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Of the P A S T O R A L. 93
Spenser was the first of our own countrymen, who acquired any confiderable reputation by this method of writing. We shall infert his fixth eclogue, or that for June, which is allegorical, as will be feen by the
“ Hobbinol, from a description of the pleasures of the place, excites Colin to the enjoyment of them. Colin declares himself incapable of delight, by reason of his ill fuccess in love, and his lofs of Rosalind, who had treacherously forsaken him for Menalcas, another fhepherd. By Tityrus (mentioned before in Spenser's fecond eclogue, and again in the twelfth) is plainly meant Chaucer, whom the author fometimes profess'd to imitate. In the person of Colin, is represented the author himself; and Hobbinol’s inviting him to leave the hilly country, seems to allude to his leaving the North, where, as is mention'd in his life, he had for fome time resided.”
Lo ! Colin, here the place, whose pleasant fight
From other shades hath wean'd my wand'ring mind :
Tell me, what wants me here, to work delight ?
- The fimple air, the gentle warbling wind,
So calm, so cool, as no where elfe I find:
The graffy gróund with dainty daifies dight,
The bramble-bush, where birds of every kind
To th' water's fall their tunes attemper right.
Thy lovely lays here mayst thou freely boast:
But I, unhappy man! whom cruel fate,
And angry Gods pursue from coast to coast,
Can no where find, to fhroud my luckless pate.
Here no night-ravens lodge, more black than pitch, Nor Elvish ghosts, nor ghaftly owls do flee.
And I, whilst youth, and course of careless years,
Did let me walk withouten links of love,
In fuch delights did joy amongst my peers :
But riper age fuch pleasures doth reprove,
My fancy eke from former follies move
To strayed steps: for time in pasting wears
(As garments doen, which waxen old above)
And draweth new delights with hoary hairs.
Tho couth I fing of love and tune my pipe
Unto my plantive pleas in verfes made :
Tho would I feek for queen-apples unripe,
To give my Rosalind, and in sommer fhade
Dight gawdy girlonds, was my common trade,
To crown her golden locks : but years more ripe,
And lofs of her, whose love as life I wayde,
Those weary wanton toys away did wipe.
Colin, to hear thy rhimes and roundelays,
Which thou wert wont on wasteful hills to fing,
I more delight, than lark in fommer days :
Whose echo made the neighbour groves to ring,
And taught the birds, which in the lower spring
Did fhroud in fhady leaves from funny rays ;
Frame to thy fong their cheerful cheriping
Or hold their peace, for shame of thy sweet lays.
I saw Calliope with muses moe,
Soon as thy oaten pipe began to found,
Their ivory lutes and tamburíns forgo:
And from the fountain, where they fate around,
Ren after hastily thy filver found.
But when they came, where thou thy skill didst show,
They drew a back, as half with shame confound,
Shepherd to see, them in their art out-go.
Nought weigh I, who my fong doth praise or blame, Ne strive to win renown, or pass the rest : With shepherds fits not follow flying fame, But feed his flocks in fields, where falls him best. I wote my rimes been rough, and rudely dreft ; The fitter they, my careful case to frame : Enough is me to paint out my unreft, And pour my piteous plaints out in the fame.
The God of shepherds, Tityrus is dead, Who taught me homely, as I can, to make:
He, whilft he lived was the fovereign head Of shepherds all, that been with love ytake.
Well couth he wail his woes, and lightly flake
The flames, which love within his heart had bred,
And tell us merry tales, to keep us wake,
The while our sheep about us fafely fed.
Now dead he is, and lieth wrapt in lead,
(O why should death on him such outrage show !
And all his paffing skill with him is fled,
The fame whereof doth daily greater grow. .
But if on me fome little drops would flow
Of that the spring was in his learned hed,
I foon would learn these woods to wail my woe,
And teach the trees their trickling tears to shed.
O ! careful Colin, I lament thy cafe,
Thy tears would make the hardest flint to flow !
Ah ! faithless Rosalind, and void of grace,
That are the root of all this rueful woe !
But now is time, I guess, homeward to go:
Then rife, ye blefied flocks, and home apace,
Left night with stealing steps do you foreslo,
And wet your tender lambs, that by you trace.
By the following eclogue the reader will perceive that Mr. Philips has, in imitation of Spencer, preserved in his Pastorals many antiquated words, which, tho' they are discarded from polite conversation, may naturally be fupposed still to have place among the shepherds, and other rusticks in the country. We have made choice of his fecond eclogue, because it is brought home to his own bufiness, and contains a complaint against those who had spoken ill of him and his writings.
Is it not Colinet I lonesome fee
Leaning with folded arms against the tree ?
Or is it age of late bedims my fight ? --
'Tis Colinet, indeed, in woeful plight.
Thy cloudy look, why melting into tears,
Unfeemly, now the sky fo bright appears ?
Why in this mournful manner art thou found,
Unthankful lad, when all things smile around ?
Or hear’st not lark and linnet jointly fing,
Their notes blithe-warbling to falute the fpring ?
Though blithe their notes, not so my wayward fate :
Nor lark would fing, nor linnet, in my state. :2
Each creature, Thenot, to his task is born,
As they to mirth and mufic, I to mourn.
Waking, at midnight, I my woes renew,
My tears oft mingling with the falling dew.
T H E N o T. -
Small cause, I ween, has lufy youth to plain ;
Or who may then, the weight of eld fustain,
When every flackening nerve begins to fail, }
And the load preffeth as our days prevail ?
Yet, though with years my body downward tend *
As trees beneath their fruit, in autumn bend, . P
Spite of my snowy head and icy veins,
My mind a cheerful temper still retains :
And why should man, mishap what will, repine -
Sour every sweet, and mix with tears his wine ? · -----