The Story of Phœbus and Daphne, Applied

Original Text: 
Edmund Waller, Poems (1645); facs.edn., Poems, 1645, together with poems from Bodleian MS Dond. 55 (Menston: Scolar Press, 1971). PR 3750 A1 1645 AB Robarts Library
3Like Phœbus sung the no less amorous boy;
4Like Daphne she, as lovely, and as coy;
6With numbers such as Phœbus' self might use;
7Such is the chase when Love and Fancy leads,
8O'er craggy mountains, and through flow'ry meads;
9Invok'd to testify the lover's care,
10Or form some image of his cruel fair:
11Urg'd with his fury, like a wounded deer,
12O'er these he fled; and now approaching near,
13Had reach'd the nymph with his harmonious lay,
15Yet what he sung in his immortal strain,
16Though unsuccessful, was not sung in vain;
17All but the nymph that should redress his wrong,
18Attend his passion, and approve his song.
19Like Phœbus thus, acquiring unsought praise,


1] When Phoebus pursued Daphne, her father (the river-god Peneus) changed her into a laurel tree. Phoebus then adopted the laurel as his tree and made the laurel crown a reward of victory in song. Waller adapts this story to his courtship of the Lady Dorothy Sidney. Back to Line
2] Sacharissa: a name formed from Latin, saccharum, sugar. Back to Line
5] numbers: verses. Back to Line
14] charms: songs, incantations. Back to Line
20] bays: laurels. Back to Line
Publication Start Year: 
RPO poem Editors: 
N. J. Endicott
RPO Edition: 
2RP.1.443; RPO 1996-2000.