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The fifth contains a celebration of Daphnis, which has stood to all succeeding ages as the model of pastoral elegies. To deny praise to a performance which so many thousands have laboured to imitate, would be to judge with too little deference for the opinion of mankind: yet whoever shall read it with impartiality, will find that most of the images are of the mythological kind, and, therefore, easily invented; and that there are few sentiments of rational praise or natural lamentation.
In the Silenus he again rises to the dignity of phi. losophick sentiments and heroic poetry. The address to Varus is eminently beautiful : but since the compliment paid to Gallus fixes the transaction to his own time, the fiction of Silenus seems injudicious; nor has any sufficient reason yet been found, to justify his choice of those fables that make the sub. ject of the song
The seventh exhibits another contest of the tuneful shepherds : and, surely, it is not without some reproach to his inventive power, that of ten pastorals Virgil has written two upon the same plan. One of the shepherds now gains an acknowledged victory, but without any apparent superiority; and the reader, when he sees the prize adjudged, is not able to discover how it was deserved.
Of the eighth pastoral, so little is properly the work of Virgil, that he has no claim to other praise or blame than that of a translator.
Of the ninth, it is scarce possible to discover the design or tendency: it is said, I know not upon what authority, to have been composed from fragF 4
ments of other poems; and except a few lines in which the author touches upon his own misfortunes, there is nothing that seems appropriated to any time or place, or of which any other use can be discovered than to fill up
poem. The first and the tenth pastorals, whatever be determined of the rest, are sufficient to place their author above the reach of rivalry. The complaint of Gallus disappointed in his love, is full of such sentiments as disappointed love naturally produces; his wishes are wild, his resentment is tender, and his purposes are inconftant. In the genuine language of despair, he fooths himself a-while with the pity that shall be paid him after his death :
Tamen cantabitis, Arcades, inquit,
Yet, O Arcadian swains,
Discontented with his present condition, and defirous to be any thing but what he is, he wishes hinself one of the shepherds. He then catches the kea of rural tranquillity; but soon discovers how much happier he should be in there happy regions, with 1161'is at his lide:
Hic gelidi fontes, hic mollia prata, Lycori:
He then turns his thoughts on every side, in quest of something that may solace or ainuse him: he proposes happiness to himself, first in one scene and then in another; and at last finds that nothing will satisfy;
Jam neque Hamadryades rurfum, nec carmina nobis
But now again no more the woodland maids,
But notwithstanding the excellence of the tenth pastoral, I cannot forbear to give the preference to the first, which is equally natural and more diverfified. The complaint of the shepherd, who saw his old companion at ease in the shade, while himfelf was driving his little Rock he knew not whither, is such as, with variation of circumstances, misery always utters at the right of prosperity:
Nos patriæ fines, & dulcia linquimus arva;
His account of the difficulties of his journey, gives a very tender image of pastoral distress:
En ipfe capellas
The descripion of Virgil's happiness in his little farm, combines almost all the images of rural pleasure ; and he, therefore, that can read it with indifference, has no sense of pastoral poetry:
Fortunate fenex, ergo tua rura manebunt,