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IRST in these fields I try the fylvan strains,

Nor blush to sporton Windfor’s blissful plains: Fair Thames, flow gently from thy sacred spring, While on thy banks Sicilian Muses fing;

REMARKS.

These Pastorals were written at the

age

of fixteen, and then past thro' the hands of Mr. Walsh, Mr. Wycherley, G. Granville afterwards Lord Lansdown, Sir William Trumbal, Dr. Garth, Lord Hallifax, Lord Somers, Mr. Mainwaring, and others. All these gave our Author the greatest encouragement, and particularly Mr. Walsh, whom Mr. Dryden, in his Postscript to Virgil, calls the best Critic of his age.

6. The "-Author (says he) seems to have a particular genius for this “ kind of Poetry, and a judgment that much exceeds his

years. He has taken very freely from the Ancients. But

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Let vernal airs thro' trembling osiers play, 5 And Albion's cliffs refound the rural lay.

You, that too wise for pride, too good for pow't, Enjoy the glory to be great no more,

REMARK S.

“ what he has mixed of his own with theirs is no way infe“ rior to what he has taken from them. It is not flattery at “ all to say that Virgil had written nothing so good at his “ Age. His Preface is very judicious and learned.” Letter to Mr. Wycherley, Ap. 1705. The Lord Lansdown about the same time, mentioning the youth of our Poet, says in a printed Letter of the Character of Mr. Wycherley) “ that if “ he goes on as he hath begun in the Pastoral way, as Vir“ gil first tried his strength, we may hope to see English “ Poetry vie with the Roman,” &c. Notwithstanding the early time of their production, the Author esteemed these as the most correct in the versification, and musical in the numbers, of all his works. The reason for his labouring them into so much softness, was, doubtless, that this sort of poetry derives almost its whole beauty from a natural ease of thought and smoothness of verse ; whereas that of most other kinds consists in the strength and fulness of both. In a letter of his to Mr. Wals about this time we find an enumeration of several niceties in Versification, which perhaps have never been strictly observed in any English poem, except in these Pastorals. They were not printed till 1709. P.

Sir William Trumbal.] Our Author's friendship with this gentleman commenced at very unequal years; he was under sixteen, but Sir William above sixty, and had lately resign'd his employment of Secretary of State to King William. P.

IMITATIONS,
Ver. 1. Prima Syracosio dignata eft ludere versu,

Noftra nec erubuit sylvas habitare Thalia. This is the general exordium and opening of the Pastorals, in imitation of the sixth of Virgil, which some have therefore not improbably thought to have been the first originally. In

2

IO

And carrying with you all the world can boast,
To all the world illustriously are lost !
O let

my

Muse her slender reed inspire, Till in

your

native shades you tune the lyre : So when the Nightingale to rest removes, The Thrush may chant to the forsaken

groves, But charm’d to silence, listens while she sings, 15 And all th' aërial audience clap their wings.

Soon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews, Two Swains, whom Love kept wakeful, and the Muse,

REMARKS. VER. 12. in your native Shades.] Sir W. Trumbal was born in Windsor-forest, to which he retreated, after he had refigned the post of Secretary of State to King William III. P.

Ver. 17, etc.] The Scene of this Pastoral a Valley, the Time the Morning. It stood originally thus,

Daphnis and Strephon to the shades retir'd,
Both warm’d by Love, and by the Muse inspir'd,
Fresh as the morn, and as the season fair,
In flow'ry vales they fed their fleecy care ;
And while Aurora gilds the mountain's fide,
Thus Daphnis spoke, and Strephon thus reply'd.

IMITATIONS. the beginnings of the other three Pastorals, he imitates ex. prelly those which now stand first of the three chief Poets in this kind, Spencer, Virgil, Theocritus.

A Shepherd's Boy (he seeks no better name) -
Beneath the shade a spreading beach displays,-

Thyrfis, the Music of thật murm’ring Spring,are manifestly imitations of

-A Shepherd's Boy (no better do him call)
-Tityre, tu patulæ recubans sub tegmine fagi.
-Αδυτι το ψιθύρισμα και απίτυς, αιπόλε, τήνα. Ρ.

20

Pour'd o'er the whit’ning vale their fleecy care,
Fresh as the morn, and as the season fair :
The dawn now blushing on the mountain's side,
Thus Daphnis spoke, and Strephon thus reply'd.

DAPHNI S.
Hear how the birds, on ev'ry bloomy spray,
With joyous music wake the dawning day!
Why fit we mute, when early linnets fing, 25
When warbling Philomel falutes the spring?
Why fit we sad, when Phosphor shines fo clear,
And lavish Nature paints the purple year?

STRE PHON. Sing then, and Damon shall attend the strain, While yon' slow oxen turn the furrow'd 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.

VARIATION S.

VER. 34. The first reading was,

And his own image from the bank surveys.

REMA R K S. VER. 28. purple year? ] Purple here used in the Latin sense of the brightest most vivid colouring in general, not of that specific tint so called.

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 rowling year; And what is that, which binds the radiant sky, Where twelve fair signs in beauteous order lie? 40

DAMON. Then fing by turns, by turns the Muses fing, Now hawthorns blossom, now the daisies spring, Nowleaves the trees, and flow'rs adorn theground; Begin, the yales shall ev'ry note rebound,

VARIATION S.

VER. 36. And clusters lurk beneath the curling vines. P.

R E MARK Ş. VER. 35, 36.

Lenta quibus torno facili fuperaddita vitis,

Diffusos edera vestit pallente corymbos. Virg. P. Ver. 38. The various seasons.] The subject of these Pastorals engraven on the bowl is not without its propriety

IMITATION S.

The Shepherd's hesitation at the name of the Zodiac, imitates that in Virgil,

Et quis fuit alter,
Descripfit radio totum qui gentibus orbem ? P.
VER. 41. Then sing by turns.] Literally from Virgil,

Alternis dicetis, amant alterna Camænæ :
Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos,
Nunc frondent fylvæ, nunc formosissimus annus. P.

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