A Pastoral Ballard, In Four Parts "My Banks They Are Furnished With Bees"

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"My Banks They Are Furnished With Bees"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: Shenstone's poem in the traditional pastoral manner is about the unrequited love of a shepherd named Corydon for the beautiful Phyllis. The poem is in four parts: the first, entitled "Absence," tells of Corydon's love for the young woman, his memories of her, and his sorrow while she is gone from him; Part Two, from which the quotation is taken, tells of the shepherd's hope that Phyllis will return to share the grove and bower and gifts he has prepared for her; Part Three, "Solicitude," tells, as the title indicates, of Corydon's solicitude for his beloved and his fears that another shepherd, named Paridel, will seduce her with mock passion from Corydon's real love; the last part of the poem, "Disappointment," rings with Corydon's complaint, "She is faithless–and I am undone," as he learns that the lovely Phyllis has proved fickle and left him for all time, leaving him only this "same sad complaint." The quotation is from the opening stanza of Part Two, one of two stanzas that describe the bower Corydon has labored to rear:

My banks they are furnish'd with bees,
Whose murmur invites one to sleep;
My grottoes are shaded with trees,
And my hills are white-over with sheep.
I seldom have met with a loss,
Such health do my fountains bestow;
My fountains all border'd with moss,
Where the hare-bells and violets grow.
Not a pine in my grove is there seen,
But with tendrils of woodbine is bound:
Not a beech's more beautiful green,
But a sweet-briar entwines it around.
Not my fields in the prime of the year,
More charms than my cattle unfold:
Not a brook that is limpid and clear,
But it glitters with fishes of gold.