The Second Pastoral is reprinted from the Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany (1708), where it began the sequence.
H. B.: "The second pastoral is a dialogue between Thenot and Colinet: the former of whom is an old shepherd, who upbraids Colinet for grieving while he is young, and nature smiling around. Under the character of Colinet, the author represents himself, and his departure from Shrewsbury, where he received the first part of his education. He complains of ill-fortune; and the malice of his enemies: for his fortune was not then very affluent, and his taste for poetry had made him distinguished.... By Menalcas, the author meant the late earl of Halifax, who gave great commendation to his works, held him in great esteem, and introduced him to the acquaintance of Mr. Addison: for which Mr. Phillips, on the death of his lordship, wrote a short but elegant poem to his memory" "Remarks on Philips's Pastorals" in Universal Visitor (1756) 306.
Herbert E. Cory: "In the second Pastoral, 'Thenot and Colinet,' Colinet complains to Thenot, who is an aged shepherd as in Spenser 's Februarie, that he had left his native land for greater gain but had become poor and ill. 'My sheep quite spent through travel and ill-fare | And, like their keeper, ragged grown and bare, | The damp cold greensward for my nightly bed, | And some slant willow's trunk to rest my head.' For this motive Philips could find inspiration in Virgil, Mantuan, and Spenser's September" "Critics of Edmund Spenser" UCPMP (1911) 136.
Mary G. Segar: "It is based on the 2nd and 9th Eclogues of Spenser, though it is simpler than either. It may be remarked that Philips' Colinet is more civilized than Spenser's Cuddie in his treatment of the old Shepherd" Poems (1937) 172.
"Cam" refers to Cambridge, where Ambrose Philips was a student or fellow from 1693 to 1708. The conclusion is adapted from Virgil's first Eclogue. Segar suggests that the concluding couplets were a source for Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.
Thy cloudy Looks why melting into Tears,
Unseemly, now that Heav'n so blithe appears?
Why in this mournful Manner art thou found,
Unthankful Lad, when all things smile around?
Hear how the Lark and Linnet jointly sing!
Their Notes soft-warb'ling to the gladsome Spring.
Tho' soft their Notes, not so my wayward Fate:
Nor Lark would sing, nor Linnet in my State.
Each Creature to his proper Task is born;
As they to Mirth and Musick, I to mourn.
Waking, at Midnight, I my Woes renew,
And with my Tears increase the falling Dew.
Small Cause, I ween, has lusty Youth to plain;
Or who may then the Weight of Age sustain,
When, as our waining Strength does daily cease,
The tiresome Burden doubles its Increase?
Yet tho' with Years my Body downwards tend,
As Trees beneath their Fruit in Autumn bend;
My mind a chearful Temper still retains,
Spite of my snowy Head and icy Veins:
For, why should Man at cross Mishaps repine,
Sour all his Sweet, and mix with Tears his Wine?
But speak: For much it may relieve thy Woe
To let a Friend thy inward Ailment know.
'Twill idly waste thee, Thenot, a whole Day,
Should'st thou give Ear to all my Grief can say.
Thy Ewes will wander, and the heedless Lambs
With loud Complaints require their absent Dams.
There's Lightfoot, he shall tend them close; and I,
'Twixt whiles, a-cross the Plain will glance mine Eye.
Where to begin I know not; where to end:
Scarce does one smiling Hour on my Youth attend.
Tho' few my Days, as my own Follies show,
Yet are those Days all clouded o'er with Woe:
No gleam of happy Sun-shine does appear
My low'ring Sky, and wintery Days, to chear.
My piteous Plight, in yonder naked Tree,
Which bears the Thunder Scar, too well I see:
Quite destitute it stands of shelter kind,
The Mark of Storms and Sport of every Wind:
Its riven Trunk feels not th' approach of Spring,
Nor any Birds among the Branches sing.
No more beneath thy Shade shall Shepherds throng
With merry Tale, or Pipe, or pleasing Song.
Unhappy Tree! and more unhappy I!
From thee, from me, alike the Shepherds fly.
Sure thou in some ill-chosen Hour wast born,
When blighting Mil-dews spoil the rising Corn;
Or when the Moon, by Witchcraft charm'd, foreshows
Thro' sad Eclipse a various Train of Woes.
Untimely born, ill Luck betides thee still.
And can there, Thenot, be a greater Ill?
Nor Wolf, nor Fox, nor Rot among our Sheep;
From these Shepherd's Care his Flock may keep:
Against ill Luck all cunning Foresight fails;
Whether we sleep or wake, it naught avails.
Ah me the while! Ah me the luckless Day!
Ah luckless Lad! the rather might I say.
Unhappy Hour! when first, in youthful Bud,
I left the fair Sabrina's Silver flood:
Ah silly I! more silly than my Sheep,
Which on thy flow'ry Banks I once did keep.
Sweet are thy Banks! Oh when shall I once more
With longing Eyes review thy flow'ry Shore?
When, in the Crystal of thy Waters, see
My Face, grown wan thro' Care and Misery?
When shall I see my Hut, the small Abode
My self had rais'd and cover'd o'er with Sod?
Tho' small it be, a mean and humble Cell,
Yet is there room for Peace and me to dwell.
And what the Cause that drew thee first away?
From thy lov'd Home what tempted thee to stray?
A lewd Desire strange Lands and Swains to know:
Ah God! that ever I should covet Woe!
With wand'ring Feet unblest, and fond of Fame,
I sought I know not what, besides a Name.
Or, sooth to say, didst thou not hither roam
In hopes of Wealth, thou could'st not find at home?
A rolling Stone is ever bare of Moss;
And, to their Cost, green Years old Proverbs cross.
Small Need there was, in flatt'ring Hopes of Gain,
To drive my pining Flock athwart the Plain
To distant Cam: Fine Gain at length, I trow,
To hoard up to myself such deal of Woe!
My Sheep quite spent thro' Travel and ill Fare,
And, like their Keeper, ragged grown and bare,
Here, on cold Earth to make my nightly Bed,
And on a bending Willow rest my Head.
'Tis hard to bear the pinching Cold with Pain,
And hard is Want to the unpractis'd Swain:
But neither Want, nor pinching Cold is hard,
To blasting Storms of Calumny compar'd:
Unkind as Hail it falls, whose pelting Show'rs
Destroy the tender Herb and budding Flow'rs.
Slander, we Shepherds count the greatest Wrong:
For, what wounds sorer than an evil Tongue?
Untoward Lads, who Pleasance take in Spite,
Make Mock of all the Ditties I endite.
In vain, O Colinet, thy Pipe, so shrill,
Charms ev'ry Vale, and gladdens ev'ry Hill:
In vain thou seek'st the Cov'rings of the Grove,
In the cool Shade to sing the Heats of Love:
No Passion but rank Envy, canst, thou move.
Sing what thou wilt, ill Nature will prevail;
And ev'ry Elf has Skill enough to rail.
But yet, though poor and artless is my Vein,
Menalcas seems to like my simple Strain;
And long as he is pleas'd to hear my Song,
That to Menalcas does of right belong,
Nor Night, nor Day, shall my rude Musick cease;
I ask no more, so I Menalcas please.
Menalcas, Lord of all the neighb'ring Plains,
Preserves the Sheep, and o'er the Shepherds reigns:
For him our yearly Wakes and Feasts we hold,
And choose the fattest Firstling from the Fold,
He, good to all, that good deserve, shall give
Thy Flock to feed, and thee at Ease to live;
Shall curb the Malice of unbridled Tongues,
And with due Praise reward thy rural Songs.
First then shall lightsome Birds forget to fly,
The briny Ocean turn to Pastures dry,
And ev'ry rapid River cease to flow,
E're I unmindful of Menalcas grow.
This Night thy Cares with me forget; and fold
Thy Flock with mine, to ward th' injurious Cold.
Sweet Milk and clouted Cream, soft Cheese and Curd,
With some remaining Fruit of last Year's Hoard,
Shall be our Ev'ning Fare: And for the Night,
Sweet Herbs and Moss, that gentle Sleep invite.
And now behold the Sun's departing Ray
O'er yonder Hill, the Sign of ebbing Day.
With Songs the jovial Hinds return from Plow,
And unyoak'd Heifers, pacing homeward, low.