions (London: : E. Dudley [and seven others], 1778), pp. 58-60.