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Of the rest I cannot think any excellent; the Skylark pleases me best, which has however more of the epigram than of the ode.
But the four parts of his Pastoral Ballad demand particular notice. I cannot but regret that it is pastoral; an - intelligent reader, acquainted with the scenes of real life, fickens at the mention of the crook, the pipe, the sheep, and the kids, which it is not necessary to bring forward to notice, for the poet's art is felection, and he ought to Thew the beauties without the grossness of the country life. His stanza seems to have been chosen in imitation of Rowe’s Despairing Shepherd,
In the first part are two passages, to which if any mind denies its sympathy, it has no acquaintance with love or nature;
I priz'd every hour that went by,
Beyond all that had pleas'd me before; But now they are past, and i ligh,
And I grieve that I priz'd thein no more.
When forc'd the fair nymph to forgo,
What anguish I felt in my heart ! Yet I thought-but it might not be so, 3. 'Twas with pain that she saw me depart.
She gaz'd, as I lowly withdrew;
My path I could hardly discern; So sweetly she bade me adieu, · I thonght that she bade ine return.
In the second this paffage has its prettiness, though it be not equal to the former :
I have found out a gift for my fair ; · I have found where the wood-pigeons breed : But let me that plunder forbear,
She will say 'twas a barbarous deed : For he ne'er could be true, she averr’d,
Who.could rob a poor bird of its young; And I lov'd her the more, when I heard Such tenderness fall from her tongue...
In the third he mentions the common places of amorous poetry with some address : 'Tis his with mock passion to glow;
'Tis his in smooth tales to unfold, How her face is as bright as the snow,
And her bofom, be sure, is as cold : How. the nightingales labour the strain,
With the notes of his charmer to vie; How they vary their accents in vain, Repine at her triumphs, and die.
In the fourth I find nothing better than this natural strain of Hope
Alas! from the day that we met,
What hope of an end to my woes? When I cannot endure to forget
The glance that undid my repose. Yet Time may diminish the pain :
The flower, and the shrub, and the tree, Which I rear'd for her pleasure in vain,
In time may have comfort for me.
His Levities are by their title exempted from the severities of criticism; yet it may be remarked, in a few words, that his humour is sometimes gross, and seldom spritely.
Of the Moral Poems the first is the Choice of Hercules, from Xenophon. The numbers are smooth, the diction ele
gant, and the thoughts juft; but something of vigour perhaps is still to be wished, which it might have had by brevity and compression. His Fate of Delicacy has an airy gaiety, but not a very pointed general moral. His blank verses, those that can read thein may probably find to be like the blank verses of his neighbours. Love and Honour is derived from the old ballad, Did you not hear of a Spanish Lady—I wish it well enough to wish it were in rhyme.
The School-mistress, of which I know not what claim it has to stand among the Moral Works, is surely the most pleasing of Shenstone's performances. The adoption of a particular stile, in light and short compositions, contri