Page images
PDF
EPUB

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain! Now bright Arcturus glads the teeming grain, Now golden fruits on loaded branches shine, And grateful clusters swell with floods of wine; Now blushing berries paint the yellow grove;

75 Just Gods! shall all things yield returns but love?

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay! The shepherds cry, "Thy flocks are left a prey”Ah! what avails it me, the flocks to keep, Who lost my heart while I preserv'd my sheep. 80 Pan came, and ask'd, what magic caus'd my smart Or what ill eyes malignant glances dart? What eyes but hers, alas, have pow'r to move! And is there magic but what dwells in love! 84

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strains ! I'll fly from shepherds, flocks, and flow’ry plains, From shepherds, flocks, and plains, I may remove, Forsake mankind, and all the world-but love! I know thee, Love! on foreign mountains bred, Wolves

gave thee suck, and savage tigers fed. Thou wert from Ætna's burning entrails torn, Got by fierce whirlwinds, and in thunder born!

90

REMARKS.

Ver. 82. dart?] It should be darted; the present tense is used for the sake of the rhyme.

IMITATIONS.

P.

Ver. 82. Or what ill eyes)
“ Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.”
Ver. 89.

“ Nunc scio, quid sit Amor: duris in cotibus illum” &c. P. This from Virgil is much inferior to the passage in Theocritus, from whence it is taken.

Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay!
Farewell, ye woods, adieu the light of day!
One leap from yonder cliff shall end my pains, 95
No more, ye hills, no more resound

my

strains ! Thus

sung the shepherds till th' approach of night,
The skies yet blushing with departing light,
When falling dews with spangles deck'd the glade,
And the low sun had lengthen'd every shade. 100

REMARKS. Ver. 97. Thus sung] Among the multitude of English Poets who wrote pastorals, Fairfax, to whom our versification is thought to be so much indebted, ought to be mentioned. He wrote ten or twelve Eclogues after the accession of James I. They were like those of Mantuan and Spenser, allegorical, and alluded to the manners and characters of the times, and contained many satirical strokes against the King and his Court. They were lost in the fire that consumed the banqueting house at Whitehall; but it is said that Mr. W. Fairfax, his son, recovered them from his father's papers; the fourth of them was published by Mrs. Cooper in the Muses' Library, 1737.

Ver. 98. 100.] There is a little inaccuracy here; the first line makes the time after sunset; the second, before. W.

Ver. 100. And the low sun] Mr. Gray's Evening, described in the two first stanzas of his excellent Elegy, is far more picturesque and poetical. I would propose to read the two first lines of his elegy with a new punctuation, as follows:

The curfew tolls! the knell of parting day !

[ocr errors]

WINTER:

THE FOURTH PASTORAL.

OR,

DAPHNE.

TO THE MEMORY OF MRS. TEMPEST.

LYCIDAS.

Thyrsis, the music of that murm’ring spring
Is not so mournful as the strains you sing.
Nor rivers winding through the vales below,
So sweetly warble, or so smoothly flow.

REMARKS.
WINTER.] This was the poet's favourite Pastoral.

Mrs. Tempest.] This Lady was of an ancient family in Yorkshire, and particularly admired by the Author's friend, Mr. Walsh, who having celebrated her in a Pastoral Elegy, desired his friend to do the same, as appears from one of his Letters,

IMITATIONS. Ver. 1. Thyrsis, the music, &c.] 'AðÚ TI, &c. Theocr. Id. i.

* On lately reading Mr. Walsh's Preface to Dryden's translation of Virgil's Eclogues, I was convinced he had a greater share of learning than he is usually allowed to possess. His strictures on the French language and manners, and on Fontenelle's affected and unnatural Eclogues, as well as on his vain attempt to depreciate the ancients, are very solid and judicious. To what he has said of Virgil may be added, that one of the most natural strokes in all his Eclogues, is the shepherd's reckoning his years by the succession of his loves ;

Postquam nos Amaryllis habet-
This pastoral chronology is much in character.

Now sleeping flocks on their soft fleeces lie, 5
The moon, serene in glory, mounts the sky,
While silent birds forget their tuneful lays,
Oh sing of Daphne's fate, and Daphne's praise !

THYRSIS.
Behold the groves that shine with silver frost,
Their beauty wither’d, and their verdure lost. 10
Here shall I try the sweet Alexis' strain,
That call’d the list’ning Dryads to the plain?
Thames heard the numbers as he flow'd along,
And bade his willows learn the moving song.

REMARKS.

[ocr errors]

dated Sept. 9, 1706. “ Your last Eclogue being on the same
subject with mine, on Mrs. Tempest's death, I should take it
very kindly in you to give it a little turn, as if it were to the
memory of the same lady.” Her death having happened on
the night of the great storm in 1703, gave a propriety to this
Eclogue, which in its general turn alludes to it. The scene of
the Pastoral lies in a grove, the time at midnight. P.
I do not find

any lines that allude to the great storm of which the Poet speaks.

Ver. 9. shine with silver frost,] The image is a fine one, but improperly placed. The idea he would raise is the deformity of Winter, as appears by the following line; but this imagery contradicts it. It should have been-glare with hoary frost, or some such expression: the same inaccuracy in ver. 31, where he uses pearls, when he should have said tears. W.

The alteration here proposed by Warburton, seems to be very injudicious and inelegant; and much resembles an alteration he wished to make in Love's Labour Lost; which was, to read —

to paint the meadows much bedight, instead of the present reading,

to paint the meadows with delight.

IMITATIONS. Ver. 13. Thames heard, &c.] “ Audiit Eurotas, jussitque ediscere lauros." Virg.

P.

LYCIDAS.

So may kind rains their vital moisture yield, 15 And swell the future harvest of the field. Begin; this charge the dying Daphne gave, And said, “ Ye shepherds, sing around my grave!" Sing, while beside the shaded tomb I mourn, And with fresh bays her rural shrine adorn. 20

THYRSIS.

Ye gentle Muses, leave your crystal spring, Let Nymphs and Sylvans cypress garlands bring; Ye weeping Loves, the stream with myrtles hide, And break your bows, as when Adonis dy'd; And with your golden darts, now useless grown, 25 Inscribe a verse on this relenting stone: “Let nature change, let heav'n and earth deplore, Fair Daphne's dead, and love is now no more!"

'Tis done, and nature's various charms decay, See gloomy clouds obscure the cheerful day! 30 Now hung with pearls the dropping trees appear, Their faded honours scatter'd on her bier. See, where on earth the flow'ry glories lie, With her they flourish'd, and with her they die.

VARIATIONS.
Ver. 29. Originally thus in the MS.

"Tis done, and nature's chang'd since you are gone;
Behold the clouds have put their mourning on.

W.
Which are very bad lines indeed.

REMARKS. Ver. 29. 'Tis done,] Thomson uses these very words at the end of his Winter. 'Tis done! &c.

IMITATIONS.
Ver. 23, 24, 25.] “ Inducite fontibus umbras-

Et tumuluin facite, et tumulo superaddite carmen." P.

« PreviousContinue »