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To Sir WILLIAM TRUMbal.
IRST in these fields I try the fylvan ftrains,
Thefe Paftorals were written at the age of fixteen, and then paffed through the hands of Mr. Walb, Mr. Wycherley, G. Granville, afterwards Lord Lanfdown, Sir William Trumbal, Dr. Garth, Lord Hallifax, Lord Somers, Mr. Mainwaring, and others. All thefe gave our Author the greatest encouragement, and particularly Mr. Walsh, whom Mr. Dryden, in his Poftfcript to Virgil, calls the beft Critic of his age. "The Author (fays he) seems to have 86 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 what he has mixed of his own with theirs is no " way inferior to what he has taken from them. It is not flat"tery at all to say, that Virgil had written nothing fo good at his "Age. His Preface is very judicious and learned." Letter to Mr. Wycherley, Apr. 1705.. The Lord Lanfdown about the fametime, mentioning the youth of our Poet, says (in a printed Letterof the Character of Mr. Wycherley), "that if he goes on as he has "begun in his Paftoral way, as Virgil firit tried his ftrength, we: 68 may hope to fee English Poetry vie with the Roman," &c.. Notwithstanding the early time of their production, the Author efteemed these as the most correct in the verfification, and mufical: in the numbers, of all his works. The reason for his labouring them
You, that too wife for pride, too good for pow'r, Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
And carrying with you all the world can boaft,
Till in your native fhades you tune the lyre:
into fo much foftnefs, was, doubtless, that this fort of poetry derives almoft its whole beauty from a natural ease of thought and fmoothness of verfe; whereas that of moft other kinds confifts in the ftrength and fulness of both. In a letter of his to Mr. Walh about this time, we find an enumeration of feveral niceties in Verfification, which perhaps have never been strictly observed in any English poem, except in thefe Paftorals. They were not printed till 1709.
Sir William Trumbal.] Our Author's friendship with this gentleman commenced at very unequal years: he was under fixteen, but Sir William above fixty, and had lately refigned his employment of Secretary of State to King William.
VER. 12. in your native fhades] Sir W. Trumbal was born in Windfor-foreft, to which he retired, after he had refigned the poft of Secretary of State to King William III. P.
VER. 17, etc. The fcene of this Paftoral a Valley, the Time the Morning. It flood originally thus:
Daphnis and Strephon to the fhades retir'd,
Both warm'd by Love, and by the Muse infpir'd,
VER. 1. Prima Syracofio dignata eft ludere verfu, Noftra nec erubuit fylvas habitare Thalia. This is the general exordium and opening of the Paftorals, in imitation of the fixth of Virgil, which fome have therefore not improbably thought to have been the first originally. In the beginnings of the other three Paftorals, he imitates exprefsly thofe which now ftand first of the three chief Poets in this kind, Spenfer, Virgil, Theocritus.
Soon as the flocks fhook off the nightly dews,
Hear how the birds, on ev'ry bloomy spray,
Sing then, and Damon fhall attend the ftrain,
And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines,
A Shepherd's Boy (he feeks no better name)-
-A Shepherd's Boy (no better do him call)
Ver. 34. The firft reading was,
And his own image from the bank furveys.
Ver. 36. And clusters lurk beneath the curling vines.
Four figures rifing from the work appear,
Then fing by turns, by turns the Mufes fing, Now hawthorns bloffom, now the daifies spring, Now leaves the trees, and flowers adorn the ground; Begin, the vales fhall ev'ry note rebound. ST RỄ PHỔ NG
Infpiré me, Phœbas, in my Delia's praife, 45 With Waller's ftrains, or Granville's moving lays! A milk-white bull fhall at your altars ftand, That threats a fight, aud fpurns the rifing fand.
O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize, And make my tongue victorious as her eyes;
VER. 35, 36. Lenta quibus torno facili fuperaddita vitis,
Et quis fuit alter,
Defcripfit radio totum qui gentibus orbem?
VER. 38. The various feafons] The fubject of thefe Paftorals engraven on the bowl is not without its propriety. The Shepherd's hefitation at the name of the zodiac, imitates that in Virgil,
VER. 41. Then fing by turns,] Literally from Virgil,
Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos, .. Nunc frondent fylvæ, nunc formofiffimus annus. VER. 47. A milk-white bull] Virg.—Pafcite taurum, Qui cornu petat, et pedibus jam fpargat arenam.
VER. 49. Originally thus in the MS.
Pan, let my numbers equal Strephon's lays,
No lambs or sheep for victims I'll impart,
Thy victim, Love, fhall be the fhepherd's heart.
Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain, Then hid in fhades, eludes her eager fwain; But feigns a laugh, to fee me fearch around, And by that laugh the willing fair is found.
The fprightly Sylvia trips along the green,
O'er golden fands let rich Pactolus flow,
VER. 6r. It ftood thus at first:
Let rich Iberia golden fleeces boast,
VER. 46. Granville.] George Granville, afterwards Lord: Lanfdown, known for his poems, moft of which he compofed: very young, and propofed Waller as his model. P.
VER. 58. She runs, but hopes] Imitation of Virgil.
VER. 61. Originally thus in the MS.
Go, flow'ry wreath, and let my Sylvia know,
Go, tuneful bird, that pleas'd the woods fo long,