click to play

Charming Phyllis, fair as lillies,
But her will is to distain.
This dear creature's beauteous features
Give me pleasure mixed with pain;
Lips like cherries, black as berries,
Are the eyes of Phyllis fair;
Slender waisted, snow-white breasted
None with Phyllis can compare.

Breath like roses June discloses,
Sweet as posies, fragrant smell;
Brisk and airy like a fairy,
Charms that Nature doth excel.
Ever pleasing, never teasing,
Yet she's freezing, cold as snow,
To her lover, who to move her
Melting language does bestow.

Lovely jewel, be not cruel,
Quench my fuel, see me burn,
See me languish, ease my anguish,
Turn O! lovely charmer turn.
Grant your favour and I ever
Will endeavour to adore;
I'll caress thee, and will bless thee
With true love for evermore.

abc | midi | pdf
Source: Sabine Baring Gould, 1895, Old English Songs from English Minstrelsie

This is taken from the selection of the eight volume work by Baring Gould of the same name, reprinted by Llanerch Publishers.

Charming Phyllis appeared in volume 1, p. 8 of Baring-Gould's English Minstrelsie (1895). The notes are as follows:

"This graceful little song is found in engraved copperplate, circ. 1732; also the air, without words, in Thompson's Tutor for the Viol, circ. 1786; and in The Compleat Tutor for the Hautboy, about 1750. In my childhood I remember this air very well, with the first verse as having been sung to me either by an aunt or by my nurse. The air was well engrained in my memory before I chanced on it in print. The title of the song in copperplate is The Passionate Lover, and it runs in seven stanzas of four lines. The second portion seems to have been added later. The additional verse in the copperplate is-

'Send an arrow, pierce her through;
Oh, kind Cupid, see my grief;
Make her kinder, let me find her
Warm'd with love to give relief.' "

Roud: 13905 (Search Roud index at VWML)

Browse Titles: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Y Z