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VIRST in these fields I try the fylvan strains,
Fair Thames, flow gently from thy facred spring,
N O T E S.
These Pastorals were written at the age of fixteen, and then passed through the hands of Mr. Wals, Mr. Wycberley, G. Grane ville, afterwards Lord Lansdown, Sir William Trumbal, Dr. Garth, Lord Hallifax, Lord Somers, Mr. Mainwaring; and others. All these gave our Author the greatest encouragement, and particularly Mr. Walsh, whom Mr. Dryden, in his Postscript to Virgil, calls the best Critic of his age. “ The Author (says 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 so good at his “ Age. His Preface is very judicious and learned." Letter to Mr. Wycherley, Apr. 1705. The Lord Lansdown about the same time, mentioning the youth of our Poet, says (in a printed Letter of the Character of Mr. Wycherley), “ that if he goes on as he has “ begun in his Pastoral way, as Virgil first tried his ftrength, we:
may hope to see English Poetry vie with the Roman," &c.. Notwithftanding the early time of their production, the Author: efteemed these as the most correct in the versification, and musical: in the aumbers, of all his-works. The reason for bis labouring them
You, that too wise for pride, too good for pow'r, Enjoy the glory to be great no more, And carrying with you all the world can boaft, To all the world illustriously are loft! o let my Muse her flender reed inspire, Till in your native shades you tune the lyre : So when the Nightingale to rest removes, The thrush may chant to the forsaken groves, But charm'd to filence, liftens while she fings, 15 And all th' aërial audience clap their wings.
NOTES. into fo much softness, was, doubtless, that this sort of poetry derives almoft its whole beauty from a natural ease of thought and smoothness of verse; whereas that of most other kinds confifts in the strength and fulness of both. In a letter of his to Mr. Walla 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 Pastorals. They were not printed
Sir William Trumbal.] Our Author's friendship with this gentle.. man commenced at very unequal years : he was under fixteen, but Sir William above fixty, and had lately resigned his employment of Secretary of State to King William,
VIR. 12. in your native foades) Sir W. Trumbal was born in Windsor-forest, to which he retired, after he had resigned the post of Secretary of State to King William III. P.
VER. 17, etc. The scene of this Pastoral a Valley, the Time the Morning. It ftood originally thus :
Daphnis and Strephon to the shades retir'd,
1 Μ Ι Τ Α Τ Ι Ο Ν S.
VER. 1. Prima Syracosio dignata eft ludere versu,
Noftra ncc erubuit sylvas habitare Thalia. This is the general exordium and opening of the Pastorals, in imi. tation of the sixth of Virgil, which fome have therefore not improbably thought to have been the first originally. In the beginnings of the other three Pastorals, he imitates expressly those which now Aand firft of the three chief Poets in this kind, Spenser, Virgil, Theocritus,
Soon as the flocks shook off the nightly dews,
20 The dawn now blushing on the mountain's fide, Thus Daphnis spoke, and Strephon thus reply'd.
DAP HN I S.
A Shepherd's Boy (he seeks no better name)-
Thyrfis, the Mufic of the murm’ring Spring,
-A Shepherd's Boy (no better do him call)
Ver. 34. The first reading was,
And his own image from the bank surveys.
Four figures rising from the work appear,
D A MON.
STŘ Ě PHÓ N. Inspiré me, Phoebus, in my Delia's praise, 45 With Waller's strains, or Granville's moving lays ! A milk-white bull fhall at your altars ftand, That threats a fight, aud spurns the rising fand.
DA PHN I S. O Love! for Sylvia let me gain the prize, And make my tongue victorious as her eyes; 50
VIR, 35, 36. Lenta quibus torno facili supéraddita vitis,
Virg. VIR. 38. The various seasons] The subject of these Pastorals engraven on the bowl is not without its propriety. The Shepherd's hesitation at the name of the zodiac, imitates that in Virgil,
Et quis fuit alter,
Alternis dicetis, amant alterna Camænæ :
Nunc frondent fylvą, nunc formofillimus annus.
Qui cornu petat, et pedibus jam fpargat arenam.
VIR. 49. Originally thus in the MS.
Pan, let my numbers equal Strephon's lays,
No lambs or sheep for victims I'll impart,
runs, but hopes she does not run unseen ; While a kind glance at her pursuer flies, How much at variance are her feet and eyes!
Ver. 46. Granville.-) George Granville, afterwards Lord! Lansdown, known for his poems, moft of which he composed: very young, and proposed Waller as his model. P.
VER. 58. Sbe
but hopes] Imitation of Virgil.
Let rich Iberia golden fleeces boast,
Bleft Thames's fhores, &c.
Go, flow'ry wreath, and let my Sylvia know,