1783
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Phillida. A Pastoral.

Edinburgh Weekly Magazine 58 (13 November 1783) 205-06.

W. K.


A pastoral elegy "To the Memory of a young Lady, who Died in the Eighteenth Year of her Age" in eight double-quatrain stanzas signed "W. K." After singing the praises of Phillida, pride of Annan's vale, Colin performs the ritual gesture: "No more by yon clear running brook | My flocks will I joyfully feed; | I've thrown by my plain and my crook, | And broken my soft-sounding reed."



Kind shepherds, take heed to my sheep
That bleat on yon heath-cover'd rocks;
For ah! there poor Colin must weep,
And never more heed his dear flocks.
What eye can refuse a salt tear?
What heart cannot send forth a sigh?
Since she, of all maids the most dear,
So low and so silent does lie!

Young Phillida once was the pride
And flow'r of the Annan's sweet vale;
In her did those virtues reside—
Those beauties that never can fail.
The virgin was gentle and kind,
Benevolent, friendly and true;
Her manners were sweet and refin'd;
So gay and so modest were few.

How blythe was she wont to appear,
When feeding her flocks on yon hills;
She still gave new charms to the year,
It was summer near Phillida still.
Whene'er on these banks she would deign
To bless our fond ears with a song,
All nature seem'd pleas'd with her strain,
And shepherds flock'd round in a throng.

But where now is Phillida fled?
Why faded her beauties so soon?
Where now is that face that once shed
A lustre like Phoebus at noon?
That form, once as fair as the snow,
No longer shall charm us again:
Ah! Youth cannot ward off the blow,
And Beauty's gay smiles plead in vain.

No wonder her lambkins now bleat,
And mournfully wander along,
For now their fond mistress can greet
The morning no more with a song.
No wonder the Annan seems sad,
And glides in hoarse murmurs thus by,
Since she, who once made his banks glad,
To cheer them no longer is nigh.

No comfort her Colin can find,
But pensively wanders alone;
Keen sorrow now preys on my mind,
For ah! my dear Phillida's gone.
I silently stray o'er the plain,
And mournfully rove by the burn;
I look for my charmer in vain;
Alas! she will never return.

Oft-times to yon sweet blooming thorn,
Where happy we've been, I repair;
And there I sit sad and forlorn,
And breathe out my sighs for the fair.
The mountains, the groves, or the bow'rs,
The valley, or sweet-scented field,
Or summer, with all its gay flow'rs,
No pleasure to Colin can yield.

No more by yon clear running brook
My flocks will I joyfully feed;
I've thrown by my plain and my crook,
And broken my soft-sounding reed.
Each scene now looks dull to my view,
That joy to my heart once did give;
My sheep and my lambkins, adieu!
For Colin no longer can live.

[pp. 205-06]