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of Theocritus.' 'Thou wilt not find my Shepherdesses,' says the author's proem, 'idly piping upon oaten Reeds, but milking the Kine, tying up the Sheaves, or, if the Hogs are astray, driving them to their Styes. My Shepherd gathereth none other Nosegays but what are the growth of our own Fields; he sleepeth not under Myrtle shades, but under a Hedge ; nor doth he vigilantly defend his Flocks from Wolves, because there are none.' Like Fielding's novel of Joseph Andrews, the execution of The Shepherd's Week was far superior to its avowed object of mere ridicule. In spite of their barbarous ‘Bumkinets' and 'Grubbinols, Gay's eclogues abound with interesting folk-lore and closely-studied rural pictures. We see the country-girl burning hazel-nuts to find her sweet-heart, or presenting the faithless Colin with a knife with a 'posy'on it, or playing ‘Hot Cockles,' or listening to Gillian of Croydon and Patient Grissel. There are also sly strokes of kindly satire, as when the shepherds are represented fencing the grave of Blouzelinda against the prospective inroads of the parson's horse and cow, which have the right of grazing in the churchyard; or when that dignitary, in consideration of the liberal sermon-fee,
"Spoke the Hour-glass in her praise-quite out.' These little touches (and there are a hundred more) makeous sure that we are reading no mere caricature ; but that the country-life of that age of Queen Anne, which her poet loyally declares to be the only ‘Golden Age,' is truly and faithfully brought before us.
The Shepherd's Week was followed by Trivia, for which, the preface tells us, the author received several hints from Swift, with whose City Shower it has affinities. It is a lively and humourous description of the London streets circa 1716, and has an antiquarian as well as a poetical value. The farce of The What d'ye Call It contains the musical ballad "'Twas when the seas were roaring,' which we quote. Gay's only other important work (for the Beggar's Opera does not come within our limits) is the Fables, which in 1726 he prepared for the edification of the young Duke of Cumberland. As a fabulist he is easy and colloquial ; and his work is distinguished by good-humour and goodsense ; but he fails to reach the happy negligence and the supreme art of La Fontaine. The Hare and many Friends is a fair sample of his manner; and it is of additional interest as being in some measure a personal utterance, though the records of his life show that, in spite of his disappointments of court favour, he seldom failed in finding a Monmouth or a Burlington to soothe his wounded feelings. Moreover, the profits from his works, which enabled him, in spite of losses, to die worth a considerable sum, could not have been inconsiderable.
The Fables are Gay's most extensive effort. His remaining works consist of Epistles, Town Eclogues, Tales, and Miscellaneous Pieces. The Epistles are sprightly and familiar. One of them, A Welcome from Greece, addressed to Pope on his having finished his translation of the Iliad, has an unexpected vivacity and lyric movement. It is in an ottava-rima earlier than Frere or Byron; and exhibits the poet's contemporaries assembling to greet him after his six years' toil. Prior, Congreve, Steele, Chandos, Bathurst,-few of the illustrious names of the age are absent. Nor are the other sex unrepresented : • What lady's that, to whom he gently bends ?
Who knows not her? ah! those are Wortley's eyes !
For she distinguishes the good and wise.
Now to my heart the glance of Howard flies;
With thee, Youth's youngest daughter, sweet Lepell.' As to Gay's Town Eclogues, they are neither better nor worse than Lady Mary's own; and probably had a like origin, ridicule of Ambrose Philips. His Tales have the indelicacy but not the grace of Prior's. Of his songs and ballads, that of Sweet William's Farewell to Black-Eyed Susan is too well-known to need description; and too great a favourite to be omitted from any anthology. Damon and Cupid and The Lady's Lamentation are other examples of that singing faculty which Gay possessed in so marked a degree, and which contributed so triumphantly to the success of the Beggar's Opera.
FROM "THE SHEPHERD'S WEEK.'
Ah, Colin ! canst thou leave thy Sweetheart true !
[From The What d’ye Call It.]
'Twas when the seas were roaring
With hollow blasts of wind; A damsel lay deploring,
All on a rock reclined. Wide o'er the rolling billows
She cast a wistful look ; Her head was crowned with willows,
That tremble o'er the brook.
"Twelve months are gone and over,
And nine long tedious days. Why didst thou, venturous lover,
Why didst thou trust the seas?
And let my lover rest :
To that within my breast ?
"The merchant, robbed of pleasure,
Sees tempests in despair ;
• To losing of my dear?
Where gold and diamonds grow, You'd find a richer maiden,
But none that loves you so.
' How can they say that nature
Has nothing made in vain ; Why then beneath the water,
Should hideous rocks remain ?
No eyes the rocks discover
That lurk beneath the deep,
And leave the maid to weep.'
All melancholy lying,
Thus wailed she for her dear ;
Each billow with a tear.
His floating corpse she spied ;
She bowed her head, and died.
THE HARE WITH MANY FRIENDS.
Friendship, like love, is but a name,
A Hare, who, in a civil way,
As forth she went at early dawn,