This pastoral elegy, recalling Astrophel, became the third poem of the later six. The death of "Albino" — the young Duke of Glocester — was of great public concern, since Queen Anne's failure to produce an heir raised the question of the Hanoverian succession and a threat of civil war. Compare "Florelio" in the this volume, written for the same occasion by the editor, Elijah Fenton.
Robert Southey: "His Pastorals, if the reader can so far lay aside all common sense as to forget the inherent absurdity of Pastorals, deserve much of the commendation which they once received" Specimens of the Later English Poets (1807) 2:112.
Myra Reynolds: "What is of importance in his oetry is the fact that in the midst of imitations and conventionalities are many true and charming observations drawn entirely from English country life and not found in earlier eighteenth-century poetry. His work is, to be sure, rendered weak and childish by two unpleasant mannerisms in diction: his use of adjectives ending in 'y,' as 'bloomy,' 'dampy,' 'bluey,' 'steepy,' 'purply,' and so on, and his use of diminutives such as 'kidlings,' 'lambkins,' 'younglings,' 'firstlings,' and 'steerlings.' But on the whole we find in his poems a more full and accurate knowledge of Nature than is at all common in the poetry of the time" The Treatment of Nature in English Poetry (1909) 60-61.
Richard Foster Jones: "An examination of Philip's pastorals, however, is disappointing, for in spite of some rustic names borrowed for the most part from Spenser, a few touches of true nature description, and the substitution of fairies for Pan and the nymphs, there is little that is original or descriptive of actual country life in them. They are all cast in the strict eclogue form taken from Virgil and Spenser, the latter of whom Philips imitated in some of his dialogues. To Theocritus he owes practically nothing" "Eclogue Types in English Poetry of the Eighteenth Century" JEGP 24 (1925) 48.
When Virgil thought no Shame the Dorick Reed
To tune, and Flocks on Mantuan Plains to feed,
With young Augustus Name he grac'd his Song:
And Spencer, when amid the rural Throng,
He carol'd sweet and graz'd along the Flood
Of gentle Thames, made ev'ry sounding Wood
With good Elisa's Name to ring around;
Elisa's Name on ev'ry Tree was found.
Since then, O A— our Cattle thrive,
And Swains at ease through ANNA's Goodness live;
Like them will I my slender Musick raise,
And cause the vocal Vallies speak her Praise:
While you some labour'd Poem shall design,
And ANNA's Virtues beautifie each Line.
But now to you, my Friend, a lowly Lay,
While my Kids browze, obscure in Shades I play.
Two Country Swains, both musical, both young,
In Friendship's mutual Bonds united long,
Retir'd within a mossy Cave, to shun
The Crowd of Shepherds, and the Noon-day Sun:
A melancholy Thought possess'd their Mind;
Revolving now the solemn Day they find
When young Albino dy'd: his Image dear
Bedews their Cheeks with many a trickling Tear;
To Tears they add the Tribute of their Verse:
These Angelot, those Palin did rehearse.
Thus yearly circling by-past Times return;
And yearly thus Albino's Fate we mourn:
Albino's Fate was early; short his Stay:
How sweet the Rose! how speedy the Decay!
Can we forget how ev'ry Creature moan'd,
And sympathizing Rocks in Echos groan'd,
Presaging future Woe, when for our Crimes
We lost Albino, Pledge of peaceful Times,
The Pride of Britain, and the darling Joy
Of all the Plains and ev'ry Shepherd Boy?
No joyous Pipe was heard, no Flocks were seen,
Nor Shepherds found upon the grassy Green;
No Cattel graz'd the Field nor drank the Flood;
No Birds were heard to warble thro' the Wood.
In yonder gloomy Grove stretch'd out he lay,
His beauteous Limbs upon the sordid Clay;
The Roses on his pallid Cheeks decay'd,
And o'er his Lips a livid Hue display'd.
Bleating around him lye his pensive Sheep,
And mourning Shepherds came in Crowds to weep;
The pious Mother comes, with Grief opprest:
Ye conscious Trees and Fountains can attest,
With what sad Accents and what moving cries
She fill'd the Grove, and importun'd the Skies,
And ev'ry Star upbraided with his Death,
When in her childless Arms, devoid of Breath,
She clasp'd her Son: Nor did the Nymph for this
Place in her Darling's Welfare all her Bliss,
And teach him young the Sylvan Crook to wield,
And rule the peaceful Empire of the Field.
As milk-white Swans on silver Streams do show,
And silver Streams to grace the Meadows flow;
As Corn the Vales, and Pines the Hills adorn,
So thou to thine an Ornament wast born.
Since thou, delicious Youth, didst quit the Plains,
Th' ungrateful Ground we till with fruitless Pains;
In labour'd Furrows sow the Choice of Wheat,
And over empty Sheaves in Harvest sweat:
A thin Increase our woolly Substance yields,
And Thorns and Thistles overspread the Fields.
How all our Hopes are fled like Morning Dew!
And we but in our Thoughts thy Manhood view.
Who now shall teach the pointed Spear to throw,
To whirl the Sling, and bend the stubborn Bow?
Nor do'st thou live to bless thy Mother's Days,
And share the sacred Honours of her Praise;
In foreign Fields to purchase endless Fame,
And add new Glories to the British Name.
O peaceful may thy gentle Spirit rest!
And flow'ry Turf lye light upon thy Breast,
Nor shrieking Owl nor Bat fly round thy Tomb,
Nor mid-night Fairies there to revel come.
No more, mistaken Angelot, complain;
Albino lives, and all our Tears are vain:
And now the royal Nymph, who bore him, deigns
To bless the Fields, and rule the simple Swains;
While from above propitious he looks down.
For this the convex Skies no longer frown,
The Planets shine indulgent on our Isle,
And rural Pleasures round about us smile:
Hills, Dales and Woods with shrilling Pipes resound,
The Boys and Virgins dance with Garlands crown'd,
And hail Albino blest! the Vallies ring
Albino blest! O now, if ever, bring
The Laurel green, the smelling Eglantine
And tender Branches from the mantling Vine,
The dewy Cowslip, that in Meadow grows,
The Fountain Violet and Garden Rose;
Your Hamlets strew and ev'ry publick Way,
And consecrate to Mirth Albino's Day:
My self will lavish all my little Store,
And deal about the Goblet flowing o'er;
Old Moulin there shall harp, young Mico sing,
And Cuddy dance the Round amidst the Ring,
And Hobbinol his antick Gambols play:
To thee these Honours yearly will we pay,
When we our shearing Feast and Harvest keep,
To speed the Plow, and bless our thriving Sheep.
While Mallow Kids and Endive Lambs pursue,
While Bees love Thyme, and Locusts sip the Dew,
While Birds delight in Woods their Notes to strain,
Thy Name and sweet Remembrance shall remain,
Et puer ipse fuit cantari dignus. — Virg. Eccl. 6.