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Adieu, ye vales, ye mountains, streams and groves,
REMARKS. VER. 89, &c.] These four last lines allude to the several subjects of the four paftorals, and to the several scenes of them, particularized before in each.
The Sycophancy of A. Phillips, who had prejudiced Mr. Addison against Pope, occasioned those papers in the Guardian, written by the latter, in which there is an ironical preference given to the Pastorals of Phillips, above his own; in order to support the profound judgment of those who could not distinguish between the rural and the rustic; and on that account, condemned the Pastorals of Pope for wanting fimplicity. These papers were sent by an unknown hand to Steele, and the irony escaping him, he communicated them to Mr. Pope, declaring he would never publish any paper, where one of the Club was complimented at the expence of another. Pope told him he was too delicate, and insisted that the papers should be published in the Guardian. They were fo. And the pleasantry escaped all but Addison : who, taking Pope aside, said to him in his agreeable manner; You have put your friends here in a very ridiculous light, as will be seen when it is understood, as it must soon be, that you was only laughing at the admirers of Phillips.
But this ill conduct of Phillips occasioned a more open ridicule of his Pastorals, in the mock poem called the Shepherd's Week, written by Gay. But tho' more open, the object of it was ill understood by those who were strangers to the quarrel. These mistook the Shepherd's Week for a Burlesque of Virgils Pastorals. How far this goes towards a vindication of Phillips's simple painting, let others judge.
W. Upon the whole, the principal merit of these pastorals consists, in their musical and correct versification ; musical, to a degree of which rhyme could hardly be thought capable ; and in giving the truest specimen of that harmony in English verse, which is now become indispensably necessary; and which has so forcibly and
universally influenced the public ear, as to have obliged every moderate rhymer to be at least melodious. Ten paftorals written by Dr. Evans, the friend of Pope, are inserted in the Eighth Volume of Nichols's Poems, never before printed, and as early as our Author's. Some of them in the rustic style and manner of Gay. In the same volume, page 208, are fourteen Piscatory Eclogues, entitled Nereides, by Diaper, who was patronized by Swift, and who dedicates them to Congreve.
IN reading several passages of the Prophet Isaiah, which foretel the coming of Christ and the felicities attending it, I could not but observe a remarkable parity between many of the thoughts, and those in the Pollio of Virgil. This will not seem surprising, when we reflect, that the Eclogue was taken from a Sibylline prophecy on the same subject. One may judge that Virgil did not copy it line by line, but selected such ideas as best agreed with the nature of pastoral poetry, and disposed them in that manner which served most to beautify his piece, I have endeavoured the same in this imitation of him, though without admitting any thing of my own; since it was written with this particular view, that the reader, by comparing the several thoughts, might see how far the images and descriptions of the Prophet are superior to those of the Poet. But as I fear I have prejudiced them by my management, I shall subjoin the passages of Isaiah, and those of Virgil, under the same disadvantage of a literal translation *.
* As Pope made use of the old translation of Isaiah in the passages which he subjoined, it was thought proper to use the fame, and not have recourse to the more accurate and more animated version of Bishop Lowth.
The spuriousness of those Sibylline verses which have been applied to our Saviour, has been so fully demonstrated by many able and judicious critics, that, I imagine, they will not be again