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innocence and fimplicity, which is common to other authors of Pastoral, he has one peculiar to himself; he compares human Life to the feveral Seasons, 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 defcription, in other words, for three months together; or, when it was exhausted before, entirely to omit it: whence it comes to pass that some of his Eclogues (as the fixth, eighth, and tenth, for example) have nothing but their Titles to distinguish them. The reafon is evident, because the year has not that variety in it to furnish every month with a particular defcription, as it may every season.
Of the following Eclogues I fhall only fay, that thefe four comprehend all the fubjects which the Critics upon Theocritus and Virgil will allow to be fit for paftoral: That they have as much variety of description, in respect of the feveral feafans, as Spenfer's: That, in order to add to this variety, the feveral times of the day are obferved, the rural employments in each feason 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
But after all, if they have any merit, it is to be attributed to fome good old Authors, whofe works as I had leifure to ftudy, fo, I hope, I have not wanted care to imitate.
IRST in these fields I try the fylvan strains,
Nor blush to fport on Windfor's blissful plains:
You that, too wife for pride, too good for power,
O let my Mufe her slender reed inspire,
Soon as the flocks fhook off the nightly dews, Two Swains, whom Love kept wakeful, and the Muse,
Pour'd o'er the whitening vale their fleecy care,
The dawn now blushing on the mountain's fide,
Hear how the birds, on every bloomy spray, With joyous music wake the dawning day! Why fit we mute, when early linnets fing, When warbling Philomel falutes the spring? Why fit we fad, when Phosphor fhines so clear, And lavish Nature paints the purple year?
Sing then, and Damon fhall attend the strain,
And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines,
And what is that, which binds the radiant sky,
Ver. 34. The first reading was,
And his own image from the bank furveys.
Ver. 36. And clufters lurk beneath the curling vines.
Then fing by turns, by turns the Muses sing, Now hawthorns bloffom, now the daifies fpring, Now leaves the trees, and flowers adorn the ground; Begin, the vales fhall every note rebound.
Infpire me, Phoebus, in my Delia's praife,
O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize,
Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain, Then, hid in fhades, eludes her eager fwain; But feigns a laugh, to fee me fearch around, And by that laugh the willing fair is found.
The fprightly Sylvia trips along the green, She runs, but hopes fhe does not run unfeen; While a kind glance at her purfuer flies, How much at variance are her feet and eyes!
Ver. 49. Originally thus in the MS.
Pan, let my numbers equal Strephon's lays,