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The Simplicity of the Swain in this Place, who forgets the Name of the Zodiack, is no ill Imitation of Virgil; but how much more plainly and unaffectedly would Philips have drefs'd this Thought in his Doric?
And what that Height, which girds the Welkin sheen, Where twelve gay Signs in meet Array are seen.
If the Reader would indulge his Curiosity any farther in the Comparison of Particulars, he may read the first Pastoral of Philips with the second of his Contemporary, and the fourth and sixth of the former with the fourth and first of the latter; where several Places will occur to every one.
Having now shown some Parts, in which these two Writers may be compar'd, it is a Justice I owe to Mr. Philips, to discover those in which no Man can compare with him. First, That beautiful Rusticity, of which I shall produce two Instances, out of a Hundred not yet quoted.
O woful Day! O Day of Woe, quoth he,
The Simplicity of Diction, the melancholy flowing of the Numbers, the Solemnity of the Sound, and the easy Turn of the Words, in this Dirge, (to make use of our Author's Expression) are extreamly elegant.
In another of his Pastorals, a Shepherd utters a Dirge not much inferior to the former, in the following Lines.
Ah me the while! ah me! the luckless Day,
"Ah Ah silly I! more silly than my Sheep, Which on the flow'ry Plains I once did keep. How he still charms the Ear with these artful Repetitions of the Epithets; and how significant is the last Verse! I defy the most common Reader to repeat them, without feeling some Motions of Compassion.
In the next Place I shall rank Jbis Proverbs, in which I formerly observ'd he excells: For Example:
A rolling Stone is ever bare of Moss;
Lastly, his elegant Dialect, which alone might prove him the eldest born of Spencer, and our only true Arcadian. I should think it proper for the several Writers of Pastoral, to confine themselves to their several Counties. Spencer seems to have been of this Opinion: for he hath laid the Scene of one of his Pastorals in Wales, where with all the Sim* plicity natural to that Part of our Island, our Shepherd bids the other good Morrow in an unusal and elegant Manner:
Diggon Davy, I bid hur God-day:
Hur was hur, while it was Day-light;
But the most beautiful Example of this Kind that I ever met with, is in a very valuable Piece, which I chanc'd to find among some old Manuscripts, entitled, A Pa floral Ballad: which I think for its Nature and Simplicity, may (notwithstanding the Modesty of the Title) be allow'd a perfect Pastoral: It may be observ'd as a sarther Beauty of this Pastoral, the Words Nympb, Dryad, Naiad, Fawn, Cupid, or Satyr, are not once mention'd through the Whole. I shall make no Apology for inserting some few Lines of this excellent Piece. Cicily breaks, thus into the Subject, as she is going a Milking:
Cicily. Roger go vetch tha f Kee, or else tha Zun Will quite be go, be vore c'have half a don.
Reger. Thou should not ax me tweece, but I've a be To dreaVe our Bull to bull tha Parson's Kee.
It is to be observ'd, that this whole Dialogue is form'd upon the Passion of Jealousy; and his mentioning the Parson's Kine naturally revives the Jealousy of the Shepherdess Cicily, which she expresses as follows:
Gicily. Ah Roger, Rager, chez was zore avrald When in yond Vild you kiss'd tha Parson's Maid t Is this the Love that once to me you zed,[bread? When from the Wake thou brought'st meGinger
Rtger. Cicily thou charg'st me valse,—I'll zwear to Tha Parson's Maid is still a Maid for me. fthee,
In which Answer of his are exprels'd at once mat Spirit of Religion, and that Innocence of the Golden Age, so neceslary to be observed by all Writers of Pastoral.
* That is the Kine Or Cowjs.
At the Conclusion os this Piece, the Author reconciles the Lovers, and ends the Eclogue the most simply in the World.
So Roger parted vor to fetch the Kee,
I am loath to show my Fondness for Antiquity, so sar as to prefer this antient Britijjh Author to our present English Writers of Pastoral; but I cannot avoid making this obvious Remark, that Philips hath hit into the same Road with this old West Country Bard of ours.
After all that hath been said, I hope none can think it it any Injustice to Mr. Pope that I forbore to mention him as a Pastoral Writer; since upon the whole, he is of the same Class with Meschus and Bitm, whom we have excluded that Rank; and whose Eclogues, as well as some of Virgil's, it may be said, that (according to the Description we have given of this Sort of Poetry) they are by no means Pastorals, but something better.
It was no sinall Matter to be brought into the Lists at sixteen Years of Age with Mr. Philips who was then (not without very good Reason) much applauded by the Town, and by Mr. Steel who had a great Partiality and personal Friendship for Mr. Philips.
Mr. Pope's Pastorals are Four:
Spring, address'd to Sir William Trumbull.
Summer, to Dr. Garth.
Antumn, to Mr. Wicherly.
Winter, in Memory of Mrs. Tempejl.
The three Great Writers of Pastoral Dialogue, which they both seem to follow in some Measure,
tho* (tho' through disferent Paths) are Theocritus, Virgil and Spencer.
Mr. Pope fays, Theocritus excells all others in Nature and Simplicity. The Subjects of his Idyllia are purely pastoral, but he is not so exact in his Persons, having introduced Reapers and Fishermen as well as Shepherds. He is apt to be long in his Descriptions, of which that of the Cup in the first Pastoral is a remarkable Instance. In the Manners he seems a little desective, for his Swains are sometimes abusive and immodest, and perhaps too much inclining to Rusticity; for Instance, in his fourth and fifth Idyllia. But 'tis enough that all others learn their Excellencies from him, and that his Dialect alone has a secret Charm in it which no other could ever attain.
Virgil who copies TJieocritus, refines upon his Original; and in all Points where Judgment has the principal Part, is much superior to his Master. Tho' some of his Subjects are not pastoral in themselves, but only seem to be such; they have a wonderful Variety in them which the Greek was a Stranger to. He exceeds him in Regularity and Brevity, and falls short of him in nothing but Simplicity and Propriety of Style; the first of which perhaps was the Fault of his Age, and the last of his Language.
Among the Moderns, their Success has been greatest who have most endeavour'd to make these Ancients their Pattern. The most considerable Genius appears in the famous TaJ/b, and our Spencer. Tajso in his Aminta has as far excell'd all the Pastoral Writers, as in his Gierusalemme he has outdone the Epic Poets of his Country. But as this Piece seems to have been the Original of a new Sort of Poem, the Pastoral Comedy, in Italy, it cannot so well be consider'd as a Copy of the Ancients. Spencer's CaVOL. I. C lendar,