1709
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Fourth Pastoral.

Poetical Miscellanies: the Sixth Part. Containing a Collection of original Poems, with several new Translations. By the most eminent Hands.

Ambrose Philips


H. B.: "The fourth pastoral begins with a dialogue between Myco and Argol: the latter requests the former to sing after the manner of Colinet, by whom the author meant Mr. Addison; and Myco relates how Colinet lamented the death of Stella. The words are very plaintive, and expressive of the greatest distress" "Remarks on Philips's Pastorals" in Universal Visitor (1756) 307.

Edward Burnaby Greene: "To descend from the writings of Spenser to the succeeding age, would be to point out the decline of the pastoral Muse. Indeed she has scarcely existed, but in the productions of Philips and of Pope. Philips is so often on the whine, that we are apt to over-look his less exceptionable descriptions; he has injudiciously blended the polish of Virgil's language with the simplicity of Spenser's; and so great is his want of original matter, that he is at best to be regarded as a graceful copyist" Essay on Pastoral Poetry in Idylliums of Theocritus (1767) p. lv.

Herbert E. Cory: "The fourth eclogue, 'Myco and Argol,' opens with a pretty picture which shows a genuine interest in nature, however fragmentary Philips' real knowledge of rural scenery may have been. 'This place may seem for shepherd's leisure made, | So close these elms inweave their lofty shade; | The twining woodbine, how it climbs to breathe | Refreshing sweets around on all beneath: | The ground with grass of cheerful green bespread, | Through which the springing flower up-rears the head: | Medley'd with daisies white and endive blue, | And honeysuckles of a purple dye, | Confusion gay bright waving to the eye.' Myco sings to Argol the elegy on Stella which Colinet taught him" "Critics of Edmund Spenser" UCPMP (1911) 137.

Mary G. Segar: "It is based on Theocritus' first Idyl, but it bears some resemblance to June in the Shepheard's Calendar. Theocritus' Idyll opens with the description of a place essentially Greek and of a bowl which is to be the prize of a singing contest. Philips does not imitate this, but at the close of his pastoral Myco, one of the shepherds, in Theocritus vein, begs a sheep crook which Philips describes.... Colinet, who sings the lament for Stella in Philips' pastoral, is Spenser" Poems (1937) 173-74.

This had appeared as the fourth and final poem in Oxford and Cambridge Miscellany Poems (1708).



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 cheerful Green bespread,
Thro' which the springing Flow'r up-rears its Head.
Lo here the King-Cup, of a golden Hue,
Medly'd with Daisies white and Endive blue.
Hark how the gaudy Goldfinch, and the Thrush,
With tuneful Warblings fill that Bramble-Bush!
In pleasing Consorts all the Birds combine,
And tempt us in the various sSng to join.
Up, Argol, then; and to thy Lip apply
Thy mellow Pipe, or vocal Musick try:
And since our Ewes have graz'd, no harm, if they
Lye round and listen, while their Lambkins play.

ARGOL.
The Place indeed gives Pleasance to the Eye;
And Pleasance works the Singer's Fancy high:
The Fields breath sweet, and how the gentle Breez
Moves ev'ry Leaf, and trembles thro' the Trees.
So sweet a Scene ill suits my rugged Lay,
And better fits the Musick thou can'st play.

MICO.
No Skill of Musick can I, simple Swain,
No fine Device thine Ear to entertain;
Albeit some deal I pipe, rude tho' it be,
Sufficient to divert 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 would 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 relieves a mournfull Muse.
Fast by the River on a Bank he sate,
To weep the lovely Maid's untimely Fate,
Fair 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 the 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 Vows, nor Tears could fleeting Life prolong.
Teach me to grieve, with bleating Moan, my Sheep;
Teach me, thou ever-flowing Stream, to weep;
Teach me ye faint, ye hollow Winds, to sigh,
And let my Sorrows teach me how to die:
Now 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 Looks cast down, and with dishevel'd Hair,
In bitter Anguish beast your Breasts, and moan
Her Hour untimely, as it were your own.
Alas the fading Glories 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 ev'n that ruling Beauty kill,
As ruthless Winds the tender Blossoms spill.
If either Musick's Voice, or Beauty's charms,
Could make him mild, and stay his lifted Arms;
My Pipe her Face, her Face my Pipe should save,
Redeeming thus each other from the Grave.
For see (O baleful Sight!) See where she lyes!
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 Night-shade 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-hook for my Song I crave.

ARGOL.
Not this, but one much fairer shalt thou have,
Of season'd Elm, where Studs of Brass appear,
To 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.

O Colinet, how sweet thy Grief to hear!
How does thy Verse subdue the list'ning Ear!
Not half so sweet the midnight Winds, that move
In drousie Murmurs o'er the waving Grove;
Nor dropping Waters, that in Grots distil,
And with a tinckling Sound their Caverns fill:
So sing the Swans, that in soft Numbers 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 Sun, I ween, is leaving us in haste:
His weakly Rays faint glimmer thro' the Wood,
And bluey Mists arise from yonder Flood.

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

[pp. 24-32]