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A Pastoral Elegy - Poem by Francis Douglas

STREPHON. So fine the season, so serene the sky,
Why stands the tear in Arethusa's eye?
Our flocks are safe, the lambkins sport and play,
Cheer, up my Love, see all around us gay.

ARETHUSA. The fields, the season, and our flocks to me
Are joyless things, so must they be to thee,
When thou hast heard the heavy tale of woe
Which wrings my heart, and makes my eyes o'erflow;
O Rosalinda! gone, for ever gone!
With thee the soul of Harmony is flown!
Mourn, mourn ye swains, the mighty loss deplore,
Good Rosalinda is alas! no more!

STREPHON. O Arethusa! just's thy cause to mourn!
My tears, with thine, shall wash her precious urn;
How oft together have we spent the day!
While summer suns roll'd unperceiv'd away;
How oft, instructed by her moral song,
Look'd down with pity on the bustling throng!
Mourn, mourn ye nymphs, the mighty loss deplore,
Good Rosalinda is alas! no more!

ARETHUSA. Soft was her temper, and her soul humane,
She lov'd her friends! and felt their joy or pain!
O Strephon! think, to them how justly dear!
Kind, candid, open, gen'rous and sincere!
How tender was her heart! when Flora died,
She often kiss'd her lifeless lips, and sigh'd;
In all her sickness, watch'd her bed with care,
And strove to ease the pain she could not share.
Mourn O ye swains! the mighty loss deplore,
Good Rosalinda is alas! no more!

STREPHON. Last year, when Damon's only son was drown'd
His hapless mother, frantick grown, was bound;
Poor Damon too, was sunk in deadly grief,
Yet Rosalinda brought to both relief
With theirs, at first, she mingled tender tears,
And mourn'd their early hope, the joy of years;
Then soft perswasive eloquence she tried,
To prove he was not happy till he died;
With feeling warmth describ'd the joys above,
Where all is peace, and harmony, and love;
Maintain'd that heav'n was merciful and just,
And resignation due from mortal dust.
O all ye nymphs, the mighty loss deplore,
Good Rosalinda is alas! no more!

ARETHUSA. How kind her heart! from out her little store
A part was still devoted to the poor;
At shearing time she always gave a fleece
To aged Mopsa, and her orphan niece.
Mourn, mourn ye poor, your mighty loss deplore,
Good Rosalinda is alas! no more!

STREPHON. O Arethusa! can we e'er forget,
At shearing time, when swains and nymphs were met,
How Rosalinda drew the list'ning ear—
Suppose the rest—methinks her voice I hear—
She sings!—how sweet the melting accents flow!
Grief lifts his hoad, and Pain forgets his woe!—
Methinks I see her gracefully advance,
And give her hand, to lead the sprightly dance,
All eyes upon her!—joy in ev'ry face!—
And now she moves with dignity and grace!—
Ah! vain illusions! soul and spirit fled!
Low in the dust her decent limbs are laid!
O all ye nymphs, the mighty loss deplore,
Good Rosalinda, is alas! no more!

ARETHUSA. In vain we mourn—cropt in her early bloom,
She sinks lamented, to the peaceful tomb;
Now, rais'd above the various ills of life;
The fleeting joys of sister, friend, or wife;
Her soul attun'd to harmony and love,
In happy concert joins the choir above;
With saints and seraphs breaths immortal air,
And finds that heav'n was amply worth her care.

STREPHON. Peace to her shade!—the grateful tear we pay,
We soon shall need, and how remote the day,
Heav'n only knows, and let its will be done!
How vain alas! is all beneath the sun!


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