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“ As Marian bath’d, by chance I passed by,
The other modern (who it must be confessed hath a knack of versifying) hath it as follows:
« Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain,
• The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green,
There is nothing the writers of this kind of poetry are fonder of than descriptions of Pastoral presents. Philips says thus of a sheep-hook:
u Of season'd elm; where studs of brass appear,
“ And richly by the graver's skill adorn'd.”
u where wanton ivy twines,
The simplicity of the swain in this place, who forgets the name of the Zodiac, is no ill imitation of Virgil : but how much more plainly and unaffectedly would Philips have dressed this thought in his Doric?
" And what that height, which girds the welkin sheen, “ Where twelve gay signs in meet array are seen?”. If the reader would indulge his curiosity any fur. ther in the comparison of particulars, he may read the first Pastoral of Philips with the second of his contemporary, and the fourth and sixth of the former with the fourth and first of the latter ; where several parallel places will occur to every one.
Having now shown some parts, in which these two writers may be compared, it is a justice I owe to Mr. Philips to discover those in which no man can com. pare with him. First, that beautiful rusticity, of which I shall only produce two instances out of a hundred not yet quoted :
“ O woeful day! O day of woe! quoth he,
“ And woeful I, who live the day to see !" The simplicity of diction, the melancholy flowing of the numbers, the solemnity of the sound, and the easy turn of the words in this dirge (to make use of our author's expression) are extremely elegant.
In another of his Pastorals, a shepherd utters a dirge not much inferior to the former, in the following lines :
“ Ah me the while! ah me! the luckless day,
6 Which on the flow'ry plains I once did keep." How he still charms the ear with these artful repetitions of the epithets; and how significant is the last verse! I defy the most common reader to repeat them, without feeling some motions of compassion.
In the next place I shall rank his proverbs, in which I formerly observed he excels : for example,
" A rolling stone is ever bare of moss ;
“ And sluggard-like, till noon-day snoring lies. " Against ill-lack all cunning foresight fails;
" Whether we sleep or wake, it nought avails : <<< Nor fear, from upright sentence, wrong." Lastly, his elegant dialect, which alone might prove
him the eldest born of Spencer, and our only true Arcadian. I should think it proper for the several writers of Pastoral, to confine themselves to their several counties. Spencer seems to have been of this opinion : for he hath laid the scene of one of his Pastorals in Wales ; where, with all the simplicity natural to that part of our island, one shepherd bids the other good-morrow, in an unusual and elegant
« Diggon Davy, I bid hur god-day:
Diggon answers :
Hur was hur, while it was day-light; “ But now hur is a most wretched wight," etc. But the most beautiful example of this kind that I ever met with, is in a very valuable piece which I chanced to find among some old manuscripts, entitled, A Pastoral Ballad : which I think, for its nature and simplicity, may (notwithstanding the modesty of the title) be allowed a perfect Pastoral. It is composed in the Somersetshire dialect, and the names such as are proper to the country people. It may be observed, as a further beauty of this Pastoral, the words Nymph, Dryad, Naiad, Fawn, Cupid, or Satyr, are not once mentioned throughout the whole. I shall make no apology for inserting some few lines of this excellent piece. Cicily breaks thus into the subject, as she is going a-milking:
« Rager, go vetch thab Kee, or else tha Zun
“ Thou shouldst not ax ma tweece, but I've a bee
It is to be observed, that this whole dialogue is formed upon the passion of jealousy; and his mentioning the parson's kine naturally revives the jealousy of the shepherdess Cicily, which she expresses as follows:
“ Ah Rager, Rager, ches was zore avraid,
“ Cicily, thou eharg'st me valse - I'll swear to thee,
" Tha parson's maid is still a maid vor me.' In which answer of his, are expressed at once that spirit of religion, and that innocence of the Golden Age, so necessary to be observed by all writers of Pastoral.
At the conclusion of this piece, the author reconciles the lovers, and ends the eclogue the most simply in the world :
“ So Rager parted vor to vetch tha kee,
I am loth to shew my fondness for antiquity so far as to prefer this ancient British author to our present English writers of Pastoral; but I cannot avoid making this obvious remark, that Philips hath hit into the same road with this old West-country bard of ours.
b That is, the kine or cows.
After all that hath been said, I hope none can think it any injustice to Mr. Pope that I forbore to mention him as a Pastoral-writer; since, upon the whole, he is of the same class with Moschus and Bion, whom we have excluded that rank ; and of whose Eclogues, as well as some of Virgil's, it may be said, that according to the description we have given of this sort of poetry) they are by no means Pastorals, but something better.
“ Primoque a cæde ferarum " Incaluisse putem maculatum sanguine ferrum."
I CANNOT think it extravagant to imagine, that
mankind are no less, in proportion, accountable for the ill use of their dominion over creatures of the lower rank of beings, than for the exercise of tyranny over their own species. The more entirely the inferior creation is submitted to our power, the more answerable we should seem for our mismanagement of it; and the rather, as the very condition of nature renders these creatures incapable of receiving any recompence in another life for their ill treatment in this.
'Tis observable of those noxious animals, which have qualities most powerful to injure us, that they naturally avoid mankind, and never hurt us unless provoked or necessitated by hunger. Man, on the other hand, seeks out and pursues even the most inoffensive animals, on purpose to persecute and destroy them.