A pastoral singing contest in which Astrophel and Daphnis entertain each other as night falls in an evening in Spring: "Thy frisking Lambkins wanton o'er the Plain, | And the glad Season claims a gladsome Strain. | Begin — ye Ecchoes, listen to the Song, | And with its Sweetness, pleas'd each Note prolong" p. 11. The theme of the song appears to be the pleasures arising from variety as the topics range from seasons, to love, to locality. As is often the case, the biographical context that might help to make sense of the poem is lacking; both singers praise an unidentified "Hawkins." He is likely a student at Cambridge, where Broome was a Fellow at St. John's College. In Broome's Poems (1727) "Hawkins" becomes "Townshend" — Charles Townshend, second Viscount Townshend (1674-1738). While the name Astrophel derives from Spenser, the manner of the eclogue owes rather more to Alexander Pope than to Ambrose Philips.
Alexander Pope to William Broome: "I do not hear of anything in Philips's Miscellany that deserves to be ranked with your verses; and I believe you may find a more creditable occasion of putting them in better company hereafter. As to the Spectator, that which is now published is not by the former hands, but a paper of no sort of reputation with the town. I tell you this as a friend, but desire you not to quote my name, since I have often experienced the danger of speaking my mind upon our fellow-writers. One makes a thousand enemies, who are too vain ever to forgive the truth" 10 February 1715; Works of Pope, ed. Elwin and Courthope (1871-1889) 8:36.
W. J. Courthope: "William Broome ... was the son of a farmer in Cheshire, and was born in 1689. He was educated at Eton, where he was captain of the school, and afterwards (as there was no vacancy at King's College in his year) at St. John's College, Cambridge, where he became a sizar on the 10th of July 1708, taking his B.A. degree from it in January 1711-12, and his M.A. in 1716. He had a great facility of imitating other men's styles, an accomplishment which probably recommended him to Pope as a translator, though the latter afterwards satirised him on this account in the Bathos: he was also scholar enough to furnish the necessary notes. He died in 1745" History of English Poetry (1895-1910) 5:263.
How calm the Evening! See the falling Day
Gilds every Mountain with a ruddy Ray!
In gentle Sighs the softly whispering Breeze
Salutes the Flow'r, and waves the trembling Trees.
Hark! the Night-Warbler from you vocal Bows
Glads every Valley with melodious Woes:
Thy frisking Lambkins wanton o'er the Plain,
And the glad Season claims a gladsome Strain.
Begin — ye Ecchoes, listen to the Song,
And with its Sweetness, pleas'd each Note prolong.
Sing Muse, and thou, O Hawkins! deign to view
What the Muse sings, The Song to thee is due.
Feed round my Goats, ye Sheep in Safety graze,
Ye Winds breath gently, while I tune my Lays.
The joyous Spring draws nigh, ambrosial Show'rs
Unbinds the Earth, the Earth unbinds the Flow'rs;
The Flow'rs blow sweet, the Daffadils unfold
The spreading Glories of their blooming Gold.
As the gay Hours advance, the Blossoms shoot,
The knitting Blossoms harden into Fruit;
And as the Autumn by Degrees ensues,
The mellowing Fruits display their streaky Hues.
When the Winds whistle, and the Tempest roars,
And foamy Billows lash the sounding Shores;
The bloomy Beauties of the Pastures die,
And in gay Heaps of fragrant Ruin lie.
When glitt'ring Snow incessant downward pours,
And brightens the dull Air with shining Show'rs;
The Forest bends beneath the fleecy Load,
And Icy Fetters bind the solid Flood.
I love (and ever shall my Love remain)
The fairest, kindest Virgin of the Plain;
With equal Passion her soft Bosom glows,
Feels the sweet Pains, and shares the heav'nly Woes.
With a feign'd Passion she I love beguiles,
And gayly false the dear Dissembler smiles;
But let her still those bless'd Deceits employ,
Still may she feign, and cheat me into Joy!
On yonder Bank the yielding Nymph reclin'd,
Gods! how transported I, and she how kind?
There rise, ye Flow'rs, and thee your Pride display,
There shed your Odors, where the Fair one lay!
O'er the green Mountain and the damask'd Mead,
From my Embraces the coy Wanton fled;
'Till by yon Stream restrain'd she panting stood,
For ever bless'd be thy auspicious Flood!
Far hence to happier Climes Belinda strays,
But in my Breast her lovely Image stays.
O to these Plains again, bright Nymph, repair,
Or from my Breast far hence thy Image bear!
If in the murmuring Stream be thy Delight,
If the gay Rose or Lilly please thy Sight,
The Streams here murmur, here the Roses glow,
And the proud Lillies rise to shade thy Brow.
Thy Name, O Hawkins! shall improve my Song,
The pleasing Labour of my grateful Tongue;
Waft it, ye Breezes, to the Hills around,
And sport, ye Ecchoes, with the Favourite Sound.
His early Worth my Muse shall loud proclaim,
And swell the Numbers with his lofty Name:
His Name to Heav'n propitious Zephyrs bear,
And breath it to his Kindred Angels there.
But see the Night displays her starry Train,
And silver Dews imperial the glittering Plain:
An awful Horror fills the gloomy Woods,
And bluish Mists rise from the smoaking Floods.
Haste, ASTROPHEL, to fold thy woolly Care,
And guard the Younglins from th' unwholesome Air.