« EdellinenJatka »
However, (be it from what Motive it may) the following is a Criticisin chiefly, if not altogether, on the Praise-worthy Side of our Authors considered,
not proceeding from Envy of true Merit, nor Ill- nature in the Critick ; therefore expect little except
Comparison, Explanation, and bringing to light 2 fome beautiful Passages, in several great pastoral Poets, Mr. Pope, Mr. Gay, Mr. Philips, and in dramatick
Pastoral, Taso, Guarini, and our British, and much ...to be admir'd gentle Shepherd, Allan Ramsay..
There are four Sorts of Pastorals; the first Sort is that which is wrote with an Eye to antient Arcadian
Shephersd, and this rises in the Stile, and affumes - more poetical Liberty than otherways would be al
lowed to simple Shepherd Swains; of this Sort are the Pastorals of Mr. Pope and Mr. Philips.
The second Sort keeps in View only modern Shepherds, fpeaking in more homely Guise, without
the poetical Painting mentioned in the first, of this · Kind are Mr. Gay's.
· The third Sort is as either of these are manag'd by the Poet, and is the old Arcadian, or else the modern, and more natural Pastoral, either in Descrip
tion, or Dialogue, of this kind are some of the · Pastorals of each of the three Poets beforementioned.
The fourth Sort is pastoral Comedy, and this admits of Description, Dialogue, Accident, Incident, and Action, and is the greatest Perfection to which
pastoral Poetry can be brought ; of this Kind, is the · Aminta of Talo-The Faithful Shepherd of Guarini, · and the Gentle Shepherd of Allan Ramsay. Boileau, - in his Art of Poetry, has given very good Instruction
to a pastoral Writer, in the following Lines, tranNated from the original French, by Sir William Soames, and afterwards revis'd by the great Mr. Dryden.
Mr. Philips, who wrote his Pastorals before Mr. Pope, fays little concerning the Manner of writing, or of the Nature of this sort of Poetry, which, for many Years before he took his rural Pipe in Hand, had been quite neglected; it is therefore, I think, a little strange, that on the Revival of paftoral Poetry in England, he should only say:
own Felicity: From hence a Poem was invented, and afterwards improv'd to a perfect Image of that happy Time, which, by giving an Emblem of the Virtues of a former Age, might recommend them to the present; and since the Life of Shepherds was attended with more Tranquility than any other rural Employment, the Poets chofe to introduce their Persons, from whom it receiv'd the Name of Pastoral.
If we could copy Nature, it may be useful to take this Consideration along with us, that Pastoral is an Image of what we call the Golden Age. ..)
By this it is plain, that Mr. Pope esteem'd himself a Writer only of that Sort of Pastoral which painted the Golden Age. Mr. Gay, on the contrary, leaves that behind, and gives his Shepherds and Shepherdesses a Turn altogether modern and natural, for which he artfully and properly prepares the Reader, in a masterly Manner, affecting Simplicity of Stile, and a Language a little older than what was us'd in his Time. Great Marvel hath it been, says Mr. Gay, (and that not unworthily) to diverse worthy Wits, that in this our Illand of Britain, in all rare Sciences so greatly abounding, more especially in all kinds of Poesie highly flourishing, no Poet (though otherways of notable Cunning in Roundelays) hath hit on the right simple Eclogue after the true ancient Guife of Theocritus, before this mine Attempt.
Other Poet travailing in this plain High-way of Pastoral know I none. Yet, certes, such it behoveth a Pastoral to be, as Nature in the Country affordeth; and the Manners also meetly copied from the ruftical Folk therein. In this also my Love to my native Country Britain much pricketh me forward, to defcribe aright the Manners of our own honest and labourious Plough-men, in no wise sure more unworthy a Britis Poet's Imitation, than those of Sicily or ArVOL. II.
cadie; albeit, not ignorant I am; what a Rout and Rabblement of critical Gallimawffy hath been made of late Days by certain young Men of infipid Delicacy, conceruing. I wist not what, golden Age, and other outragious Conceits, to which they would confine Paftoral.
Verily, as little Pleafance receiveth a true homebred Taft, from all the fine finical new-fängled Fooleries of this gay Gothic Garniture, wherewith they so nicely bedeck their Court Clowns, or clown Courtiers, ffor, which to call them rightly, I wot not) as would a prudent Citizen journeying to his country Farms, should he find them occupied by People of this motley Make, instead of plain downright hearty cleanly Folk; such as be now Tenants to the Burgesses of this Realme.
Furthermore, it is my Purpose; gentle Reader, to fet before thee, as it were, a Pieture, or rather liveby Landfcape of thy own Country, just as thou mightest see it; dideft thou take a Walk in the Fields at the proper Season.
Thou wilt not find my Shepherdeffes idly piping on oaten Reeds, but milking the Kine, tying up the Sheaves, or if the Hogs are astray driving them to their- Styes. My Shepherd gathereth none other Nosegays but what are the Growth of our own Fields, he sleepeth not under Myrtle Shades, but under a Hedge, nor doth he vigilantly defend his Flocks from Wolves; because there are none, as Maister Spencer well obferveth.
Well is known that since the Saxon King : Never was Wolf seen, many or some
Nor in all Kent nor in Christendom.
For as much, as Fhave mentioned Maister Spencer, foothly I must acknowledge him a Bard of sweetest