1779
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Death of Phillis. A Pastoral.

London Magazine 48 (July 1779) 327.

W. S.


A pastoral elegy in ten anapestic quatrains, signed "W. S." The poet, a regular contributor the London Magazine at this period, laments the passing of Phillis: "She was chaste as the zephyr's soft breeze | Attended by mild dropping show'rs, | And sweet as the hoard of the bees, | Whose quintessence they cull from the flow'rs."



Ye Dryads attentively hear
A shepherd deplore his sad fate;
Ye kind-hearted swains lend an ear
To what I with sorrow relate.

My Phillis that gladden'd each heart
Is gone never more to return,
She did like a lambkin depart,
And bade her lov'd shepherd not mourn.

But how shall I ever forbear,
To wail my sad plaint through the shade,
When Phillis, alas! is not there,
The fairest, and gentlest maid.

Or how shall I try to sustain
Her loss (whom I ever held dear)
Since her equal I never can gain,
Which renders my woe most severe.

She was chaste as the zephyr's soft breeze
Attended by mild dropping show'rs,
And sweet as the hoard of the bees,
Whose quintessence they cull from the flow'rs.

She shone like the luminous beams
Of Sol (when in brightest career)
Nor did the fair serpentine streams
More lucid, more spotless appear.

She was lov'd by her innocent lambs,
(Who artless do sit on the mead)
And caress'd by their maternal dams,
Who were joy'd when she watch'd them at feed.

Ah! Terrors why didst thou employ,
Thy shafts in so cruel a deed,
How could'st thou, inhuman, destroy
A maid of such virtuous meed.

Thus, whilst I bemoan'd for my dear,
('Mid sorrowful wood-nymphs and swains)
Methought, a meek voice I did hear
Say, "Shepherd give o'er thy sad strains.

"For why dost thou, simple, repine
At the justness of heav'n's decrees,
Since she's wafted by Cherubs divine
To mansions more blissful than these."

[p. 327]