The modernized blank verse pastorals of the unidentified ‘Philisides’ seem to have attracted little attention. As early as 1725 Mrs Stanley (No. 71) had left out the eclogues in accordance with ‘the opinion of most of my Subscribers’; later in the century Clara Reeve (No. 81) said that ‘Sidney’s Pastorals, are dull and unintelligible, and are generally skipped over by those who still read and admire the Arcadia’.
STREPHON and CLAIUS, lament their hopeless state thro’ Love.
By this the Night, out of the darksome Reign
Of Erebus, had call’d her teemed Steeds;
And lazy Vesper, in his timely Hour,
From golden Æta, had ascended Heav’n;
When Strephon, an undone forsaken Swain,
And hap’less Pastor Claius, Woe begone,
Thus in a dreary Forest mourn’d their Plight.
Ye Goat-herd Gods, that love the grassie Hills,
Ye rural Nymphs that haunt the Vallies green,
Ye Satyrs that in quiet Woods delight;
Vouchsafe your silent Ears to my love Song;
Which to my Sorrows gives an early Day,
And to the Night my Misery prolongs.
Oh, Mercury, forerunner of the Night!
Dian! Sweet Huntress of the savage Wilds!
Oh, lovely Star, the Morning’s Harbinger!
While with my Voice the Forests wild I fill,
Vouchsafe your silent Ears unto my Plaint,
Which oft hath tired Echo in her Cave.