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BENEATH the shade a spreading Beech displays,
This Pastoral consists of two parts, like the viïith of Virgil : The Scene, a Hill; the Time, at Sunset. P.
· His intrigues with the Dutchess of Cleveland, his marriage with the Countess of Drogheda, Charles the Second's displeasure on this marriage, his debts and distresses, and other particulars of his life, are well related by Dennis in a letter to Major Pack, 1720. In Dennis's collection of Letters, published in two volumes, 1721, to which Mr. Pope subscribed, Lord Lansdown has drawn his character, as a writer, in an elegant manner ; chiefly with a view of shewing the impropriety of an epithet given to him by Lord Rochester, who called him slow Wycherley : for that, notwithstanding his pointed wit, and forcible expression, he composed with facility and haste.
Thou, whom the Nine, with Plautus' wit inspire, The art of Terence, and Menander's fire ; Whose sense instructs us, and whose humour
charms, Whose judgment sways us, and whose spirit warms! Oh, skill'd in Nature! see the hearts of Swains, 11 Their artless passions, and their tender pains.
REMARKS. Ver. 7. Thou, whom the Nine,] Mr. Wycherley, a famous author of Comedies; of which the most celebrated were the PlainDealer and Country Wife. He was a writer of infinite spirit, satire, and wit. The only objection made to him was, that he had too much. However, he was followed in the same way by Mr. Congreve; though with a little more correctness. P.
Surely with much more correctness, taste, and judgment.
Ver. 8. The art of Terence, and Menander's fire ;] This line alludes to that famous character given of Terence, by Cæsar :
“ Tu quoque, tu in summis, ó dimidiate Menander,
Poneris, et merito, puri sermonis amator :
Comica.” So that the judicious critic sees he should have said—with Menander's fire. For what the poet meant, was, that his friend had joined to Terence's art, what Cæsar thought wanting in Te. rence, namely, the ris comica of Menander. Besides,--and Menander's fire, is making that the Characteristic of Menander which was not. He was distinguished for having art and comic spirit in conjunction, and Terence having only the first part, is called the half of Menander. W.
Ver. 9. Whose sense instructs us,] He was always very careful in his encomiums not to fall into ridicule, the deserved fate of weak and prostitute flatterers, and which they rarely escape. For sense, he would willingly have said moral ; propriety required it. But this dramatic Poet's moral was remarkably faulty. His plays are all shamefully profligate both in the Dialogue and Action. W.
Ver. 11. Oh, skill'd] Few writers have less nature in them than Wycherley.
Now setting Phæbus shone serenely bright, And fleecy clouds were streak'd with purple light; When tuneful Hylas with melodious moan, 15 Taught rocks to weep, and made the mountains
groan. Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away! To Delia's ear the tender notes convey. As some sad turtle his lost love deplores, And with deep murmurs fills the sounding shores; Thus, far from Delia, to the winds I mourn, , 21 Alike unheard, unpity'd, and forlorn.
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along ! For her, the feather'd quires neglect their song: For her, the limes their pleasing shades deny; 25 For her, the lilies hang their heads and die. Ye flow'rs that droop, forsaken by the spring, Ye birds that, left by summer, cease to sing, Ye trees that fade when autumn-heats remove, Say, is not absence death to those who love? 30
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away! Curs'd be the fields that cause my Delia's stay; Fade ev'ry blossom, wither ev'ry tree, Die ev'ry flow’r, and perish all, but she,What have I said? where'er my Delia flies, 35 Let spring attend, and sudden flow'rs arise ;
Ver. 25.] This rich assemblage of very pleasing pastoral images, is yet excelled by Shenstone's beautiful Pastoral Ballad in four parts.
Let op'ning roses knotted oaks adorn,
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along !
Ver. 43. Not bubbling] The turn of these four lines is evidently borrowed from Drummond of Hawthwarden, a charming but neglected Poet. He was born 1585, and died 1649. His verses are as smooth as Waller's, whom he preceded many years, having written a poem to King James, 1617; whereas Waller's first composition was to Charles I. 1625. His Sonnets are exquisitely beautiful and correct. He was one of our first and best imitators of the Italian Poets, and Milton had certainly read and admired him, as appears by many passages that might be quoted for that purpose. The four lines mentioned above follow;
To virgins flow'rs, to sun-burnt earth the rain,
Are not so pleasing as thy blest return.
The grief was common, common were the cries. I will just add, that Drayton's Pastorals, and his Nymphidia, do not seem to be attended to so much as they deserve.
IMITATIONS, Ver. 37.
“ Aurea dure
Virg. Ecl. viii. P.
Go gentle gales, and bear my sighs away! Come, Delia, come; ah, why this long delay? Thro' rocks and caves the name of Delia sounds, Delia, each cave and echoing rock rebounds. 50 Ye pow’rs, what pleasing frenzy soothes my mind! Do lovers dream, or is my Delia kind ? She comes, my Delia comes !--Now cease my lay, And cease, ye gales, to bear my sighs away!
Next Ægon sung, while Windsor groves admir'd; Rehearse, ye Muses, what yourselves inspir’d. 56
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain ! Of perjur'd Doris, dying I complain : Here where the mountains, less'ning as they rise, Lose the low vales, and steal into the skies : 60 While lab’ring oxen, spent with toil and heat, In their loose traces from the field retreat: While curling smokes from village tops are seen, And the fleet shades glide o'er the dusky green.
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful lay! 65 Beneath yon' poplar oft we past the day : Oft on the rind I carv'd her am'rous vows, While she with garlands hung the bending boughs: The garlands fade, the vows are worn away; So dies her love, and so my hopes decay. 70
With him through Lybia's burning plains I'll go,
Id. viii. P.