1766
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Strephon and Daphne: a Pastoral.

St. James's Chronicle or British Evening Post (27 August 1766).

W. W.


Three double-quatrain stanzas, signed "W. W." The introductory couplets mark a departure from the norms of the pastoral ballad, signaling, it would seem, a modulation towards eclogue. This device is likely imitated from John Cunningham's Pastoral, which had appeared in the St. James's Chronicle of June 28. When Daphne expresses concern for Strephon's absence, he reassures her that he was but minding the sheep. Daphne is ravished by his gentle reply: "Thy Words, like soft Music, transpierce my fond Ear, | And, ravishing doubly my Mind, | Dispel from my breast ev'ry Heart-racking Fear, | That Strephon no longer was kind!" The initials are possibly those of William Woty.



When bright'ning Phoebus beam'd his gentle Ray,
By Daphne's Side enamour'd Strephon lay:
The Youth, with Rapture, Nature's Sweets survey'd,
Thus Silence broke — and thus reply'd the Maid:

STREPHON.
How pleasant this Valley — how green looks yon Grove!
What perfumes richly scent the new Air!
The Birds sweetly warble a Concert of Love!
And the Day seems uncommonly fair!—
But why should I joy at such Trifles as these,
Since to them no Contentment I owe?—
'Tis my Daphne alone has true Power to please,
And true Happiness gives me to know!

DAPHNE.
When the Skies, in bright Azure, are beauteously drest,
They seem dull, if my Strephon's away;
And when, with black Clouds, they are heavily prest,
If he's present — quite charming the Day!
Then forgive, if I ask, (urg'd by faithfullest Love,
To which I submissively yield)
Why, when I was alone in our Cottage above,
Strephon wandering stray'd o'er the Field?

STREPHON.
I was absent, my Fair, for yon Vale was o'erflow'd
By the Falling of Yesterday's Rain;
While at length in some Safety my Lambs I bestow'd,
And took Care of the Sheep on the Plain.—
If I ever to thee, ev'n in Thought, was untrue,
May I swift from thy Presence be driv'n;
May I ne'er, by thy Side, taste the Ev'ning's sweet Dew—
May thy Heart to another be giv'n!

DAPHNE.
Thy Words, like soft Music, transpierce my fond Ear,
And, ravishing doubly my Mind,
Dispel from my breast ev'ry Heart-racking Fear,
That Strephon no longer was kind!
Thus, blest with thy Love, I solicit not State,
Nor regard Fortune's Smile, or her Frown;
As more piercing than Daggers would prove Strephon's Hate,
So his Love's of more Worth than a Crown!

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