Imagens da página

with:Uzziah and Jeroboam, was one of the herdmen of Tekoa * We have seen already, that the ancient Arcadians, how rude and ignorant foever they were with regard to other arts, yet were not: fo with regard to Mufick and Poetry: and in some ages and nations, the maft polite people have been Herdmen. It will be readily acknowledged, that Nature ought to be followed, in this as well as in all the other forts of Poetry: but surely, we ought to imitate that part of Nature, which is most agreeable and pleasing. The country affords us many objects, which delight us, by their beauty and a man would juftly be thought to have an odd tafte, who should turn his cye from thefe, to gaze on fome which are lefs agreeable.' The lowing of the herds, the bleating of the flocks, the wildness of an extensive common, the folemn fhade of a thick wood, and the fimplicity of the buildings, furnish us with pleasing images : and whilft we are contemplating these beauties, we feldom have much inclination to admire the difagreeable, though natural, fight and smell of a dunghill, or a hogstye, - We may therefore conclude, that though Nature is to be followed ; yet we are not to represent every thing that is natural, without diftinétion; but to select such images only

* Amos i. 1. VII, 140


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

as are pleasing, throwing a veil at the same time over those which would give offence. Thus every Imitation of the action of a Herdman, or of one represented under that character, will indeed be a true Pastoral: but at the same time, if there is not a little judgment used, in the choice of the Herdmen we intend to imitate, our Pastorals will be fit for the reading only of such rude clowns, as we have placed before us for an example.

We should, I believe, form a much better notion of Bucolical or Pastoral Poetry, by attending carefully to the design of those great Ancients, Theocritus and Virgil; than by studying all the imaginary rules of the modern Criticks. Theocritus certainly intended to describe the manners of the Herdmen of Sicily. His. Idyllia are generally. either Dialogues between two persons of that character; or Poems in praise of the celebrated actions of Gods and Heroes, such as seem to have been originally sung by the ancient Arcadian shepherds. The first Idyllium is a dialogue between the shepherd Thyrsis and a Goatherd. Thyrsis is a Sicilian *, and at the request of his friend, fings the death of Daphnis, who was a Sicilian Herdmnan. The second describes the jealoufy. of Simaetha, who had been debauched, and then deserted

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

by one Delphis. She makes use of several incantations; in order to regain his love. In the third, a Goatherd declares his passion for Amaryllis

. The fourth is a dialogue between Battus a goatherd, and Corydon a neatherd. In the fifth, Comatas å goatherd, and Lacon a shepherd, after some very coarse railleries, challenge each other to sing for a wager : one stakes a goat, and the other a lamb; and the goatherd obtains the prize. In the fixth, two neatherds, Damoetas and Daphnis drive their herds together into one place, and sing alternately the passion of Polyphemus for Galatea. The seventh is the narration of a journey, which Theocritus took, to see the folemnities of Ceres. He meets with Lycidas a goatherd on the road; and the whole discourse between them is pastoral. . In the eighth is related a contention about singing, -between the shepherd Menalcas and the neatherd Daphnis: a goatherd is chosen judge, who decrees the prize to Daphnis. A like contention is related in the ninth, between two herdsmen, Daphnis and Menalcas. These nine are generally allowed by the Criticks to be Pastorals: but the tenth is usually excluded, being a dialogue between two Reapers. And yet perhaps, if we consider, that a' herdman may very naturally describe a conversation between two of his country neighbours, who


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


entertain each other with a rural song; we may,
foften a little the severity of our Critical temper,
and allow even this to be called a Pastoral. i. The
eleventh, which describes the passion of Poly-
phemus for Galatea, is, I think, allowed to be a
Paftoral: but those which follow, are commonly,
rejected; though fometimes perhaps with little
reason. Thus I know not why the twelfth may;
not be admitted, of which the fubject is Love, and,
wherein the fimilitudes are taken from fruits,
fheep, heifers, and singing bịrds, Are not the
following versos of that Idyllium truly Pastoral ?

"Ήλυθες, ώ φίλε κούρε, τρίτη συν, νυκτί και κοι,
*Ήλυθες: "Οι δε αοθεύντες, εν ήματι γεράσκουσιν
Όσσον έαρ χειμώμος, όσον μήλου βραβύλοιο
"Hov, &c.

els sich
« You' come, dear youth, now three long days are

gone, « You come: but Lovers do grow old in one. “ As much as spring excels the frost and snow, « As much as plumbs are fweeter than a floe, " As much as ewes are thicker fleec'd than lambs, ** As much as maids excel thrice marry'd dames, is "As much as colts are nimbler than a fteer, * As much as thrushes please the liftning ear, « More than the meaner fongsters of the air; “ So much thy presence cheers.”



[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

; The P. REFACE. xiii The thirteenth indeed, which is a relation of the lofs of Hylasz: the friend of Hercules, i has nothing paftoral in it:' but as the actions of gods and heroes used to be fung by the ancient Herdmen, we may venture to affirm, that the Author intended this also for a Pastoral. In the fourteenth, Aeschines ista herdman, who being in love with Cynifca; and being despised by her, is determined to turn foldier. His friend Thyonichus advises him to enter into the fervice of Ptolemy, on whom he beAows great praises. There is nothing inconsistent with the character of a Herdmang ito suppose him crossed in love, and in despair to go for a soldier. This is so adapted even to the manners of a mo

dern rustick; that our Criticks may venture to : let this pass without censure. Nor does there

seem any good reason to reject the fifteenth ; tho' there is not a word in it about Cattle; and though the scene is not laid in the pastures of Sicily; but in the great city of Alexandria. The perfons of this fdylium are not Herdmeh; but their wives. These Gossips of Syracuse are got to Alexandria, to see the pomp of the feast of Adonis ; where they are pushed about in the crowd, and prattle just as

our good country dames would at a Lord Mayor's show. This therefore may be allowed to be a Pastoral ; unless we are to be so strict;


some of our

« AnteriorContinuar »