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that none of the inconfiftencies which they endeavour to avoid, is greater than that of joining elegance of thought with coarfenefs of diction. Spenfer begins one of his paftorals with ftudied barbarity

Diggon Davie, I bid her good-day:
Or, Diggon her is, or I missay.
Dig. Her was her while it was day-light,
But now her is a moft wretched wight.

What will the reader imagine to be the fubject on which speakers like these exercife their eloquence? Will he not he fomewhat difappointed, when he finds them met together to condemn the corruptions of the Church of Rome? Surely, at the fame time that a fhepherd learns theology, he may gain fome acquaintance with his native language. Paftoral admits of all ranks of perfons, because perfons of all ranks inhabit the country. It excludes not, therefore, on account of the characters necessary to be introduced, any elevation or delicacy of fentiment; thofe ideas only are improper which, not owing their original to rural objects, are not paftoral. Such is the exclamation in Virgil➡

Nunc fcio quid fit Amor,duris in cautibus illum
Limarus,aut Rhodope,aut extremi Garamantes,
Nec generis noftri puerum, nec fanguinis,edunt.
I know thee, Love; in deferts thou wert bred,
And at the dugs of favage tygers fed;
Alien of birth, ufurper of the plains.


which Pope endeavouring to copy, was carried to ftill greater impropriety:

I know thee, Love, wild as the raging main, More fierce than tygers on the Lybian plain; Thou wert from Etna'sturning entrails torn; Begot in tempefts, and in thunders born!

Sentiments like thefe, as they have no ground in nature, are indeed of little value in any poem; but in paftoral they are particularly liable to cenfure, becaufe it wants that exaltation above common life, which in tragick or hereck writings often reconciles us to bold flights and daring figures.

Paftoral being the reprefentation of an allion or paffion, by it's effects upon a country life, has nothing peculiar but it's confinement to rural imagery, without which it ceafes to be paftoral. This is it's true characteristick, and this it cannot lose by any dignity of fentiment, or beauty of diction. The Pollio of Virgil,

with all it's elevation, is a compofition truly bucolick, though rejected by the criticks; for all the images are either taken from the country, or from the religion of the age common to all parts of the empire.

The Silenus is indeed of a more difputable kind, because though the scene lies in the country, the fong being religious and hiftorical, had been no lefs adapted to any other audience or place. Neither can it well be defended as a fiction, for the introduction of a god seems to imply the golden age, and yet he alludes to many fubfequent tranfactions, and mentions Gallus the poet's contemporary.

It feems neceffary to the perfection of this poem, that the occafion which is fuppofed to produce it, be at least not inconfiftent with a country life, or lefs likely to intereft those who have retired into places of folitude and quiet, than the more bufy part of mankind. It is therefore improper to give the title of a paftoral to verfes in which the fpeakers, after the flight mention of their flocks, fall to complaints of errors in the church, and corruptions in the government, or to lamentations of the death of fome illuftrious perfon, whom, when once the poet has called a fhepherd, he has no longer any labour upon his hands, but can make the clouds weep, and lilies wither, and the fheep hang their heads, without art or learning, genius or ftudy.

It is part of Claudian's character of his ruftick, that he computes his time, not by the fucceffion of confuls, but of harvests. Thofe who pass their days in retreats diftant from the theatres of bufinefs are always leaft likely to hurry their imagination with publick affairs.

The facility of treating actions or events in the paftoral ftyle has incited many writers, from whom more judgment might have been expected, to put the forrow or the joy which the occafion required into the mouth of Daphne or of Thyrfis; and as one abfurdity must naturally be expected to make way for another, they have written with an utter difregard both of life and nature, and filled their productions with mythological allufions, with incredible fictions, and with fentiments which neither paffron nor reafon could have dictated, fince the change which religion has made in the whole fyftem of the world.






MONG many parallels which men the natural and moral state of the world, it has been obferved that happiness, as well as virtue, confifts in Mediocrity; that to avoid every extreme is neceffary, even to him who has no other care than to pass through the prefent ftate with ease and fafety; and that the middle path is the road of fecurity, on either fide of which are not only the pitfals of vice, but the precipices of ruin.

Thus the maxim of Cleobulus the Lindian, pov apisov-Mediocrity is belt,' has been long confidered as an univerfal principle, extended through the whole compafs of life and nature. The experience of every age feems to have given it new confirmation, and to fhew that nothing, however fpecious or alluring, is purfued with propriety, or enjoyed with fafety, beyond certain limits. Even the gifts of nature, which may truly be confidered as the most folid and durable of all terreftrial advantages, are found, when they exceed the middle point, to draw the poffeffor into many calamities, easily avoided by others that have been lefs bountifully enriched or | adorned. We fee every day women perifh with infamy, by having been too willing to fet their beauty to thew; and others, though not with equal guilt or mifery, yet with very fharp remorfe, languishing in decay, neglect, and obfcurity, for having rated their youthful charms at too high a price. And, indeed, if the opinion of Bacon be thought to deferve much regard, very few fighs would be vented for eminent and fuperlative elegance of form: For beautiful women," fays he, are feldom of any

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great accomplishments, becaufe they, for the most part, ftudy behaviour rather than virtue.'

Health and vigour, and a happy conftitution of the corporeal frame, are of abfolute neceffity to the enjoyment of the comforts, and to the performance of the duties of life, and requifite in yet a greater measure to the accomplishment of any thing illuftrious or diftinguished; yet even thefe, if we can judge by their apparent confequences, are fometimes not very beneficial to thofe on whom they are moft liberally beftowed. They that frequent the chambers of the fick, will generally find the fharpeft pains, and moft ftubborn maladies, among them whom confidence of the force of nature formerly betrayed to negligence and irregularity; and that fuperfluity of ftrength, which was at once their boaft and their finare, has often, in the latter part of life, no other effect than that it continues them long in impotence and anguish.

Thefe gifts of nature are, however, always bleflings in themfelves, and to be acknowledged with gratitude to him that gives them; fince they are, in their regular and legitimate effects, productive of happiness, and prove pernicious only by voluntary corruption, or idle negligence. And as there is little danger of pursuing them with too much ardour or anxiety, becaufe no fkill or diligence can hope to procure them, the uncertainty of their influence upon our lives is mentioned, not to depreciate their real value, but to repreis the difcontent and envy to which the want of them often gives occafion in those who do not enough fufpect their own frailty, nor confider



how much lefs is the calamity of not poffeffing great powers, than of not using them aright.

Of all thofe things that make us fuperior to others, there is none fo much within the reach of our endeavours as riches, nor any thing more eagerly or constantly defired. Poverty is an evil always in our view; an evil complicated with fo many circumstances of uneafinefs and vexation, that every man is ftudious to avoid it. Some degree of riches is therefore required, that we may be exempt from the gripe of neceflity; when this purpose is once attained, we naturally wish for more, that the evil which is regarded with fo much horror, may be yet at a greater diftance from us; as he that has once felt or dreaded the paw of a favage, will not be at reft till they are parted by fome barrier, which may take away all poflibility of a fecond attack.

To this point, if fear be not unreafonably indulged, Cleobulus would, perhaps, not refufe to extend his mediocrity. But it almoft always happens, that the man who grows rich, changes his notions of poverty, ftates his wants by fome new meafure; and, from flying the enemy that purfued him, bends his endeavours to overtake thofe whom he fees before him. The power of gratifying his appetites encreafes their demands; a thousand wishes crowd in upon him, importunate to be fatisfied; and vanity and ambition open profpects to defire, which ftill grow wider, as they are more contemplated.

Thus in time want is enlarged without bounds; an eagernefs for increase of poffeffions deluges the foul, and we fink Into the gulphs of infatiability, only becaufe we do not fufficiently confider, that all real need is very foon fupplied, and all real danger of it's invafion eafily precluded; that the claims of vanity, being without limits, must be denied at last; and that the pain of repreffing them is lefs pungent before they have been long accustomed to compliance.

Whofcever fhall look heedfully upon thofe who are eminent for their riches, will not think their condition fuch as that he fhould hazard his quiet, and much lefs his virtue, to obtain it. For all that great wealth generally gives above a moderate fortune, is more room for the freaks of caprice, and more privilege for ignorance and vice, a quicker fucceffion of

flatteries, and a larger circle of voluptu oufness.

There is one reason seldom remarked which makes riches lefs defirable. Too much wealth is very frequently the occafion of poverty. He whom the wantonnefs of abundance has once foftened, eafily finks into neglect of his affairs; and he that thinks he can afford to be negligent, is not far from being poor. He will foon be involved in perplexities, which his inexperience will render unfurmountable; he will fly for help to thofe whofe intereft it is that he fhould be more diftreffed, and will be at last torn to pieces by the vultures that always hover over fortunes in decay.

When the plains of India were burnt up by a long continuance of drought, Hamet and Rafchid, two neighbouring fhepherds, faint with thirst, stood at the common boundary of their grounds,with their flocks and herds panting round them, and in extremity of diftrefs prayed for water. On a fudden the air was becalmed, the birds ceafed to chirp, and the flocks to bleat. They turned their eyes every way, and faw a being of mighty ftature advancing through the valley, whom they knew upon his nearer approach to be the Genius of Diftribution. In one hand he held the fheaves of plenty, and in the other the fabre of deftruction. The shepherds ftood trembling, and would have retired before him; but he called to them with a voice gentle as the breeze that plays in the evening among the fpices of Sabæa- Fly not from your benefactor, children of the duft! I am come to offer you gifts, which only your own folly can make vain. You here pray for water, and water I will beftow; let me know with how much you will be fatisfied: fpeak not rafhly; confider, that of whatever can be enjoyed by the body, excefs is no lefs dangerous than fcarcity. When you remember the pain of thirst, do not forget the danger of fuffocation.Now, Hamet, tell me your request.'

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Stothard del.


blished as the Art directs, by Harrison & C.Jms 1784

Heath you.

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