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While plants their shade, or flow’rs their odours give,
But see, Orion sheds unwholesome dews; 85
While vapours rise, and driving snows descend,
REMARKS. Ver. 85. Unwholesome dews ;] Observe how the melody of those four verses is improved, by the pure iambic foot at the end of each line, except the second,
obēy. Ver. 87.) If, according to some critics, pleasing images alone are proper to be exhibited in pastoral poetry, it must be unsuitable, to the intent of this sort of poetry, to lay the scene in the severities of winter.
Ver. 89, &c.] These four last lines allude to the several subjects of the four pastorals, and to the several scenes of them, particularized before in each. P.
Vid. etiam Sannazarii Ecl. et Spenser's Calendar.
The sycophancy of A. Phillips, who had prejudiced Mr. Addison against Pope, occasioned those papers in the Guardian, written by the latter, in which there is an ironical preference given to the Pastorals of Phillips, above his own; in order to support the profound judgment of those who could not distinguish between the rural and the rustic; and, on that account, condemned the Pastorals of Pope for wanting simplicity. These papers were sent by an unknown hand to Steele, and the irony escaping him, he communicated them to Mr. Pope, declaring he would never publish any paper, where one of the Club was complimented at the expense of another. Pope told him he was too delicate, and insisted that the papers should be published in the Guardian. They were so. And the pleasantry escaped all but Addison : who, taking Pope aside, said to him in his agreeable manner; You have put your friends here in a very ridiculous light, as will be seen when it is understood, as it must soon be, that you was only laughing at the admirers of Phillips.
But this ill conduct of Phillips occasioned a more open ridicule of his Pastorals, in the mock poem called the Shepherd's Week, written by Gay. But though more open, the object of it was ill understood by those who were strangers to the quarrel. These mistook the Shepherd's Week for a Burlesque of Virgils Pastorals. How far this goes towards a vindication of Phillips's simple painting, let others judge. W.
Upon the whole, the principal merit of these pastorals consists, in their musical and correct versification ; musical, to a degree of which rhyme could hardly be thought capable; and in giving the truest specimen of that harmony in English verse, which is now become indispensably necessary; and which has so forcibly and universally influenced the public ear, as to have obliged every moderate rhymer to be at least melodious. Ten pastorals written by Dr. Evans, the friend of Pope, are inserted in the Eighth Volume of Nichols's Poems, never before printed, and as early as our Author's. Some of them in the rustic style and manner of Gay. In the same volume, page 208, are fourteen Piscatory Eclogues, entitled Nereides, by Diaper, who was patronized by Swift, and who dedicates them to Congreve.