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O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize,
Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain, Then hid in shades, eludes her
eager swain; But feigns a laugh, to see me search around, And by that laugh the willing fair is found.
The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green,
Pan, let my numbers equal Strephon's lays,
conquer and augment my fold,
Ver. 60. How much at variance] A very trifling and false conceit, and too witty for the occasion.
“ Malo me Galatea petit, lasciva puella ;
Et fugit ad salices, sed se cupit ante videri." P.
O’er golden sands let rich Pactolus flow, And trees weep amber on the banks of Po; Bright Thames's shores the brightest beauties yield, Feed here my lambs, I'll seek no distant field.
DAPHNIS. Celestial Venus haunts Idalia's
65 Diana Cynthus, Ceres Hybla loves; If Windsor-shades delight the matchless maid, Cynthus and Hybla yield to Windsor-shade.
STRE PHON. All nature mourns, the skies relent in show'rs, Hush'd are the birds, and clos'd the drooping flow'rs;
Let rich Iberia golden fleeces boast,
P. Ver. 61. Originally thus in the MS.
Go, flow'ry wreath, and let my Sylvia know,
W. Ver. 69, &c. These verses were thus at first:
All nature mourns, the birds their songs deny,
vitio moriens sitit aëris herba ;" &c. Phyllidis adventu nostræ nemus omne virebit.” Virg. P.
If Delia smile, the flow'rs begin to spring,
All nature laughs, the groves are fresh and fair, The Sun's mild lustre warms the vital air; If Sylvia smiles, new glories gild the shore, 75 And vanquish'd nature seems to charm no more.
In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love, At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove, But Delia always; absent from her sight, Nor plains at morn, nor groves at noon delight. 80
Sylvia's like autumn ripe, yet mild as May, More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day; Ev’n spring displeases, when she shines not here; But blest with her, 'tis spring throughout the year.
Say, Daphnis, say, in what glad soil appears, 85 A wondrous Tree that sacred Monarchs bears ; Tell me but this, and I'll disclaim the prize, And give the conquest to thy Sylvia's eyes.
Ver. 86. A wondrous Tree that sacred Monarchs bears ;] An allusion to the Royal Oak, in which Charles II. had been hid from the pursuit after the battle at Worcester. P.
This is one of the most trifling and puerile conceits in any of our author's works ; except what follows of the Thistle and the Lily.
Nay tell me first, in what more happy fields
DA MON. Cease to contend, for, Daphnis, I decree, The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee : Blest swains, whose Nymphs in ev'ry grace excel ; Blest Nymphs, whose Swains those graces sing so well!
96 Now rise, and haste to yonder woodbine bow'rs, A soft retreat from sudden vernal show’rs ; The turf with rural dainties shall be crown'd, While op’ning blooms diffuse their sweets around. For see! the gath’ring flocks to shelter tend, 101 And from the Pleiads fruitful show'rs descend.
The turf with country dainties shall be spread,
Ver. 93. Cease to contend,] An author of strong sense,
but not of equal taste and feeling, and who preferred the dungeons of the Strand to the valleys of Arcadia, says, “ That every intelligent reader sickens at the mention of the crook and the pipe, the sheep and the kids.” This appears to be an unjust and harsh condemnation of all Pastoral Poetry. And the same author depreciates and despises the Amynta of Tasso, and the Pastor Fido of Guarini, two pieces of exquisite poetry, and which have gained a lasting applause.
Ver. 90. The Thistle springs, to which the Lily yields :] Alludes to the device of the Scots Monarchs, the Thistle worn by Queen
Anne; and to the arms of France, the Fleur-de-lis. riddles are in imitation of those in Virg. Ecl. iii. .
“ Dic, quibus in terris inscripti nomina Regum
Nascantur Flores ;- et Phyllida solus habeto."
A mixture of British and Grecian ideas may justly be deemed a blemish in these Pastorals : and propriety is certainly violated, when he couples Pactolus with Thames, and Windsor with Hybla. Complaints of immoderate heat, and wishes to be conveyed to cooling caverns, when uttered by the inhabitants of Greece, have a decorum and consistency, which they totally lose in the character of a British shepherd: and Theocritus, during the ardours of Sirius, must have heard the murmurings of a brook, and the whispers of a pine, with more home-felt pleasure, than Pope could possibly experience upon the same occasion. We can never completely relish, or adequately understand, any author, especially any ancient, except we keep in our eye, his climate, his country, and his age. Pope himself informs us, in a note, that he judiciously omitted the following verse,
And list’ning wolves grow milder as they hear, on account of the absurdity, which Spenser overlooked, of introducing wolves into England. But on this principle, which is certainly a just one, may it not be asked why he should speak, the scene lying in Windsor-Forest, of the sultry Sirius, of the grateful clusters of grapes, of a pipe of reeds, the antique fistula, of thanking Ceres for a plentiful harvest, of the sacrifice of lambs, with many other instances that might be adduced to this purpose. That Pope however was sensible of the importance of adapting images to the scene of action, is obvious from the following ex. ample of his judgment; for in translating
Audiit Eurotas, jussitque ediscere Lauros, he has dexterously dropt the laurels appropriated to Eurotas, as he is speaking of the river Thames, and has rendered it,
Thames heard the numbers, as he flow'd along,
And bade his Willows learn the moving song. In the passages which Pope has imitated from Theocritus, and from his Latin Translator Virgil, he has merited but little applause. It may not be unentertaining to see how coldly and unpoetically Pope has copied the subsequent appeal to the Nymphs