1805
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

A Very Pathetical Pastoral.

Port Folio 5 (23 March 1805) 87.

R. Shallow


A burlesque pastoral ballad signed "R. Shallow." After a strong run of nearly fifty years, the pastoral ballad mode was beginning to fail at this time. Philadelphia's Port Folio had published several in 1801, but latterly the editor, Joseph Dennie, had expressed his distaste: "The Schoolmistress of Shenstone is universally admired, but the lullaby strain of many of his pastoral ditties nauseates the judicious reader" 4 (24 November 1804) 376. R. Shallow would continue his attack in the Port Folio for 10 August 1805.

Headnote: "Mr. Oldschool: "I cannot say how much I was delighted to find by the Port Folio, that there are still some shepherdesses left in the world, and that one (an emigrant, I presume, from the savage shores of Europe to this our Arcadia) has lately been seen 'driving home her flock across the dewy shade,' by a person who 'rang'd a furzy-mantled glade;' and that 'when morn salutes the blushing east, she pours her fleecy younglings forth;' and that 'she spends the joyous hours 'mid amaranthine bowers,' 'and that,' &c. &c. I am so enraptured with all this, Mr. Oldschool, that I really believe such another example would make me cry baa! But, lest you think 'I praise malignly arts I cannot reach,' I present the following, which is in the true style of 'sheepish' simplicity, and may be termed A Very Pathetic Pastoral" p. 87.



Come, shepherds, bewail my sad fate,
You know not how wretched I am;
My ewes seek in vain for a mate,
And next year I shall not have a lamb.

Yet this I could suffer unmov'd,
If Phillis but kindly would look;
If she softly would whisper she lov'd,
I'd give both my pipe and my crook.

Oh! have I not cause for despair?
No zephyr my passion can cool!
For Phillis (ah, too cruel fair!)
False Phillis declares I'm a fool.

[p. 87]