A pastoral ballad in nine anapestic quatrains signed "R. L. R." Damon finds himself outmaneuvered by Phillis in the game of love: "No more the soft transports are mine | When Phillis from Hymen was free, | When she'd on my bosom recline, | And vow that she lov'd only me." At a time when the poetry columns of the Gentleman's and London Magazines were beginning to flag, the Town and Country Magazine was proving to be more hospitable to contemporary tastes, and particularly to the pastoral ballads which were at the height of their popularity when this new periodical began publishing in 1769. It published fewer Horatian odes and many more lyric pieces of a romantic and sentimental cast.
R. L. R., later revealed to be writing from Oxford, attracted some admiring verses from "Strephon" published in the Town and Country Magazine in February 1772.
How pleasingly glided the day,
When Phillis vouchsaf'd to confess,
Whatever young Damon cou'd say
At once gave her pleasure and bliss!
But now how revers'd is the scene,
No more the sweet maiden complains,
"Your bosom by far's too serene,
And ne'er to the lover attains."
Ah! with what delight have I strove
My passion sincerely to shew,
When Phillis thus doubted my love,
And thought that my pulse beat too slow!
Those galloping moments of bliss,
Distraction! no more can be prov'd!
No more can I steal a sweet kiss
From her I so ardently lov'd!
No more the soft transports are mine
When Phillis from Hymen was free,
When she'd on my bosom recline,
And vow that she lov'd only me.
No more can we wander the plains
Where lillies and eglantine grow!
No more am I envy'd by swains
With love who appeared to glow!
For none cou'd a nymph so divine
Behold without seeming t' admire;
Then pleasures how great must be mine,
When blest with the purest desire!
When Phillis, a damsel so fair,
Was all that I wish'd her to be;
How void was my mind of all care,
My bosom from tortures how free!
But oh! how inconstant are they
Whom nature has form'd to be fair!
How charming! how lovely and gay!
More safely to rivet the share!