The Shepherd's Week : Friday; or, The Dirge

Bumkinet, Grubbinol

Bumkinet.
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 shower of leaves is borne
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 hie, and quaff a cheery bowl,
Let cyder new wash sorrow from my soul.

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

Bumkinet.
Hang sorrow! let's to yonder hut repair,
And with trim sonnets cast away our care,
Gilliam 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 valleys ring.
Come, Grubbinol, beneath this shelter come,
From hence we view our flocks securely roam.

Grubbinol.
Yes, blithesome lad, a tale I mean to sing,
But with my wo shall distant valleys ring.
The tale shall make our kidlings droop their head,
For wo is me! - our Blouzelind is dead.

Bumkinet.
It Blouzelinda dead? Farewell my glee!
No happiness is now reserv'd for me.
As the wood-pigeon cooes without his mate,
So shall my doleful dirge bewail her fate.
Of Blouzelinda fair I mean to tell,
The peerless maid that did all maids excel.
Hence forth the morn shall dewy sorrow shed,
And evening tears upon the grass be spread;
The rolling streams with watery grief shall flow,
And winds shall moan aloud - when loud they blow,
Henceforth, as oft as autumn shall return,
The dropping trees, whene'er it rains shall mourn;
This season quite shall strip the country's pride,
For 'twas in autumn Blouzelinda died.
Where'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 sorrow curdles in my blood.
Thither I've often been the damsel's guide,
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 hazel boughs adown,
And stuff'd her apron wide with nuts so brown;
Or when her feeding hogs had miss'd their way,
Or wallowing 'mid a feast of acorns lay;
The 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,
I shall her goodly countenance espy,
For there her goodly countenance I've seen,
Set off with kerchief starch'd and pinners clean.
Sometimes, like wax, she rolls the butter round,
Or with the wooden lily prints the pound.
Whilome I've seen her skim the clouted cream,
And press from spungy 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,
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,
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,
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 every deale my heart by love was gain'd,
There the sweet kiss my courtship has explain'd.
Ah Blouzelind! that now 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;
Let weeds instead of butter-flowers appear,
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,
'Here Blouzelinda lies - Alas, alas!
Weep shepherds - and remember flesh is grass.'

Grubbinol.
Albeit thy songs are sweeter to mine ear,
Than to the thirsty cattle rivers clear;
Or winter porridge to the labouring youth,
Or bunns and sugar to the damsel's tooth;
Yet Blouzelind's name shall tune my lay,
Of her I'll sing for ever and for aye.
When Blouzelind expir'd, the weather's bell
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John Gay

John Gay, a cousin of the poet John Gay, was an English philosopher, biblical scholar and Church of England clergyman. more…

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"The Shepherd's Week : Friday; or, The Dirge" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2019. Web. 20 Aug. 2019. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/22788/the-shepherd's-week-:-friday;-or,-the-dirge>.

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