1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Colin and Phebe: a Ballad.

Weekly Magazine or Edinburgh Amusement 30 (17 November 1775) 240.

D-s


Five double-quatrain stanzas signed "D—s." In this eclogue Colin, grown old, is despondent about his poverty and the resulting loss of friendship: "Phebe! I thought on the days | Which thou and thy shepherd have seen, | When he was all ear to thy praise, | And thou wast the queen of the green." Phoebe comforts him with the thought of his good fame and her enduring love: "Then welcome the worst that can come, | I have all, my dear Colin, in thee." The theme is the reverse of the usual one in pastoral ballads, where the shepherd complains of being abandoned by a fickle lover for a lack of wealth. The lyric is to be sung to the tune of "Tweed-side."



PHEBE.
Why, Colin, thy pipe laid aside,
Dost thou musingly look on the ground?
The cause from thy Phebe to hide,
Would give her poor heart a deep wound.
Let thy griefs and thy cares still be mine,
Nor deny me that friendship I prize;
Why, Colin, why should we repine?
Let years teach us both to be wise.

COLIN.
Phebe! I thought on the days
Which thou and thy shepherd have seen,
When he was all ear to thy praise,
And thou wast the queen of the green.
When innocent, thoughtless and gay,
We counted our friends by the score,
When the present was joyous as May,
And the future still promis'd us more.

PHEBE.
Ah! Colin, by thinking of these,
Thou only wilt add to thy pain;
In the trying reverse of our days,
We live not our summers again.
Tho' our flocks, when with Strephon's compar'd,
Are few, and our living but plain,
We have not by wealth been ensnar'd,
For thou hast a name without stain.

COLIN.
Yet Phebe, our friends stand aside
('Tis surely a crime to be poor);
Thou knowest, since Rosalind dy'd,
Scarce one of them enter'd our door.
But with thee, my sweet Phebe, and peace,
I am not, I cannot be poor;
Hence, therefore, repining shall cease,
And misers shall sleep less secure.

PHEBE.
May all the blest pow'rs say Amen!
May they shield thee from dangers and strife;
In riches full oft there is pain,
But content is the sweetner of life.
Of my wishes, this still was the sum,
"May my shepherd think kindly of me,"
Then welcome the worst that can come,
I have all, my dear Colin, in thee.

[p. 240]