Corydon and Phoebe
DESCRIPTION: Corydon (Colin) asks Phoebe (Phyllis) why she flees. She is afraid for her reputation. He says they're not alone; she says she will die a virgin. He replies that he'd come to ask for her hand in marriage, but will seek another. She accepts his hand
EARLIEST DATE: 1755 (_The New Ballads sung by Mr Lowe and Miss Stevenson at Vauxhall_, included by Kidson)
LONG DESCRIPTION: Corydon (Colin) asks Phoebe (Phyllis) why she makes haste ahead of his pursuit. She replies that she's scarcely sixteen and afraid for her reputation. He points out that they're not alone, so her reputation's safe; she replies that flattery or no, she will die a virgin. He replies that he'd come to ask for her hand in marriage, but since she has slighted him, he's giving up and will seek another. She bids him stay, accepts his hand, and promises "the girl you thought cruel will always prove kind"
KEYWORDS: age hardheartedness courting love marriage virginity dialog lover
FOUND IN: Britain(England(Lond,North,South)) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Kennedy 125, "Colin and Phoebe" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kidson-Tunes, pp. 73-77, "Colin and Phoebe" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Peacock, pp. 510-511, "Bold Escallion and Phoebe" (1 text, 1 tune)
Freeman Bennett, "Bold Escallion and Phoebe" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Harry Cox, "Colin and Phoebe" (on HCox01)
Pop Maynard, "Colin and Phoebe" (on Voice06)
Bodleian, Harding B 28(77), "Colin and Phoebe" ("Well met, dearest Phoebe, O why in such haste"), W. Armstrong (Liverpool), 1820-1824; also Harding B 16(56a), Firth c.18(208), Firth c.18(209), Harding B 11(1182), Firth b.26(168), 2806 c.17(74), Harding B 15(48b), Firth b.25(75), Harding B 11(1376), Harding B 11(640), Harding B 11(639), Johnson Ballads 15, "Colin and Phoebe"
cf. "Pastoral Elegy" (theme)
cf. "Come Write Me Down (The Wedding Song)" (plot)
NOTES: She offers the "I will never marry" ploy; he counters with the "I'll marry someone else" gambit. Check and mate.
No question that this is a piece with its origin in minstrelsy and "rural romance" broadsides. But Kennedy cites over half-a-dozen collections from folk tradition, including the indexed version by Harry Cox, and I say that more than qualifies it as a folk song. - PJS
It should be noted that the mere presence of characters with these approximate names does not make a poem this song. Nicolas Breton, for instance, published "Phillida and Coridon" in 1591 in The Honourable Entertainment given to the Queen's Majesty in Progress at Elvetham); it's the same plot, but told in the third person: "In the merry month of May, In a morn by break of day, Forth I walked by the wood side Whenas May was in his pride. There I spied all alone Phillida and Coridon."
Similarly, John Chalkhill published a "Coridon's Song" ("Oh, the sweet contentment The countryman doth find. High trolollie Lolly loe, That quiet contemplation Possesseth all my mind: Then care away, And wend along with me") around 1600.
Again, Dyer published "Corydon to his Phyllis" ("Alas, my heart! mine eye hath wronged thee, Presumptuous eye, to gaze on Phyllis' face... Poor Corydon, the nymph, whose eye doth move thee , Doth love to draw, but is not drawn to love thee") in The Phoenix Nest (1593).
In England's Helicon (1600) we have "Phyllida's Love-Call to Her Corydon, and His Replying" (A dialog: Phyllida" Corydon, arise, my Corydon! Titan shineth clear." Corydon: "Who is it that calleth Corydon? Who is it that I hear?"); this piece has no author, but has a contemporary musical setting. - RBW
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