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SPR IN G.
DAM O N.
To Sir WILLIAM TRUMbal..
IRST in these fields I try the fylvan strains, Nor blush to sport on Windfor's blissful plains: Fair Thames, flow gently from thy facred fpring, While on thy banks Sicilian Muses fing; Let vernal airs through trembling ofiers play, And Albion's cliffs refound the rural lay.
Thefe Paftorals were written at the age of fixteen, and then paffed through the hands of Mr. Walb, Mr. Wycherley, G. Granville, afterwards Lord Lanfdown, Sir William Trumbal, Dr. Garth,. Lord Hallifax, Lord Somers, Mr. Mainwaring, and others. All thefe gave our Author the greatest encouragement, and particularly Mr. Walsh, whom Mr. Dryden, in his Poftfcript to Virgil, calls the best Critic of his age.. "The Author (fays he) seems to have "a particular genius for this kind of Poetry, and a judgment that "much exceeds his years. He has taken very freely from the "Ancients. But what he has mixed of his own with theirs is no " way inferior to what he has taken from them. It is not flat❝tery at all to say, that Virgil had written nothing fo good at his "Age. His Preface is very judicious and learned." Letter to Mr. Wycherley, Apr. 1705. The Lord Lanfdown about the fame: time, mentioning the youth of our Poet, fays (in a printed Letter of the Character of Mr. Wycherley), "that if he goes on as he has "begun in his Paftoral way, as Virgil first tried his ftrength, we
may hope to fee English Poetry vie with the Roman," &c.. Notwithstanding the early time of their production, the Author efteemed these as the most correct in the verfification, and mufical: in the numbers, of all his works. The reafon for his labouring them
You, that too wife for pride, too good for pow'r, Enjoy the glory to be great no more,
And carrying with you all the world can boaft,
O let my Mufe her flender reed inspire,
into fo much foftness, was, doubtless, that this fort of poetry derives almoft its whole beauty from a natural eafe of thought and fmoothness of verfe; whereas that of most other kinds confifts in the ftrength and fulness of both. In a letter of his to Mr. Walb about this time, we find an enumeration of several niceties in Verfification, which perhaps have never been strictly observed in any English poem, except in these Paftorals. They were not printed -till 1709.
Sir William Trumbal.] Our Author's friendship with this gentleman commenced at very unequal years: he was under fixteen, but Sir William above fixty, and had lately refigned his employment of Secretary of State to King William.
VER. 12. in your native fhades] Sir W. Trumbal was born in Windfor-foreft, to which he retired, after he had refigned the poft of Secretary of State to King William III. P.
VER. 17, etc. The fcene of this Pastoral a Valley, the Time the Morning. It flood originally thus:
Daphnis and Strephon to the fhades retir'd,
Both warm'd by Love, and by the Mufe infpir'd,
Fresh as the morn, and as the season fair,
In flow'ry vales they fed their fleecy care;
And while Aurora gilds the mountain's fide,
VER. 1. Prima Syracofio dignata eft ludere verfu, Noftra nec erubuit fylvas habitare Thalia. This is the general exordium and opening of the Paftorals, in imitation of the fixth of Virgil, which fome have therefore not improbably thought to have been the first originally. In the beginnings of the other three Paftorals, he imitates expressly those which now ftand first of the three chief Poets in this kind, Spenfer, Virgil, Theocritus.
Soon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews, Two Swain's, whom Love kept wakeful, and the Mufe," Pour'd o'er the whitening vale their fleecy care, Fresh as the morn, and as the season fair: The dawn now blushing on the mountain's fide, Thus Daphnis fpoke, and Strephon thus reply'd.
Hear how the birds, on ev'ry bloomy spray, With joyous mufic wake the dawning day! Why fit we mute, when early linnets fing, When warbling Philomel falutes the fpring?' Why fit we fad, when Phosphor fhines fo clear, And lavish Nature paints the purple year?
Sing then, and Damon fhall attend the ftrain,
And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines, And fwelling clusters bend the curling vines:
A Shepherd's Boy (he feeks no better name)-
-A Shepherd's Boy (no better do him call)
Ver. 34. The firft reading was,
And his own image from the bank furveys.
Ver. 36. And clusters lurk beneath the curling vines.
Four figures rifing from the work appear,
Then fing by turns, by turns the Mufes fing, Now hawthorns bloffom, now the daifies fpring, Now leaves the trees, and flowers adorn the ground; Begin, the vales fhall ev'ry note rebound.
Inspiré me, Phœbas, in my Delia's praife, With Waller's ftrains, or Granville's moving lays! A milk-white bull fhall at your altars ftand, That threats a fight, aud spurns the rising sand.
O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize, And make my tongue victorious ás her eyes ;
VER, 35, 36. Lenta quibus torno facili supéraddita vitis,
VER. 38. The various feafons] The subject of these Pastorals engraven on the bowl is not without its propriety. The Shepherd's hefitation at the name of the zodiac, imitates that in Virgil,
Et quis fuit alter,
Defcripfit radio totum qui gentibus orbem?
VER. 41. Then fing by turns,] Literally from Virgil,
Et nunc omnis ager, nunc omnis parturit arbos,.
VER. 49. Originally thus in the MS.
No lambs or fheep for victims I'll impart,
Thy victim, Love, fhall be the fhepherd's heart.
Me gentle Delia beckons from the plain, Then hid in fhades, eludes her eager fwain; But feigns a laugh, to fee the fearch around, And by that laugh the willing fair is found.
The sprightly Sylvia trips along the green, She runs, but hopes fhe does not run unfeen; While a kind glance at her pursuer flies,
How much at variance are her feet and eyes!
O'er golden fands let rich Pactolus flow,
VER. 46. Granville.] George Granville, afterwards Lord: Lanfdown, known for his poems, moft of which he compofed: very young, and propofed Waller as his model. P.
VER. 58. She runs, but hopes] Imitation of Virgil.
Et fugit ad falices, fed fe cupidante videri..
VIR. 6r. It ftood thus at first:
Let rich Iberia golden fleeces boast,
Her purple wool the proud Affyrian coaft,
VER. 61. Originally thus in the MS.
Go, flow'ry wreath, and let my Sylvia know,
Go, tuneful bird, that pleas'd the woods fo long,
Of Amaryllis learn a fweeter fong:
To Heav'n arifing then her notes convey,