A Village Girl (1786)

A VILLAGE GIRL (1786)  [*] 

Hail, May! lovely May! how replenish’d my pails!
The young Dawn o’erspreads the broad east, streak’d with gold!
My glad heart beats time to the laugh of the vales,
And Colin’s voice rings through the wood from the fold.
The wood to the mountain submissively bends,5
Whose blue misty summit first glows with the sun!
See! thence a gay train by the wild rill descends
To join the mix’d sports:—Hark! the tumult’s begun.
Be cloudless, ye skies!—And be Colin but there;
Not dew-spangled bents on the wide level dale,10
Nor Morning’s first smile can more lovely appear
Than his looks, since my wishes I cannot conceal.
Swift down the mad dance, while blest health prompts to move,
We’ll court [1]  joys to come, and exchange vows of truth;
And haply, when age cools the transports of love, 15
Decry, like good folks, the vain follies of youth.


*This poem was first included in the preface to The Farmer’s Boy (with the title ‘The Milk-Maid. On the First of May’) as a specimen of Bloomfield’s earliest attempts at verse. In the ‘Advertisement’ he added before the Preface of the 8th edn of The Farmer’s Boy, Bloomfield restored the title to ‘A Village Girl’ and removed a final stanza which had been supplied by Capel Lofft. The poem originally saw publication in The Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser (pub. by Charles Say, London, 1764–1796) for Wednesday, May 24, 1786. BACK

[1] [Bloomfield’s note on this line included in the 8th edn of The Farmer’s Boy:] The original word was ‘count,’ to reckon on it, to enjoy by anticipation. The printer changed it to court. BACK