The concluding poem is a singing contest comparing Queen Anne to Queen Elizabeth, with an allusion to the Shepheardes Calender: "Sweet Colin Clout! who never, yet, had peer; | Who sung through all the seasons of the year." Hobbinol and Lanquet compete with each other in emulation of Spenser, and references to the Faerie Queen in the concluding exchange are perhaps intended to foreshadow more ambitious things. Later editions introduce references to Merlin and Arthur.
Joseph Addison: "If any are of Opinion, that there is a necessity of admitting these Classical Legends into our Serious Compositions, in order to give them a more Poetical Turn; I would recommend to their Consideration the Pastorals of Mr. Philips. One would have thought it impossible for this Kind of Poetry to have subsisted without Fawns and Satyrs, Wood-Nymphs and Water-Nymphs, with all the Tribe of Rural Deities. But we see he has given a new Life, and a more natural Beauty to this way of Writing, by Substituting in the Place of these Antiquated Fables, the superstitious Mythology which prevails among the Shepherds of our own Country" Spectator No. 523 (30 October 1712).
H. B.: "The dialogue, between the two shepherds, shews all the tenderness and innocence of rural love. Most of the lines are of so pleasing a turn, that they have been scribbled and scrawled, with the pencil and the diamond, over the walls, and windows, of the greatest part of the taverns, coffee-houses, and inns, throughout the British dominions" "Remarks on Philips's Pastorals" in Universal Visitor (1756) 308.
Herbert E. Cory: "The sixth Pastoral is one of the conventional singing contest. Philips had some real love for nature, though little apparent knowledge at first hand" "Critics of Edmund Spenser" UCPMP (1911) 137.
Mary G. Segar: "Walsh's Fourth Eclogue, Broome's Daphnis and Lycidas and Pope's First Pastoral, The Spring, may bear some relationship to Philips' sixth Pastoral, or the resemblance may only be due to their common Theocritean source. It seems likely, however, as Broome was a notorious borrower, that the opening lines of Daphnis and Lycidas are inspired by the opening of this pastoral of Philips" Poems (1937) 175.
The naughty "Marian" episode in this eclogue became something of a running joke, beginning with Pope's Guardian essay No. 40 and John Gay's Tuesday, in The Shepherd's Week (1714), and continued in pastorals by other hands — even an anonymous imitation of Milton's L'Allegro which appeared in the New Haven Gazette and the Connecticut Magazine 3 (30 October 1788).
GERON, HOBBINOL, LANQUET.
How still the Sea! behold; how calm the Sky!
And how, in sportive Chase, the Swallows fly!
My Goats, secure from Harm, small Tendance need,
While high on yonder hanging Rock they feed:
And here below, the banky Shore along,
Your Heifers graze: And I to hear your song
Dispos'd. As eldest, Hobbinol, begin;
And Lanquet's Under-Song by Turns come in.
Let others meanly stake upon their Skill,
Or Kid, or Lamb, or Goat, or what they will;
For Praise we sing, nor Wager ought beside:
And, whose the Praise, let Geron's Lips decide.
To Geron I my Voice and Skill commend:
Unbias'd he, to both is equal Friend.
Begin then, Boys, and vary well your Song;
Nor fear, from Geron's upright Sentence, Wrong.
A boxen Haut-boy, loud, and sweet of Sound,
All varnish'd, and with brazen Ringlets bound,
I to the Victor give: No small Reward,
If with our usual Country Pipes compar'd.
The Snows are melted, and the kindly Rain
Descends on ev'ry Herb, and ev'ry Grain;
Soft balmy Breezes breathe along the Sky;
The bloomy Season of the Year is nigh.
The Cuckoo calls aloud his wandering Love;
The Turtle's Voice is hear'd in ev'ry Grove;
The Pastures change; the warbling Linnets sing:
Prepare to welcome in the gawdy Spring.
When Locusts in the ferny Bushes cry,
When Ravens pant, and Snakes in Caverns lye;
Then graze in Woods, and quit the burning Plain,
Else shall ye press the spungy Teat in vain.
When Greens to Yellow vary, and ye see
The Ground bestrew'd with Fruits off ev'ry Tree,
And stormy Winds are heard, think Winter near,
Nor trust too far to the declining Year.
Full fain, O bless'd Eliza! would I praise
Thy Maiden Rule, and Albion's Golden Days:
Then gentle Sidney liv'd, the Shepherd's Friend:
Eternal Blessings on his Shade attend!
Thrice happy Shepherds now: For Dorset loves
The Country-Muse, and our delightful Groves;
While ANNA reigns. O ever may she reign!
And bring on Earth a Golden Age again.
I love in secret all a beauteous Maid,
And have my Love in secret all repaid.
This coming Night she does reserve for me.
Divine her Name; and thou the Victor be.
Mild as the Lamb, unharmful as the Dove,
True as the Turtle, is the Maid I love.
How we in secret love, I shall not say.
Divine her Name, and I give up the Day.
Soft on a Cowslip Bank, my Love and I
Together lay: A Brook ran murm'ring by.
A thousand tender things to me she said;
And I a thousand tender Things repaid.
In Summer Shade, beneath the cocking Hay,
What soft, endearing Words did she not say?
Her Lap, with Apron deck'd, she fondly spread,
And stroak'd my Cheeks, and lull'd my leaning Head.
Breathe soft ye Winds, ye Waters gently flow;
Shield her, ye Trees; ye Flowers around her grow;
Ye Swains, I beg you, pass in Silence by;
My Love, in yonder Vale asleep does lye.
Once Delia slept, on easie Moss reclin'd;
Her lovely Limbs half bare, and rude the Wind:
I smooth'd her Coats, and stole a silent Kiss.
Condemn me, Shepherds, if I did amiss.
As Marian bath'd, by chance I passed by;
She blush'd, and at me glanc'd a sidelong Eye:
Then swift beneath the crystal Wave she try'd
Her tempting Form, but all in vain, to hide.
As I, to cool me, bath'd one sultry Day,
Fond Lydia, lurking in the Sedges lay.
The Wanton laugh'd, and seem'd in haste to fly;
Yet often stopp'd, and often turn'd her Eye.
When first I saw, would I had never seen,
Young Lyset lead the Dance on yonder Green;
Intent upon her Beauties as she mov'd,
Poor, heedless Wretch, at unawares I lov'd.
When Lucy decks with Flow'rs her swelling Breast,
And on her Elbow leans, dissembling Rest;
Unable to refrain my madding Mind,
Nor Sheep nor Pasture worth my Care I find.
Come Rosalind, O come! For, without thee,
What Pleasure can the Country have for me?
Come Rosalind, O, come! My brinded Kine,
My snowy Sheep, my Farm, and all is thine.
Come Rosalind, O come! Here shady Bow'rs,
Here are cool Fountains, and here springing Flow'rs.
Come Rosalind: Here ever let us stay,
And sweetly waste our live-long Time away.
In vain the Seasons of the Moon I know,
The Force of healing Herbs, and where they grow;
There is no Herb, no Season, may remove
From my fond Heart the racking Pains of Love.
What profits me, that I in Charms have skill,
And Ghosts and Goblins order as I will;
Yet have, with all my Charms, no Pow'r to lay
The Sprite, that breaks my Quiet Night and Day.
O that, like Colin, I had Skill in Rhymes:
To purchase Credit with succeeding Times!
Sweet Colin Clout! who never yet had Peer,
Who sung thro' all the Seasons of the Year.
Let me like Wrenock sing; his Voice had Pow'r
To free the clipsing Moon at Midnight Hour:
And, as he sung, the Fairies, with their Queen,
In Mantles blue came tripping o'er the Green.
Here end your pleasing Strife. Both Victors are;
And both with Colin may in Rhyme compare.
A Boxen Haut-Boy, loud, and sweet of Sound,
All varnish'd, and with brazen Ringlets bound,
To both I give. A mizling Mist descends
Adown that steepy Rock: And this way tends
Yon distant Rain. Shore-ward the Vessels strive;
And, see, the Boys their Flocks to Shelter drive.