1779
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Absence. A Pastoral.

Town and Country Magazine 11 (September 1779) 495.

T. Rees


Six double-quatrain stanzas signed "T. Rees." The faint-hearted poet announces that he is unhappy in the absence of Phillis, recalls their happy hours together, and resolves not to worry that she will prove unkind: "She was sorry, she said, I possest | The most trivial doubt of her truth; | She bade my poor heart be at rest, | For she lov'd me, and no other youth."



Alas! I am sick and dismay'd,
With grief I could lie down and die;
My Phillis, dear angelic maid,
Has left me to mourn and to sigh.
Now, ye shepherds, no longer I join,
In the pleasures and sports of the plain;
The dance I must henceforth resign,
Till my Phillida mix in the train.

Oh can ye remember that hour
When my Phill so applauded my song?
How contented we sat in the bow'r,
And my music she strove to prolong.
Ah chide me not, tho' I relate
Those joys I esteemed so dear;
Ah chide me not, tho' at my fate
I cannot help shedding a tear.

How sweetly my time was once spent,
When summer was quite in its prime;
To the groves and the gardens I went,
Pick'd flow'rets, and drest them in rhyme.
For whenever a wreath I'd prepare,
I would always a sonnet compile;
Then to Phillis the trophy I'd bear,
And she always vouchsaf'd me a smile.

But blossoms of sweetest perfume
With her breath — no, I durst not compare;
They may boast of their fairness and bloom,
But my love is more blooming and fair.
The mildness that dwells in her face,
Well bespeaks the sweet worth of her mind
But I'm ready to die in the place,
Fearing absence might make her unkind.

But why do I grieve and repine?
She bade me repine not nor grieve,
When I ask'd her consent to be mine,
To my soul oh what hope did she give!
She was sorry, she said, I possest
The most trivial doubt of her truth;
She bade my poor heart be at rest,
For she lov'd me, and no other youth.

Oh then let me banish despair,
And invite chearful hope to my soul;
In my favour since Phil does declare,
There is nothing besides can controul.
Now my bosom of torture I'll clear,
Pinion'd time will fly swiftly away;
Ere 'tis long I shall visit my dear,
And my love with her own she'll repay.

[p. 495]