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THE FOURTH PASTORAL.
TO THE MEMORY OF MRS. TEMPEST.
Mrs. Tempest.] This Lady was of an ancient family in Yorkshire, and particularly admired by the Author's friend, Mr. Walsh,* who having celebrated her in a Pastoral Elegy, desired his friend to do the same, as appears from one of his Letters,
IMITATIONS. Ver. 1. Thyrsis, the music, &c.] 'Adú 71, &c. Theocr. Id. i.
* On lately reading Mr. Walsh's Preface to Dryden's translation of Virgil's Eclogues, I was convinced he had a greater share of learning than he is usually allowed to possess. His strictures on the French language and manners, and on Fontenelle's af. fected and unnatural Eclogues, as well as on his vain attempt to depreciate the ancients, are very solid and judicious. To what he has said of Virgil may be added, that one of the most natural strokes in all his Eclogues, is the shepherd's reckoning his years by the succession of his loves ;
Postquam nos Amaryllis habet-
Now sleeping flocks on their soft fleeces lie,
Behold the groves that shine with silver frost, Their beauty wither'd, and their verdure lost. 10 Here shall I try the sweet Alexis' strain, That call’d the listning Dryads to the plain? Thames heard the numbers as he flow'd along, And bade his willows learn the moving song.
dated Sept. 9, 1706. “ Your last Eclogue being on the same subject with mine, on Mrs. Tempest's death, I should take it very kindly in you to give it a little turn, as if it were to the memory of the same lady.” Her death having happened on the night of the great storm in 1703, gave a propriety to this Eclogue, which in its general turn alludes to it. The scene of the Pastoral lies in a grove, the time at midnight. P.
I do not find any lines that allude to the great storm of which the Poet speaks.
Ver. 9. shine with silver frost,] The image is a fine one, but improperly placed. The idea he would raise is the deformity of Winter, as appears by the following line; but this imagery contradicts it. It should have been-glare with hoary frost, or some such expression : the same inaccuracy in ver. 31, where he uses pearls, when he should have said tears. W.
The alteration here proposed by Warburton, seems to be very injudicious and inelegant; and much resembles an alteration he wished to make in Love's Labour Lost; which was, to read
to paint the meadows much bedight, instead of the present reading,
-to paint the meadows with delight.
IMITATIONS. Ver. 13. Thames heard, &c.] “ Audiit Eurotas, jussitque ediscere lauros." Virg.
LYCIDAS. So may kind rains their vital moisture yield, 15 And swell the future harvest of the field. Begin; this charge the dying Daphne gave, And said, “Ye shepherds, sing around my grave !" Sing, while beside the shaded tomb I mourn, And with fresh bays her rural shrine adorn.
THYRSIS. Ye gentle Muses, leave your crystal spring, Let Nymphs and Sylvans cypress garlands bring; Ye weeping Loves, the stream with myrtles hide, And break your bows, as when Adonis dy'd ; And with your golden darts, now useless grown, 25 Inscribe a verse on this relenting stone: “Let nature change, let heav'n and earth deplore, Fair Daphne's dead, and love is now no more !"
'Tis done, and nature’s various charms decay, See gloomy clouds obscure the cheerful day! 30 Now hung with pearls the dropping trees appear, Their faded honours scatter'd on her bier. See, where on earth the flow'ry glories lie, With her they flourish'd, and with her they die
Ver. 29. Originally thus in the MS.
'Tis done, and nature's chang'd since you are gone;
Behold the clouds have put their mourning on. W. Which are very bad lines indeed.
REMARKS. Ver. 29. 'Tis done,] Thomson uses these very words at the end of his Winter. 'Tis done! &c.
Et tumulum facite, et tumulo superaddite carmen." P.
Ah what avail the beauties nature wore ?
35 Fair Daphne’s dead, and beauty is no more!
For her the flocks refuse their verdant food, The thirsty heifers shun the gliding flood, The silver swans her hapless fate bemoan, In notes more sad than when they sing their own ; In hollow caves sweet echo silent lies,
41 Silent, or only to her name replies; Her name with pleasure once she taught the shore, Now Daphne’s dead, and pleasure is no more!
No grateful dews descend from ev’ning skies, 45 Nor morning odours from the flow'rs arise ; No rich perfumes refresh the fruitful field, Nor fragrant herbs their native incense yield. The balmy Zephyrs, silent since her death, Lament the ceasing of a sweeter breath; 50 Th’ industrious bees neglect their golden store ! Fair Daphne's dead, and sweetness is no more!
No more the mounting larks, while Daphne sings, Shall listning in mid-air suspend their wings; No more the birds shall imitate her lays, 55 Or hush'd with wonder, hearken from the sprays: No more the streams their murmurs shall forbear, A sweeter music than their own to hear, But tell the reeds, and tell the vocal shore, Fair Daphne’s dead, and music is no more! 60
Her fate is whisper'd by the gentle breeze, And told in sighs to all the trembling trees;
Ver. 41. sweet echo] This expression of sweet echo is taken from Comus; as is another expression, loose traces, Third Past. v. 62. And he recommends these poems in high terms to Sir W. Trumball (see the Letters) so early as the year 1704.
The trembling trees, in ev'ry plain and wood,
But see! where Daphne wond'ring mounts on high
LYCIDAS.. How all things listen, while thy Muse complains ! Such silence waits on Philomela's strains, In some still ev’ning, when the whisp’ring breeze Pants on the leaves, and dies upon the trees. 80 To thee, bright goddess, oft a lamb shall bleed, If teeming ewes increase my fleecy breed.
Ver. 70. Above the clouds,] In Spenser's November, and in Milton's Lycidas, is the same beautiful change of circumstances : in the latter most exquisite, from line 165.
Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more-
Sub pedibusque videt nubes et sidera Daphnis." Virg. P. Ver. 81.
" illius aram " Sæpe tener nostris ab ovilibus imbuet agnus."'. Virg. P.