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W I TH A
DISCOURSE ON PASTORAL.
Rura mihi & rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
PASTORAL POETRY There are not , i believe , a greater number of any sort of Verses than of those which are called Pastorals, nor a smaller, than of those which are truly so. It therefore seems necessary to give some account of this kind of Poem, and it is my design to comprize in this short paper the substance of those numerous dissertations the Criticks have made on the subject , without omitting any of their rules in my own favour. You will also find some points reconciled, about which they seem to differ, and a few remarks which, i think, have escaped their observation.
The original of Poetry is ascribed to that age which succeeded the creation of the world : and as the keeping of flocks seems to have been the first employment of mankind, the most ancient sort of Poetry was probably Pastoral. 'Tis natural to imagine, that the leisure of those ancient shepherds admitting and inviting some diversion, none was so proper to that folitary and sedentary, life as singing; and that in their songs they took occasion to celebrate their own felicity. From hence a Poem was invented, and afterwards improved to a perfect image of that happy time'; which , by giving us an esteem for the virtues of a former