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Let vernal airs thro' trembling ofiers play,
You, that too wife for pride, too good for pow'r, Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
"Virgil had written nothing fo good at his Age. His "Preface is very judicious and learned." Letter to Mr. Wycherley, Ap. 1705. The Lord Lanfdown about the fame time, mentioning the youth of our Poet, fays (in a printed Letter of the Character of Mr. Wycherley)" that if he goes on as he has begun in the Pastoral way, as Virgil first tried his ftrength, we may hope to fee Eng"lish Poetry vie with the Roman," etc. Notwithstanding the early time of their production, the Author esteemed these as the most correct in the verfification, and mufical in the numbers, of all his works. The reafon for his labouring them into fo much foftnefs, was, doubtless, that this fort of poetry derives almost its whole beauty from a natural ease of thought and fmoothness of verse; whereas that of moft other kinds confifts in the ftrength and fulness of both. In a letter of his to Mr. Walsh about this time we find an enumeration of feveral Niceties : in Verfification, which perhaps have never been strictly obferved in any English poem, except in these Pastorals. They were not printed till 170. P.
-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 refign'd his employment of Secretary of State to King William. P.
: 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 exprefly thofe which now ftand first of the three chief Poets in this kind, Spencer, Virgil, Theocritus.
And carrying with you all the world can boast,
O let my Mufe her flender reed inspire,
Soon as the flocks fhook off the nightly dews, Two Swains, whom Love kept wakeful, and the
Pour'd o'er the whitening vale their feecy care,
VER. 12. in your native shades] Sir W. Trumbal was born in Windfor-foreft, 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 Paftoral 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 Mufe infpir'd, Fresh as the morn, and as the feafon fair, In flow'ry vales they fed their fleecy care; And while Aurora gilds the mountain's fide, Thus Daphnis fpoke, and Strephon thus reply'd.
A Shepherd's Boy (he feeks no better name)-
A Shepherd's Boy (no better do him call)
Hear how the birds, on ev'ry bloomy spray, With joyous mufic wake the dawning day! Why fit we mute when early linnets fing, When warbling Philomel falutes the spring? Why fit we fad when Phosphor shines fo clear, And lavish Nature paints the purple year?
Sing then, and Damon fhall attend the strain, While yon' flow oxen turn the furrow'd plain. 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 furveys,
And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines, 35 And swelling clusters bend the curling vines:
VER. 28. purple year?] Purple here used in the Latin fenfe of the brightest most vivid colouring in general, not of that peculiar tint so called.
VER. 34. The first reading was,
And his own image from the bank furveys.
VER. 36. And clusters lurk beneath the curling vines. P,
VER. 35, 36.
Lenta quibus torno facili fuperaddita vitis,
Diffufos edera veftit pallente corymbos. Virg.
Four figures rifing from the work appear,
Then fing by turns, by turns the Mufes fing, Now hawthorns bloffom, now the daifies fpring, Now leaves the trees, and flow'rs adorn the ground; Begin, the vales fhall ev'ry note rebound.
Infpire me, Phoebus, in my Delia's praise, With Waller's ftrains, or Granville's moving lays! A milk-white bull fhall at your altars stand, That threats a fight, and fpurns the rifing fand.
VER. 46. Granville-] George Granville, afterwards Lord Lanfdown, known for his Poems, most of which he compos'd very young, and propos'd Waller as his model. P.
VER. 41. Then fing by turns.] Literally from Virgil,
VER. 38. The various feafons] The Subject of these Paftorals engraven on the bowl is not without its propriety. The Shepherd's hefitation at the name of the Zodiac, imitates that in Virgil,
Et quis fuit alter,
Defcripfit radio totum qui gentibus orbem?
VER. 47. A milk-white Bull.] Virg.-Pafcite taurum,
O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize,
Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain, Then hid in fhades, eludes her eager fwain; But feigns a laugh, to see me search around, And by that laugh the willing fair is found.
- The fprightly Sylvia trips along the green, She runs, but hopes fhe does not run unseen; While a kind glance at her purfuer flies, How much at variance are her feet and eyes!
O'er golden fands let rich Pactolus flow, And trees weep amber on the banks of Po;
VER. 49. Originally thus in the MS.
VER. 61. It flood thus at first,
Let rich Iberia golden fleeces boaft,
VER. 61. Originally thus in the MS.
Go, flow'ry wreath, and let my Sylvia know,