A Parody on Rowe's Ballad, "Despairing beside a clear stream," &c.
By the side of a half-rotten wood
Melantha sat silently down,
Convinc'd that her scheme was not good,
And vex'd to be absent from Town.
Whilst pitied by no living soul,
To herself she was forc'd to reply,
And the sparrow, as grave as an owl,
Sat list'ning and pecking hard by.
"Alas! silly maid that I was!"
Thus sadly complaining, she cried;
"When first I forsook that dear place,
'T had been better by far I had died!
How gaily I pass'd the long days,
In a round of continual delights;
Park, visits, assemblies, and plays,
And a dance to enliven the nights.
"How simple was I to believe
Delusive poetical dreams!
Or the flattering landscapes they give
Of meadows and murmuring streams.
Bleak mountains, and cold starving rocks,
Are the wretched result of my pains;
The swains greater brutes than their flocks,
The nymphs as polite as the swains.
"What though I have got my dear Phil;
I see him all night and all day;
I find I must not have my will,
And I've cursedly sworn to obey!
Fond damsel, thy power is lost,
As now I experience too late!
Whatever a lover may boast,
A husband is what one may hate!
"And thou, my old woman, so dear,
My all that is left of relief,
Whatever I suffer, forbear --
Forbear to dissuade me from grief:
'Tis in vain, as you say, to repine
At ills which cannot be redress'd;
But, in sorrows so poignant as mine,
To be patient, alas! is a jest.
"If, further to soothe my distress,
Your tender compassion is led,
Come hither and help to undress,
And decently put me to bed.
The last humble solace I wait,
Would Heav'n but indulge me the boon,
May some dream, less unkind than my fate,
In a vision transport me to Town.
"Clarissa, meantime, weds a beau,
Who decks her in golden array:
She's the finest at ev'ry fine show,
And flaunts it at Park and at Play:
Whilst I am here left in the lurch,
Forgot and secluded from view;
Unless when some bumpkin at church
Stares wistfully over the pew."