1765
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Damon and Phyllis. A Pastoral.

Scots Magazine 27 (January 1765) 44.

J. I.


Four double-quatrain stanzas "Addressed to Lady M—y F—" and signed "J. I., Kirkwall, Jan. 8 1765." In this pastoral ballad Damon and Phyllis are types of the modern manners as envisioned by Shenstone and company: "Their converse was free and sincere, | Simplicity heightens each grace; | He assumes no unnatural air, | And no patches spoil her sweet face." It is Phyllis's skills as a ballad-singer that confirms the love-relationship.



When ev'ning beam'd over the mead,
And the sun o'er the western main
His lustre auriferous spread,
And the shepherds sung sweet on the plain;
On the banks of a rivulet met,
Where willows wave gently along,
Young PHYLLIS transportingly sweet,
And DAMON both sprightly and young.

Their converse was free and sincere,
Simplicity heightens each grace;
He assumes no unnatural air,
And no patches spoil her sweet face.
Of the lilies that border the lake,
And the flowerets that bloom by the rill,
He a nosegay for Phyllis did make;
And she sung him "the lass of the mill."

He praised the sweet warbling voice,
Surpassing the nightingale's lay:
How happy's the swain that's your choice!
With transport he happen'd to say.
The roses blush'd fresh in her cheek,
And sweetness beam'd bright in her eye;
Each gesture was modest and meek;
From her breast rose a soft-heaving sigh.

Then Damon, with fondest delight,
Remarking these tokens of love,
Embrac'd her. From Ida's fair height,
'Twas declared approven above.
Since that time they constantly meet
At even on the bank of the flood,
Or close by the oak-tree they sit,
That grows on the streams in the wood.

[p. 44]