A Celebration of Women Writers

"Pastoral Stanzas." by Mary Darby Robinson (1758-1800)
From: Robinson, Mrs. M. Poems. London: J. Bell, 1791. pp. 165-166.

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[Page 165]

The two following little Poems were written at a very early period of the Author's life.

PASTORAL STANZAS.

WHEN AURORA'S soft blushes o'erspread the blue hill,
  And the mist dies away at the glances of morn;
When the birds join the music that floats on the rill,
  And the beauties of spring the young woodlands adorn.

To breathe the pure air and enliven my soul,
  I bound from my cottage exulting and gay;
No care to molest me, no pow'r to controul,
  I sport with my lambkins, as thoughtless as they.

Yet, the bright tear of pity bedews my fond eyes,
  When I think that for MAN the dear victims must fall,
While nature such stores of provision supplies,
  And the bounties of Heaven are common to all.

Ah ! tell me, Reflection, why custom decreed
  That the sweet feather'd songsters so slaughter'd should be ?
For the board of the rich the poor minstrels may bleed,
  But the fruits of the field are sufficient for me.

When I view the proud palace, so pompously gay,
  Whose high gilded turrets peep over the trees;
I pity its greatness and mournfully say,
  Can mortals delight in such trifles as these !

[Page 166]

Can a pillow of down sooth the woe-stricken mind,
  Can the sweets of Arabia calm sickness and pain;
Can fetters of gold Love's true votaries bind,
  Or the gems of Peru Time's light pinions restrain ?

Can those limbs which bow down beneath sorrow and age,
  From the floss of the silk-worm fresh vigour receive;
Can the pomp of the proud, death's grim tyrant assuage,
  Can it teach you to die, or instruct you to live ?

Ah, no! then sweet PEACE, lovely offspring of Heav'n,
  Come dwell in my cottage, thy handmaid I'll be;
Thus my youth shall pass on, unmolested and even,
  And the winter of age be enliven'd by thee!

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