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in his Aminta has as far excelled all the Paftoral writers, in his Gierufalemme he has out-done the Epic poets of his country. But as this piece feems to have been the original of a new fort of poem, the Pastoral Comedy, in Italy, it cannot fo well be confidered as a copy of the ancients. Spenfer's Calendar, in Mr. Dryden's opinion, is the most complete work of this kind which any nation has produced ever fince the time of Virgil'. Not but that he may be thought imperfect in fome few points. His Eclogues are fomewhat too long, if we compare them with the ancients. He is fometimes too allegorical, and treats of matters of religion in a pastoral style, as the Mantuan had done before him. He has employed the Lyric measure, which is contrary to the practice of the old Poets. His ftanza is not ftill the fame, nor always well chofen. This last may be the reason his expreffion is sometimes not concise enough for the Tetrastic has obliged him to extend his sense to the length
the grofs and unscholar-like blunder of Trapp, who tells us in his fourteenth Lecture, that all the Eclogues of Calphurnius and Nemefian, who flourished under Diocletian, were entirely lost.
I will just add, that the famous Critic, Jafon de Nores, who wrote fo well on Horace's Art of Poetry, condemned the Pastoral Drama. And that the above-mentioned I! Sacrificio was acted at Ferrara 1550, and the Aminta 1573, and the Pastor Fido bes fore Cardinal Borghefe 1590. It is obfervable, that Pope does not mention the Comus of Milton, the moft exquifite of all paftoral dramas. WARTON.
1 Dedication to Virg. Ecl.
length of four lines, which would have been more closely confined in the Couplet.
In the manners, thoughts, and characters, he comes near to Theocritus himfelf; though, notwithstanding all the care he has taken, he is certainly inferior in his Dialect: For the Doric had its beauty and propriety in the time of Theocritus; it was used in part of Greece, and frequent in the mouths of many of the greatest perfons: whereas the old English and country phrases of Spenfer were either entirely obfolete, or spoken only by people of the loweft condition. As there is a difference betwixt fimplicity and rufticity, so the expreffion of fimple thoughts should be plain, but not clownish. The addition he has made of a Calendar to his Eclogues, is very beautiful; fince by this, befides the general moral of innocence and fimplicity, which is common to other authors of Paftoral, he has one peculiar to himfelf; he compares human Life to the feveral Seafons, and at once exposes to his readers a view of the great and little worlds, in their various changes and afpects. Yet the fcrupulous divifion of his Paftorals into Months, has obliged him either to repeat the fame description, in other words, for three months together; or, when it was exhausted before, entirely to omit it: whence it comes to pass that fome of his Eclogues (as the fixth, eighth, and tenth, for example) have nothing but their Titles to diftinguish them. The reafon is evident, because the year has not that variety in it to furnish
furnifn every month with a particular defcription, as it may every featon.
* Of the following Eclogues I fall only fay, that thefe four comprehend all the fubjects which the Critics
* The fuperiority of Milton's Lycidas to all paftoral poems in our language is, I fbocid hope, acknowledged by every man of true claffical judgment; and Dr. Johnton's ftrange animadverfions on it have been thus effectually aníwered. "Lycidas, fays be,) is filled with the heathen deities; and a long train of mythological imagery, fuch as a College cafily supplies.—But it is also fuch as even the Court itself could now have eafily fupplied. The public diverfions, and books of all forts, and from all forts of writers, more especially compofitions in poetry, were at this time over-run with claffical pedantries. But what writer, of the fame period, has made these obsolete fictions the vehicle of fo much fancy and poetical defcription? How beautifully has he applied this fort of aliufion to the Druidical rocks of Denbighshire, to Mona, and the fabulous banks of Deva! It is objected, that its pastoral form is disgusting. But this was the age of paftoral; and yet Lycidas has but little of the bucolic cant, now so fashionable. The fatyrs and fauns are but just mentioned. If any tritę rural topics occur, how are they heightened!
"Together both, ere the high lawns appear'd
What time the gray fly winds her sultry horn,
"Here the day-break is defcribed by the faint appearance of the upland lawns under the first gleams of light: the fun-fet, by the buzzing of the chaffer: and the night fheds her fresh dews on their flocks. We cannot blame paftoral imagery and pastoral allegory, which carry with them fo much natural painting. In this piece there is perhaps more poetry than forrow. But let us read it for its poetry. It is true, that paffion plucks no berries from the myrtle and ivy, no calls upon Arethuse and Mincius, For tells of rough fatyrs with cloven heel. But poetry does this;
Critics upon Theocritus and Virgil will allow to be fit for pastoral: That they have as much variety of description, in respect of the feveral feafons, as Spenfer's: that in order to add to this variety, the several times of the day are observ'd, the rural employments
and in the hands of Milton, does it with a peculiar and irresistible charm. Subordinate poets exercise no invention, when they tell how a fhepherd has loft his companion, and muft feed his flocks alone without any judge of his skill in piping: but Milton dignifies and adorns these common artificial incidents with unexpected touches of picturesque beauty, with the graces of fentiment, and with the novelties of original genius. It is faid, "here is no art, for there is nothing new." But this objection will vanish, if we confider the imagery which Milton has raised from local circumftances. Not to repeat the ufe he has made of the mountains of Wales, the Isle of Man, and the river Dee, near which Lycidas was ship wrecked; let us recollect the introduction of the roman. tic fuperftition of Saint Michael's Mount in Cornwall, which overlooks the Irish feas, the fatal scene of his friend's disaster.
"But the poetry is not always unconnected with paffion. The poet lavishly defcribes an ancient fepulchral rite, but it is made preparatory to a stroke of tenderness. He calls for a variety of flowers to decorate his friend's hearfe, fuppofing that his body was prefent, and forgetting for a while he was drowned: it was fome confolation that he was to receive the decencies of burial. This is a pleafing deception: it is natural and pathetic. But the real catastrophe recurs. And this circumftance again opens a new vein of imagination."-Poems of Milton, fecond edition, Robinfon, 1791, p. 35. T. WARTON.
The Difcourfe on Paftoral Poetry is certainly, as Dr. Warton observes, a fenfible and judicious performance. But Pope's definition of Paftoral is too confined. In fact, his Paftoral Difcourse seems made to fit (if I may say so) his Pastorals For the fame reafon he would not class as a true * Pastoral, the most interefting of all Virgil's Eclogues :-I mean the firft; which is * See his account of Pastoral in the Guardian.
in each season or time of day, and the rural fcenes or places proper to fuch employments; not without fome regard to the feveral ages of man, and the different paffions proper to each age,
founded on fact, which has the most tender and touching ftrokes of nature, and the plot of which is entirely paftoral, being the complaint of a Shepherd obliged to leave the fields of his infancy, and yield the poffeffion to foldiers and ftrangers. The characters, and every image, are taken from rural life, the landscape part is picturefque, and the ftory interefting and affecting.
Pope fays, because it relates to foldiers, it is not paftoral: but how little of a military caft is feen in it :- the foldier is mentioned, but only as far as was abfolutely neceffary, and always in connection with the rural imagery, from whence the molt exquifite touches are derived.
En queis confevimus agros!
Barbarus hæc tam CULTA NOVALIA miles habebit?
Pope's paftoral ideas, however, with the exception of the Meffiah, feem to have been taken from the least interesting and poetic scenes of the ancient Eclogue: the Wager, the Contest, the Riddle, the alternate praises of Daphne or Delia, the common-place complaint of the lover, &c. The more interefting and picturesque fubjects, therefore, were excluded, as not being properly pastoral according to his confined definition.
We cannot help making an obfervation here, that in defining paftoral, critics in general fhould not have taken notice of one I think the most effential adjunct to this fpecies of poetry; that is, the PICTURESQUE. Paftoral feenery is indeed required by all : we have a shepherd, a grove, and a river; but what is more strikingly picturefque is fcarcely ever confidered as effential.
Let us look at the great Father of the Paftoral: in what does he excel all others? "In fimplicity and nature," I admit with Pope; but more particularly in one circumftance, which seems to have efcaped general attention, and that circumftance is the PIC
Pope fays, he is too long in his descriptions, particularly of the Paftoral Cup, Idyl. 1. Was not Pope a profeffed admirer of paint