Home  »  Complete Poetical Works by Alexander Pope  »  Poems Suggested by Gulliver. II. The Lamentation of Glumdalclitch for the Loss of Grildrig

Alexander Pope (1688–1744). Complete Poetical Works. 1903.

Poems: 1718–27

Poems Suggested by Gulliver. II. The Lamentation of Glumdalclitch for the Loss of Grildrig

A Pastoral

SOON as Glumdalclitch miss’d her pleasing care,

She wept, she blubber’d, and she tore her hair;

No British miss sincerer grief has known,

Her squirrel missing, or her sparrow flown.

She furl’d her sampler, and haul’d in her thread,

And stuck her needle into Grildrig’s bed;

Then spread her hands, and with a bounce let fall

Her baby, like the giant in Guildhall.

In peals of thunder now she roars, and now

She gently whimpers like a lowing cow:

Yet lovely in her sorrow still appears:

Her locks dishevell’d, and her flood of tears,

Seem like the lofty barn of some rich swain,

When from the thatch drips fast a shower of rain.

In vain she search’d each cranny of the house,

Each gaping chink, impervious to a mouse.

‘Was it for this (she cried) with daily care

Within thy reach I set the vinegar,

And fill’d the cruet with the acid tide,

While pepper-water worms thy bait supplied?

Where twined the silver eel around thy hook,

And all the little monsters of the brook!

Sure in that lake he dropt; my Grilly’s drown’d!’

She dragg’d the cruet, but no Grildrig found.

‘Vain is thy courage, Grilly, vain thy boast!

But little creatures enterprise the most.

Trembling I ’ve seen thee dare the kitten’s paw,

Nay, mix with children, as they play’d at taw,

Nor fear the marbles as they bounding flew;

Marbles to them, but rolling rocks to you!

‘Why did I trust thee with that giddy youth?

Who from a page can ever learn the truth?

Versed in court tricks, that money-loving boy

To some lord’s daughter sold the living toy;

Or rent him limb from limb in cruel play,

As children tear the wings of flies away.

From place to place o’er Brobdingnag I ’ll roam,

And never will return, or bring thee home.

But who hath eyes to trace the passing wind?

How then they fairy footsteps can I find?

Dost thou bewilder’d wander all alone

In the green thicket of a mossy stone;

Or, tumbled from the toadstool’s slipp’ry round,

Perhaps, all maim’d, lie grovelling on the ground

Dost thou, embosom’d in the lovely rose,

Or, sunk within the peach’s down repose?

Within the kingcup if thy limbs are spread,

Or in the golden cowslip’s velvet head,

O show me, Flora, midst those sweets, the flower

Where sleeps my Grildrig in the fragrant bower.

‘But ah! I fear thy little fancy roves

On little females, and on little loves;

Thy pigmy children, and thy tiny spouse,

The baby playthings that adorn thy house,

Doors, windows, chimneys, and the spacious rooms,

Equal in size to cells of honeycombs.

Hast thou for these now ventured from the shore,

Thy bark a bean shell, and a straw thy oar?

Or in thy box now bounding on the main,

Shall I ne’er bear thyself and house again?

And shall I set thee on my hand no more,

To see thee leap the lines, and traverse o’er

My spacious palm; of stature scarce a span,

Mimic the actions of a real man?

No more behold thee turn my watch’s key,

As seamen at a capstan anchors weigh?

How wert thou wont to walk with cautious tread,

A dish of tea, like milkpail, on thy head!

How chase the mite that bore thy cheese away,

And keep the rolling maggot at a bay!’

She spoke; but broken accents stopp’d her voice,

Soft as the speaking-trumpet’s mellow noise:

She sobb’d a storm, and wiped her flowing eyes,

Which seem’d like two broad suns in misty skies.

O squander not thy grief! those tears command

To weep upon our cod in Newfoundland;

The plenteous pickle shall preserve the fish,

And Europe taste thy sorrows in a dish.