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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 sixth, 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 furnish every month with a particular description, as it may every


Of the following eclogues I shall only say, that these four comprehend all the subjects which the 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 observed, the rural employments in each season or time of day, and the rural scenes or places proper to such employments; not without some regard to the several ages of man, and the different passions proper to each age.

But after all, if they have any merit, it is to be attributed to some good old authors, whose works as I had leisure to study, so, I hope, I have not wanted care to imitate.




To Sir William Trumbull.

FIRST in these fields I try the sylvan strains,

Nor blush to sport on Windsor's blissful plains: Fair Thames, flow gently from thy sacred spring, While on thy banks Sicilian muses sing; Let vernal airs through trembling osiers play, And Albion's cliffs resound the rural lay.


You that, too wise for pride, too good for
Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
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 remove,
The thrush may chant to the forsaken groves,
But charm'd to silence, listens while she sings,
And all th' aerial audience clap their wings.

Soon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews,
Two swains, whom love kept wakeful, and the muse,
Pour'd o'er the whitening 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:


Hear how the birds, on every bloomy spray,
With joyous music wake the dawning day!

Why sit we mute, when early linnets sing,
When warbling Philomel salutes the spring?
Why sit we sad, when Phosphor shines so clear,
And lavish nature paints the purple year.


Sing then, and Damon shall attend the strain,
While yon slow oxen turn the furrow'd plain.
Here the bright crocus and blue violet 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.


And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines,
And swelling clusters bend the curling vines:
Four figures rising from the work appear
The various seasons of the rolling year;
And what is that which binds the radiant sky,
Where twelve fair signs in beauteous order lie?


Then sing by turns, by turns the muses sing; Now hawthorns blossom, now the daisies spring, Now leaves the trees, and flowers adorn the ground; Begin, the vales shall every note rebound.


Inspire me, Phœbus, in my Delia's praise, With Waller's strains, or Granville's moving lays! A milk-white bull shall at your altars stand, That threats a fight, and spurns the rising sand.



O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize,
And make my tongue victorious as her eyes;
No lambs or sheep for victims I'll impart,
Thy victim, Love, shall be the shepherd's heart.


Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain, Then, hid in shades, eludes her eager swain;

But feigns a laugh, to see me search around,
And by that laugh the willing fair is found.


The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green,
She runs, but hopes she does not run unseen;
While a kind glance at her pursuer flies,
How much at variance are her feet and eyes!


O'er golden sands let rich Pactolus flow, And trees weep amber on the banks of Po; Blest Thames's shores the brightest beauties yield, Feed here, my lambs, I'll seek no distant field.


Celestial Venus haunts Idalia's groves;
Diana Cynthus, Ceres Hybla loves:

If Windsor shades delight the matchless maid,
Cynthus and Hybla yield to Windsor-shade.


All nature mourns, the skies relent in showers, Hush'd are the birds, and clos'd the drooping flowers; If Delia smile, the flowers begin to spring, The skies to brighten, and the birds to sing.


All nature laughs, the groves are fresh and fair, The sun's mild lustre warms the vital air;

If Sylvia smile, new glories gild the shore,
And vanquish'd nature seems to charm no more.


In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love, At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove, But Delia always; absent from her sight,

Nor plains at morn, nor groves at noon delight.

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Sylvia's like autumn ripe, yet mild as May, More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day:

Ev'n spring displeases, when she shines not here; But, bless'd with her, 'tis spring throughout the year.


Say, Daphnis, say, in what glad soil appears, A wondrous tree that sacred monarchs bears: Tell me but this, and I'll disclaim the prize, And give the conquest to thy Sylvia's eyes.


Nay, tell me first, in what more happy fields
The thistle springs, to which the lily yields:
And then a nobler prize I will resign;
For Sylvia, charming Sylvia, shall be thine.


Cease to contend; for, Daphnis, I decree,
The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee.

Blest swains, whose nymphs in every grace excel;
Blest nymphs, whose swains those graces sing so well!
Now rise and haste to yonder woodbine bowers,
A soft retreat from sudden vernal showers!
The turf with rural dainties shall be crown'd,
While opening blooms diffuse their sweets around.
For see! the gathering flocks to shelter tend,
And from the Pleiads fruitful showers descend.



To Dr. Garth.

A SHEPHERD's boy (he seeks no better name) Led forth his flocks along the silver Thame, Where dancing sun-beams on the waters play'd, And verdant alders form'd a quivering shade.

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