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boldest competitor. A proof os this, I think, will appear from this circumstance , that Virgil, who is the great rival of the Sicilian, has few images in his Eclogues but what are hormwrd from Phcocritus; nay, he nor only continually imitate*, but frequently translates several line* together, an<i. often in these very passages falls (hurt of uts naster, as will appear in the notes.

Though sheocritus is generally esteemed only a pastoral poet, yet he is manifestly robbed of a ereat part of his fame, if his other pieces have not their proper laurels. At the fame time hit- Pastorals are, without doubt, to be considered as the foundation of his credit; upon this chim, he will be udtnitte I for the happy finisher, a* well as the inventor o£ his art; and will be acknowledged to have excelled all his imitators, a* much as originals ui'mlly do their copies. He has the fame advantage in bueolic, a* Homer had in epic poetry, which is to make the critics turn his practice into eternal rules and to measure nature herself by hi* accomplished model: therefore, as to enumerate the glories of heroic poetry, is the fame thing as to sum up the pra:ses of Homer, so to exhibit the beau-, ties of pastoral verse, is only an indirect way of making panegyrics on T'heocritui. Indeed, the Sicilian has in this respect been somewhat more fortunate than Homer, as Virgil's Eclogues are reckoned more imitations of his Idylliums, than in the Æncis of the Iliad.

1 think I cannot conclude this account of Theocritus with more propriety than hy collecting the sentiments, not only of the ancients, but likewde of the moderns, in regard to the character of our author. Long in us fays, (fee the motto} •* Thco'* critus has fiiov.-n the happiest vtin imaginable lt for pastorals, excepting those in which he has "deviated nvm the country :" or perhaps it may mere properly be rendered, as Fabricius understands it, " excepting in those sew pieces that arc "of another argument." - Quintilian fays, " AdmiH rabihs in fun generc Theocritus, fed musa ilia "rusiica ct paftoralis non forum mr-do verum M etiam nrhem reformitlat :*' "Theocritus is ad"mirable in his way, but his rustic and pastoral "muse is not only afraid of appearing in the fo11 rum, hut even in the city:" by which he means, that the language and thoughts of Theocrirua'.-. sti pherds ought not to be imitated in public speaking, nor in polite c mpositi- n; yet, for all this, " he was adn.irahle in his way" Man* liua in the second bo« k of his Astronomicon givea a jufl character of our poet *:

Q'linctiam pecornm ritua, et Para sonant cm
In calamos, Siitili nn moiat teliure creaius:
Nec fy 1 vis s\lvestrc canit perqne horrida motus
Rura feri: duke.: musamque ii.ducit in aurau.

The swe:t I'heocritus, with softest (trains,
Makes piping Pan delight Sicilian swains;
i'hrou^h his smooth reed no rustic numbers move,
But all is tenderness, and all is love.;

* instead of pecoruin, ritus, Dr. Scnily reads ritus j-attotum.

As is the muses fat in every vale,
Inspir'd the long, and told the meltings tale.


One would imagine these authorities were sufficient to establish, or at least to fix the reputation r>s sheocritos, on a very sure footing;; and yet Dr. John Martyn, who has translated Virgil's Eclogues and Georgics into prose, with many learned notes, seems to be of a different persuasion. In the latter end of his preface to the Eclogues, after observing that Virgil, in almost every Eclogue, entertains tlie reader with a rural scene, a ion nf fine landscape, and enumera'ing these scenes, he lays, "and having now seen 'his excellence in Vngil "we may venture to alsiim, that there is somc11 thing more required in a good pastoral', than "the affectation of using coarse, rude, or obsolete 11 expressions; T a mere nothingness, without ct either thought or design, under a silse notion of "rurs! simplicity." 'i hat he here means Theocritus, or else he mesns nothing, Is plain from his mention of him immediately after: in regard to the charge of his *• ass'cttdly using coarse, rude, "and bsolese expressions/' I imagine he alludes to the fifth Idyllium, which indeed must be allowed to be too rustic ami abusive: but we must remember that Theocritus intended this poem as a specimen of the original old bucolic Idyllium, which wa« very rude, and often obscene: as the learned Hcinsiu- has mo-e than once observed; his words an-. " multum a reliqui* disferunt qute "aiTaXixx lint, in quibus major eft inc'mli"tas; ut in quinto apparet, quod Idyllium singu"larc eit, et in sun genere exemplutn, antiquae "nimirnm P.hkbxix; , ubi nunquam fere sine ob"sceno stiisu pxatur enprariu*." \nd in another place; •* vertc fcwKmf exemplum in quinto TheM ocriti, in Virgiii tertio habemu-." Therefore, instead of condemning fhtocritus, we ought to think ourselves much obliged to him for leaving us one example of the ancient rustic bucolic : Virgil certainly the.ught so, otherwise he would not have imitated that very piece. As to the scenery with which the Eclogues are embellished, ail the Idyllhims, or at haft the greatest part os them, are ornamented in the same manner, which will appear so evident to every reader, that it would be impertinent to point it nit. As to the other part rf the Doctor's observation, 11 a mere no"thingness, without thought or design," it is such a despicable falsity, that it is not worth notice. .

Throughout his whole preface and life of Virgil, the Di ctor is very singular in giving Virgil the preference to Theocritus upon every occasion: particularly he declaims against the cup in the first Idyllium, fays the description of it is long and tedious, and far exceeded by Virgil in the third Ec'ogue; notwithstanding the Doctor's assertion, some gentlemen, whose critical disquisitions have deservedly announccM them the bed judges of polite literature, think that the images in Theocritus' cup, viz. " the beautiful woman and two «i lover-, the striking figure of the fisherman labouring to throw his net) the rock, the vine

"yard, the foxes, and the boy fitting carelessly "and framing traps for grashnppers,'' are charming embellishments, and far more pastoral and natural than Virgil's " Orpheaque in medio pofuit "fylvasque sequentes,"" Orpheus in the middle, "ajid the woods following him." In regard to the length of the description, it is observed, that the cup of Theocritus was very large and capacious: he calls it Bafa xutvfun, " a deep pastoral "cup;" and Caufabon fays it was " ampliuinu "vasis pastoritii genus; capacitatem ejus licet col. "ligere ex cælaturæ multiplici argumento :" and I am informed, that when Mr. Thomas Warton's long- expected edition of Theocritus appears, it will be evidently proved, perhaps, from some old scholia not yet printed, that this mwfsisi was of an extraordinary size, very deep and wide, and therefore capable of being adorned with such a variety of figures in the sculpture; it was not intended for the use of drinking out of, or mixing any pastoral beverage, but chiefly for ornament: and therefore the vessel being so capacious and remarkable, the poet will be cleared from the charge ot being thought tedious in the description of it.

In the preface above mentioned, the Doctor fays, "It is not a little surprising, that many of our "modern poets and critics should be of opinion, "that the rusticity of Theocritus is to be imi"tated rather than the rural delicacy of Virgil." How can it be thought surprising that Theocritus should be imitated rather than Virgil? the reason is manifest, because the generality of poets and critics prefer the Sicilian far before the Roman, as a pastoral writer. I should not have troubled myself about Dr. Martyn's opiniou, but only as it is prefixed to Virgil, I thought perhaps it might possibly misicad the unwary young scholar into a wrong judgment, and induce him to prefer Virgil, without first considering the more original beauties of Theocritus. As a contrast to the Doctor's strange and singular decision, who acknowledges himself to be no poet, and therefore cannot be deemed a competent judge of poetical writings, I shall conclude this account with the sentiments of | several of the finest writers, both critics and poets, of the last and present age, in regard to the matter in question: two of them are translatots of Virgil, and therefore cannot be supposed to be partial to Theocritus

I shall begin with Mr. Dryden: *• That which "distinguishes Theocritus," fays he, " from all "other potts, both Greek and Latin, and which 11 raises him even above Virgil in hi? Eclogues, "is the inimitable tenderness of his passions, and "the natural expression of them in words so be"coming of a pastoral A simplicity shines "throughout all he writes. He shows his art and "learning by disguising both. His shepherds 'never rife above their country education in their 4 complaints of love. There is the fame difler'ence between him and Virgil, as there is be'tween l asso's Aminta, and the Pastor Fido of Guarini. Virgil's shepherds are too well read 1 in the philosophy of Epicurus and Plato; and 'Guarini's seem to hare been bred in courts


'But Theocritus and Tasso have taken theirs from cottages and plaint. It wa> said of Tasso, i to hii similitudes, that he never dethc woods, that is, all his corntaken from the country: the four may be said of Theocritus. He 19 softer "than Ovid; he touches the passions more de"sicatehr, and performs all this out of his own ** sand, without diving into the arts and sciences "for a ss?piy. Even his Doric dialect has an in** comparable sweetness in its donnishness, like a «* fair shepherdess, in her country russet, talking ** in a Yorkshire tone. This was impossible for ■* Virgil to imitate, because the severity of the u Roman language denied him that advantage. "Spesscr ha* endeavoured it in his Shepherd's "Calendar, but it can never succeed in English." Thus far Mr. Dryden in the preface to his translations: in another place he say«, " Theocritus "nay jactly be preferred as the original, with

* oat iejury to Virgil, who modestly contents

■ himself with the second place, and glories only "in being the first who transplanted pastoral inK to his own country."

Dr. Fekoo observes, " The Idylliums of Thco

* critas have something so inimitably sweet in

* the verse and thoughts, such a native simplicity,

* and are so genuine, so natural a result os the

* rural We, that I must in my judgment allow

* aim the honour of the pastoral."

Mr. BUckwell upon the classics, fays, " Theois another bright instance of the happy > and various accomplishments of the anHe has writ in several sorts of poetry, "aid succeeded in them all. It seems unne"cesary to praise the native simplicity and easy "freedom of his pastorals, when Virgil himself "sometimes invokes the muse of Syracuse; u when he imitates him through all his own "poems of that kind, and in several passages

* translates him. In many of his other poems

■ be shows such strength of reason and polite

* ness, as would qualify him to plead among the "orators, and make him acceptable in the courts "as princes. In his smaller poems of Cupid "Cong, Adonis killed by the boar, arid others,

* you have the vigour and delicacy of Ana"creon; in hit Hylas, and combat of Pollux

■ and Amycus, he is much more pathetical,

■ clear, and pleasant, than Apollonius on the

* fame, or any other subject. In hit conversa

■ tion of Alcmena and Tiresiat, of Hercules

* and the old servant of Augeas, in Cynifca "aud Tbyonichus, and the women going to the "ceremonies of Adnnis, there is all the easiness "sad engaging familiarity of humour and dia. "logae which reign in the Odyssey; and in i' Hercules destroying the lion of Nemsea, the '{pint and majesty of the Iliad. The panegy

* tic upon King Ptolemy is justly esteemed an

* original and model of perfection in that way

* tf arriting. Both in that excellent poem, and

* tat noble hymn upon Castor and Pollux, he

* ku praised his gods and his hero with that de

* ttoev and dexterity of address, with those

"sublime and graceful expressions of devotion "and respect, that in politeness, smoothness of "turn, and refined art of praising without of"fence, or appearance of flattery, he has c. "quailed Caltimachus; and, in loftiness and "flight of thought, scarce yields to Pindar or "Homer."

The author of the Guardian, No. 18. observes, " The softness of the Doric dialect, which "Theocritus is said to have improved beyond "any who came before him, is what the an"cient Roman writers owned their language "Could not approach. Bur, besides this beauty, "he seems to me to have a foul more softly "and tenderly inclined to this way of writing "than Virgil, whose genius led him naturally to "sublimity."

Mr. Pope briefly remarks, that " Theocritus "excels all others in nature and simplicity: that "the subjects of his Idylliums are purely pas. "toral: that other pastoral writer* have learned "their excellencies from him; and that hii dia. "lect alone has a secret charm iu it, which us "other could ever attain."

Lord Lyttleton beautifully fays,

From love Theocritus, on Enna's plains.
Learn'd the wild sweetness of his Doric flraist>

Ed. t.

Mr. Warton, the worthy master of Winches, tsr Jchool, gives us his sentiments on this sub. ject in his prefatory dedication of Virgil to Lord Lyttleton: "There are few images and senti. "mentt in the Eclogues of Virgil, but what "are drawn from the Idylliums of sheocrituij "in whom there is a rural, romantic wildiufir "of thought, heightened by the Doric dialect; "with such lively pictures of the passions, and "of simple unadorned nature, at are infinitely "pleasing to such lovers and judges of true "poetry as yourself. Theocritus is indeed the "great storehouse of pastoral description; and "every succeeding painter of rural beauty (es"cept Thomson in his Seasons; hath copied "his images from him, without ever ionkirjj "abroad upon the face of nature themselves." To the fame purpose, in his Dissertation on Pas. toral Poetry, he says, " If I might venture to * speak of the merits of the several pastoral "writers, I would fay, that in Ihcocritus we "are charmed with a certain sweetness, a ro"mantic rusticity and wildness, heightened by "the Doric dialect, that are almost inimitable. "Several of his pitces indicate a genius of a "higher class, far superior to pastoral, and e"qua I to the sublimest species of poetry: such, "are ■ particularly hit panegyric on Ptolemy, "the fight between Amycus and P'dlux, the "Epithalamium of Helen, the young Hercules, u the gilts i>f Hercules for Hylas, the death of "Penrheus, and the killing os the Nercæaa. « lion." ;.



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The precise time when the pastoral muse made I feer app'arance in the wond, history seems to have left uncertain. Co.j.ctures have been na- j zarded, and 'prilu options niultipiicii, yet her j origin is (Uil unrivalled; and the ics» inquisitive genius sit» down contented with ascertain!.],; her first perfection in the writings of I'ntrncrttt t.

lnde -d researches of this nature are rather curii u«, than inteietting; for hnngh we may per hap-, meet with £"me plausible accounts, we can trace none that carry conviction. I'he f very few writers, handed down to us from Greece and Rome in that species of compofitior, are but insufficient guides tn the rife of the art itself

A* it is more enrertaining. it is likewise more to the honour of pastoral to observe, that it must necessarily have existed in the eai her ages of the world; fX;st^d, not indeed in the set form and elegance of number*, but in the genuine sentiments of the heart, which nature alnn* inspired.

For the mind being on all sides surrounded with rural objects, those objects wi uld noc fail to make an inipriOion; and whether the patriarchs of old, with our parents in Milton, piously broke out into the praise of their Creator, or reflected in silent admiraticn on the beauties cf the earth, their hymns or their meditations mult have been purely pastoral.

It has been remarked by a laborious commentator on the Eclogues of Virgil, that the lives of our earliest forefathers were spent in husbandry, and the seeding of cattle. And indeed it could not have teen otherwise. At a period, when the numbers of mankind were comparatively insignificant, and their thoughts engaged

* See 11 hat may be called the Prolegomena to the 6t0«9i-rv tugio-xoistix cum Grsc<is Scholiis, printed lit London I743, s-igj TV zeu xa.t Tois %vt>nfn rx fiuxe?ku, tvbtre the refuted invention oj pajioral poetry bat neither the air of probability nor ingenuity.

f Mofchus and Bion, with Theocritus ~mong the Creeks, and Pirgil among the Romans* are the only standard writers of pajioral, mentioned by IVarton .n the dissertation prefixed to hit edition of firgil; that editor, with the critic i Rapin, seeming to explode all ether ancient authors in that branch of pottry.

$ Rapint Critical lYorkt^ vol. it. remarks on poflo. til Jeetiy.

in procuring subsistence, while luxury and ambition wore yet unknown, it is inconsistent to suppose, but that the sons of earth were all in a manner the sons of agriculture.

When the world, however, increased, and its inhabitants dispersed into various region*; when societies were formed, and laws establilhcd: and when (the natural consequence of such expansion) the plagues of war and contention arose, different orders and conditions were settled for the regulation of kingdoms, rustic awkwardness, received the polish of civil life, and the ploughfliare was converted into instruments of destruction. Thus, by degrees from an honourable situation, husbandry became the employment of those alone who had the least ambition and the greatest probity. • .

But in those climates, whither emigrations beinjs less fashionable, the people retained their primitive simplicity, it is no wonder, if in process of time considerable advance was made, and regularity introduced into pastoral reflections, that the dictates of unrefined nature were improved by the harmony of numbers.

We may accordingly observe, that in the countries which suffered the least variation from their t original f.irm, pastoral was most esteemed; there the thoughts were still allured, and the imagination feasted with rural scenes unimproved, or more properly uncorrupted . for the cottage had not felt the infection of the court.

Arcadia, so usually paint'.d the flowery kingdom of romance, is more ingeniously accounted th e land of pastoral. Its inland situation, and the plenty of its pasture, with the " well-knownj:haracters of its inhabitants conspire to favour the title. That the ancient poets described thi» place as the feat of pastoral, is evident, a shepherds, peculiarly skilled in singing, being familiarly termed an Arcadian. There appears, however, in mi.

fir. Martyn, in his preface to the eclogues of Vir. r il. calls Arcadia * mountainous, and alse oft snacefii. 11 hie another reason in support of the pafiural dispoJition of its people.

T Vi'gil in his Jth eclogue, fays of ttvo shepherds, that they were Lt Arcaaes amho upon which Serviui remarks, that they were not Arcadia s. but so fliful ti, \/"1^n£i ^"2 might be ejlceaed Arcadians.

It traditions of the country, such a strong mixture ed tiiefabulous, that we may well suspect rhem to be the product rather of fancy than os truth.

Nor less fantastic are the descriptions of the golden age; the ideal manners of which are esteem* ed, bj tie more refined critic, the genuine source os pisaraL

To a tiSe so dolicatc, the least appearance of the nutk w difgustirip;. A becoming, indeed au cieganc simplicity, and the purest innocence, mult on'Ocfr it- character of the shepherd. No fat £i»», bot of tue softest ami most engaging kind, are to be bur -ducer! •- in short, the swain is to b; what no swain ever was.

la these elevated notions of humble pastoral, xeaixty u sacrificed to the phantoms et the imagicauua tie more characteristic strokes in the pic t<ire of ruralhte being utterly erazed, the bright coiccr* of imsporred integrity are indeed more picarog to the eye, but in a piece where nature iSould predominate, are more properly blended with tic (bade of frailty. For it mankind are to he represented entirely free from faults, we cannot look for then- existence later than the fall.

On this fastidious principle, it Is esteemed necsibry that rural happitieis should be described perfect and uninterrupted. she life of the shepherd n to be one perpetual spring, without a cloud u diiiarb if calmucs- she vicissitudes, indeed, «f love, which gives birib to more than half our tao'cni pastorals,are admitted into the piece; lor it terra to be with some as essential for a shepherd to V alove, as to have bren born.

Vet even here the representation is confined. TJie train, after s hining and crymg (as Achilles did to r>i-good-mother llietis). calls on the trees tad ouihcs, and every thing in nature, to be wittxSa of hi* ot.happiness; but, alter all, the pers-tmaace, like our novels and romances, th 'se stjiic ri.t of propriety, mutt have a fortunate conciui'jO *.

Eat whatever fond and 3mufing prospects the couttry naturally opens to the mind, experience tirhxs us, that even there vexations will arise t^e leasuns of quiet and uneasiness succeed as far^'.iariy as summer and winter; groves and lawns, «i purling ll^ams, found vety prettiiy in defcriptioo,chiefly when flowing through the numbers or some under-aged amoraro; .but realon cacaot set her seal to the luxuriancy of this Mlteccetan paradise.

From sentiments so extravagantly refined, let i' turn to those of a more sordid complexion. As the former satiate the judicious reader with beds of roses, the Utter disgust him with the fili:.iness of a dunghill. With critics of this cist, the manners of the mere peasant are the sole foundation si pastoral; even less rustic and homely appellation ar: banished from the characters; and the

* // Arfi indeed a tendency altogether immoral to re frrfemt tenth Theocritus a disappointed Uver banging limself. The present mode of indifference in these conutif, it more eligible, and on the whole may he thought mtri matmrmU l0Qi-sorro~.11 art v-ry rarely fatal.

Mt-Iibceus, or Ncaera of Virgil, are so much too . courtly, that in their place are to be substituted 1 the \,ti>.i; and towuKmt of 'I'hcocritus, and the Colin (Jlout or Hobbinol of Spenser.

The Doric dialect, which transfuses such a natural'gracefulness over the Idylliums of the Grecian, has been a stumbling-block to these lovers of inelegance, there i« a rustic propriety in the language of the dialect, which was familiar to the cottagar in the age of I'hcocritus; but it must be j remembered, that his pastorals contain likewise a I delicacy of lentiment which may well be presumed to have attracted the attention of * Ptolemv, whose polished court wa9 the asylum of genius.

But though it stijuld be allowed that pastoral ougnt strictly to be limited to the actions of the peasant, it is not solely intended for his perusal, she critic, ai he cannot on the one hand permit nature to be excluded, cannot relish on the other her being exposed in disgraceful colours.

there are in almost every situation some circumstances over which we should draw the veil, for all i» not to be painted with a close exactness. Caarscnes. of sentiment, and indelicacy os expression, are an offence to decorum, and give modesty the blush. Writings of such illiberal tendency counteract the best and principal end of composition; they hold up the mirror to vice t and immorality, and sacrifice virtue to contempt.

To those who live in our meridian of more refined srnplicty, pastoral appears most properly in the dress of rural elegance. Something is indulged to the character of the shepherd, and something to the genius of the writer. They who should place the former on the toilette, would betray an absurdity which would no lets extend to the latter, whose thoughts flowed in the ruJo channel ol uninformed rusticity.

l'hc country is the scene in which pastoral ii naturally laid; but various may be the subjects of this little drama. The spirit of the poet would be wretchedly cramped, if never permitted to step aside. An insipid lameness runs through the pieces t, founded on the impropiiety of this indulgence; and most of our later pastorals are in this respect but unmeaning paraphrases of earlier authors.

Were we to attempt an historical epitome of pastoral composition, we might place Theocritus in its dawn, in that earlier age when rural simpli

Ptclemy PbilaJJ/bjs, ling if Egypt, to makt amende for many atrocious crimes, tvas remarkable for bit singular regard to the "Welfare os hi: suhjeils, and •was a dif.ingwjhcd emourager of learned men. See S.71C. Univ. liijl. vol. 0. p. 386. note T.

■f On thit principle, it lucre to he tv'fod that the fuljecl of VirgWssecond eclogue were not greatly liable to exception; though the morals of the poet ftould net he personally impeached, we tnisl lament that he has vartifhcJ in his Alexis the d'pravity of pit times- Hcvera' repi efentations in Theocritus are glaringly obscene.

f IModern eclogues, from this reason, abound witb repetitions of amorous scenes, or ofswains piping for s reward; net to mentkn other fuhjeili of m like inte cflin nature, whichfrom tonf.ant use art •utr.. to tatteti.

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