1806
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Corydon's Invitation to Phillis. A Pastoral.

Lady's Monthly Museum 16 (June 1806) 423.

J. H.


A pastoral lyric in six anapestic quatrains of alternate length, signed "J. H., Stony Stratford, May 8th, 1806." The poet invites Phillis to embrace poverty and enjoy the pleasures of a country life: "Near my cottage this harmony frequently reigns | (Oh sure, 'tis delightful to tell!) | What life can compare with a life on the plains, | Where peace and tranquility dwell!" In this late example of the pastoral ballad mode the sentiments and imagery seem not only traditional but positively neoclassical. The poet was a regular contributor to the Monthly Museum at this time.



Your Shepherd, dear Phillis, invites to be gay,
To range thro' the meadows and fields;
To cull the sweet flow'rets that blossom in May,
And taste all the pleasures it yields.

The daisy, the primrose, and violet too,
Their charms in profusion disclose;
And soon in succession, delighted, you'll view
The blush of the opening rose.

How sweet sing the sky-larks, saluting the day,
When straining their musical throats!
And blackbirds and linnets soon join on each spray,
To warble their various notes.

Near my cottage this harmony frequently reigns
(Oh sure, 'tis delightful to tell!)
What life can compare with a life on the plains,
Where peace and tranquility dwell!

Each eve, to enliven the innocent scene,
The nymphs and the shepherds advance;
And lads with their lasses all meet on the green,
To join in the rustical dance.

Then come, my dear Phillis, enjoy this retreat,
Come share these engaging delights;
Nor envy the proud, the ambitious, or great:—
Your shepherd it is that invites.

[p. 423]