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in his Aminta has as far excelled all the Pastoral writers, in his Gierusalemme he has out-done the Epic poets of his country. But as this piece seems to have been the original of a new fort of poem, the Pastoral Comedy, in Italy, it cannot so well be considered as a copy of the ancients. Spenser's Calen, dar, in Mr. Dryden's opinion, is the most complete work of this kind which
nation has produced ever. since the time of Virgil '. Not but that he may be thought imperfect in some few points. His Eclogues are somewhat too long, if we compare them with the ancients. He is sometimes too allegorical, and treats of matters of religion in a pastoral style, as the Mantuan had done before him. He has employed the Lyric measure, which is contrary to the practice of the old Poets. His stanza is not still the same, nor always well chofen. This last may be the reason his expression is sometimes not concise enough: for the Tetrastic has obliged him to extend his sense to the
the gross and unscholar-like blunder of Trapp, who tells us in his fourteenth Lecture, that all the Eclogues of Calphurnius and Nemefian, who flourished under Diocletian, were entirely loft.
I will just add, that the famous Critic, Jafon de Nores, who wrote so well on Horace's Art of Poetry, condemned the Pastoral Drama. And that the above mentioned I! Sacrificio was acted at Ferrara 1550, and the Aminta 1573, and the Pastor Fido be fore Cardinal Borghese 1590. It is observable, that Pope does not mention the Comus of Milton, the most exquisite of all paftoral dramas.
WARTON. i Dedication to Virg. Ecl.
length of four lines, which would have been more closely confined in the Couplet.
In the manners, thoughts, and characters, he comes near to Theocritus himself ; though, notwithstanding all the care he has taken, he is certainly inferior in his Dialect: For the Doric had its beauty and propriety in the time of Theocritus; it was used in part of Greece, and frequent in the mouths of many of the greatest perfons: whereas the old English and country phrases of Spenser were either entirely obsolete, or spoken only by people of the lowest condition. As there is a difference betwixt fimplicity and rusticity, so the expression of simple thoughts should be plain, but not clownish. The addition he has made of a Calendar to his Eclogues, is very beautiful; since by this, besides the general moral of innocence and fimplicity, which is common to other authors of Paltoral, he has one peculiar to himself; he compares human Life to the several Seasons, and at once exposes to his readers a view of the great and little worlds, in their various changes and aspects. Yet the scrupulous division of his Pastorals into Months, has obliged him either to repeat the same description, in other words, for three months together; or, when it was exhausted before, entirely to omit it: whence it comes to pass that some of his Eclogues (as the fixth, eighth, and tenth, for example) have nothing but their Titles to distinguish them.
The reason is evident, because the year has not that variety in it to
firma ETETT on a pericca desition, as it may every sezon
* Of the following Eclogues I faci only fay, that these four comprehend all the fubjects stich the
* The le criority cf Messa's Lycéas to al patoral poems is our laquage is, I focid hope, acksowledged by every man of true clafzal joczesest; and Dr. Jchsiva's firzege animadver. frons on it hast bon thas e câtaily zivered. “ Lycidas, says ke,) is bd with the hea:ben deities; and a long train of mythological imagery, such as a Coüege eafiy fupples. - But it is also such as even the Court itself could now hare estily supplied. The pablic diverfions, and books of all forts, and from all sorts of wri, ters, more especiaily compofitions in poetry, were at this time Over-run with clafical pedza:ries. But what writer, of the fame period, has made these obsolete fictions the vehicle of so much fancy and poetical description? How beautifully has he applied this fort of allufion to the Druidical rocks of Denbighshire, to Mona, and the fabulous banks of Deva! It is objected, that its paftoral form is disgusting. But this was the age of paftoral ; and yet Lycidas has but little of the bucolic cant, now so fashion. able. The satyrs and fauns are but just mentioned. If any tritę rural topics occur, how are they heightened! “ Together both, ere the high lawas appear’d
Under the opening eye-lids of the morn,
What time the gray fly winds her sultry horn,
Batt'ning our focks with the fresh dews of night. “ Here the day-break is described by the faint appearance of the upland lawns under the firit gleams of light: the sun-set, by the buzzing of the chaffer: and the night sheds her fresh dews on their flocks. We cannot blame pastoral imagery and pastoral allegory, which carry with them so much natural painting. In this piece there is perhaps more poetry than forrow. But let us read it for its poetry. It is true, that paffion plucks no berries from the myrtle and ivy, no calls upon Arethuse and Mincius, por tells of rough fatyrs with cloven heel. But poetry does this ;
Critics upon Theocritus and Virgil will allow to be fit for pastoral : That they have as much variety of description, in respect of the several seasons, as Spenser's: that in order to add to this variety, the several times of the day are observ'd, the rural employments
and in the hands of Milton, does it with a peculiar and irresistible charm. Subordinate poets exercise no invention, when they tell how a shepherd has lost his companion, and must feed his flocks alone without any judge of his kill in piping : but Milton dignifies and adorns these common artificial incidents with unexpected touches of pi&uresque beauty, with the graces of sentiment, and with the novelties of original genius. It is said, “ here is no art, for there is nothing new.” But this objection will vanish, if we consider the imagery which Milton has raised from local circumstances. Not to repeat the use he has made of the mountains of Wales, the Isle of Man, and the river Dee, near which Lycidas was ship.wrecked ; let us recollect the introduction of the roman. tic fuperftition of Saint Michael's Mount in Cornwall, which overlooks the Irish seas, the fatal scene of his friend's disaster.
“ But the poetry is not always unconnected with passion. The poet lavishly describes an ancient sepulchral rite, but it is made preparatory to a stroke of tenderness. He calls for a variety of Aowers to decorate his friend's hearse, supposing that his body was present, and forgetting for a while he was drowned: it was some consolation that he was to receive the decencies of burial. This is a pleafing deception : it is natural and pathetic. But the real catastrophe recurs.
And this circumstance again opens a new vein of imagination.”—Poems of Milton, second edition, Robinson, 1791, P. 35.
T. WARTON. REMARKS. The Discourse on Pastoral Poetry is certainly, as Dr. Warton observes, a sensible and judicious performance. But Pope's de. finition of Paftoral is too confined. In fact, his Pastoral Dif. course seems made to fit (if I may say so) his Pastorals For the fame reason he would not class as a true * Pastoral, the most interesting of all Virgil's Eclogues :- I mean the first; which is * Şeç his account of Pastoral in the Guardian.
in each season or time of day, and the rural scenos or places proper to such employments ; not without fome regard to the several ages of man, and the different passions proper to each age,
founded on fact, which has the most tender and touching strokes of nature, and the plot of which is entirely paftoral, being the complaint of a Shepherd obliged to leave the fields of his infancy, and yield the possession to soldiers and strangers. The characters, and every image, are taken from rural life, the landscape part is picturesque, and the story interesting and affecting.
Pope says, because it relates to foldiers, it is not paftoral: but how little of a military cast is seen in it :- the soldier is mentioned, but only as far as was absolutely necessary, and always in connection with the rural imagery, from whence the molt exquisite touches are derived.
En queis consevimus agros !
Barbarus HAS SEGETES? Pope's pastoral ideas, however, with the exception of the Messiah, seem to have been taken from the least interesting and poetic scenes of the ancient Eclogue : the Wager, the Contest, the Riddle, the alternate praises of Daphne or Delia, the common-place complaint of the lover, &c. The more interesting and picturesque subjects, therefore, were excluded, as not being properly, pastoral according to his confined definition.
We cannot help making an observation here, that in defining paftoral, critics in general should not have taken notice of one I think the most essential adjunct to this species of poetry ; that is, the PICTURESQUE. Pastoral scenery is indeed required by all : we have a shepherd, a grove, and a river; but what is more strikingly pi&turesque is scarcely ever considered as effential.
Let us look at the great Father of the Pastoral : in what does he excel all others ? “ In fimplicity and nature," I admit with Pope ; but more particularly in one circumstance, which seems to have escaped general attention, and that circumstance is the picTURESQUE.
Pope says, he is too long in his descriptions, particularly of the Pastoral Cup, Idyl. 1. Was niot Pope a professed admirer of paint