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For now no more these climes their influence boast,
Nor Baix now, nor Umbria's plain they love,
Has felt the worst severity of fate :
Chiefs, by whose virtue mighty Rome was rais'd, 35
Oft kiss, with lips devout, some mould'ring stone,
As late on Virgil's tomb fresh flow'rs I strow'd,
Of thee more worthy were the task to raise A lasting column to thy country's praise; To sing the land which yet alone can boast That liberty corrupted Rome has lost; Where Science in the arms of Peace is laid, And plants her palm beneath the olive's shade. Such was the theme for which my lyre I strung, Such was the people whose exploits I sung; Brave yet refin'd, for arms and arts renown'd, With different bays by Mars and Phoebus crown'd, Dauntless opposers of tyrannic sway, But pleas'd a mild Augustus to obey.
"If these commands submissive thou receive, Immortal and unblam'd thy name, shall live; Envy to black Cocytus shall retire, And howl with furies in tormentin fire; Approving Time shall consecrate thy lays, And join the patriot's to the poet's praise."
DISCOURSE ON PASTORAL POETRY*.
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1704.
Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
THERE are not, I believe, a greater number of any sort of verses than of those which are called pastorals, nor a smaller, than of those which are truly so. It therefore seems necessary to give some account of this kind of poem; and it is my design to comprise, in this short paper, the substance of those numerous dissertations the critics have made on the subject, without omitting any of their rules in my own favour: you will also find some points reconciled about which they seem to differ, and a few remarks which, I think, have escaped their observation.
* Written at sixteen years of age. P.
The original of poetry is ascribed to that age which succeeded the creation of the world; and as the keeping of flocks seems to have been the first employment of mankind, the most ancient sort of poetry was probably pastoral*. It is natural to imagine, that the leisure of those ancient shepherds admitting and inviting some diversion, none was so proper to that solitary and sedentary life as singing; and that in their songs they took occasion to celebrate their own felicity. From hence a poem was invented, and afterwards improved to a perfect image of that happy time; which, by giving us an esteem for the virtues of a former age, might recommend them to the present. And since the life of shepherds was attended with more tranquility than any other rural employment, the poets chose to introduce their persons, from whom it received the name of pastoral.
A pastoral is an imitation of the action of a shepherd, or one considered under that character. The form of this imitation is dramatic, or narrative, or mixed of both; the fable is simple, the manners not too polite nor too rustic: the thoughts are plain, yet admit a little quickness and passion, but that short and flowing the expression humble, yet as pure as the language will afford; neat, but not florid; easy, *Fontenelle's discourse on Pastorals. P, Heinsius in Theocr. P.