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William Shenstone

(1714 - 1763 / England)

A Pastoral Ballad III: Solicitude


Why will you my passion reprove?
Why term it a folly to grieve?
Ere I shew you the charms of my love,
She is fairer than you can believe.
With her mien she enamours the brave;
With her wit she engages the free;
With her modesty pleases the grave;
She is ev'ry way pleasing to me.

O you that have been of her train,
Come and join in my amorous lays;

I could lay down my life for the swain,
That will sing but a song in her praise.
When he sings, may the nymphs of the town
Come trooping, and listen the while;
Nay on him let not Phyllida frown;
-- But I cannot allow her to smile.
For when Paridel tries in the dance
Any favour with Phyllis to find,
O how, with one trivial glance,
Might she ruin the peace of my mind!

In ringlets he dresses his hair,
And his crook is be-studded around;
And his pipe -- oh may Phyllis beware
Of a magic there is in the sound.
'Tis his with mock passion to glow;
'Tis his in smooth tales to unfold,
``How her face is as bright as the snow,
And her bosom, be sure, is as cold?
How the nightingales labour the strain,
With the notes of his charmer to vie;

How they vary their accents in vain,
Repine at her triumphs, and die.''
To the grove or the garden he strays,
And pillages every sweet;
Then, suiting the wreath to his lays
He throws it at Phyllis's feet.
``O Phyllis, he whispers, more fair,
More sweet than the jessamine's flow'r!
What are pinks, in a morn, to compare?
What is eglantine, after a show'r?

Then the lily no longer is white;
Then the rose is depriv'd of its bloom;
Then the violets die with despight,
And the wood-bines give up their perfume.''
Thus glide the soft numbers along,
And he fancies no shepherd his peer;
-- Yet I never should envy the song,
Were not Phyllis to lend it an ear.
Let his crook be with hyacinths bound,
So Phyllis the trophy despise:

Let his forehead with laurels be crown'd,
So they shine not in Phyllis's eyes.
The language that flows from the heart
Is a stranger to Paridel's tongue;
-- Yet may she beware of his art,
Or sure I must envy the song.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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