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William Shenstone (Уильям Шенстон)


Jemmy Dawson


A ballad. Written about the time of his execution, 
in the year 1745.

Come listen to my mournful tale,
Ye tender hearts and lovers dear!
Nor will you scorn to heave a sigh,
Nor need you blush to shed a tear.

And thou dear Kitty! peerless maid!
Do thou a pensive ear incline;
For thou canst weep at every woe,
And pity every plaint-but mine.

Young Dawson was a gallant boy,
A brighter never trod the plain;
And well he loved one charming maid,
And dearly was he loved again.

One tender maid, she loved him dear;
Of gentle blood the damsel came;
And faultless was her beauteous form,
And spotless was her virgin fame.

But curse on party's hateful strife,
That led the favour'd youth astray;
The day the rebel clans appear'd-
O had he never seen that day!

Their colours and their sash he wore,
And in the fatal dress was found;
And now he must that death endure
Which gives the brave the keenest wound.

How pale was then his true love's cheek,
When Jemmy's sentence reach'd her ear!
For never yet did Alpine snows
So pale, or yet so chill appear.

With faltering voice she, weeping, said,
'O Dawson! monarch of my heart!
Think not thy death shall end our loves,
For thou and I will never part.

'Yet might sweet mercy find a place,
And bring relief to Jemmy's woes,
O George! without a prayer for thee,
My orisons should never close.

'The gracious prince that gave him life,
Would crown a never-dying flame;
And every tender babe I bore
Should learn to lisp the giver's name.

'But though he should be dragg'd in scorn
To yonder ignominious tree;
He shall not want one constant friend
To share the cruel Fates' decree.'

Oh! then her mourning coach was call'd;
The sledge moved slowly on before;
Though borne in a triumphal car,
She had not loved her favourite more.

She follow'd him, prepared to view
The terrible behests of law;
And the last scene of Jemmy's woes,
With calm and steadfast eye she saw.

Distorted was that blooming face,
Which she had fondly loved so long;
And stifled was that tuneful breath,
Which in her praise had sweetly sung:

And sever'd was that beauteous neck,
Round which her arms had fondly closed;
And mangled was that beauteous breast,
On which her lovesick head reposed:

And ravish'd was that constant heart,
She did to every heart prefer;
For though it could its king forget,
'Twas true and loyal still to her.

Amid those unrelenting flames
She bore this constant heart to see;
But when 'twas moulder'd into dust,
'Yet, yet,' she cried, 'I follow thee.

'My death, my death alone can show
The pure, the lasting love I bore
Accept, O Heaven! of woes like ours,
And let us, let us weep no more.'

The dismal scene was o'er and past,
The lover's mournful hearse retired;
The maid drew back her languid head,
And, sighing forth his name, expired.

Though justice ever must prevail,
The tear my Kitty sheds is due;
For seldom shall she hear a tale
So sad, so tender, yet so true. 



William Shenstone's other poems:
  1. A Simile
  2. The Skylark
  3. A Pastoral Ballad
  4. Hint from Voiture
  5. The Landskip


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