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the most beautiful passages, and to pass by those which were too coarse, or not well enough adapted to the time in which he lived. Hence the Bucolicks of Virgil are calledi Eclogues, or select poeins; because they areinot a general collection: of all the various subjects of Pastoral Poetry, : 011 an imitation of the whole thirty. Idyllią of Thego critos; but only a few chosen pieces, in which that Poet's, manner of writing is in some mcafure imitated; but at the same time very much, ima proved. The Simplicity, the Innocence, and the Piety, which many of our Criticks think effential to a Pastoral, are far more conspicuous in the Bucolicks of Virgil, than in the Idyllią of. Theo critus. The Lover, in the twenty-third Idyllium, hangs himself, whereas Corydon, in the second Eclogue, sees the folly of his unruly passion, and répents. The Shepherds, indeed, in the third Eclogue, rail sharply at each other; and Damoetas goes fo far as to hint at some obscene action of his adversary: but the Travellers, in the fifth Idyllium, fpeak out plainly, in terms not fit to be repeated. We are not entertained by Virgil with any particular Hymn, in honour of Gods and Heroes." He looked upon that, as the province of the Lyric Poet, which we are told * he left en* Martial, Lib. VIII. Ep. 18.!
tirely to his friend Horace. But there is an air of Piety and Religion, that runs through all the Eclogues, and indeed through all the writings of our excellent Poet.
As for the particular beauties of these Bucolicks, the Reader will find most of them pointed out in the following Notes:' but there is one general beauty, which must not be passed by without obfervation. In almost every Eclogue, we are entertained with a rural Scene, a fort of fine LandScape, painted by a most masterly hand. In the Tityrus, a fhepherd is lying at ease, under the fhade of a spreading beech, playing on his rural pipe ; whilst another represents the different situation of his unhappy circumstances. We have the prospect before us of a country, partly rocky and partly marshy, a river and sacred springs, bees humming about the willows, and pigeons and turtles cooing on the lofty elms: and at last with the description of the evening, the lengthening of the hadows, and the smoaking of the cottage chimneys. In the Alexis, a mournful shepherd" laments his unhappy passion, in a thick wood of beech-trees : we are presented with a most beautiful collection of Aowers; and we see the tired oxen bringing back the plough after theit worknis over, and the setting fun doubles the length of the
shadows. The country is in it's full beauty, in the Palaemon; the grass is soft, the fruit-trees are in blossom, and the woods are green. The carva ing of the two cups is excellent; and far exceeds that in the first Idyllium of Theocritus. In the Pollio, we have a view of the Golden Age de fcending a second time from heaven; the earth pouring forth flowers and fruits of it's own ac: cord; grapes hanging upon thorns; honey drop ping from oaks: and sheep naturally cloathed wit] scarlet wool. In the Daphnis
, two shepherd meet under the shade of elms intermixed wit! hazles, and retire for better shade, into a cav covered by a wild vine; where they sing alte nately, the death, and deification of Daphnis. S lenus, in the fixth, is found by two young she herds asleep in a cave, intoxicated with wine, garland fallen from his head, and his battered p cher hanging down. A nymph assists them, binding him with his own garland, ftains his fa with mulberries, and compels him to sing :-up which the Fauns and wild beasts immediat dance to his measure, and the oaks bend th stubborn heads. In the Meliboeus, two herdn have driven their flocks together, one of th and the other of goats, on the reedy banks of Menzo, where a swarm of bees is buzzing i S:
hollow be PREFACE. character of a goatherd, weaving flight twigs in hollow oak. In the Pharmaceutria, the heifers leave their food, to attend to the fongs of Damon and: Alphesiboeus; the ounces stand astonished, and the very rivers slacken their course. In the ninth, I Moeris is carrying two kids on the road to Mantua; when he meets with his friend Lycidas, and falls into discourse with him. Virgil's farm is described ; reaching from the declivity of the hills down to the river, with an old broken beechtree for the land-mark. They go on singing, till the middle of their journey is diftinguilhed, by the prospect of the sepulchre of Bianor, and the lake of Mantua. In the last Eclogue, the Poet paints his friend Gallus, in the character of a thepherd, surrounded by his sheep. The several forts of Herdmen come to visit him; nor is he unattended by Apollo, the god of verse, or by
. Sylvanus and Pan, the deities of the
country: The fcene is laid in Arcadia, the fountain of paltoral poetry, where the Poet gives us a prospect of the pines of Maenalus, the rocks of Lycaeus, and the lawns of Parthenius. In the conclusion of the work, Virgil represents himself under the
to baskets, under the shade of a Juniper. This yariety of images has been feldohi confidered the those, who have attempted to write Paftoralt';
and having now seen this excellence of Virgil, we may venture to affirm, that there is fomething more required in a good Paftoral, than the affectation of using coarse, rude, ori obfolete expressions ; or a mere notbingness, without either thought or design, under a false notion of rura fimplicity.
It is not a little surprizing, that many of ou modern Poets and Criticks should be of opinion that the rusticity of Theocritus is to be imitated, ra ther than the rural delicacy of Virgil. If the Origina of things are always the most valuable, we ough to perform our Tragedies in a cart; and the a tors faces ought to be stained with lees of wine we should reject the use of corn, and feed up acorns, like the ancient Arcadians.
I would not be thought, by what has bee here said, to endeavour to depreciate the meritTheocritus. On the contrary, I believe there a few, if any, that more admire the beauties of tl ancient Writer. I consider him as the father Pastoral Poetry, to whom we are originally oblig for every thing that has been well written in t kind, and to whom we owe even the Bucoli of Virgil. Theocritus is like a rich mine, which there is a plenty of ore: but a skilful ha
See the note on ver. 383. of the first Georgick.