My Time, O ye Muses, was happily spent

First Line My Time, O ye Muses, was happily spent
Author John Byrom
Date 1715

Pastoral [Love; Passions, sentiments].

Transcribed from The Spectator, vol. 8, 1715, pp. 259–262. Eighteenth Century Collections Online, GALE|CW0113082792. 



My Time, O ye Muses, was happily spent,

When Phebe went with me wherever I went;

Ten thousand sweet Pleasures I felt in my Breast,

Sure never fond Shepherd like Colin was blest!

But now she is gone, and has left me behind,

What a marvellous Change on a sudden I find?

When Things were as fine as could possibly be,

I thought 'twas the Spring; but alas! it was she


With such a Companion, to tend a few Sheep,

To rise up and play, or to lie down and sleep,

I was so good-humour'd, so chearful, and gay,

My Heart was as light as a Feather all Day.

But now I so cross and so peevish am grown,

So strangely uneasy as never was known.

My Fair one is gone, and my Joys are all drown'd,

And my Heart—I am sure it weighs more than a Pound.


The Fountain that wont to run sweetly along,

And dance to soft Murmurs the Pebbles among,

Thou know'st, little Cupid, if Phebe was there,

'Twas Pleasure to look at, 'twas Music to hear:

But now she is absent, I walk by its Side,

And still as it murmurs do nothing but chide,

Must you be so chearful, while I go in Pain?

Peace there with your Bubbling, and hear me complain.


When my Lambkins around me would oftentimes play,

And when Phebe and I were as joyful as they,

How pleasant their Sporting, how happy the Time,

When Spring, Love and Beauty, were all in their Prime?

But now in their Frolicks when by me they pass,

I fling at their Fleeces an handful of Grass;

Be still then, I cry, for it makes me quite mad

To see you so merry, while I am so sad.


My Dog I was ever well pleased to see,

Come wagging his Tail to my Fair one and me;

And Phebe was pleas'd too, and to my Dog said,

Come hither, poor Fellow; and patted his Head.

But now, when he's fawning, I with a sour Look,

Cry, Sirrah; and give him a Blow with my Crook:

And I'll give him another; for why shoud not Tray

Be as dull as his Master, when Phebe's away?


When walking with Phebe, what Sights have I seen?

How fair was the Flower, how fresh was the Green?

What a lovely appearance the Trees and the Shade,

The Corn-fields and Hedges, and ev'ry thing made?

But now she has left me, tho' all are still there,

They none of 'em now so delightful appear:

'Twas nought but the Magick, I find, of her Eyes,

Made so many beautiful Prospects arise.


Sweet Musick went with us both all the Wood thro',

The Lark, Linnet, Throstle, and Nightingale too;

Winds over us whisper'd, Flocks by us did bleat,

And chirp went the Grasshopper under our Feet.

But now she is absent, tho' still they sing on,

The Woods are but lonely, the Melody's gone;

Her Voice in the Consort, as now I have found,

Gave ev'rything else its agreeable Sound.


Rose, what is become of thy delicate Hue?

And where is the Violet's beautiful Blue?

Does ought of its Sweetness the Blossom beguile,

That Meadow, those Daisies, why do they not smile?

Ah! Rivals, I see what it was that you drest,

And made your selves fine for; a Place in her Breast;

You put on your Colours to pleasure her Eye,

To be pluckt by her Hand, on her Bosom to die.


How slowly Time creeps till my Phebe return?

While amidst the soft Zephyrs, cool Breezes, I burn;

Methinks if I knew whereabouts he would tread,

I could breathe on his Wings, and t'would melt down the Lead.

Fly swifter, ye Minutes, bring hither my Dear,

And rest so much longer for't when she is here.

Ah Colin! old Time is full of Delay,

Nor will budge one Foot faster for all thou canst say.


Will no pitying Power that hears me complain,

Or cure my Disquiet, or soften my Pain?

To be cur'd, thou must, Colin, thy Passions remove;

But what Swain is so silly to live without Love?

No, Deity, bid the dear Nymph to return,

For ne'er was poor Shepherd so sadly forlorn.

Ah! What shall I do? I shall die with Despair;

Take Heed, all ye Swains, how you love one so fair.