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M O N.
To Sir WILLIAM TRUMbal.
IRST in these fields I try the fylvan ftrains, Nor blush to sport on Windfor's blissful plains: Fair Thames, flow gently from thy facred spring, While on thy banks Sicilian Muses fing;
Thefe Paftorals were written at the age of fixteen, and then past thro' the hands of Mr. Walsh, Mr. Wycherley, G. Granville afterwards Lord Lanfdown, Sir William Trumbal, Dr. Garth, Lord Hallifax, Lord Somers, Mr. Mainwaring, and others. All these 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) feems to have a particular genius for this kind of Poetry, and a judg"ment 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 flattery at all to say that
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 reason for his labouring them into fo much foftnefs, was, doubtless, that this fort of poetry derives almoft its whole beauty from a natural ease of thought and smoothness of verse; whereas that of most other kinds confifts in the strength and fulness of both. In a letter of his to Mr. Wal 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 1709. 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 stand first of the three chief Poets in this kind, Spencer, Virgil, Theocritus."
And carrying with you all the world can boaft,
Soon as the flocks fhook off the nightly dews, Two Swains, whom Love kept wakeful, and the Mufe,
Pour'd o'er the whitening vale their fleecy care,
VER. 12. in your native shades] Sir W. Trumbal was born in Windfor-foreft, to which he retreated, after he had refigned the poft of Secretary of State to King William III.
VER. 17, etc. The Scene of this Paftoral a Valley, the time the Morning. It flood originally thus,
Daphnis and Strephon to the Shades retir'd,
A Shepherd's Bay (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 fhines so clear, And lavish Nature paints the purple year?
Sing then, and Damon fhall attend the ftrain, 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 fhade furveys.
And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines, 35 And fwelling 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 fo called.
VER. 34. The first reading was,
And his own image from the bank furveys.
VER: 36. And clufters lurk beneath the curling vines. P,
VER. 35, 36.
Lenta quibus torno facili fuperaddita vitis,
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 praife, With Waller's ftrains, or Granville's moving lays! A milk-white bull shall at your altars stand, That threats a fight, and spurns the rifing fand.
VER. 46. Granville-1 George Granville, afterwards Lord Lanidown, known for his Poems, moft of which he compos'd very young, and propos'd Waller as his del. P.
VER. 41. Then fing by turns.] Literally from Virgil, Alternis dicetis, amant alterna Camana:
Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos,
Nunc frondent fylvæ, nunc formofiffimus annus. P. VER. 38. The various feafons] The Subject of these Pastorals 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, Qui cornu petat, et pedibus jam fpargat arenam. P.