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VIRST in these fields I try the sylvan strains,
Nor blush to sport on Windsor's blissful plains: Fair Thames, flow gently from thy sacred spring, While on thy banks Sicilian Muses fing;
These Pastorals were written at the age of fixteen, and then past thro' the hands of Mr. Wals, Mr. Wycherley, G. Granville afterwards Lord Lansdown, Sir William Trumbal, Dr. Garth, Lord Hallifax, Lord Somers, Mr. Mainwaring, and others. All these gave our author the greatest encouragement, and particularly Mr. Walb (whom Mr. Dryden, in his Poftscript to Virgil, calls the best critic of his age.) “ 'The Author (says he) seems to have a
particular genius for this kind of Poetry, and a judge “ ment that much exceeds his years. He has taken very
freely from the Ancients. But what he has mixed of « his own with theirs is no way inferior to what he has taken from them. It is not flattery at all to say that
Let vernal airs thro' trembling ofiers play, S And Albion's cliffs resound the rural lay.
You, that too wise for pride, too good for pow'r, Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
Virgil had written nothing fo good at his Age. His “ Preface is very judicious and learned." Letter to Mr. Wycherley, Ap. 1705.' The Lord Lansdown about the fame time, mentioning the youth of our Poet, says (in a printed Letter of the Character of Mr. Wycherley) “ that to if he goes on as he has begun in the Pastoral way, as
Virgil first tried his strength, we may hope to see Eng“ lish Poetry vie with the Roman," etc. Notwithstanding the early time of their production, the Author esteemed these as the most correct in the versification, and mufical in the numbers, of all his works. The reason for his labouring them into fo-much foftness, was, doubtless, that this sort of poetry derives almost its whole beauty from a natural ease of thought and smoothness of verse; whereas that of most other kinds confifts in the strength and fulness of both. ' In a letter of his to Mr. Walsh about this time we find an enumeration of several Niceties in Versification, whịch perhaps have never been ftri&ly.
observed in any English poem, except in these Pastorals: / They were not printed till 1709. P.
Sir William Trumbal.] Our Author's friendship with this gentleman commenced at very unequal years : he was under fixteen, but Sir William above fixty, and had lately resign'd his employment of Secretary of State to King William. P.
Noftra nec erubuit sylvas habitare Thalia. This is the general exordium and opening of the Pasto. sals, in imitation of the fixth of Virgil, which some have therefore not in probably thought to have been the first originally: : In the beginnings of the other three Pastorals, he imitates exprefly those which now stand firft of the three chief Poets in this kind, Spencer, Virgil, Theocritus:
And carrying with you all the world can boast,
Soon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews, Two Swains, whom Love kept wakeful, and the
VER. 12. in your native shades] Sir W. Trumbal was. born in Windfor-forest, to which he retreated, after he had resigned the post of Secretary of State to King William III. P.
Ver.17, etc. The Scene of this Paftorala Valley, the time the Morning. It stood originally thus,
Daphnis and Strephon to the Shades retir'd,
Thyrfis, the Music of that murm'ring Spring, are manifestly imitations of
A Shepherd's Boy (no better do him call) -Tityre, tu patulae recubans fub tegmine fagi. - Αδύ τι το ψιθύρισμα και απίτυς, αιπόλε, τήνα. Ρ.
DAPHNIS. Hear how the birds, on ev'ry bloomy spray, With joyous music wake the dawning day! Why fit we mute when early linnets fing, 25 When warbling Philomel salutes the spring? Why fit we fad when Phosphor shines so clear, And lavish Nature paints the purple year?
STREPHON. Sing then, and Damon shall attend the strain, While yon' flow oxen turn the furrow'd plain. Here the bright crocus and blue vi let glow; Here western winds on breathing roses blow. I'll stake yon' lamb, that near the fountain plays, And from the brink his dancing shade surveys.
DAPHNIS. And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines, 35 And swelling clusters bend the curling vines :
VER. 28. purple year ?] Pnrple here used in the Latin fense of the brightest moit vivid colouring in general, not of that peculiar tint so called. Ver. 34. The first reading was,
And his own image from the bank surveys.
VARIATION s. VER:36. And clusters lurk beneath the curling vines. P,
Lenta quibus torno facili fuperaddita vitis,
Four figures rising from the work appear,
• STRE PHON. Inspire me, Phoebus, in my Delia's praise,
45 With Waller's strains, or Granville's moving lays ! A milk-white bull shall at your altars stand, That threats a fight, and spurns the rising sand.
VER. 46. Granville-1 George Granville, afterwards Lord Lantdown, known for his Poems, most of which he compos'd very young, and propos'd Waller as his model. P.
Alternis dicetis, amant alterna Camoena :
Nunc frondent fylve, nunc formofiffimus annus. P. VER. 38. The various seafons] The Subject of these Pastorals engraven on the bowl is not without its
propriety. The Shepherd's hesitation at the name of the Zodiac, imitates that in Virgil,
Et quis fuit, alter, Defcripit radio totum qui gentibus orbem ? P. Ver. 47. A. milk-white Bull.] Virg.Pafcite taurum,
Qui cornu petat, et pedibus jam fpargat arenan. P.