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THE THIRD PASTORAL',
HYLAS AND ÆGON.
TO MR. WYCHERLEY 2.
BENEATH the shade a spreading Beech displays,
Thou, whom the Nine, with Plautus' wit inspire,
1 This Pastoral consists of two parts, like the vijith of Virgil : The Scene, a hill; the time at sun-set.-P.
His intrigues with the Duchess 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 bas drawn his character, as a writer, in an elegant manner ; chiefly with a view of showing 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.- Warton.
Ver. 7. Thou, whom the Nine,] Mr. Wycherley, a famous author of Comedies ; of which the most celebrated were the Plain-Dealer 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, tho' with a little more correctness.--P.
Surely with much more correctness, taste, and judgment.--Warlon.
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, ô dimidiale Menander,
Poneris, et merito, puri sermonis amator :
Whose sense instructs us, and whose humour charms,
Now setting Phoebus shone serenely bright,
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; 20 Thus, far from Delia, to the winds I mourn, 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;
So that the judicious critic sces 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 Terence, namely, the vis 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.—Warburton.
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 fatterers, 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.—Warburton.
Ver. 25.) This rich assemblage of very pleasing pastoral images, is yet excelled by Shenstone's beautiful Pastoral Ballad, in four parts.-Warton.
Fade ev'ry blossom, wither ev'ry tree,
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs along !
Go, gentle gales, and bear my sighs away!
Ver. 43. Not bubbling] The turn of these four lines is evidently borrowed from Drummond of Hawthornden, a charming but neglected poct. 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 :
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.-Warton.
Ver. 48. Originally thus in the MS.
With him through Lybia's burning plains I'll go
“ Aurea duræ Mala ferant quercus ; narcisso floreat alnus, Pinguia corticibus sudent electra myricæ.”
Virg. Ecl. viii.-P. Ver. 43, &c. “Quale sopor fessis in gramine, quale per æstum
Dulcis aquæ saliente sitim restinguere rivo.” Ecl. v.-P
Thro' rocks and caves the name of Delia sounds,
Next Ægon sung, while Windsor groves admir’d; Rehearse, ye Muses, what yourselves inspir’d.
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strain!
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 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;
Ver. 68. While she with garlands hung the bending boughs :) This line forcibly recalls the beautiful description of the “ Poor Ophelia.”
There with fantastic garlands did she come,
Yet feel no heat but what our loves impart,
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!
Resound, ye hills, resound my mournful strains ! 85 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. 90 Thou wert from Ætna's burning entrails torn, Got by fierce whirlwinds, and in thunder born!
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 !
the shepherds till th' approach of night, The skies yet blushing with departing light,
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 the 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
Ver. 82. Or what ill eyes]
Nescio quis teneros oculus mihi fascinat agnos.”—P. 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.-Warton.