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 first Idyll of Theocritus and Spenser's "June," this poem became the fourth in the series of six.

Joseph Addison to Ambrose Philips: "You have an admirable hand at a sheep-crook, though I must confess the conclusion of your poem would have pleased me better had it not been for that very reason that it was the conclusion of it. I hope you will follow the example of your Spencer and Virgil in making your Pastorals the prelude of something greater. He that can bewail Stella's death in so good a copy of verses, would be able to anatomize her after it in a better" August 1710 [?]; in Works (1911) 5:383-84.

William Makepeace Thackeray: "A serious and dreary idyllic cockney" in Russell, Book of Authors (1860) 151.

Earl R. Wasserman: "A number of passages are echoes of Spenser, and Philips borrowed a few of Spenser's archaisms and, like Spenser, used the pastoral for allegory. Yet the Pastorals in no way resemble The Shepheardes Calender; the significant influence is an intangible one and determines mainly the level of Philips' style and his concept of the pastoral life" Elizabethan Poetry in the Eighteenth Century (1947) 143.



MICO, ARGOL.

MICO.
This place may seem for Shepherds Leisure made,
So lovingly these Elms unite their Shade.
Th' ambitious Woodbine, how it climbs, to breathe
Its balmy Sweets around on all beneath!
The Ground with Grass of chearful Green bespread,
Thro' which the springing Flow'r up-rears its Head:
Lo here the Kingcup, of a golden Hue,
Meddly'd with Daisies white and Endive blue.
Hark how the gawdy Goldfinch and the Thrush
With tuneful warblings fill that Bramble-bush!
In pleasing Consorts all the Birds combine,
And tempt us in the various Song to join.
Up Argol then; and to thy Lip apply
Thy mellow Pipe, or vocal Musick try:
And since our Ews have graz'd, no harm if they
Lye round and listen, while their Lambkins play.

ARGOL.
The Place indeed gives Pleasure to the Eye,
And Pleasure works the Singer's Fancy high:
The Fields breathe sweet, and now the gentle Breeze
Moves ev'ry Leaf, and trembles thro' the Trees,
So sweet a Scene ill-suits my rugged Lay,
And better fits the Musick thou canst play.

MICO.
No Skill of Musick can I, simple Swain,
No fine Device thy Ear to entertain;
Tho' rude my Strains, uncouth the Melody,
It pleases and diverts my Sheep and me.
Yet Colinet (and Colinet has Skill,)
My Fingers guided on the tuneful Quill,
And try'd to teach me on what Sounds to dwell,
And where to sink a Note, and where to swell.

ARGOL.
Ah Mico! half my Flock wou'd I bestow,
Would Colinet to me his Cunning show.
So trim his Sonnets are, I prithee, Swain,
Now give us once a Sample of his Strain:
For Wonders of that Lad the Shepherds say,
How sweet his Pipe, how ravishing his Lay:
The Sweetness of his Pipe and Lay rehearse,
And ask what Gift thou pleasest for thy Verse.

MICO.
Since then thou list, a mournful Song I chuse;
A mournful Song becomes a mournful Muse:
Fast by the River on a Bank he sate,
To weep a lovely Maids untimely Fate,
That Stella hight; a lovely Maid was she,
Whose Fate he wept; a faithful Shepherd he.

Awake, my Pipe, in ev'ry Note express
Fair Stella's Death, and Colinet's Distress.

O woful Day! O Day of Woe! quoth he;
And woful I, who live this Day to see!
That ever she could die, O most unkind!
To go, and leave thy Colinet behind:
And yet, why blame I her? full fain would she
With dying Arms have clasp'd her self to me:
I clasp'd her too, but Death was all too strong,
Nor Tears, nor Vows, could flitting Life prolong.
Teach me to grieve with bleating Moan, my Sheep;
Teach me, thou ever-flowing Stream, to weep;
Teach me, ye fainting hollow Winds to sigh;
And let my Sorrows teach me how to die:
Nor Flock, nor Stream, nor Winds can e'er relieve
A Wretch like me; for ever born to grieve.

Awake, my Pipe; in ev'ry Note express
Fair Stella's Death, and Colinet's Distress.

Ye brighter Maids, faint Emblems of my Fair,
With down-cast Looks, and with dishevel'd Hair,
In bitter Anguish beat your Breasts, and moan
Her Hour untimely, as it were your own:
Alas! the fading Glory of your Eyes
In vain we doat upon, in vain you prize;
For tho' your Beauty rule the silly Swain,
And in his Heart like little Queens you reign;
Yet Death will e'en that charming Beauty kill,
As ruthless Winds the tender Blossoms spill.
If either Musick's Voice, or Beauty's Charm
Could make him mild, and stay his lifted Arm;
My Pipe her Face, her Face my Pipe should save,
Redeeming thus each other from the Grave.
Ah fruitless Wish! cold Death's up-lifted Arm
Nor Musick can persuade, nor Beauty charm:
For see (O baleful sight!) see where she lies!
The budding Flow'r, unkindly blasted, dies.

Awake, my Pipe; in ev'ry Note express
Fair Stella's Death, and Colinet's Distress.

Unhappy Colinet! what boots thee now
To weave fresh Garlands for the Damsel's Brow?
Throw by the Lilly, Daffadil and Rose;
One of black Yew, and Willow pale compose,
With baneful Henbane, deadly Nightshade drest;
A Garland that may witness thy unrest.
My Pipe, whose soothing sound could Passion move,
And first taught Stella's Virgin Heart to love,
Untun'd shall hang upon this blasted Oak,
Whence Owls their Dirges sing, and Ravens croak:
Nor Lark, nor Linnet shall by Day delight,
Nor Nightingale divert my moan by Night;
The Night and Day shall undistinguish'd be,
Alike to Stella, and alike to me.

Thus sweetly did the gentle Shepherd sing,
And heavy Woe within soft Numbers bring.
And now that Sheep-Crook for my Song I crave.

ARGOL.
Not this, but much a fairer thou shalt have,
Of season'd Elm, where studs of Brass appear,
That speak the Giver's Name, the Month and Year;
The Hook of polish'd Steel, the Handle torn'd,
And richly by the Graver's Skill adorn'd.
Colinet, how sweet thy Grief to hear!
How does thy Verse subdue the list'ning Ear?
Not half so sweet are Midnight Winds, that move
In drowzie murmurs o'er the waving Grove;
Nor drooping Waters, that in Grots distill,
And with a tinkling sound their Caverns fill:
So sing the Swans, that in soft Accents waste
Their dying Breath, and warble to the last:
And next to thee, shall Mico bear the Bell,
That can repeat thy peerless Verse so well.

But see, the Hills increasing Shadows cast;
The sinking Sun is leaving us in haste:
His weekly Rays but glimmer thro' the Wood,
And blewish Mists exhale from yonder Flood.

MICO.
Then send our Curs to gather up the Sheep,
Good Shepherds, with their Flocks, betimes should sleep:
For he that late lies down, as late will rise,
And, Sluggard-like, till Noon-day snoring lies:
While, in their Folds, his injur'd Ews complain,
And, after dewy Pastures, bleat in vain.

[pp. 62-69]