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A PASTORAL is an imitation of the action of
a fhepherd, or one confidered under that character. The form of this imitation is dramatic, or narrative, or mixed of both; the fable fimple, the manners not too polite nor too ruftic: the thoughts are plain, yet admit a little quickness and passion, but that short and flowing: the expreffion humble, yet as pure as the language will afford; neat, but not florid; eafy, and yet lively. In fhort, the fable, manners, thoughts, and expreffions, are full of the greatest fimplicity in nature.
The complete character of this poem confifts in fimplicity, brevity, and delicacy; the two firft of which render an eclogue natural, and the laft delightful.
A DISCOURSE ON PASTORAL
POETRY, Vol. I. page 4.
Yet it is not fufficient that the fentences only be brief, the whole eclogue should be fo too: for we cannot suppose poetry in those days to have been the bufinefs of men, but their recreation at vacant hours.
IBID. P. 5.
We must therefore use fome illufion to render a paftoral delightful; and this confifts in expofing the best fide only of a fhepherd's life, and in concealing its miferies. Nor is it enough to introduce fhepherds difcourfing together in a natural way; but a regard must be had to the fubject; that it contain fome particular beauty in itself, and that it be different in every eclogue. Befides, in each of them a defigned' fcene or profpect is to be prefented to our view, which fhould likewife have its variety. This variety is obtained in a great degree by frequent comparisons, drawn from the most agreeable objects of the country; by interrogations to things inanimate; by beautiful digreffions, but those short; fometimes by infifting a little on circumftances; and, laftly, by elegant turns on the words, which render the numbers extremely sweet and pleafing. As for the numbers themselves, though they are properly of the heroic measure, they should be the fmootheft, the moft eafy and flowing imaginable.
IBID. P. 5.
THE SHEPHERD'S LAMENTATION.
SUMMER, V. I. p. 16.
Ye fhady beeches, and ye cooling ftreams, Defence from Phabus', not from Cupid's beams; Το you I mourn; nor to the deaf I fing; The woods fhall anfwer, and their echo ring. The hills and rocks attend my doleful lay: Why art thou prouder and more hard than they ♪ The bleating sheep with my complaints agree, They parch'd with heat, and I inflam'd by thee. The fultry Sirius burns the thirsty plains, While in thy heart eternal winter reigns.
IBID. P. 17.
NEXT Ægon fung, while Windfor groves admir'd; Rehearse, ye Mufes, what yourselves infpir'd.
Refound, ye hills, refound my mournful ftrain ! Of perjur'd Doris, dying I complain;