Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

STRE PHON. . . O'er golden sands let rich Pactolus flow, And trees weep amber on the banks of Po; Bright Thames's shores the brightest beauties yield, Feed here my lambs, I'll seek no distant field.

. DAPHN I S. Celestial Venus haunts Idalia's groves;

65 Diana Cynthus, Ceres Hybla loves; If Windsor-shades delight the matchless maid, Cynthus and Hybla yield to Windsor-shade.

STREPH O N. All nature mourns, the skies relent in show'rs, Hulh'd are the birds, and clos'd the drooping flow'rs;

VARIATION $. ·
Ver. 61. It stood thus at first,

Let rich Iberia golden fleeces boast,
Her purple wool the proud Assyrian coast,
Bleft Thames's shores, &c.

P. VER. 61. Originally thus in the MS.

Go, flow'ry wreath, and let my Sylvia know,
Compar’d to thine how bright her Beauties show;
Then die; and dying teach the lovely Maid
How soon the brightest beauties are decay'd.

DAPHNIS.
Go, tuneful bird, that pleas’d the woods so long,
Of Amaryllis learn a sweeter song; .
To Heav'n arising then her notes convey, .

For Heav'n alone is worthy such a lay.
VER.69, &c. These verses were thus at first:

All nature mourns, the birds their songs deny,
Nor wafted brooks the thirsty flow'rs supply;
If Delia smile the flow'rs begin to spring,
The brooks to murmur, and the birds to sing. P.

IMITATIONS.
Var. 69. All nature mourns,]
“ Aret ager, vitio moriens fitit aëris herba," &c.

Phyllidis adventu noftrae nemus omne virebit.” Virg. P.

If Delia smile, the flow'rs begin to spring, 71 The skies to brighten, and the birds to fing.

: DAPHN I S. All nature laughs, the groves are fresh and fair, The Sun's mild lustre warms the vital air ; . If Sylvia smiles new glories gild the shore, 75 And vanquish'd nature seems to charm no more.

'STREPH O N. In spring the fields, in autumn hills I love, At morn the plains, at noon the shady grove, But Delia always; absent from her sight, Nor plains at morn, nor groves at noon delight. 80

DAPHNIS. Sylvia's like autumn ripe, yet mild as May, More bright than noon, yet fresh as early day; Ev'n spring difpleases, when she shines not here; But blest with her, 'tis spring throughout the year.

STRE PHON. Say, Daphnis, fay, in what glad foil appears, 85 A wondrous Tree that sacred Monarchs bears ; Tell me but this, and I'll disclaim the prize, And give the conquest to thy Sylvia's eyes.

REMARKS. Ver. 86. A wondrous Tree that sacred Monarchs bears;] An allusion to the Royal Oak, in which Charles II. had been hid from the pursuit after the battle at Worcester.

P. This is one of the most trifling and puerile conceits in any of our author's works; except what follows of the Thistle and the Lily

VOL. I.

Nay

DAPHN I S. Nay tell me first, in what more happy fields The Thistle springs, to which the Lily yields: go And then a nobler prize I will resign; For Sylvia, charming Sylvia shall be thine.

DAMON. Cease to contend, for, Daphnis, I decree, The bowl to Strephon, and the lamb to thee : Blest Swains, whose Nymphs in ev'ry grace excel; Blest Nymphs, whose Swains those graces fing so well! Now rise, and haste to yonder woodbine bow'rs, 97 A soft retreat from sudden vernal show'rs; The turf with rural dainties shall be crown'd, While op’ning blooms diffuse their sweets around. For see! the gath’ring flocks to shelter tend, 105 And from the Pleiads fruitful show'rs descend.

VARIATIONS.
Ver. 99. was originally,

The turf with country dainties shall be spread,
And trees with twining branches shade your head. P.

REMARKS. Ver.93. Ceafe to contend,] An author of strong fense, but not of equal taste and feeling, and who preferred the dungeons of the Strand to the valleys of Arcadia, says, “ That every intelligent reader fickens at the mention of the crook and the pipe, the sheep and the kids." This appears to be an unjuft and harsh condemnation of all Paftoral Poetry. And the same author depreciates and despises the Amynta of Tasso, and the Pastor Fido of Guarini, two pieces of exquisite poetry, and which have gained a lasting applause.

IMITATIONS. Ver.90. The Thille Springs, to which the Lily gields :] Alludes to the device of the Scots Monarchs, the Thistle worn by Queen Anne; and to the arms of France, the Fleur de lys. The two riddles are in imitation of those in Virg. Ecl. iii.

« Dic quibus in terris infcripti nomina Regum

Nascantur Flores, & Phyllida solus habeto," P.

brings, to which he Thistle worn

the two * Die he couples Pactolus whest, and wishes to be of Greece

A mixture of British and Grecian ideas may justly be deemed a blemish in these Pastorals : and propriety is certainly violated, when he couples Pactolus with Thames, and Windsor with Hybla. Complaints of immoderate heat, and wishes to be conveyed to cooling caverns, when uttered by the inhabitants of Greece, have a decorum and consistency, which they totally lofe in the character of a British shepherd: and Theocritus, during the ardors of Sirius, must have heard the murmurings of a brook, and the whispers of a pine, with more home-felt pleasure, than Pope could poflibly experience upon the same occasion. We can never completely relish, or adequately understand any author, especially any ancient, except we keep in our eye, his climate, his country, and his age. Pope himself informs us, in a Note, that he judiciously omitted the following verse,

And liftning wolves grow milder as they hear, on account of the absurdity, which Spenfer overlooked, of introducing wolves into England. But on this principle, which is certainly a just one, may it not be asked why he should speak, the scene lying in Windsor Forest, of the fultry Sirius, of the grateful clusters of grapes, of a pipe of reeds, the antique fiftula, of thanking Ceres for a plentiful harvest, of the sacrifice of lambs, with many other instances that might be adduced to this purpose. That Pope however was sensible of the importance of adapting images to the scene of action, is obvious from the following example of his judgment; for in translating

Audiit Eurotas, juffitque ediscere Lauros, he has dexterously dropt the laurels appropriated to Eurotas, as he is speaking of the river Thames, and has rendered it,

Thames heard the numbers, as he flow'd along,

And bade his Willows learn the moving song. In the paffages which Pope has imitated from Theocritus, and from his Latin Translator Virgil, he has merited but little applause. It may not be unentertaining to see how coldly and unpoetically Pope has copied the subsequent appeal to the Nymphs on the death of Daphnis, in comparison of Milton on Lycidas, one of his juvenile, but one of his most exquisite pieces.

Where were ye, Nymphs, when the remorseless deep
Clos'd o'er the head of your lov'd Lycidas?

For

For neither were ye playing on the steep
Where your old bards, the famous Druids lie ;
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wizard stream.

LYCIDAS. The mention of places remarkably romantic, the supposed habitations of Druids, Bards, and Wizards, is far more pleasing to the imagination, than the obvious introduction of Cam and Isis, as feats of the Muses.

« AnteriorContinuar »