DEspairing beside a clear stream,
A shepherd forsaken was laid;
And while a false nymph was his theme,
A willow supported his head.
The wind that blew over the plain,
To his sighs with a sigh did reply;
And the brook in return to his pain,
Ran mournfully murmuring by.
Alas! silly swain that I was;
(Thus sadly complaining he cry’d)
When first I beheld that fair face,
‘Twere better by far I had dy’d:
She talk’d and I blest her dear tongue,
When she smil’d, it was pleasure too great;
I listen’d, and cry’d when she sung,
Was nightingale ever so sweet?
How foolish was I to believe,
She could doat on so lowly a clown,
Or that her fond heart would not grieve,
To forsake the fine folk of the town?
To think that a beauty so gay,
So kind and so constant would prove;
Or go clad like our maidens in gray,
Or live in a cottage on love?
What tho’ I have skill to complain,
Tho’ the muses my temples have crown’d,
What tho’ when they hear my soft strains,
The virgins sit weeping around?
Ah Colin! thy hopes are in vain,
Thy pipe and thy lawrel resign,
Thy fair one inclines to a swain,
Whose musick is sweeter than thine.
All you my companions so dear,
Who sorrow to see me betray’d,
Whatever I suffer, forbear,
Forbear to accuse the false maid.
Tho’ thro’ the wide world I should range,
‘Tis in vain from my fortune to fly;
‘Twas hers to be false and to change,
‘Tis mine to be constant and die.
If while my hard fate I sustain,
In her breast any pity is found,
Let her come with the nymphs of the plain,
And see me laid low in the ground:
The last humble boon that I crave,
Is to shade me with cypress and yew;
And when she looks down on my grave,
Let her own that her shepherd was true.
Then to her new love let her go,
And deck her in golden array;
Be finest at every fine show,
And frolick it all the long day:
While Colin forgotten and gone,
No more shall be talk’d of or seen,
Unless when beneath the pale moon,
His ghost shall glide over the green.