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Why sit we sad when Phosphor shines so clear,
And lavish Nature paints the purple year ?
Strephon. Sing, then, and Damon shall attend the strain, While yon slow oxen turn the furrowed plain.
30 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; Four figures rising from the work appear, The various seasons of the rolling year ; And what is that, which binds the radiant sky, Where twelve fair signs in beauteous order lie?
40 Damon. Then sing by turns, by turns the Muses sing. Now hawthorns blossom, now the daisies spring; Now leaves the trees, and flow'rs adorn the ground: Begin; the vales shall ev'ry note rebound.
Strephon. Inspire me, Phæbus, 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.
Daphnis. O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize, And make my tongue victorious as her eyes !
50 No lambs or sheep for victims I 'll impart, Thy victim, Love, shall be the shepherd's heart.
Strephon. Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain,
Then, hid in shades, eludes her eager swain;
But feigns a laugh, to see me search around,
55 And by that laugh the willing fair is found.
Daphnis. The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green;
She runs, but hopes she does not run unseen!
While a kind glance at her pursuer flies,
How much at variance are her feet and eyes !
Strephon. O'er golden sands let rich Pactolus flow,
And trees weep amber on the banks of Po:
Blest Thames's shores the brightest beauties yield;
Feed here my lambs, I'll seek no distant field.
Daphnis. Celestial Venus haunts Idalia's groves; 65 Diana Cynthus, Ceres Hybla loves : If Windsor shades delight the matchless maid.
Cynthus and Hybla yield to Windsor shade.
Strephon. All Nature mourns, the skies relent in show'rs, Hushed are the birds, and closed the drooping flow'rs; 70 If Delia smile, the flow'rs begin to spring, The skies to brighten, and the birds to sing.
Daphnis. All Nature laughs, the groves are fresh and fair, The sun's mild lustre warms the vital air; If Sylvia smiles, new glories gild the shore,
75 And vanquished Nature seems to charm no more.
Strephon. In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love,
At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove,
But Delia always; absent from her sight,
Nor plains at morn nor groves at noon delight.
Daphnis. Sylvia 's like autumn ripe, yet mild as May;
More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day:
Ev'n spring displeases, when she shines not here;
But, blest with her, 't is spring throughout the year.
Strephon. Say, Daphnis, say, in what glad soil appears 85
A wondrous tree, that sacred monarchs bears?
Tell me but this, and I'll disclaim the prize,
And give the conquest to thy Sylvia's eyes.
Daphnis. Nay, tell me, first, in what more happy fields
The Thistle springs, to which the Lily yields;
And then a nobler prize I will resign,
For Sylvia, charming Sylvia, shall be thine.
Damon. Cease to contend; for, Daphnis, I decree
The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee.
Blest swains, whose nymphs in ev'ry grace excel;
Blest nymphs, whose swains those graces sing so well!
Now rise, and haste to yonder woodbine bow'rs,
A soft retreat from sudden vernal show'rs;
The turf with rural dainties shall be crowned,
While op'ning blooms diffuse their sweets around:
For see! the gath'ring flocks to shelter tend,
And from the Pleiads fruitful show'rs descend.
The groves of Eden, vanished now so long,
Live in description, and look green in song:
These, were my breast inspired with equal flame,
Like them in beauty, should be like in fame.
Here hills and vales, the woodland and the plain,
Here earth and water, seem to strive again;
Not chaos-like together crushed and bruised,
But, as the world, harmoniously confused,
Where order in variety we see,
And where, though all things differ, all agree.
Here waving groves a chequered scene display,
And part admit and part exclude the day,
As some coy nymph her lover's warm address
Nor quite indulges nor can quite repress;
There, interspersed in lawns and op'ning glades,
Thin trees arise, that shun each other's shades.
Here, in full light, the russet plains extend;
There, wrapt in clouds, the bluish hills ascend.
Ev'n the wild heath displays her purple dyes,
And 'midst the desert fruitful fields arise,
That, crowned with tufted trees and springing corn,
Like verdant isles the sable waste adorn.
Let India boast her plants, nor envy we
The weeping amber or the balmy tree,
While by our oaks the precious loads are borne,
And realms commanded which those trees adorn.
Not proud Olympus yields a nobler sight,
Though gods assembled grace his tow'ring height,
Than what more humble mountains offer here,
Where, in their blessings, all those gods appear :
See Pan with flocks, with fruits Pomona crowned;
Here blushing Flora paints th' enamelled ground;
Here Ceres' gifts in waving prospect stand,
And, nodding, tempt the joyful reaper's hand;
Rich Industry sits smiling on the plains,
And peace and plenty tell a Stuart reigns.
See! from the brake the whirring pheasant springs,
And mounts exulting on triumphant wings!
Short is his joy; he feels the fiery wound,
Flutters in blood, and, panting, beats the ground.
Ah, what avail his glossy, varying dyes,
His purple crest and scarlet-circled eyes,
The vivid green his shining plumes unfold,
His painted wings, and breast that flames with gold?
Nor yet, when moist Arcturus clouds the sky,
The woods and fields their pleasing toils deny.
To plains with well-breathed beagles we repair,
And trace the mazes of the circling hare
(Beasts, urged by us, their fellow-beasts pursue,
And learn of man cach other to undo).
With slaught'ring guns th' unwearied fowler roves,
When frosts have whitened all the naked groves,
Where doves in flocks the leafless trees o'ershade,
And lonely wood-cocks haunt the wat’ry glade.
He lifts the tube, and levels with his eye;
Straight a short thunder breaks the frozen sky:
Oft, as in airy rings they skim the heath,
The clam'rous lapwings feel the leaden death;
Oft, as the mounting larks their notes prepare,
They fall, and leave their little lives in air.
In genial spring, beneath the quiv'ring shade,
Where cooling vapours breathe along the mead,
The patient fisher takes his silent stand,
Intent, his angle trembling in his hand;
With looks unm
moved, he hopes the scaly breed,
And eyes the dancing cork and bending reed.
Our plenteous streams a various race supply:
The bright-eyed perch, with fins of Tyrian dye;
The silver eel, in shining volumes rolled;
The yellow carp, in scales bedropped with gold;
Swift trouts, diversified with crimson stains;
And pikes, the tyrants of the wat’ry plains.
AN ESSAY ON CRITICISM
First follow Nature, and your judgment frame
By her just standard, which is still the same.
Unerring Nature, still divinely bright,
One clear, unchanged, and universal light,
Life, force, and beauty, must to all impart,
At once the source and end and test of Art.
Art from that fund each just supply provides,
Works without show, and without pomp presides :
In some fair body thus th' informing soul
With spirits feeds, with vigour fills, the whole,
Each motion guides, and ev'ry nerve sustains,
Itself unseen, but in th’ effects remains.
Some, to whom Heav'n in wit has been profuse,
Want as much more, to turn it to its use;
For wit and judgment often are at strife,
Though meant each other's aid, like man and wife.
'T is more to guide than spur the Muse's steed,
Restrain his fury than provoke his speed;
The winged courser, like a gen'rous horse,
Shows most true mettle when you check his course.
Those rules of old, discovered not devised,
Are Nature still, but Nature methodized:
Nature, like liberty, is but restrained
By the same laws which first herself ordained.
Hear how learn'd Greece her useful rules indites,
When to repress and when indulge our flights:
High on Parnassus' top her sons she showed,
And pointed out those arduous paths they trod;
Held from afar, aloft, th' immortal prize,
And urged the rest by equal steps to rise.
Just precepts thus from great examples giv'n,
She drew from them what they derived from Heav'n.
The gen'rous critic fanned the poet's fire,
And taught the world with reason to admire;
Then Criticism the Muses' handmaid proved,
To dress her charms and make her more beloved.
But following wits from that intention strayed:
Who could not win the mistress wooed the maid;
Against the poets their owp arms they turned,
Sure to hate most the men from whom they learned :
So modern 'pothecaries, taught the art
By doctor's bills to play the doctor's part,
Bold in the practice of mistaken rules,
Prescribe, apply, and call their masters fools.
Some on the leaves of ancient authors prey,
Nor time nor moths e'er spoiled so much as they;
Some dryly plain, without invention's aid,