The "Poetical Miscellanies" volume is framed by two sets of pastoral eclogues, by Philips and Pope, creating something of a singing contest. Ambrose Philips writes "Moderns" pastoral, taking Spenser for his model and introducing local particularity, while Pope, taking the "Ancients" position, follows Virgil by setting his pastorals in an idealized arcadia. Philips adds two new pastorals to the four previously published, creating a cycle of six glancing at the dynastic situation and his ambitions for patronage. Philips made considerable changes in later editions of his pastorals, which were considerably more popular and influential than their modern reputation would suggest.
H. B.: "The first pastoral is called Lobbin, wherein the author gives us a representation of the coyness of his sweetheart Lucy. The thoughts are natural; the metaphors uncommon; and the allusions very proper" "Remarks on Philips's Pastorals" in Universal Visitor (1756) 305.
Samuel Johnson: "Not long afterwards Pope made the first display of his powers in four Pastorals, written in a very different form. Philips had taken Spenser, and Pope took Virgil for his pattern. Philips endeavoured to be natural, Pope laboured to be elegant" "Life of Philips" in Lives of the English Poets (1779-81); ed. Hill (1905) 3:319.
T. P.: "Theocritus appears to be his model in the conception of his sentiments, Spenser in the expression of them; the phrases of the latter he pursues with a slavish tenacity, forgetting that words then perhaps in general use, are by length of time rendered unintelligible and absurd, which is the more to be lamented, as whenever he deviates from that adherence, and adapts phrases and epithets of his own, he scarce ever fails of giving complete satisfaction to the candid reader" "Philips as a Pastoral Writer" European Magazine 3 (January 1783) 22.
Joseph Warton: "Philips, certainly not a very animated or first-rate writer, yet appears not to deserve quite so much contempt, if we look at his first and fifth pastoral, his epistle from Copenhagen, his ode of the Death of Earl Cowper, his translations of the two first Olympic odes of Pindar, the two odes of Sappho, and, above all, his pleasing tragedy of the Distress'd Mother. The secret grounds of Philips's malignity to Pope, are said to be the ridicule and laughter he met with from all the Hanover Club, of which he was secretary, for mistaking the incomparable ironical paper in the Guardian, No. 40. which was written by Pope, for a serious criticism on pastoral poetry. The learned Heyne also mistook this irony, as appears by p. 202, v. 1 of his Virgil" note to Pope's "Epistle to Arbuthnot" in Works, ed. Warton (1797) 4:29n.
Herbert E. Cory: "In the first eclogue, Lobbin (a character in Spenser's November), like Colin Clout in Januarie and December, complains of his unrequited love: 'Lobbin, a shepherd-boy, one evening fair... | Thus plained him of his dreary discontent... | Whilom did I, all as this poplar fair, | Upraise my heedless head then void of care.' But now Colin is the victim of the heedless Lucy. Readers of Spenser will recognize at once that Philips colors his Augustan couplets with a slight infusion of Spenserian diction. The jolly grooms I fly, and all alone, | To rocks and woods pour forth my fruitless moan. | The gifts, alike, and giver she disdains | And now, left heiress of the glens she'll deem | Me, landless lad, unworthy her esteem.' Lobbin sings, with some real charm, of his devotion if Lucy would listen" "Critics of Edmund Spenser" UCPMP (1911) 135-36.
Mary G. Segar: "Spenser's First Eclogue supplied words and phrases for this pastoral, and also some of the names; but Philips makes Rosalind the kind and not the disdainful shepherdess, and in Philips' pastoral it is Lobbin, not Colin, who laments. Spenser describes the first sunny day after winter, Philips a later season. (l. 6.) Spenser closes with the fall of night, Philips tells us that the sheep are in the fold and the night is far advanced" Poems (1937) 171.
Ambrose Philips makes a brief reference to Spenser in The Free-Thinker (1720): Chaucer's "Images still shine out with greater Brightness, than those, which appear in any of our succeeding Poets, if we except Spencer, and Shakespear, and Milton."
If we, O Dorset, quit the City Throng,
To meditate in Shades the Rural Song,
By your Commands; be present: And, O, bring
The Muse along! The Muse to you shall sing.
Begin. — A Shepherd Boy, one Ev'ning fair,
As Western Winds had cool'd the sultry Air,
When as his Sheep within the Fold were pent,
Thus plain'd him of his dreary Discontent;
So pitiful, that all the starry Throng
Attentive seem'd to hear his mournful Song.
Ah, well-a-day! How long must I endure
This pining Pain? Or who shall speed my Cure?
Fond Love no Cure will have; seeks no Repose;
Delights in Grief; nor any Measure knows.
And now the Moon begins in Clouds to rise;
The twinkling Stars are lighted in the Skies;
The Winds are hush'd; the Dews distil; and Sleep
With soft Embrade has seized my weary Sheep.
I only with the prouling 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 stop the growling Flame?
Whilom did I, all as this Pop'lar fair,
Up-raise my heedless Head, then void 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 and win the Lasses Hearts?
How deffly to mine 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 devised Tale from me to learn?
For, many Songs and Tales of Mirth had I,
To chase the lingring Sun adown the Sky.
But, ah! since Lucy coy has wrought her Spight
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're, lingring long, I perish through Despair.
Had Rosalind been Mistress of my Mind,
Tho' not so fair, she would have been more kind.
O think, unwitting Maid, while yet is Time,
How flying Years impair our youthful Prime!
Thy Virgin Bloom will not for ever stay;
And Flow'rs, tho' left ungath'red, will decay.
The Flow'rs anew returning Seasons bring;
But Beauty faded has no second Spring.
My Words are Wind! She, deaf to all my Cries,
Takes Pleasure in the Mischief of her Eyes.
Like frisking Heifers, loose in flow'ry Meads,
She gads where-e'er her roving Fancy leads;
Yet still from me. Ah me, the tiresome Chace!
While, wing'd with Scorn, she flied 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, should 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,
As my fond Heart could 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 wanton 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.
Fair is my flock; nor yet uncomely I,
If liquid Fountains flatter not: and why
Should liquid Fountains flatter us? yet show
The bord'ring Flowers 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 Ewes,
E're the warm Sun drinks up the cooly Dews.
How would the Crook beseem thy beauteous Hand!
How would my Younglings round thee gazing stand!
Ah witless Younglings! gaze not on her Eye:
Such heedless Glances are the Cause I die.
Nor trow I when this bitter Blast will 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 waining Moon, the Nightingale
In doleful Ditties told her piteous 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 heavy Heart invite.