1708
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Another Pastoral. By the Same Hand.

Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany Poems. [Elijah Fenton, ed.]

Ambrose Philips


Imitating the third Idyll of Theocritus and Spenser's Januarye, Ambrose Philips's pastoral later became the first poem of the sequence of six.

Richard Ryan: "Among the British, pastoral has attained little of excellence, since the days of Spenser, Drayton, and Browne. Affectation has long been substituted for passion, and delicacy and elegance for that exquisite simplicity of language and sentiments, which constitutes the principal charm of this delightful species of poetry. Phillips is but an awkward appropriator of Virgil's imagery, and an unsuccessful imitator of Spenser's phraseology" in Poetry and Poets: being a Collection of the choicest Anecdotes (1826) 3:66-67.

W. J. Courthope: "Philips' Pastorals had no more claim than Pope's to be considered 'simple' or 'natural.' They too were written in the heroic couplet, and the only approach that their author made towards Anglicising his shepherds was to give them the clownish names invented by Spenser, and to make them talk of fairies instead of the sylvan deities of Greece and Rome" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 5:159.

Marion K. Bragg: Philips is "the first writer in the period to show a decided tendency to insert details of English life in his poems, and therefore, as the first eighteenth-century writer who attempted to combine with the pastoral tradition elements of realism" The Formal Eclogue in Eighteenth-Century England (1926) 46.



A Shepherd Boy, all in an Ev'ning fair,
When Western Winds had cool'd the sultry Air,
When all his Sheep within their Fold were pent,
Lamented thus his dreery Discontent;
So pityful, that all the starry Throng
Attentive seem'd to hear his mournful Song.
Alas! he sung how long must I endure
This pining Pain? Or who shall work my Cure?
Fond Love no Cure will have, seeks no Repose;
Delights in Grief, nor bounded Measure knows.
And now the Moon begins in Clouds to rise;
The twinkling Stars are lighted in the Skies;
The Winds are hush; the Dews distil; and Sleep
With soft Embrace has seiz'd my weary Sheep:
I only with the prowling Wolf constrain'd
All Night to wake: with Hunger is he pain'd,
And I with Love: his Hunger he may tame;
But who in Love can quench th' encreasing Flame?

I heretofore like this tall Poplar fair,
Up rais'd my heedless Head devoid of Care;
'Mong rustick Routs the chief for wanton Game,
Nor could they merry make till Lobbin came.
Who better seen than I in Shepherds Arts,
To please the Lads or win the Lasses Hearts?
How deftly to my Oaten Reed, so sweet,
Wont they upon the Green to shift their Feet?
And, when the Dance was done, how would they yearn,
Some well-invented Tale from me to learn?
For many Songs and Tales of Mirth had I
To chase the lingring Sun a-down the Skie.
But ah! since Lucy coy has wrought her Spite
Within my Heart, unmindful of Delight
The jolly Grooms I fly, and all alone
To Rocks and Woods pour forth my fruitless Moan.

Oh! quit thy wonted Scorn, relentless Fair!
E'er lingring long I perish thro' Despair.
Had Rosalind been Mistress of my Mind,
Tho' not so fair, she would have been more kind.
Unwitting Maid! O think, while yet is time,
How flying Years impair our youthful Prime:
Thy Virgin Bloom will not for ever stay;
And Flow'rs, tho' left ungather'd will decay:
The Flow'rs anew returning Seasons bring;
But Beauty faded has no second Spring.

My Words are Wind; she, deaf to melting Cries,
Takes Pleasure in the Mischief of her Eyes.
Like frisking Heifer loose in flow'ry Meads,
She gads where'er her roving Fancy leads;
But still from me: Ah me, the tiresome Chase!
While wing'd with Scorn she flies my fond Embrace:
She flies indeed, but ever leaves behind,
Fly where she will, her Likeness in my Mind:
Ah turn thee then! unthinking Damsel, why
Thus from the Youth, who loves thee, wilt thou fly?
No cruel Purpose in my Speed I bear;
'Tis all but Love, and Love why should'st thou fear?
What idle Fears a maiden Breast alarm!
Stay, simple Girl! a Lover cannot harm.

Two Kidlins, sportive as thy self, I rear,
Like tender Buds their shooting Horns appear:
A Lambkin too pure white I breed as tame
And gentle, as I wish my scornful Dame:
A Garland deck'd with all the Pride of May,
Sweet as thy Breath, and as thy Beauty gay,
I'll weave: but why these unavailing Pains?
The Gifts alike, and Giver she disdains.

Oh would my Gifts but win her stubborn Heart!
Or could I half the Warmth I feel impart;
How would I wander ev'ry Day to find
The ruddy Wildings! were but Lucy kind,
For glossy Plumbs I'd climb the knotty Tree,
And of fresh Honey rob the thrifty Bee:
Or, if thou deign to live a Shepherdess,
Thou Lobbin's Flock and Lobbin shalt possess:
And fair my Flock, nor yet unhandsome I,
If liquid Fountains flatter not: and why
Should liquid Fountains flatter us, yet show
The bord'ring Flow'rs less beauteous than they grow?

O come my Love! nor think th' Employment mean,
The Dams to milk, and little Lambkins wean;
To drive a-field by Morn the fat'ning Ews,
E'er the warm Sun drink up the cooly Dews.
How would the Crook beseem thy beauteous Hand!
How would my younglins round thee gazing stand!
Ah witless Younglins? gaze not on her Eye,
Such heedless Glances are the cause I die:
Nor trow I when this bitter Blast shall end,
Or if kind Love will ever me befriend.
Sleep, sleep my Flock, for happy you may take
Your Rest, tho' nightly thus your Master wake.

Now to the waning Moon the Nightingale
In doleful Ditties told her tuneful Tale:
The Love-sick Shepherd list'ning found Relief,
Pleas'd with so sweet a Partner in his Grief;
Till by degrees her Notes and silent Night
To Slumbers soft his sorrowing Breast invite.

[pp. 56-61]