To the Tune of, Thro’ the wood laddie.
AS early I walk’d on the first of sweet may,
Beneath a steep mountain,
Beside a clear fountain,
I heard a grave lute soft melody play,
Whilst the Echo resounded the dolorous lay.
I listen’d and look’d, and spy’d a young swain,
With aspect distressed,
And spirits oppressed,
Seem’d clearing afresh, like the sky after rain,
And thus he discover’d how he strave with his pain.
Tho’ Elisa be coy, why should I repine,
That a maid much above me,
Vouchsafes not to love me?
In her high sphere of worth I never could shine;
Then why should I seek to debase her to mine?
No: henceforth esteem shall govern my desire,
And, in due subjection,
Retain warm affection;
To shew that self-love inflames not my fire,
And that no other swain can more humbly admire.
When passion shall cease to rage in my breast,
Then quiet returning,
Shall hush my sad mourning;
And, lord of my self, in absolute rest,
I’ll hug the condition which heaven shall think best.
Thus friendship unmixt, and wholly refin’d,
May still be respected,
Tho‘ love is rejected:
Elisa shall own, tho’ to love not inclin’d,
That she ne’er had a friend like her lover resign’d.
May the fortunate youth who hereafter shall woo,
With prosp’rous endeavour,
And gain her dear favour,
Know as well as I, what t’ Elisa is due,
Be much more deserving, but never less true.
Whilst I, disengag’d from all amorous cares,
Sweet liberty tasting,
On calmest peace feasting,
Employing my reason to dry up my tears,
In hopes of heaven’s blisses I’ll spend my few years.
Ye powers that preside o’er virtuous love,
Come aid me with patience,
To bear my vexations;
With equal desires my flutt’ring heart move,
With sentiments purest my notions improve.
If love in his fetters e’er catch me again,
May courage protect me,
And prudence direct me;
Prepar’d for all fates, remembring the swain,
Who grew happily wise, after loving in vain.