1775
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Pastoral Ballad.

Weekly Miscellany or Instructive Entertainer 3 (2 January 1775) 333-34.

Anonymous


A pastoral ballad in six double-quatrain stanzas signed "***, near Plymouth." This poem is something of a sequel to that published by the Plymouth poet the previous October, with Phillis still cruel and the bashful swain appearing more bashful even than before: "Perhaps then some courage I take; | To the zephyrs I whisper my tale: | And thus do I dream when awake; | But will dreaming, oh Shepherd! avail?"



How oft have I tuned my reed
By the banks of this murmuring stream!
How oft! — but it sure is decreed
I should ever make Phillis my theme.
I will strive to forget her, I cry,
As I pensively wander alone;
Then in spite of myself heave a sigh:
—Sure pleasure and she are but one.

Unfolded my sheep are by night,
As unheeded they ramble all day:
'Tis an age since she charmed my sight:
How heavily creeps time away!
But fancy will say she is here;
Then I wish to be talking of love:
Alas! to offend is my fear;
And 'tis strange, but my tongue 'twill not move.

Perhaps then some courage I take;
To the zephyrs I whisper my tale:
And thus do I dream when awake;
But will dreaming, oh Shepherd! avail?
She sure must be tender, and kind,
Whose looks so much goodness impart:
She smil'd — but, alas! I was blind,
Love had taken such root in my heart.

She ne'er on so lowly a swain
Will a smile of compassion bestow;
But sure she will treat with disdain,
Or with coldness will pity my woe.
To say that sincere is my flame,
And that true to her beauties I'll prove;
Ah! thousands may tell her the same;
For with her there's no feigning of love.

By all that is lovely and fair,
By whatever I value or prize;
By the charms, oh my Phillis! I swear,
And the language that flows from thine eyes,
Since the time that I viewed thy face,
No pleasure my shrubbery yields;
Both the rose and lilly seem base,
And unheeded the paint of the fields.

My crook I have since thrown away,
My dog and his service forgot;
And my pipe — oh! it serves but to play
When I'd fain be consoling my lot.
If to love thee, should favour obtain,
I love more than thou can'st believe;
And if pity should follow on pain,
Oh! do not refuse to relieve.

[pp. 333-34]