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Title: A Full Enquiry into the Nature of the Pastoral (1717)
Author: Purney, Thomas
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "A Full Enquiry into the Nature of the Pastoral (1717)" ***

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               Series Two:

            _Essays on Poetry_

                  No. 4

  Thomas Purney, _A Full Enquiry into the
     True Nature of Pastoral_ (1717)

           With an Introduction by
               Earl Wasserman

         The Augustan Reprint Society
                January, 1948
               _Price_: $1.00


  RICHARD C. BOYS, _University of Michigan_
  EDWARD NILES HOOKER, _University of California, Los Angeles_
  H. T. SWEDENBERG, JR., _University of California, Los Angeles_


  W. EARL BRITTON, _University of Michigan_


  EMMETT L. AVERY, _State College of Washington_
  BENJAMIN BOYCE, _University of Nebraska_
  LOUIS I. BREDVOLD, _University of Michigan_
  CLEANTH BROOKS, _Yale University_
  JAMES L. CLIFFORD, _Columbia University_
  ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, _University of Chicago_
  SAMUEL H. MONK, _University of Minnesota_
  ERNEST MOSSNER, _University of Texas_
  JAMES SUTHERLAND, _Queen Mary College, London_

  Lithoprinted from copy supplied by author
  Edwards Brothers, Inc.
  Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.


In the preface to each of his volumes of pastorals (_Pastorals. After
the simple Manner of Theocritus, 1717_; _Pastorals. viz. The Bashful
Swain: and Beauty and Simplicity, 1717_) Thomas Purney rushed into
critical discussions with the breathlessness of one impatient to reveal
his opinions, and, after touching on a variety of significant topics,
cut himself short with the promise of a future extensive treatise
on pastoral poetry. In 1933 Mr. H.O. White, unable to discover the
treatise, was forced to conclude that it probably had never appeared
(_The Works of Thomas Purney_, ed. H.O. White, Oxford, 1933, p. 111),
although it had been advertised at the conclusion of Purney's second
volume of poetry as shortly to be printed. A copy, probably unique, of
_A Full Enquiry into the True Nature of Pastoral_ (1717) was, however,
recently purchased by the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library of the
University of California, and is here reproduced. Despite the obvious
failure of the essay to influence critical theory, it justifies
attention because it is the most thorough and specific of the remarkably
few studies of the pastoral in an age when many thought it necessary to
imitate Virgil's poetic career, and because it is, in many respects, a
contribution to the more liberal tendencies within neoclassic criticism.
Essentially, the _Full Enquiry_ is a coherent expansion of the random
comments collected in the poet's earlier prefaces.

Purney belongs to the small group of early eighteenth-century
critics who tended to reject the aesthetics based upon authority and
pre-established definitions of the _genres_, and to evolve one logically
from the nature of the human mind and the sources of its enjoyment; in
other words, who turned attention from the objective work of art to the
subjective response. These men, such as Dennis and Addison, were
not searching for an aesthetics of safety, one that would produce
unimpeachable correctness; Purney frequently underscored his preference
for a faulty and irregular work that is alive to a meticulous but dull
one. This is not to be understood as praise of the irregular: the rules
of poetry must be established, but they must be founded rationally on
the ends of poetry, pleasure and profit, and the psychological process
by which they are received, and not solely on the practices and
doctrines of the ancients. Taking his cue from the Hobbesian and Lockian
methodology of Addison's papers of the pleasures of the imagination
without delving into Addison's sensational philosophy, Purney outlined
an extensive critical project to investigate (1) "the Nature and
Constitution of the human Mind, and what Pleasures it is capable
of receiving from Poetry"; (2) the best methods of exciting those
pleasures; (3) the rules whereby these methods may be incorporated into
literary form (_Works_, ed. White, p. 48). It is this pattern of thought
that regulates the _Full Enquiry_. Perhaps more than any other poetic
type, the pastoral of the Restoration and the early eighteenth century
was dominated by classical tradition; the verse composed was largely
imitative of the eclogues of Theocritus and Virgil, especially the
latter, and criticism of the form was deduced from their practices or
from an assumption that the true pastoral of antiquity was the product
of the Golden Age. Of this mode of criticism Rapin and Pope were the
leading exemplars. In opposition, Fontenelle, Tickell (if he was the
author of the _Guardian_ essays on the pastoral), and Purney developed
their theories empirically and hence directed the pastoral away from the
classical tradition. (On these two schools see J.E. Congleton, "Theories
of Pastoral Poetry in England, 1684-1717," _SP_, XLI, 1944, pp.
544-575.) Although Purney adopted a modification of Aristotle's critical
divisions into Fable, Character, Sentiment, and Diction, and took
for granted the doctrine of the distinction of _genres_, he otherwise
rejected traditional formulae and critical tenets, and began with the
premise that man is most delighted by the imaginative perception of the
states of life for which he would willingly exchange his own. These are
"the busy, great, or pompous" (depicted in tragedy and the epic) and
"the retir'd, soft, or easy" (depicted in the pastoral). From this
analysis of "the Nature of the Human Mind," the characteristics of the
true pastoral, such as the avoidance of the hardships and vulgarities
of rural life, follow logically. Similarly, since a minutely drawn
description deprives the reader's fancy of its naturally pleasurable
exercise, pastoral descriptions should only set "the Image in the finest
Light." Rapin, on the other hand, had determined the proper length of
descriptions by examining Virgil and Theocritus. For the association of
the pleasure afforded by the pastoral with the natural human delight
in ease, Purney was indebted to the essays on the pastoral in _The
Guardian_ (see no. 22), from which he borrowed extensively for many of
his principles, and to Fontenelle, who constructed his theory of the
pastoral upon the premise that all men are dominated "par une certaine
paresse." By contrast, although Pope adopted Fontenelle's premise, he
tested its validity by relating it to the accepted definition of the

One of Purney's major purposes in the essay was to dignify the pastoral
by demonstrating that it admits all the components generally reserved
for tragedy and the epic. Most critics had considered the pastoral
a minor form and consequently had narrowed their attention to a few
frequently debated questions, mainly the state of rural life to be
depicted and the level of the style to be adopted. All agreed that the
poem should be brief and simple in its fable, characters, and style.
But it was therefore a poetic exercise, no more significant, Purney
complained, than a madrigal. He was intent upon investing the pastoral
with all the major poetic elements--extended, worthy fable; moral;
fully-drawn characters; and appropriate expression. For in his mind the
poem best incorporates one of the only two true styles, the tender, and
therefore warrants a literary status beneath only tragedy and the epic.

Like his critical method, Purney's decision that the pastoral should
depict contemporary rural life divested of what is vulgar and painful
in it, rather than either the life of the Golden Age or true rustic
existence places him on the side of Addison, Tickell, Ambrose Philips,
and Fontenelle (indeed, his statement is a paraphrase of Fontenelle's),
and in opposition to the school of Rapin, Pope, and Gay, who argued for
a portrait of the Golden Age. Both schools campaigned for a simplicity
removed from realistic rusticity (which they detected in Spenser and
Theocritus) and refinement (as in Virgil's eclogues); but to one group
the term meant the innocence of those remote from academic learning and
social sophistication, and to the other the refined simplicity of an
age when all men--including kings and philosophers--were shepherds. With
reservations, the first group tended to prefer Theocritus and Spenser;
and the second, Virgil. Hence, too, the first group approved of Philips'
efforts to create a fresh and simple pastoral manner. As a poet, Purney
moved sharply away from the classical pastoral by curiously blending an
entirely original subject matter with a sentimentalized realism and a
naive, diffuse expression; and as a critic he pointed in the direction
of Shenstone and Allan Ramsay by emphasizing the tender, admitting
the use of earthy realism in the manner of Gay, and recommending for
pastoral such "inimitably pretty and delightful" tales as _The Two
Children in the Wood_. Had his contemporaries read the treatise,
how they would have been amused to contemplate the serious literary
treatment of chapbook narratives, despite Addison's praise of this

In his usual nervous manner, the critic did not confine himself to his
topic, but touched on a number of significant peripheral subjects. He
showed the virtue of concrete and specific imagery at a time when most
poets sought the sanctuary of abstractions and universals; commented
cogently on the styles of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare; anticipated
the later doctrine of the power of the incomplete and the obscure to
suggest and therefore to compel the imagination to create; adopted and
expanded Addison's distinction between the sublime and the beautiful;
and, borrowing a suggestion that he probably found in Dennis (_Critical
Works_, ed. Edward N. Hooker, Baltimore, 1919, I, 47), developed a
profitable distinction between the sublime image and the sublime thought
by examining their different psychological effects.

But, because they run counter to the accepted opinions of his age, it
is Purney's comments on matters of style that are especially striking,
although it must be remembered that most of them have to do with the
pastoral alone and do not constitute a general theory of poetics.
Perhaps his most original contribution is his attack upon the cautious
contemporary styles of poetry: "strong lines," a term that originally
defined the style of the metaphysical poets, but that now described the
compact and pregnant manner of Dryden's satires, for example, and the
"fine and agreeable," exemplified, let us say, by Pope's _Pastorals_ or
Prior's _vers de société_. To these Purney preferred the bolder though
less popular styles, the sublime and the tender, corresponding to the
two pure artistic manners that Addison had distinguished. How widely
Purney intended to diverge from current poetry can be judged by his
definition of the sublime image as one that puts the mind "upon the
Stretch" as in Lady Macbeth's apostrophe to night; and by his praise of
the simplicity of Desdemona's "Mine eyes do itch." Both passages were
usually ridiculed by Purney's contemporaries as indecorous.

Equally original is Purney's concept of simplicity, which he insisted
should appear in the style and the nature of the characters, not in
denuding the fable and in divesting the poem of the ornaments of poetry,
as Pope had argued in the preface of his _Pastorals_. It was this
concept that also led Purney to his unusual theory of enervated diction.
How unusual it was can be judged by comparing with the then-current
practices and theories of poetic diction his recommendation of
monosyllables, expletives, the archaic language of Chaucer and Spenser,
and current provincialisms--devices that Gay had used for burlesque--as
means of producing the soft and the tender.

But it is hardly true that Purney's "true kinship is with the
romantics," as Mr. White claims, for there is a wide chasm between a
romantic and a daring and extravagant neoclassicist. Rather, Purney's
search for a subjective psychological basis for criticism is one of the
elements out of which the romantic aesthetics was eventually evolved,
and it frequently led him to conclusions that reappear later in the
eighteenth century.

       *       *       *       *       *

In addition to editing Purney's pastorals, Mr. H.O. White has published
an exhaustive study of "Thomas Purney, a Forgotten Poet and Critic of
the Eighteenth Century" in _Essays and Studies by Members of the English
Association_, XV (1929), 67-97. University of Illinois.

  Earl. R. Wasserman


The PROEME or first Chapter of which contains a SUMMARY of all that the
CRITICKS, ancient or modern, have hitherto deliver'd on that SUBJECT.
After which follows what the Author has farther to advance, in order to
carry the POEM on to its utmost Perfection.

       *       *       *       *       *

Written by Mr. _PURNEY_.

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *


Printed by _H.P._ for JONAS BROWN, at the _Black Swan_ without
_Temple-Bar_. 1717.


_Cubbin_ (ye know the Kentish Swain) was basking in the Sun one
Summer-Morn: His Limbs were stretch'd all soft upon the Sands, and his
Eye on the Lasses feeding in the Shade. The gentle Paplet peep'd at
Colly thro' a Hedge, and this he try'd to put in Rhime, when he saw a
Person of unusual Air come tow'rd him. Yet neither the Novelty of his
Dress, nor the fairness of his Mien could win the Mind of the Swain from
his rural Amusement, till he accosted the thoughtful Shepherd thus.

If you are the _Cubbin_, said he, I enquire for, as by the Peculiarity
of your Countenance, and the Firmness of your Look, you seem, young
Boy, to be; I would hold some Discourse with you. The Pastorals of your
Performance I have seen; and tho' I will not call 'em Perfect, I think
they show a Genius not wholly to be overlookt. My Name, continued he, is
Sophy, nor is it unknown in the World. In this Book (and here he pluckt
it out of his Pocket) I have pen'd some Rules for your future Guidance.

_Cubbin_ was strangely taken with the mild Address and Sweetness of
Sophy. A thousand times he thanked him, as often smil'd upon him, and
spread his Coat for him to set more soft upon the Sands.

Sophy was a true-born _Britton_, and admir'd a forward _Spirit_. The
_French_ he little loved; Their Poets dare not (said he) think without
the Ancients, and their Criticks make use of their Eyes instead of their
Understandings. 'Twas his way to pardon, nay admire a Critick, who
for every fifty Errors would give him but one Remark of Use, or good
Discovery. But always read one Sheet, then burnt those dull insipid
Rogues, who thought that to write a good was to write a faultless Piece.
By which means their whole Work becomes one general Fault.

This Censure, I fear, would fall pretty heavy on the [A]_Criticks_ of
_France_; if this were a proper Place to persue the Argument in. But
Sophy thus resum'd his Talk.

[Footnote A: _In the Preface to the Second Part of our_ Pastorals,
_viz._ THE BASHFUL-SWAIN, _and_ BEAUTY AND SIMPLICITY, _we have shown
to what Perfection the whole Science of_ CRITICISM _was brought by the
Ancients, then what Progress the_ French Criticks _have further made,
and also what remains as yet untouch'd, and uncompleat_.]

In this, said he, I like your Temper, Cubbin. By those few Pieces we
have seen of your's, and those I hear you have in Manuscript, you seem
determin'd to engage in those Kinds of Poetry and those Subjects in
Criticism, which the Ancients have left us most imperfect. Here, if you
fail, you may be still some help to him who shall Attempt it next; and
if all decline it, apprehensive of no fair success, how should it ever
attain Perfection.

Then Cubbin told the _Critick_, that the reason of his entering upon
Pastoral, where the Labour was excessive and the Honour gain'd minute,
was this; He had unhappily reflected on that thing, we call a Name, so
thoroughly, and weigh'd so closely what like Happiness it would afford,
that he could now receive no pleasure from the Thoughts of growing
famous; nor would write one Hour in any little kind of Poetry, which was
not able to take up and possess his Mind with Pleasure, tho' it would
procure him the most glaring Character in Christendom. This Temper was
especially conspicuous while he tarried at the Fountain where he imbibed
the little Knowledge he possesses. He seem'd as out of humour with
Applause, and dafted aside the Wreath if ever any seem'd dispos'd to
offer it.

I' faith, said _Cubbin_, I am nothing careful whether any Pastorals be
cry'd up or not. Were I dispos'd to write for a Name, no whit would I
engage in either the Sublime or Soft in Writing: For as the middle Way,
made up of both, is vastly easiest to attain; so is it pleasant to the
most Imaginations, and acquires the widest Character.

There are originally, answer'd Sophy, no perfect and real Kinds of
Writing but them two. As for the Strong Lines, 'tis supplying the want
of the Sublime with the Courtly and Florid Stile; as what we usually
call the Fine and Agreeable is but bastard and degenerate from the truly
Tender. But yet it must be added that this suits the Populace the best.

Here Cubbin answer'd Sophy, that these were pretty ways of making
Verses, but his mind was of such a peculiar Turn, that it requir'd some
greater Design, and more laborious to occupy it, or else it would not
be sufficiently engag'd to be delighted. Twould not be taken off
from reflecting on what a stupid Dream is Life; and what trifling and
impertinent Creatures all Mankind. Unless, said He, I'm busy'd, and in a
hurry, I can't impose upon my self the Thought that I am a Being of some
little significance in the Creation; I can't help looking forward and
discovering how little better I shall be if I write well, or ill, or not
at all. I would fain perswade my self, continued he, that a _Shakespear_
and a _Milton_ see us now take their Works in hand with Pleasure and
read with Applause.

Tis certain, answer'd Sophy, that the less we know of Nature and our
Selves, the more is Life delightful. If we take all things as we see
'em, Life is a good simple kind of Dream enough, but if we awaken out
of the dull Lethargy, we are so unhappy as to discover, that tis all and
every thing Folly, and Nonsense and Stupidity.--But we walk in a vain
Shadow and disquiet our selves in vain.

Here Cubbin fell with his Face to the Ground, and said, I prethee now no
more of this; your Book you open'd but forgot to give me the Contents.

Sophy recollected him; and told the Swain, That Book contain'd some
Rules for his Direction. But as I have not patience, added he, to make
a Treatise of some hundred Pages, which consists of other Persons Hints,
but flourish'd and dilated on; or the Rules and Observations of the
Anciants set in a different Light; I shall first sum up the whole
Discoverys the _French_ or any other Criticks yet have made in Pastoral;
and where they have left it I shall take the Subject, and try how far
beyond I am able to carry it. For after that, every single Thought
will be the free Sentiment of my own Mind. And I desire all to judge
as freely as I write; and (if, after a strict Examination of the Rules,
they see any Reason) to condemn as peremtorily; for we cannot get out of
an Error too soon.

_RUAEUS_ say's, The Pastoral Sentiments must have a Connection Plain and
Easy. Affirming that tho' Incoherence, may add a neglegence and simple
loosness to Pastoral, yet 'tis not such a Negligence or Simplicity as
Pastoral delight's in.

_DRYDEN_ observe's, that the Dialect proper for Pastoral, must have a
Relish of the Fascion of speaking in the Country.

_FONTENELL_ that most excellent _Frenchman_ takes Notice, that no
Passion is so proper for Pastoral as that of Love. He mean's as to what
we are to describe in our Swains; not mentioning those Passions that
Poem is to raise in the Reader.

_RAPIN_ observe's, The Fable should be One. The Swains not abusive, or
full of Raillery. The Sence should not be extended or long. This Author
has other Observations new, but you may guess of what a Nature, when he
confesses He walk'd but as _Theocritus_ and _Virgil_ lead him. Therefore
he cannot have carried the Poem to any Perfection beyond the Condition
they left it in; and so much any Reader may see from the Authors
themselves, without reading a large Volume to find it out.

Mr. _DRYDEN_, in another place, has an Observation which carrys the
Knowledge of Pastoral still farther. Pastorals, says he, must contain an
agreeable Variety after the manner of a Landscape.

But in the _GUARDIANS_, Vol. I. The Reader may see the Nature of
Pastoral more explain'd and enter'd into, in a few Dissertations, than
by all these Authors have deliver'd on the Subject. As these are Books
in every Bodies Hands, I shall not trouble my self to extract the
Summary of 'em. But he will find the Criticism on Phillips and the other
Observations are extreamly Ingenious.


_Of the Parts of Pastoral; and of the several Sorts of that Poem_.

PASTORAL, in it's Imitation of the Lives of Shepherds, makes use of
conjoyntly obtain's it's End; that is, excites our Pity, or our Joy,
or both. For in FABLE I include the MORAL; in SENTIMENTS both IMAGE and
THOUGHT; and in LANGUAGE I comprehend the HARMONY.

These four Parts of PASTORAL would lead us into an easy and natural
enumeration of the several Kinds or Sorts of that Poem: According as
they have more or fewer of those Parts; and as they do or do not excite
the Pastoral passions. Not that all those Kinds are perfect Pastorals,
or even Poems, but only such as Authors have given us Examples of, from

But I omit this Division for another more material. A Difference more
fundamental, arises in the PASTORALS written by different AUTHORS,
according to the Age which the Poet chuses to describe, or the different
Descriptions which he gives us of the COUNTRY. For he may draw it as
'tis suppos'd to have been in the Golden Age; or be may describe his
own COUNTRY, but touching only what is agreable in it; or lastly,
may depaint the Life of Swains exactly as it is, their Fatigues and
Pleasures being equally blended together. And this, last Kind most
Writers have given into; for _Theocritus's_ rude unmanner'd Muse (as
many Criticks have stiled it, not much amiss) naturally led him
into this Method; and then, tis easy to conceive why the latter
Pastoral-Writers chose the same.

But as the second Method is plainly more delightful than the last, as
it collect's the most beautiful Images and sweetest Thoughts the Country
afford's; so I shall show that 'tis preferable on many other Accounts;
and even finer for Pastoral than the Golden Age. But this when I speak
of the Characters.

I would only settle now in short the most compleat Kind of Pastoral; And
such, I think, is that which most beautifully draw's the present Life of
Shepherds, and raises Pity or Joy, by the four Parts of Pastoral,
Fable, Characters, Sentiments, and Language. And since 'tis these which
constitute a perfect Pastoral, I shall crave leave to speak separately
of 'em all. And first of the Fable.


_Of the Fable; and the means of making a perfect One_.

A Fable proper for Pastoral, and best adapted to delight, must have
these following Qualities to render It compleat.

_First_, It must be one entire _Action_, having a Beginning, a Middle,
and an End.

_Secondly_, A perfect _Fable_ must have a due _Length_. And not consist
of only a mournful Speech which a Shepherd find's occasion to make; or
the like.

_Thirdly_, And since all Poetry is an Imitation of the most
Considerable, or the most Delightful Actions in the Person's Life we
undertake; not any trifling Action can be sufficient to constitute the

_Fourthly_, Another Quality which a Pastoral Fable should have to be the
most compleat is a _Moral Result_.

I shall speak to all these Heads, except the first, concerning the
_Unity_; for without that Quality, it's self-evident that 'tis no Fable.
By _Unity_ I mean the same with Aristotle.[A]

[Footnote A: _See his 6th Chapter_.]

SECT. 1.

_What Length a perfect Pastoral should have_.

All _Pastoral-Writers_ have used the same _Length_ which _Theocritus_
at first happen'd into. I shall be therefore obliged, I doubt, to dwell
longer, on this Head, than the Importance of it may seem to require; and
must premise, that tho' a _Fable_ would need, finely carry'd on, to
be three or four Hundred Lines, yet let no Writer be under any Concern
about this: If a _Fable_ have Unity, shews a delightful story, paints
proper Characters, and contains a Moral, I shall not doubt to call the
Poem a perfect and compleat _Pastoral_, tho' the Length exceeds not
fifty Lines. But my Reasons for extending it are these:

Some Author I have seen, ingeniously observes, that even in telling
common Stories, 'twere best to give some short Account of the Persons
first, to be heard with Delight and Attention; For, says he, 'tis not so
much this being said, but its being said on such a particular Occasion,
or by such a particular Person. As this is true in a common Story, so
'tis more so in a Poem. The strongest Pleasure that the Mind receives
from Poetry, flows from its being engaged and concerned in the Progress
and Event of the Story. We naturally side in Parties, and interest our
selves in their Affairs of one side or the other. Then 'tis, our Care
pursues our Favourite Character, where're he goes. We anticipate all his
Successes, and make his Misfortunes our own. Were the Catastrophe in a
Tragedy to appear in the first Act, but little should we be moved by it,
not having as yet imbibed a favourable Opinion of the Hero, nor learn'd
to be in Pain as often as he is in Danger.

Now, we may read, I fear, some Number of the _Pastorals_ of the ordinary
Length, before we shall meet with this Pleasure. The Truth is, we are
commonly past a hundred Lines, the length of these Pieces, before the
Mind and Attention is entirely fix'd, and has lost all its former and
external Thoughts. All the Pleasure therefore which proceeds from the
Story is lost in these short Pieces.

'Tis true Indeed, I think it possible for a Novel, or perhaps a Poem,
to contain a Story in a hundred Lines which shall be able to engage the
Mind so as to delight it from the _fable_ it self, stript of all its
Ornaments. But how few in a hundred Ages have had Genius's capable of
this. And if 'tis difficult in a Novel or Poem, which may couch the
Circumstances close together, how much more Difficult must it be in
_Pastoral_. In the former Pieces nothing is to be observed but the Story
itself, in the latter a thousand Beauties are to be adjoyn'd and as many
Rules observ'd.


_The proper Length of Pastoral further collected from the Consideration
of the_ Characters.

Another Pleasure which the brevity of these Pieces robs us of, is this.
The Characters cannot finely and distinctly be depainted in so short a
Compass. And 'tis observable, we are concern'd for the Personages in
no Poetry so much as those of Pastoral. Simplicity and Innocence have
Charms for every Mind, and we pity most, where most our Pity's wanted.

So that the two noblest Beauties, and which constitute the main
Difference between Poetry and Versification, between a perfect Poem and
a Madrigal, Epigram or Elegy, are entirely lost in those Pieces, and
the only Pleasure they can raise, must proceed alone from Sentiment and


_The Length of Pastoral, yet further shown from the Passions it raises_.

In every rational and consistent Piece, the Writer has some Aim in View;
as, to work every thing up to one End and a Moral Result; or to excite
some Passion, or the like. Otherwise it is but an Assay of Wit, a Flirt
of the Imagination, and no more. Too trifling to detain the rational
Mind. Now, that these short Pieces are not capable of having a Moral,
or raising any Passion, I need trouble my self for no other Proof than
there never having been such one produced.

But give me leave to instance in the usual Method of forming a Pastoral.
One Shepherd meets another; tells him some body is dead; upon which,
they begin the mournful Dialogue, or Elegy. But in such an Elegy, there
is but one thing can raise a fine Pleasure; which can be the only solid
Reason for the Writers performing such a Work; and that is the raising
Pity, without which no End is obtain'd by such a Dialogue. And 'tis only
a School-Boy tryal of Wit; like a single Description. Unless the Poet
think's it enough that the Scene is laid in the Country, and the very
Talk of Shepherds is enough to support a Piece. And the truth is, of
a Nature so exceeding pleasant is Pastoral, that a Piece which has but
Fields and Hedges repeated pretty often in it, is at least tolerable;
whereas in any other Poetry, we see every day far better Poems cast out
of the World as soon as they enter into it. But another reason of their
Success proceeds from the little Knowledge most People have of
Pastoral; all Poets having gone in exactly the same Track, without one
endeavouring to raise the Poem to any greater Perfection than they
found it in; whereas Epick Poetry, Tragedy, and Comedy, arriv'd by slow
degrees to the Perfection they now bear; and this Writer still went
beyond the last of an equal Genius.

But I was going to give an Instance how incapable these Pieces are of
raising the Passions. A mournful Dialogue, or Elegy is formed upon the
Death of some Person. But if this Elegy raises not our Pity, 'tis a
Trifle, and only a childish Copy of Verses. But in order to raise that
most delightful Passion, should not the Reader be first prepossess'd in
favour of the Party dead? Can I pity a Person because deceas'd, without
knowing any thing of his while alive?

'Tis the same in that other well-known way of drawing up a Pastoral.
I mean, where two Shepherds sing alternately. _Theocritus_ haply light
upon this, and every Pastoral Writer since his time, (that I have
seen) has been so unfortunate as to happen exactly upon the same. And
I believe it has as often been indifferent to the Readers which of the
Shepherds overcame. Our Joy in this Case is equal to our Grief in the

SECT. 4.

_From the length by Nature prescribed to all Pieces, Epick, Tragick, &c.
is shown, That Pastoral will, at least, admit of the Length of three or
four hundred Lines_.

Thus far of the Necessity of extending a Pastoral to the Length of
three or four hundred Lines, if we would not deprive our selves of the
Opportunities of being as delightful as Poetry will permit. But if any
Commentator, who think's himself oblig'd to defend _Theocritus_ and
_Virgil_ in every particular, should not only not allow this Length to
be preferable, but even condemn it as faulty, it would oblige us to come
more close to the Point, and to take the Question from the bottom. What
is the Length by Nature fix'd for all Pieces? And why mayn't an Epick
be as short as a Tragick Poem? Methink's a Poet should not be content
to take these things on Trust, and tye himself down to Brevity or Length
only because _Theocritus_ wrote short and _Homer_ long Pieces.

I have not Leisure to enter fully into this Question, but would
recommend it to some Person who has, as a Subject that would prove as
Entertaining to the Reader as the Writer. However, I shall speak just
what I have at present in my Mind upon it.

Without considering Tragedy as drawn into Representation, it is plain it
would not endure the Length of Epick Poetry, without being wearious in
the Reading, for these Reasons among others: It's Nature is more heated
and violent than the Epick Poem, and consists of only Dialogue; whereas
the former has the Variety of Dialogue and Narration both. Besides, the
under-actions which work up to the main Action in Heroick Poetry, are
each as great and as different from each other, as the main Actions of
different Tragedies.

Nor would Pastoral bear the Length of even Tragedy. For it admits not
both those two kinds of Writing, the Sublime and the Beautiful, which
are the most different of any in Nature, having only the last. But these
two give so sweet a variety to the same Piece, when they are artfully
blended together, that a good Tragedy or Epick Poem can never tire. Soon
as we begin to be sated and cloy'd with Passion and Sublime Images, the
Poet changes the Scene; all is, on a sudden soft and beautiful, and we
seem in another World.

Yet is Pastoral by no means ty'd down by nature to the Length used by
_Theocritus_ and all his Followers. 'Tis only Example has introduc'd
that Method. For, 'tis a Poem capable of raising two Passions, and those
tho' all consistent with one another, yet what raise Pleasures, the most
widely different of any, in the Mind. When we have tir'd the Reader with
a mournful and pitious Scene, we may relieve and divert his Mind with
agreeable and joyous Images. And these the Poet may diversify and vary
as often as he pleases. And so different are the Passions of Pity and
Joy, that he may all thro' the Poem please in an equal Degree, yet all
thro' the Poem in a different Manner.

Besides, this Poem changes the general Scene, which is more than even
Tragedy does. A Poet who has form'd a perfect Notion of the Beautiful,
and furnished his Mind with a sufficient number of delightful Images,
before he set's down to write a Pastoral, will lead the Reader thro' so
sweet a Variety of amusing scenes, and show so many beautiful Pictures
to his Imagination, that he will never think the tenth Part of a
Tragedy's Length too much for a Pastoral.

'Tis true indeed that they who make a Pastoral no more considerable
than a Song or Ballad (as _Theocritus_, _Virgil_, &c.) without Passions,
Characters, a delightful Fable, or any Moral, do well to make it of no
greater Extent than a Song or Ballad. Where there is nought to delight
but the Sentiments, (for they aim at neither the soft nor the sublime
Language) a Reader cannot attend to more than a hundred Lines; but where
the Mind is engag'd and concern'd for the Issue of the Story, and eager
to know the Event, 'tis insensibly drawn on, and haveing some Aim in
View, is much less weary'd, tho' led on to a greater Extent.


_That the Pastoral Action must not be very little and minute; also that
several Under-actions must run thro' the Poem_.

A Third Quality, laid down as necessary to constitute a Fable wholly
perfect, was this, That as there must be but one Action, that Action
may not be any trifling, silly Circumstance of a Shepherd's Life. As
one Swain's telling the other how poor and bare he is grown. Or one
complaining to the other, that his Flock has had some Mischance, or the
like; which is as much as can be gather'd out of the Pastorals form'd
after the ordinary Way. For if you take the Actions of any of 'em,
divested of the Ornaments of Poetry, and the constant Repetition of the
pleasing Words, Grove, Breeze, Mead, &c. you will find nothing, even
nothing at all in any of 'em.

So that, tho' these Pastorals mostly may have Actions, nay, and Unity
of Action; yet are they Actions no more proper for a Poem, than a
Proposition of Euclid, turn'd into Verse, would be. There is nothing,
(not even the telling how the Sow and Pigs swallow'd their Wash, and
fought the while,) but might be call'd one Action, with a Beginning,
Middle and End. So that 'tis nothing to have unity of Fable, if the
Fable be not proper.

Shepherds are indeed suppos'd to be happy, and devoid of Stir, and
Noise, and Bustle; but does it follow, that there are no Actions or
Incidents in a Shepherd's Life? If there are delightful Actions, 'tis
plain we don't run counter to a Shepherd's Life in drawing 'em into
Poetry; and Poetry imitates the Actions of Men. Which show's that these
ordinary Pastorals are no more Poetry, than Lucretius is, or than any
other Philosopher, if turn'd into Verse, would be. Sure I think, as we
allow an Epick Writer to take his Hero in that Part or Character of his
Life, where he will make the best Figure in Poetry, so we should allow a
Pastoral-Writer the same Opportunity of pleasing.

'Tis necessary also that several lesser Actions work up to the main One;
that the whole Piece may be fill'd with Circumstances. 'Tis the very
Soul of Poetry to imitate Actions; to lead the Mind thro' a Variety of
Scenes; and to present a Number of Pictures before it.

'Tis plain a Shepherd's Life has as many Incidents, as other Person's;
only one Kind are in low Life, the other not. The Simplicity of Pastoral
is nothing touch'd by this, if these Incidents are Pastoral: For the
difference between Epick or Tragick Poetry, and Pastoral, must not
proceed from the One haveing many, the other no Under-Actions, but
rather from the different Actions, which a Hero and a Swain are engag'd
in. A Shepherd's leading his Lass to a Shade, and there sticking her
Bosom with Flowers, is the same in Pastoral, as an Hero's hurling a
Javelin, is in Epick Poetry. And a variety of Circumstances and Actions
is equally necessary in both Pieces. Or perhaps in Pastoral most; since
the Coolness and Sedateness of Pastoral is very apt to sate and tire
the Reader, if he dwell's long on one Action; and we can bear a longer
Description of a Battle than of two Shepherd's sitting together; because
the first fill's and actuate's the Mind the most; and where it is so
much employ'd, it cannot so easily flag and grow dull.

SECT. 2.

_Whether the Pastoral Fable should be simple or complex; and how it must
differ from the Epick Fable_.

The Implex Fables are to me, in all Poetry, the finest. And even
Pastoral may receive an additional Beauty from a Change of Fortune in
the chief Character, if manag'd with Discretion. 'Tis not easy to give
direct Proofs for things of this Nature. But what little I have to offer
for Pastoral's requiring an Implex Fable, is as follows.

Pastoral, like all Poetry, should aim at Pleasure and Profit. Pleasure
is best produc'd, if the Poem raises Pity, or Joy, or both; and Profit
by its having a Moral. Now the Implex Fable attain's it's End the
easiest. For we pity Misfortunes no where so much as in one we saw but
lately happy: Nor do we joy to see a Man flourish; but to see him rise
from Ills to a flourishing Condition, rejoyces the Mind. And as for
the other End of Poetry, which is Profit, every one may see that Implex
Fables are greatly best for producing a Moral.

But great Care must be taken in this Way. Whereas the Catastrophe in
Epick Poetry, is work'd up by violent Means, as Machines, and the like;
In Pastoral it must be produced so easy and natural, as to seem to
proceed from it self.

Nor must the Change of Fortune be produced by any sudden Contrast, as
in most Tragedies it is; since Surprize (unless very weak) is a Fault in
Pastoral, tho' a Beauty in other Poetry.

'Tis also evident that the Ills which a Shepherd falls into, from some
slight, and almost inevitable Slip (from which the Moral is form'd) must
be infinitely less than those which embarrass a Hero; because Ills must
be proportion'd to the Fault; and 'tis plain, the Faults of a Swain are
suppos'd to be very minute.

A hundred Observations, like this last, might be made, too
inconsiderable to enumerate; but the Poet, when he form's his Fable,
cannot avoid observing 'em. Otherwise, 'tis best he keep to the Simple
Fable; which, tho' a better may, by Industry, be form'd, is far enough
from being faulty.

SECT. 3.

_What Circumstances or Actions of a Shepherd's Life are properest for
the Poet to go upon_.

We cannot be pleas'd with the Description of any State, or Life, which
at that time we would not willingly exchange our present State for.
Nor is it possible to be pleas'd with any thing that is very low and
beggarly. Therefore, methinks, I would raise my Shepherd's Life to a
Life of Pleasure; contrary to the usual Method. For when a Citizen or
Person in Business divert's himself in the Country, 'tis not from seeing
the Swains employ'd or at Labour; he visits the Country for the easy
and agreeable Retiredness of it; and I believe the Pleasure of seeing
a Shepherd folding his Sheep, proceeds from the Prospect of Evening, of
the Woods and Fields, and from the Innocence we conceive in the Sheep,
and the like; not from the Action of the Shepherd folding them. So of
Reapers, we conceive 'em filling the following Year with Plenty; We
have, while we see 'em, the Thought of Fulness, and the time when every
thing is brought to Perfection; and these, and the like Thoughts, rather
raise the Delight of seeing those particular Labours, than the Actions
themselves. For we see, that if we behold Sheep, or the like, in a City,
tho' Countrymen are ordering them, we have no such Delight; because
there the Silence of Evening, the Prospect of Fields, &c. are not added.

I would therefore omit the Labour of Shepherds, if I could invent a Life
more agreeable; but the latter must be form'd from a Man's Imagination,
the former from Observation; and _Virgil_ could draw that almost as well
as _Theocritus_. I wonder the Writers of Pastoral should be so fond
of showing their Shepherds Beating Their Ronts, or Scolding With each
other, or the like; when they might describe 'em sleeping upon Violets;
plaiting rosy Chaplets by a lovely Rivulet; getting _Strawberries_ for a
Lass, &c.

'Tis observable, that no Tragedy can be well constituted without a
mixture of Love; and even _Shakespear_, (who seem's to have had so
little of the Soft or Tender in his Genius) was obliged to have some
recourse to that Passion, in forming his most regular Tragedy; I mean
Othello. Not that an Hero should be soften'd, much less drawn in his
most degenerate Hours, when he is in Love. For, methinks, the French
seem a little too fond of introduceing Love, when they draw their
greatest Hero's as amorous Love-Sops, and omit all that is truly Great
in their Characters.

Now if Love, with Reason manag'd, appear so well in Tragedy, it must
sure be extreamly proper for Pastoral. In the first we are to be rais'd
and heated; in the latter sooth'd and soften'd: The one has to do with
Personages, all gentle and tender; the Subject of the other is Fury and
Bravery. I would therefore have, methinks, a Sprinkling of Love thro'
all my Pastorals; and 'twill give the Writer an Opportunity of showing
the Tenderness, and the Simplicity of his Characters in the finest
Manner: Yet must it be so diversify'd and broken, by other Incidents
interfering, as not to cloy and nauseate the Reader, with the Repetition
of nothing but Love and Love.

The vulgar Notion is, that Wrestling, and such like Incidents are
properest for Pastoral; but if a Writer introduces such, he'll find 'em
so few, that 'twill be necessary to touch upon Love besides.

But methinks, I would not show my _CHARACTERS_ in so low and clownish
a degree of Life; For if I draw 'em so rough, and Porter-like, in one
place, I cannot give 'em Tenderness and Simplicity in another; without
breaking in upon the Manners.

So that if I was compell'd to put this Circumstance of Wrestling into
a Pastoral, I would have recourse, even there, to Love, to render it
Pleasurable to the Mind; as thus: A tender-hearted Lass should be plac'd
Spectator of her Wrestling Lover: By this means the Poet might make it
shine in Poetry; if he described her Behaviour, her soft Concern and
joyous Smiles, occasioned by every little Failure, and every Prospect of

But this is a Subject of so great Extent, that I have not time to
go thro' with it. Take therefore this general Rule for all. Those
Circumstances or Actions in the Fable, which show barely the
Delightfulness of the Country, are good. Those which give us a Sight
of also the Sprightliness and Vigour of it, are better; and those which
comprehend further, the Simplicity and the Tenderness of the young
Lasses, are best. And from hence a Writer or Reader will be able to make
a Judgment of any Circumstance that may occur.

SECT. 4.

_That this Variety of Actions does by no means impair the Simplicity of

There is nothing in Pastoral, of which Persons have a wronger Notion
than of the word Simplicity. Because the Poem should be simple, they
strip it of all Beauty and Delightfulness; that is, they lay the
Simplicity where it should not so much be (in the Fable) and deprive
it of all Simplicity, where 'twould be beautiful (in the Sentiments and

If all the Incidents or Actions, that are truly simple and delightful,
thro' the whole Number of _Theocritus_'s Idylls, were collected into
one Pastoral, so as to follow naturally each other, and work up to one
general End, I think that Pastoral would be more truly simple than any
we have at present. 'Tis true, a Poet may thrust into Pastoral as great
a multitude of Actions, and as surprizingly brought about, as we find
in Tragedy, but there is no necessity, because he must use a Number
sufficient to please, that therefore he must fall into that fault. Yet
for mine own part, I had rather see too much, than too little Action, as
I cannot help preferring a faulty Writer before a dull One.

But a Poet of Genius will diversify and adorn his Fable, as much as he
lawfully may; and as for the Simple, he will draw such soft and tender
Characters, as will furnish his Poem with enough of that, and of the
most delightful Kind. The generality of Pastoral Writers seem to
think they must make their Pieces simple, by divesting them of all the
Ornaments of Poetry; and the less and more inconsiderable Sketches they
are, the more Simple they are. A strange Conception sure of Simplicity.
While their Sentiments are false almost in every Line; either in their
own Nature; or with respect to Pastoral; or to the Person speaking; or
some other foreign Cause. But I shall always wave the being particular
in such Cases as these. To point at Faults directly, I think the
Business of a Carper, not a Critick.


_Of the Moral; and what kind of Moral Pastoral require's_.

The fourth Quality that a Fable ask's, to render it compleat, is a
Moral Result. I need not trouble you with a Proof of a Moral's being
necessary; 'tis plain that every Poem should be made as perfect as 'tis
capable of being, and no one will ever affirm a Moral to be unnatural in
Pastoral. But if any one should demand a Proof, 'tis thus: Poetry aim's
at two Ends, Pleasure and Profit; but Pastoral will not admit of direct
Instructions; therefore it must contain a Moral, or lose one End, which
is Profit. We might as easy show that the other End of Poetry, _viz_.
Pleasure, is also impair'd, if the Moral be neglected; but the thing is

To hasten therefore to enquire what kind of Moral is proper for
Pastoral, we must look back into the Reasons prescribed by Nature for
the Morals in all Sorts of Poetry.

Epick Poetry and Tragedy are conversant about Hero's, Kings, and
Princes, therefore the Morals there, should be directed to Persons
engaged in Affairs of State, and at the Helm, and be of such a Nature
as these; _A Crown will not render a Person Happy, if he does not pursue
his Duty towards God and Man; the best Method of Securing a Government,
is to occasion Unity in it_, and the like.

Again, Comedy's Subject is to expose the Ill Habits in low Life. It's
moral therefore should contain Instructions to the middle Sort of
People: As, _What Ills attend on Covetousness_. Or, _On a Parent's being
too Severe_, or the like.

       *       *       *       *       *

But so easy and gentle a kind of Poetry is Pastoral, that 'tis not very
pleasant to the busy Part of the World. Men in the midst of Ambition,
delight to be rais'd and heated by their Images and Sentiments. Pastoral
therefore addresses it self to the Young, the Tender, and particularly
those of the _SOFT-SEX_. The Characters also in Pastoral are of the
same Nature; _An Innocent Swain_; or _Tender-Hearted Lass_. From such
Characters therefore we must draw our Morals, and to such Persons must
we direct them; and they should particularly aim at regulating the Lives
of Virgins and all young Persons.

       *       *       *       *       *

What Nature I would have a Moral of, cannot so well be explain'd as by
Examples; but I do not remember at present any such Pastoral. You are
not widely deficient, Cubbin, I think, in this particular. Your first
show's us, that the best Preservative a young Lass can have against Love
and our deluding Sex, is, to be wholly unacquainted therewith. Little
Paplet is eager of Listning to Soflin's Account of Men and Love; but
that first set's her _Heart_ on the Flutter; then she is taken with
Soflin's _SWEET-HEART_; tho' all the while she is ignorant of the Cause
of her Uneasiness.

The Moral to your second Pastoral, which contain's Instructions to
_COQUETTS_, warning them not to take pleasure in giving Pain, is, I
think, not worst than this.

But the Moral to your Third (call'd the Bashful Swain), methinks, is not
so good. It is also directed to the _COQUETTS_; and instruct's 'em not
to give a Lover any Hopes, whom they do not intend to make happy. If the
young Lass there, had jilted Cuddlett, she had mist of her good Fortune;
and her Unwillingness to encrease the Number of her Admirers, is the
Cause of her Happiness. But, I know not how, this like's me not so well
as the other Three; or, perhaps it is not produced so naturally by the
Fable, and that may prevent it's pleasing.

SECT. 2.

_How to form the most regular kind of Moral_.

If a Writer's only Aim was the preserving Poetical Justice in his Moral,
he would have nothing to do but to show a Person defective in some
slight Particular, and from thence Unhappy; but as a Poet always reaches
at Perfection, these following Rules are to be observ'd.

The Inadvertency or Fault which the Character commit's, must be such a
Fault as is the natural or probable Consequence of his Temper. And his
Misfortune such an one as is the natural or probable Consequence of his
Fault. As in Othello: (For how can I instance in Pastoral.) I rather
suppose the Moor's Fault, to be a too rash and ungrounded Jealousy; than
that Fault, common to almost all our Tragedies, of marrying without the
Parent's Consent. A rash _Jealousy_ then, is the natural consequence of
an open and impetuous Temper; and the Murder of his Wife is a probable
Consequence of such a Jealousy, in such a Temper. So that the Hero's
Temper naturally produces his Fault, and his Fault his Misfortunes.

If you allow that the fault should be the natural or probable
Consequence of the Temper; let me ask you then, if those Tragedies or
Pastorals can be so perfect, where the original natural Temper of the
Hero or Heroine is not drawn into the Piece. I mean, where all that
we see of the Mind of the Chief Character, is his Mind or Temper, as
alter'd entirely, by some foreign or accidental Means. As, Who will tell
me what Hamlet's natural Temper was? Throughout that admirable Tragedy,
we see not his bare Temper once; but before he appear's, he's in wild
Distraction, which proceed's from former Accidents. This Method Mr.
_Row_ too has taken, especially in that ingenious Tragedy, call'd _JANE
SHORE_. We do not see any thing of her Temper but Grief and Sorrow; but
Grief cannot be natural to any Person's Mind, but must be accidental.
However, I think, this Method may be, at least, very good; whether 'tis
the best, I leave others to determine.

But as to the Fault, whether 'tis in the Action, or out of it, is of no
moment to the Perfectness of a Pastoral. Tho' I must needs say, I am for
what Aristotle call's the Peripatie, or change of Fortune in Pastoral;
but I think the Action that produces the Change may be either in the
Poem, or have happen'd some time before, but so that it's Influence does
not reach the Persons till they have been a while engaged in the Actions
of the Tragedy or Pastoral.

SECT. _Last_.

Here Sophy closed his Book; for the Heat of the Day came on, and an
House or an Arbour began to be more agreeable than the open Fields.
Sophy told the Swain he would meet him there agen in the Evening, and
read him some more of the Minutes he had put down for his Direction, and
withdrew; and the Shepherd drove his Lambs to the Covert of the Shades.

Accordingly, as the day began to decline, the Critick again appear'd;
and opening his Book, pursued the Argument he had made some Progress in.

_The End of the first Part_.



_Of the Pastoral CHARACTERS or MANNERS, in general_.

I should but tire the Reader, if I endeavour'd to prove that Pastoral
does require the Manners, or Characters to be preserved. If our Method
of ordering Pastoral be admitted, the Necessity thereof will be easily
perceived. But If any one prefer's the ordinary Method, I must tell him,
that 'tis not proper to draw Characters in a Piece of an hundred Lines.

It is to be observ'd, that tho' a Fable and Moral are essential to every
Poem; yet a Poem may subsist without the Manners. In Epick Poetry the
Machinery, the sublime Descriptions, &c. are such strong and Poetical
Ornaments, that a very fine Piece of the Heroick kind, might be form'd
without the Ornament of Characters. But Pastoral is in it self, (if I
may so speak) less Poetical; and therefore more want's the additional
Ornaments of Art. 'Tis naturally low and mean, and therefore should be
as much rais'd as possible. Whereas Epick-Poetry is of a Nature so
warm and heated, that it's own proper Strength and Violence is able to
support it. If this could want a Proof, I might say in short, That
we can bear with Epick-Poetry, even without any kind of Verse, and
_Cambray_ has succeeded in such; but every one will judge that should
a Pastoral appear in Prose, nay even without the Feminine Ornament of
Jangle, 'twould not be born with; which show's that Epick Poetry can
support it self with fewer foreign Assistances than Pastoral.

Another Observation I shall make, relating to the Manners or Characters
in general, is this; and 'tis equally applicable to Epick Poetry,
Tragedy, and Pastoral: There are three different ways of drawing
Characters; which in Tragedy form the Poem, as 'twere, of three
different Kinds or Natures.

The first, and finest is, where the Natural Temper of the Hero's Mind is
drawn in the former Part of the Poem, but after the Peripatie alter's.
As Timon of Athens is drawn at first all free and well-natur'd to
a Fault; but after his change of Fortune, is described as a quite
different Man; morose, and in hatred with himself and all the World. And
so in other Tragedies.

The second Sort is, where the Temper of Mind is the same in the former
and latter Part of the Play; but all along forced from it's Natural
Bent. Every where inclin'd and leaning to a different Temper; yet is
no where wholly carry'd off, or alter'd, as in _Venice-Preserv'd_;
_Jaffeir's_ Temper is generous, faithful, and tender, but thro' Want and
Enticement being drawn into a Conspiracy, this Temper is half effac'd
in him: But the Strugglings which the Poet has so fine an Opportunity
of describing, between his present Actions and his natural Temper, are
carry'd thro' the whole Piece; and he condemn's himself the same for
ungenerously betraying his Friend at the End, as for entring into the
Conspiracy against his Country, at the beginning of the Play.

The last kind of Character is, where the Natural Temper of the Mind is
neither drawn in the latter Part of the Poem; nor retain'd thro' the
whole, but clouded and broken; but instead thereof some casual and
accidental Humour, which from some Misfortune, or the like, has quite
changed the Natural Temper before the Person appear's on the Stage, or
in the Poem. As in the Distress'd-Mother, the Character that give's name
to the Tragedy, is all along in Tears and Grief for _Hector_; and what
her Temper was before his Death, does not appear, that is, what her
Natural Temper was.

I need not detain you to apply what I have here observ'd to Pastoral in
particular; 'tis enough to affirm, that the Method which appears most
beautiful in Tragedy, will be equally finest in Pastoral Poetry.


_What Condition of Life our Shepherds should be supposed in. And whether
the_ Golden-Age, _or the present state of the Country should be drawn_.

There are three different Methods, (as we hinted in the first Chap. of
the first Book) of describing the Country. For it may be drawn, as 'tis
suppos'd to have been in the Golden-Age; or, as 'tis now, but only the
pleasant and delightful Images extracted, and touch'd upon; or,
lastly, we may draw the Country in it's true and genuine Colours, the
Deformities as well as the Beauties having admittance into our Poem.

This last sort run's upon the Labours and fatigues of the Rusticks; and
gives us direct Clowns and Country-Folk. We alway see 'em sweating with
a Sicle in their Hands; beating their Cows from the Corn; or else at
Scolding. Yet doubtless a kind of Pastorals of this Nature might be made
extreamly delightful, if the Writer would dare to write himself, and not
be lead so much by _Theocritus_ and _Virgil_.

But a Method preferable to this, I think, is a Description of the
Golden-Age; and there is very little difference between this, and that
which we hold the best. It draw's the Swains, all Innocent and tender.
Show's us Shepherds, who are so, not for their Poverty, but their
Pleasure; or the Custom of those unrefin'd Ages, when the Sons and
Daughters of Kings were of that Employ, as we read in the Scripture of
the Ladies of greatest Quality, drawing Water for their Flocks, and the
like. I am therefore nothing averse to this kind of Pastoral. It draw's
such a Life as we could easily wish our selves in; and such, and only
such, can bear a pleasurable Description.

But all the Opportunities that the supposition of the Golden-Age gives
the Reader of the Beautiful in his Descriptions, and being Entertaining
in his Characters; In short, all the delightful Scenes, Arborets and
Shades, as well as all the gentleness and simplicity of that Age, may be
drawn into the other, namely the middle state, which we prefer; if the
Characters be proper.

Besides, I should not be fond of describing the Golden-Age, because we
are not so much interested and concern'd in what was only some thousand
Years ago, and ne're will be again. If the Poet possesses us with
agreeable Sentiments of our own Country (by describing it, but omitting
all that is not delightful in it) we are doubly pleas'd with the
Consideration that it may be in our own Power to enjoy the sweet
Amusement: and we are apt to fancy while we are reading, that were
we among those Swains, we could solace our selves in their easy
Retirements, and on their tender Banks in the same manner that they do.

And since Poetry, the more naturally it deceives, the more fully it
pleases; I should be very desirous, methinks, of giving my Pieces as
great an Appearance of Probability, as possible. And in our way, the
Poet may, to add yet more to the Probability, mention several Places in
the Country, which actually are to be found there; and will have several
Opportunities of giving his Stories an Air of Truth.

SECT. 2.

_The Method of_ Theocritus, _and all his followers, shown to be
inferiour, from the Nature of the Human Mind_.

But further, to shew that we should not describe the Country in
it's Fatigues, it's Roughness, or it's Meanest, take these Few
Considerations. For, as no Writer whom I have read (but that excellent
Frenchman _FONTENEL_,) has raised his Shepherds and Shepherdesses above
the vulgar and common sort of Neat-herds and Ploughers, I am oblig'd to
dwell a little the longer on this Head.

It may be observ'd, I think, that there are but two States of Life
which are particularly pleasant to the Mind of Man; the busy, great,
or pompous; and the retir'd, soft, or easy. More are delighted with the
former than with the latter kind, which affoard's a calm Pleasure, that
does not strike so sensibly, but proceeds much from the Imagination.
Perhaps this may be the reason why Epick and Tragick Poetry are more
universally pleasing than Pastoral; for they describe the Actions of
such Persons, as most Men are dazled and enamour'd with; and would
willingly quit their own Stations in Life for.

But tho' this State of Life may perhaps be more generally engaging than
the soft and retir'd; 'tis certain the soft is the next eligible, and
consequently will shine the most next in Poetry. As no one would much
desire to be one of Theocritus's Shepherds, so 'tis plain, no one can
be much delighted with being concern'd, as 'twere, with such; of having
their Actions take up our Minds, and their Manner of Life set before us.

As a love of Grandeur, Show and Pageantry is implanted naturally in
our Minds, so we cannot be pleas'd with any thing that is mean, low and
beggarly; and as we dislike what is mean and beggarly, How can we love
to have our Minds conversant about, direct Ploughmen, _&c_? We love the
Country for it's soft Retirements, it's Silence, and it's Shades, and
can we love a Description of it that sets none of these before us? If I
read a Pastoral, I would have it give me such a Prospect of the Country,
and stop me upon those Objects, where I should myself stay, were
I there; but would not that be (at least generally) upon the most
beautiful Images. If the Toils of the Country-Folk took my Observance,
'twould only be for Variety, because those Images which a Poet can
so plentifully raise out of his own Brain, can hardly be met with in
Reality. But methinks were I determin'd to describe the Labours and
Hardships of the Country, and not to collect the Beauties; I would e'en
observe the Manner of the Fellows and Wenches in the Country, and put
down every thing that I observ'd them act; as Mr. Gay has very well
done; and than we shall have at least this Pleasure, of seeing how
exactly the Copy and the Original agree; which is the same that we
receive from such a Picture as show's us the face of a Man we know.

Again, 'tis natural to the Mind of Man to delight in the Happiness of
it's Fellow-Creatures; and no Pleasure can be imbibed from the Prospect
of another's Misery; unless it is so calculated as to excite Pity. The
Pleasure, that comes the nearest such of any, is a Comick one, which
delight's to see the human Form distorted and debased, and turn'd into
that of a Beast.

And as for Pity, the most delightful Passion of all, it can't be excited
by this Means. For those Swains are inured to Labour, and acquainted
with Fatigue; but we pity those who fall from Greatness to a State of


_What Personages are most proper for Pastoral. And what Passions we may
allot our Shepherds; and what degree of Knowledge_.

Since Simplicity and Tenderness are universally allow'd to constitute
the very Soul and Essence of Pastoral, there la nothing scarce in the
Proceedings of Pastoral-Writers more surprizing to me, than that no one
has allotted any Part of Characters in their Pieces to the _SOFT-SEX_:
But have, to a Writer, introduc'd only Men, and even the roughest of
that Sex.

I can no otherways account for that their Conduct, but that _Theocritus_
happen'd not to make any true Female Characters, nor to introduce any
such of the Fair-Sex, as would shine in Pastoral, and they pretend to
nothing farther than the Copying after him.

This is the more strange, since even Epick-Poetry and Tragedy, whose
Nature is Violence and Warmth, cannot well subsist without the tender
Characters. 'Tis they that sprinkle so sweet a Variety thro' those
Pieces, and relax the Minds of the Readers, with the Beautiful and Soft,
after it is sated with the Sublime.

Now if even the warmest Kinds of Poetry delight in Female Personages,
How much more Pastoral, which is all Tenderness and Simplicity? Whose
design is to sooth and spread a Calm over the Mind, as the higher Poems
are to elevate and strike It.

But 'tis not enough that we introduce some Characters drawn from the
_SOFT-SEX_: our Male Characters must be also of the same Nature, far
from rough or unmanner'd. Every Character must also be of such a Kind
as will be entertaining to the Mind. For there are some more, some less
delightful, among those Female _Characters_, which at first sight seem
equally proper to Pastoral. Of this kind is a Prudish _Character_, or
excessively reserv'd. For, besides that frankness and Openness of Heart,
is what we imagine natural to Shepherds, a Poet can never raise Delight
from such a Character. Her fault is too hateful to excite Pity in her
Punishment; and too small to raise Joy in beholding bar Unfortunate.
Besides that such a Joy were not proper for Pastoral. Of the same Nature
is a Finical, or Squeamish Character, and many others, at first sight
agreeable to Pastoral.


_What Passions we may allot our Shepherds_.

Although I am for raising the Characters in Pastoral somewhat above
the degree of Boors and Clowns; yet no one is more for retaining the
Pastoral Simplicity. Our Characters of young and tender Innocents,
give, I think, a better Opportunity of introducing the true Pastoral
Simplicity, than those very mean and low Personages, which rather lead
us to an unmanner'd Clownishness, than an agreeable Simplicity.

To preserve this Simplicity, we must avoid attributing to our Swains,
any of those Passions or Desires, which engage busy and active part
of Mankind; as Ambition, and the like. _Theocritus_ therefore, and
_Virgil_, and the generality of his Followers, have rather made their
Shepherds sing alternately for a Leathern Pouch, or a Goat, than for
the Desire of Praise. And nothing, I believe, but his being unwilling
to make his Swains sing for exactly the same Reward, that all since
_Theocritus_, have done, could have made our excellent Phillips alter
the Pouch and the Kid, for Praise, in his sixth Pastoral.

  _Let others meanly stake upon their Skill.
  Or Kid, or Lamb, or Goat, or what they will;
  for praise we sing, nor Wager ought beside;
  And, whose the Praise, let_ Geron's, _Lips decide_.

There are few of even the most violent passions but may be introduc'd
into Pastoral, if artfully manag'd and qualify'd by the Poet: As Hatred,
if it be not carried to it's height; which is an Excess in Pastoral.
And I observe, _Cubbin_, you make your Shepherd _Colly_, inconstant; and
have an Aversion to his former Sweet-heart _Soflin_, on account of her
Frankness, and too great Forwardness. But yet I think it is not faulty,
because you make his Affections vary, against his Inclination, and he is
angry with himself for his dislike to _Soflin_; but no Reason can stop
unruly Love.

So Revenge, if admitted, must be very ingeniously manag'd, or 'twill be
intolerable. There is a cunning Thought in _Tasso_, that may perhaps let
the Reader something into the Manner in which I would have it order'd.
A Female Warriour, opposed to her Lover in Aims, for his Inconstancy
shoot's a Dart at him, yet wishes it may not strike him.

But what comes nigher to the explaining the manner of introducing
Revenge into Pastoral, is what we find in the sixth Idyll of
_Theocritus_. _Polyphemus's_ Mistress had been unkind; and how do's
he propose to take Revenge: Why, he will not take notice of her as she
walk's before his Cave to be seen, and pelt's his flock. After which
follow's the most simple, and I had almost said, finest Thought in any
Pastoral-Writer. The whole Beauty of which no one will conceive, but who
has a Soul as tender as _Theocritus_ had, and could touch the _Soft_ as
well. Poliphemus threaten's several Punishments, after which, follows
this. 'Tis as fine in _Creech's_ Version as the Original.

  _Besides, my Dog, he is at my Command,
  Shall bark at her, and gently bite her Hand_.

What I have said of this, might be said of the other Passions; but I
shall insist no longer on this Head. As for the Passions most proper for
Pastoral, they are discuss'd elsewhere.

SECT. 3.

_What degree of Knowledge we may attribute to our Swains_.

The difference between the Knowledge of our Shepherds, and that of
politer Persons, must not proceed in the least from any difference
in their Natural Endowments, but entirely from the manner of their
Educations. The Poet therefore, has nothing to do in this Case, but to
consider what is most probable for Nature to effect, unassisted by Art.

As for a Shepherd's knowing what the ancient Poets have deliver'd,
concerning the different Ages, and other things, I shall not determine
whether 'tis natural or not: because not only _Theocritus_, whose
Shepherds are as well vers'd in History as other Men, and _Virgil_,
whose Shepherds are often Philosophers, have gone in this way, but our
Countryman Mr. Phillips also, whose excellency is his Correctness.

  (Lang.) _Thrice happy Shepherds now! for_ Dorset _loves
  The Country Muse, and our delightful Groves.
  While_ Anna _reigns. O ever may she reign!_
  And bring on Earth a Golden-Age again.
               _Pastor_. 6.
I shall leave the Reader also to determine concerning the following
piece of Knowledge.

  (Hob.) _Full fain, O blest_ Eliza! _would I praise
  Thy Maiden Rule, and Albion's Golden Days_.
  Then gentle _Sidney_ liv'd, the Shepherds Friend:
  _Eternal Blessings on his Shade descend!_

The same is to be said of other the like Passages, but the most ordinary
Capacity may judge what Knowledge is, or is not, consistent with the
Banner of a Shepherd's Education.


_How to form the Pastoral Characters, and the great Difficulty of doing

A Poet, who would write up to the Perfection of Pastoral, will find
nothing more difficult (unless the Dialect) than the inventing a
sufficient Number of Pastoral Characters; such as are both faultless and
beautiful. That difficulty proceeds from hence.

In Epick and Tragick Poetry we have the whole scope of all Men's Tempers
and Passions to draw; which are widely various and different: As, the
Savage and Wild; the Ambitious; the Simple and Tender-hearted; the
Subtle, &c. Thus in the Epick and Tragick Poems, you draw the general
Qualities of all Men's Minds. But in Pastoral, you are pinn'd down to
one of these common qualities (which is Simplicity and Tenderness.)
And laying that as a Foundation, from thence draw your particular
Characters. In every Character still supposing that at the bottom of
it, and to accompany it. But Rules of this Nature, are like Mathematical
Assertions, not easily explain'd, but by Examples. Tho' I think,
_Cubbin_, I need not insist long on this to you; for your Characters are
not much faulty in this particular. If I remember aright; some of your
Characters are these:

Paplet has Simplicity and Tenderness: But her distinguishing Character
is, that she is a May, so young, as to be entirely ignorant of Love; but
extreamly Curious to be let into the Nature of Men and Lovers.

Collikin has Simplicity and Tenderness: But withal a Tincture of
Inconstancy in his Nature.

Soflin, with her Simplicity and Tenderness, is excessive Easy, and
Complying, to a Fault; open and too free-hearted.

Florey has Simplicity; and Tenderness for his Lass; but he is almost out
of Humour with himself for being so soft. He is suppos'd to be brought
up in the lonely Cave with Paplet; and his natural Tamper is wild and
excessive brisk; hating the House, and delighting in Hunting. But you
show, I see, only a Glimpse of his Natural Temper, which breaks out
at times; but he is drawn as tender, being all the Time in Love with

The rest of your Characters have the same Foundation; nor break in, I
think, upon Simplicity and Tenderness.

'Tis true indeed, as to the Difficulty of forming Pastoral Characters,
beyond those of Epick Poetry; That even there, one general Character
should diffuse it self thro' all the rest, and that is Bravery.
(For _Homer_ might, I think, as well have brought in a Baboon, or a
Hedge-hog, for Heroick Characters, as a _Vulcan_ and a _Thirsites_.) But
Bravery will coincide with greatly more Tempers than Pastoral Simplicity
and Tenderness; nor does it lay the Poet under a Restraint comparably so

'Tis farther observable, as to the Difficulty of forming the Pastoral
Characters, that if we wou'd write up to the Perfection of Pastoral,
'tis necessary that whatever habit or temper of Mind distinguishes any
CHARACTER in the first Pastoral, wherever that CHARACTER afterwards
appears, thro' the whole set of Pastorals, it must appear with the
same Temper as before; that is, 'tis not enough to have the Characters
uniform and just thro' one and the same Pastoral, but what is the
Character of any Swain or Lass in the first and second Pastoral,
that must be their Character in all the rest, if they are nam'd or
introduc'd, tho' never so slightly. For by this means, not only
every single Pastoral will make a regular Piece, but the whole set of
Pastorals also constitute together one uniform and ample Poem; if the
Reader delights to fill his Mind with a large and ample Scheme.

The set of Pastorals would be still more perfect, if the Characters
were also all continued on from the first to the last Pastoral, and none
drop'd, as 'twere, in silence; but in the Pastorals which draw towards
the End, the Characters should be all disposed of in Pastoral, and after
an entertaining Manner; so that the two or three last Pastorals will be
like the fifth Act in a Tragedy, where the Catastrophe is drawn up. The
reasonableness of this appear's from hence. I suppose the Poet to form
his Story so, and so to draw his Characters, that the Reader's Mind may
be engag'd and concern'd for the Personages. Now the Mind is uneasy if
'tis not let into the issue of the Affairs of the Person it has been
long Intent upon, and given to know whether he is finally Unfortunate,
or Happy.

SECT. _Last_.

Thus far proceeded Sophy, when Night drew on. He shut his Book; and
Cubbin told him, he had not pass'd many days with so much Delight as
that. If you have found my Discourse, said Sophy, entertaining, do not
fail of being here again early to morrow Morning, and I will continue
it to you. The Shepherd express'd his Satisfaction, and they hasted home

The following Morn was fair and inviting; they both appear'd when the
Lark began his Mattin Song; and Sophy thus proceeded.

_The End of the Second Part_.



_Of the Sentiments in general_.

I must crave leave to extend the Signification of the Word Sentiment, to
the including tooth IMAGE and THOUGHT. For I think the Criticks should
by all means have, before now, made that Division, and the omission has
occasion'd the greatest Obscurity and Confusion in the Writings of those
who have discours'd on any particular Kind of Sentiment. But that the
Reader may take the more Care to keep this Distinction in his Head, we
will give one Instance of the Confusion it occasion'd in the Mind of
_Longinus_, who treated the Sublime, and certainly ought to have had a
clear Notion of the Subject he wrote so largely, and so floridly upon.

Now in his sixth _Section_, he make's it a Question, and discourses
largely, whether Passion can go along with a Sublime SENTIMENT. But any
one who has divided Sentiment into Image and Thought would laugh at this
Question; it being so plain that passion is consistent with a Sublime
Thought, and is not with a Sublime Image.

Would not any person who desired to acquire a true and thorough Notion
of a sublime Sentiment, so as to know one, wherever met, be puzzled
at _Longinus_'s telling him, _Homer_'s Sentiment is sublime, where
he make's the _Giant_'s heap Ossa on Olympus, and on Ossa Wood-top'd
Pelion; and a little after telling him that _Alexander_'s to _Parmeno_
is a sublime Sentiment. _Parmeno_ say's, _Were I Alexander, I would
embrace these Proposals of Peace_. _Alexander_ reply'd, _And I, by the
Gods, were I Parmeno_. These Sentiments of _Homer_ and _Alexander_ (tho'
equally sublime) are as different as a Bright and a Tender Sentiment. If
then I have settled one in my Mind, as sublime, How shall I conceive the
other as such?

But there is no other way of avoiding this Confusion, and of being
equally certain of all sublime Sentiments, but by knowing that the
first of these is a sublime Image, and the last a sublime Thought or
Sentiment. And you will find, if you consider the Nature of _Homer_'s
Image, all sublime Images are like it; and the same of _Alexander_'s
sublime Thought. Altho' the sublime Sentiments in general are so

But since we are accidentally engag'd in considering the Sublime; I will
endeavour to show you how to judge infallibly of a Sublime SENTIMENT.
For I think it cannot be gotten from _Longinus_; or at least, I could
never learn it from that most Florid and Ingenious author. And it may be
shown in three Lines, as well as in so many Volumes.

A Sublime Image always dilate's and widen's the Mind, and put's it upon
the Stretch. It comprehends somewhat almost too big for it's Reach;
and where the Mind is most stretch'd, the Image is most Sublime; if we
consider no foreign Assistances. As _Homer_ say's, _The Horses of the
Gods, sprung as far at every Stride, as a Man can see who sit's upon the
Sea-shore_. But foreign Assistances, as a figurative Turn, &c. may raise
a passage to an equal degree of Sublimity, which yet does not so largely
dilate the Mind; as this of _Shakespear_'s is more Sublime than that of

            --_Heaven_'s  Cherubs, _hors'd
  Upon the sightless_ Curriers _of the Air,
  Shall blow the horrid Deed in every Eye_.

  _Macbeth_. Act. 1. Scen. 7

The not having a perfect Idea of the Sentiment, make's us conceive
something the greater of it.

A Sublime Thought always gives us a greater and more noble Conception of
either the Person speaking; the Person spoken of; or, the Thing spoken
of. I need not instance; but if you apply this to any of the Thoughts of
_Homer_, or _Shakespear_, generally call'd Sublime, you'll find it will
always square.

Here let me make one Observation: That you may never be mistaken in
judging of a Sublime Passage, _Cubbin_, take notice; that there are
some Thoughts so much imaged in the Turn that is given to 'em, by the
figurative Expression, that they lose the name of Thoughts, and commence
Images. I will mention one out of _Shakespear_, (who uses this Method
the most of any Author, and 'tis almost the only thing that raises his
Language) I will mention it, because, being in it self a low and common
Sentiment, he has made it the most Sublime, I think, of any he has.
_Macbeth_'s Lady say's, before the Murther of the King.

                         --_Come, thick Night.
  And pall thee in the dunnest Smoak of Hell,
  That my keen Knife see not the Wound it makes
  Nor Heav'n peep thro' the Blanket of the Dark,
  To cry, Hold! Hold!_

  _Macbeth_ Act. 1. Scen. 5.

But I run the Digression too far.


_Of the Images. And which are proper for Pastoral, which not_.

Let us proceed to consider what Images will shine most in PASTORAL. And
here I shall not consider all kinds of Images, both good and vicious,
but only those which are in their own nature good; and among those show
which may, and which may not, be introduc'd into Pastoral.

Of Images, in their own Nature good, only the BEAUTIFUL, and the
[A]GLOOMY are, properly speaking, fit for Pastoral. The Uncommon, the
Terrible, and the Sublime, being improper.

[Footnote A: _The Division of the Images and Thoughts is made, and the
nature of the_ GLOOMY _consider'd, in the Critical Preface to the Second
Part of our Pastorals_.]

If any other kinds of Images are introduced, they must be artfully
qualify'd, or else be faulty; the Methods to be used in so qualifying
them, are too numerous to recount. But give me leave to put down one,
which relates to the Language.

Suppose you was to describe some LOVELADS and LASSES roving a little
by the Sea-shore in a guilded Boat; when, on a sudden, the Wind arises,
drives 'em into the middle of the Main at once, and dashes the _Gondola_
on a Rock. Might you not describe such a boistrous Circumstance in an
easy and Pastoral manner.

  _Sore raven the fell Sea (Oh sorry Sight!)
  And strait (most wofull Word) the Boat doth split_.

But these are things which are better left to the Writer's own Genius,
than to Rule and Criticism.

As to the gloomy Images, I shall only caution the Pastoral Writer, that
they must be of a very different Nature from those in Epick Poetry or
Tragedy: That is, the gloomy must not be so strong; but the Images must
rather contain a pleasing Amusement. And that they'll do, if they are
drawn from the Country: As _Fairies_; _Will-o'-Wisps_; _the Evening_;
_falling Stars_; and the like, will all furnish Images exactly agreeable
to Pastoral.

Having made this Observation on the _Gloomy Images_, let us now proceed
to the Consideration of the Beautiful, which will detain us somewhat

SECT. 2.

_Of Beautiful Images. And of those; which are more, which less fine_.

In my usual way of considering Beautiful Images; for the greater
Clearness, I rank 'em into three several Classes. This division I do
not desire to impose on any one else; but the mentioning it, cannot be

Of the three sorts or kinds of Beautiful Images, the first, and least
delightful is, where only a simple Image is exhibited to the Reader's
Mind. As of a Fair Shepherdess.

The second Sort is, where there is the Addition of the Scene; as suppose
we give the Picture of the fair Shepherdess, sitting on the Banks of a
pleasant streamlet.

The third, and finest kind of Beautiful Images is, where the Picture
contain's a still further Addition of action. As, the Image of a fair
Shepherdess, on the Banks of a pleasant Stream asleep, and her innocent
Lover harmlessly smoothing her Cloaths as flutter'd by the Wind. And the
most beautiful Image in Phillips, or I think any Pastoral-Writer, is of
this Nature.

  _Once_ Delia _lay, on easy Moss reclin'd;
  Her lovely Limbs half bare, and rude the Wind.
  I smooth'd her Coats, and stole a silent Kiss;
  Condemn me, Shepherds, if I did amiss_.

  _Past_. 5.

The last Line contains a Pastoral Thought, of the best Sort; as the
three first a Pastoral Image.

The middle of this last Pastoral is full of beautiful Images, and has
therefore proved so Entertaining to all Readers, that I wonder Mr.
Phillips would not give us the Beautiful in his four first Pieces also.

Of all the Persons who have written in the English Language, no one ever
had a Mind so well form'd by Nature for Pleasurable Writing, as Spencer.
Yet as he wrote his Pastorals when very Young, this does not appear so
much from them, as from his Fairy Queen; thro' which, (like Ovid, in his
Metamorphoses) he has perpetually recourse to Pastoral. Especially in
his Second Book; in which there are more pleasurable Pastoral Images in
every eight Lines, than in all his Pastorals. We have Knights basking in
the Sun by a pleasant Stream, rambling among the Shepherdesses, entering
delightful Groves surrounded with Trees, or the like, almost in every
Stanza; but thro' all his Pastorals, we have not half a dozen beautiful
Images. 'Tis therefore the Pastoral Language that support's 'em, which
he took excessive pains about.


_Of Pastoral Descriptions. And what Authors have the finest_.

Of Images are form'd Descriptions, as by a Combination of Thoughts a
Speech is composed. And a Description is good or bad, chiefly as the
Images or Circumstances are judiciously, or otherwise, chosen; and
artfully put together.

As to the putting them together, I shall only observe, that in
Descriptions of the Heat of Love, not in Pastoral, but in such Pieces
as Sapho's, or the like, the Circumstances should be couch'd extreamly
close; in Epick Poetry the Circumstances should be somewhat less closely
heap'd together; and that Pastoral requires 'em the most diffuse of any;
being of a Nature extreamly calm and sedate.

Hence we may learn what Length Pastoral will admit of in it's
Descriptions. And certain it is, that as we are easily wearied by a cold
Speech, so are we by a cold Description, unless very concise.

But as those Poets whose Minds have delighted in Pastoral Images have
always been Men of Pleasurable Fancies, and who never would bring their
Minds under the Regulation of Art; all who have touch'd Pastoral the
finest have egregiously offended in this Particular. The only Writers, I
think, who have ever had Genius's form'd for Pastoral Images, are _Ovid_
and _Spencer_; which appear's from the _Metamorphoses_ of the first, and
the _Fairy-Queen_ of the latter. As for _Theocritus_, he seem's to me
to be better in the Pastoral Thought than Image; and as I rank together
_Ovid_ and _Spencer_, so I put _Theocritus_ in the same Class with
_Otway_. And I think any one of these Four, if he had form'd his Mind
aright by Art, (that is, had either thoroughly understood Criticism
in all it's Branches, or else never vitiated his natural Genius by any
Learning) was capable of giving the World a perfect Sett of Pastorals.
The former two would have run most upon beautiful Images, and the latter
two upon Agreeable Thoughts.

I need not instance in the tedious Descriptions of _Theocritus_, _Ovid_
and _Spencer_. But certainly, if long Descriptions are faulty in Epick
Poetry, as they prevent the Curiosity of the Reader, and leave him
nothing to invent, or to imploy his own Mind upon, they are in
Pastoral much more disagreeable. Tho' if any thing would excuse a
long Description, there is in _Ovid_ and _Spencer_, that inimitable
Delightfulness, which would make 'em pass. Virgil has no Descriptions in
his Pastorals so long as Spencer, and Heavens deliver us if he had; for
as 'tis, I can better read the longest of _Spencer_'s, than the shortest
of his, in his Pastorals.

SECT. 2.

_The proper Length for Descriptions adjusted, from several

What I have laid down seem's in its self plain and evident; but because
_Rapin_, and some other Criticks, famous for the Niceness of their
Judgments, have made it a considerable Question, and at last own'd
themselves unable to decide it, I shall further consider the Matter.

'Tis best, I think, only just to exhibit the Picture of an Object to the
Reader's Mind; for if 'tis rightly set and well given, he will himself
supply the minute Particulars better to please himself than any Poet can
do; as no different Fancies are equally delighted with one and the same
thing, the Poet in an extended Description must needs hit upon many
Circumstances not pleasant to every Fancy; even tho' he touches all the
best Particulars. But if the Poet only set's the Image in the finest
Light, by enumerating two or three Circumstances, the Reader's Mind
in that very instant it sees the Image or Picture, fill's up all the
Omissions with such Particulars, as are most suitable to it's own single
Fancy. Which farther conceives something beyond, and something out of
the way, if all is not told. Whereas descending to Particulars cool's
the Mind, which in those Cases ever finds less than it expected.

To instance in Painting, for that's the same. When I first cast my Eye
on a beauteous Landscape, and take in a View of the whole and all it's
parts at once, I am in Rapture, not knowing distinctly what it is that
pleases me; but when I come to examine all the several Parts, they seem
less delightful. Pleasure is greatest if we know not whence it proceeds.
And such is the Nature of Man, that if he has all he desires he is no
longer delighted; but if ought is with-held, he is still in Eagerness,
and full of Curiosity.

Besides, Descriptions in Pastoral should be particularly short, because
it draw's into Description nought but the most Common tho' the most
Beautiful of Nature's Works: Whereas Epick Poetry, whose Business is
to Astonish, represents Monsters and Things unheard of before, and a
_Polyphemus_ or a _Cyclops_ will bear, nay require, a more particular
Description, than a beauteous Grott, or falling Water; because the
One is only calling up into our Mind what we knew before, the other is
Creation. Besides that in Epick Poetry the Descriptions are generally
more necessary than in Pastoral. To describe the fair Bank where your
Lovers sate to talk does not help the _Fable_; but if _Homer_ had not
prepared us, by a particular Description of _Polyphemus_'s hugeness, he
would not have been credited, when he afterwards said, _That he hurl'd
such a Piece of a Rock after_ Ulysses'_s Ship, as drove it back, tho' it
touch'd it not, but only plung'd into the Waves, and made 'em roll with
so great Violence_.

I shall only add one Observation on this Head, and proceed. Pastoral
admits of _Narration_ and _Dialogue_, but in _Narration_ we may be
greatly more diffuse in our Descriptions than in the _Dialogue_ part of
the Piece. For nothing in Poetry is to be preserv'd with more care than
probability, especially in Pastoral. Now for a Shepherd to be relating
an Accident of Concern, and to dwell on a Description of Place or Person
for four or five Lines in the midst, does it not look as if 'twere only
Verses written, and not a Tale actually told by the Swain, since in
such a Case 'tis natural to hast to the main Point, and not to dwell so
particularly on Matters of no Consideration.

I might give several other Reasons for the shortness of Pastoral
Descriptions, as that 'tis the manner of Shepherds not to dwell on one
Matter so precisely, but to run from one thing to another; Also, that
the Reader's Mind is delighted when it has scope to employ it self; and
the like. But the clearness of the Question prevents me.

SECT. 3.

_What Pastoral Images will shine most in a Description_.

We have just shown which Images are the finest; and 'tis evident that by
an accumulation of the best Images is form'd the best Description. 'Tis
not here my business particularly to show which Circumstances, in any
Description, are best, which worst; 'tis enough, that in general We
affirm the most Beautiful to be finest in Pastoral, and the most Sublime
in Epick Poetry; which are most Beautiful, and which are most Sublime I
have elsewhere shown.

Yet there are several foreign Assistances or Adjuncts, which do greatly
add to a beautiful Circumstance; as for Instance; if along with
a beautiful Image, we by any means show at once the Happiness and
Innocence of the rural Inhabiters, it renders the Circumstance greatly
more delightful. This can't so well be explain'd as by an Instance.
_Ovid_ describes _PROSERPINA_, as she is gathering Flowers in a Meadow
among her Play-Fellows, hurried away by _PLUTO_, in order to her
Ravishment. Among the Misfortunes, which that Violence brought upon the
Innocent young Creature, this is one;

  _And oh, out Lap the pretty florets fell_.

There is no Circumstance in any Author, nor any one will be ever
invented, more proper for Pastoral than this Line: As it contains not
only a most beautiful Image, but show's us at once the Simplicity,
and Happiness of the Country, where even such Accidents are accounted

But this is a Circumstance that would but just bear the touching upon;
and _Ovid_ by his two next Lines, has, I think, spoil'd it. In Mr.
_SEWEL_'s Translation they run thus.

  _Oft on her_ Mates, _oft on her Mother call's,
  And from her Lap her fragrant Treasure fall's;
  And she (such Innocence in Youth remains)
  Of that small Loss, among the rest, complains_.

If he had stopt with the second Line he had put himself, as 'twere, in
the place of a Shepherd, and spoke of the Misfortune as if it came from
his Heart, and he was interested for the Beauteous Innocent. But in the
two last Lines he takes upon him the Author, is grave and reflecting;
but nothing is so Beautiful in these kind of Descriptions, as for a
Writer to put himself as 'twere in the Place of the Person he speaks
of; and unless a Writer delights to do this, and takes Pleasure in his
Characters, and has, as 'twere, a Love and Kindness for 'em, he'll
never excell in Pastoral. And I have been told, Cubbin, by some of your
Acquaintance, that they can easily tell what sort of Characters you were
fondest of when your wrote your Pastorals; for there is one you never
mention but with an unusual Pleasure and Alacrity; and it appear's from
your Description of her that your Heart was on the flutter when you drew
it. And if you read it over now, so long after, you'll observe it. But
it has made you excell your self.

SECT. 4.

_Cautions for the avoiding some Faults which_ Theocritus, Ovid, Spencer,
Tasso, &c. have fallen into in their Descriptions_.

The generality of our narrative Poets under their general Descriptions,
bring in the Descriptions of particular and lesser Things. This is very
faulty. I might Instance In _OVID_, _SPENCER_, _CHAUCER_, &c, but there
is an Example of this so very flagrant in _TASSO_, that I can't forbear
mentioning it, as I think 'tis the most monstrous one I ever saw, and
these Observations relate alike to Epick Poetry and Pastoral. This
Author has occasion in the Thirteenth Book of his Hierusalem to describe
a Drought, which he does In Six and Fifty Lines, and then least we might
mistake what he's describing tell's us in Eight Lines more, how the
Soldiers panted and languished thro' excessive Heat, then in Eight more
describes the Horses panting and languishing; then in Eight more gives
us a Description of the Dogs, who lay before the Tents also panting and
languishing, and so on.

This is what I mean by bringing one Description within another; and 'tis
the greatest of Faults. We lose all thoughts of the general Description,
and are so engaged in Under-ones, that we have forgot what he at first
propos'd to describe.

Another Observation I would make, is, that a Pastoral Writer should be
particularly careful not to proceed too far, or dwell too minutely on
Circumstances, in his most pleasurable Descriptions, which we may term
the Luscious. Such as _Spencer_'s, where he makes his Knight lye loll'd
in Pleasures, and Damsels stripping themselves and dancing around for
his Diversion. This, _SPENCER_ methinks carries to an excess; for he
describes 'em catching his Breath as it steam'd forth; distilling the
Sugar'd Liquor between his Lips, and the like. Such Descriptions will
grow fulsome if more than just touch'd, as the most delicious things the
soonest cloy.


_That Pastoral should Image almost every thing_.

There is nothing more recommends the Tragedys of Mr. _Row_, than his
Language, which I think is (in it's own Nature) particularly Beautiful.

As I cannot forbear looking into the Springs and Means by which our best
Poets attain their Excellence in the several Dialects they touch the
finest, what 'tis that constitutes the Difference between the Language
of one and that of another; and also what Rank or Class each Dialect
belongs to; I have done the same as to the Writings of Mr. _Row_. And
I observe that the chiefest Means he makes use of to render his Tragick
Language at once Uncommon and Delightful, is the Figurative Way of
considering Things as Persons. What I mean is this.

  Dispels the sullen Shades with her sweet Influence_.

And again:

         ----_My wrongs will tear their Way,
  And rush at once upon thee_.

         Jane Shore: _Act_ 1.

And this is extreamly frequent, especially in Jane Shore. And nothing
can be more Beautiful in Heroick Language; and this Author has some
Sentiments dress'd, by this Figurative Way, as finely as most of
_Shakespear_'s; As this

  _Care only wakes, and moping Pensiveness;
  With Meagre, discontented Looks they sit,
  And watch the wasting of the Mid-night Taper_.

Now what is this but imaging almost every thing, or turning as many
Thoughts as possible into Images?

Now if the Thoughts in strong Lines, (as they call 'em) appear best in
Imagery, how much more will Pastoral Thoughts. The former have Passion
and Heat to support 'em, the latter are entirely Simple. And If Heroick
Writers are fond of Images, how much more should Pastoral Writers avoid
a long Series of bare Thoughts, and endeavour to Address the Mind of the
Reader with a constant Variety of Pictures.

What I have here delivered may seem trifling to the Reader. But if he
looks into the modern Pastoral-Writers he'll observe that the Scarcity
of Images goes a great way towards making their Pieces flat and insipid.
And 'tis impossible indeed to have a sufficient Variety of Images in a
Pastoral that is compos'd by nought but a mournful Speech or Complaint.
Therefore a Writer who would not only write regular, but also delightful
Pastorals, should doubtless run very much upon Description.

I need not make the Distinction between an Epick and a Pastoral Writer's
manner of Imaging. They are widely different; nor can a Pastoral Image
so many Things as an Epick Writer. For he cannot consider Things as
Persons, nor use the other Methods that Heroick Poetry takes to effect


_Of the Thoughts. And which are proper for Pastoral, which not_.

I Shall not consider those Thoughts which are, in their own Nature,
Vicious; as the Ambiguous, the Pointed, the Insipid, the Refined,
the Bombast, and the rest. But of those Kind of Thoughts which are
in themselves good, only these three do properly belong to Pastoral;
namely, The Agreeable, or Joyous; The Mournful, or Piteous; And the Soft
or Tender.

Yet the rest of those Thoughts which are in their own Nature good,
may be so order'd as to bear a part in Pastoral. For as We may make a
Shepherd false to his Mistress, if he be offended with the Levity of his
Nature; so We may make a Lass Ill-natured and Satyrical, for Instance,
if 'tis not in her Temper, but assumed only for a good Purpose.

SECT. 2.

_Of those Thoughts which are proper for Pastoral, how to Judge which are

I need only observe, that where is the greatest Combination of those
things which make the best Figure in Pastoral, that is always the best
Thought. As a Thought that is not only agreeable or Beautiful, but has
also Simplicity. The two finest Passages that I remember in _THEOCRITUS_
for their Simplicity, are these. Which are exceeding well Translated
by _CREECH_; whose Language (next to some of _Spencer's_) is vastly the
best we have, for pastoral. I will quote the whole Passage.

  Daph.) _And as I drove my Herd, a lovely Maid
         Stood peeping from a Cave; she smil'd, and said,
         Daphnis is lovely, ah! a lovely Youth;
         What Smiles, what Graces sit upon his Mouth!
         I made no sharp Returns, but hung my Head
         And went my Way, yet pleas'd with what she said_.

         Idyll. 8.

Of the same Nature is what _COMATAS_ says in another Place.

  Com.) _I milk two Goats; a Maid in yonder Plain
        Lookt on, and Sigh'd_, Dost milk thy self poor Swain!

And what follows soon after.

  Com.) _The fair Calistria, as my Goats I drove,
        With Apples pelts me, and still murmurs Love_.

        Idyll. 5.

Tho' these Thoughts are so exceeding Beautiful thro' their Simplicity,
I rather take 'em to be Agreeable Thoughts; and Simplicity to be only an
Adjunct or Addition to 'em; as Passion is an Addition and Embellishment
to the Sublime Thoughts.

The Mournful Thought, with the Addition of Simplicity, is as pleasing, I
think, as the Agreeable with Simplicity. The finest of this kind that I
remember in _THEOCRITUS_, are in his 22 _Idyll_. A Shepherd resolves to
Hang himself, being scorn'd by the Fair he ador'd. For the more he was
frown'd upon the more he loved.

  _But when o'recome, he could endure no more,
  He came and wept before the hated Dora;
  He wept and pin'd, he hung the sickly Head,
  The Threshold kist, and thus at last he said_.

Many Thoughts In the Complaint are as fine as this. As, of the following
Lines, the 3d and 4th.

  _Unworthy of my Love, this Rope receive.
  The last, most welcome Present I can give.
  I'll never vex thee more. I'll cease to woe.
  And whether you condemned, freely go;
  Where dismal Shades and dark_ Oblivion _dwell_.

Of the same Nature also is what soon after follows.

  _Yet grant one Kindness and I ask no more;
  When you shall see me hanging at the Door.
  Do not go proudly by, forbear to smile.
  But stay,_ Sweet Fair, _and gaze, and weep a while;
  Then take me down, and whilst some Tears are shed,
  Thine own soft Garment o're my Body spread.
  And grant One Kiss,--One Kiss when I am dead.
  Then dig a Grave, there let my Love be laid;
  And when you part, say thrice,_ My friend is Dead.

All these Thoughts contain Simplicity as an Addition to the Mournful.
And 'tis impossible for any Thoughts to be more Natural.

'Twere endless to enumerate all the several kinds of Beautiful Pastoral
Thoughts, but from these any one may discover the rest; and the general
Rule we gave at the beginning of the Chapter will be a Direction for his
ranging them into distinct Classes.

Yet give me leave to mention one Kind, which I think we may term the
finest. 'Tis where the Agreeable Thought, and the Tender, meet together,
and have besides, the Addition of Simplicity. I would explain my Meaning
by a Quotation out of some Pastoral Writer, but I am at a loss how to
do it; give me leave therefore to bring a Passage out of the Orphan. A
Thought may contain the Tender, either with regard to some Person spoken
of, or the Person speaking. The first is common, this Play is full
of it. I will therefore Instance in the latter. And first where 'tis
chiefly occasion'd by the turn that is given to it in the Expression.
Chamont presses his Sister to tell him who has abused her.

  Mon.)   _But when I've told you, will you keep your Fury
          Within it's bound? Will you not do some rash
          And horrid Mischief? for indeed_, Shamont,
          _You would not think how hardly I've been used
          From a near Friend_.

  Cham.)  _I will be calm; but has_ Castalio _wrong'd thee?_

  Mon.)   _Oh! could you think it!_  (Cham.)  _What?_

  Mon.)   _I fear he'll kill me_.    (Cham.)  _Hah!_

  Mon.)   _Indeed I do; he's strangely cruel too me.
          Which if it lasts, I'm sure must break my Heart_.

          Act. 4.

In the other passage the Tender lyes more in the Thought.

  Mon.)  _Alas my Brother!
         What have I done? And why do you abuse me?
         My Heart quakes in me; in your settled Face
         And clouded Brow methink's I see my Fate;
         You will not kill me!_

  Cham.) _Prithee, why dost talk so?_

  Mon.)  _Look kindly on me then, I cannot bear
         Severity; it daunts and does amaze me.
         My Heart's so tender, should you charge me rough.
         I should but Weep, and Answer you with Sobing.
         But use me gently, like a loving Brother,
         And search thro' all the Secrets of my Soul_.


_Of three Kind of Thoughts which seem to be false, yet are admitted and
valued by Pastoral Writers_.

Tho' I proposed not to consider those Thoughts which are false, either
in their own Nature, or with Respect to Pastoral; yet there are some
such, that yet are thought good, by the generality of Writers, which I
shall therefore Just mention; since Pastoral-Writers are especially fond
of 'em, and seem to look upon 'em as Beautys. Of these false Thoughts
there are, I think, three sorts. The EMBLEMATICAL, the ALLEGORICAL, and

Of the first Sort, or the EMBLEMATICAL, _SPENCER_ was so fond, that he
makes it run all thro' his first and last Pastoral; which two come
the nearest of any he has to true Pastorals; and contain Thoughts more
pleasant than those in his other (especially his Allegorical) Pieces.
But these pleasant Thoughts are mostly Emblematical, as this, which I
think, is in SPENCER.

  _My Leaf is dry'd, my Summer Season's done,
  And Winter, blasting Blossoms, hieth on_.

Meaning that his happy time of Life was past, and Old Age drew on. I
need not prove these Thoughts to be improper for Pastoral.

The Second Sort, or the ALLEGORICAL, is also what _SPENCER_ delighted
equally in. His every Pastoral almost has under the plain Meaning a
hidden one. Let all judge of Allegorical Pastorals as they please, but
in my Opinion, they are not consistent with the Simplicity of that Poem.

The Third Sort I mention'd was the _REFINED_. And of this our Modern
Swains are as fond, as _SPENCER_ was of the two first. But all the
Difficulty is to show that their Thoughts are refin'd; for all allow a
Refin'd Thought to be faulty. But those I am going to mention are not
at present look't upon as such. As that Apostrophe, where the Shepherd
calls upon the Works of Nature to assist him in his Grief. This Thought
being us'd by all Pastoral-Writers show's how Beautiful they thought it:
And the generality of them, 'tis plain, took delight in the Affectation
of it, because they have put it as affected as they could.

If 'tis possible for any, the finest Turn, that can be given it, to
prevent the Affectation, I think the Ingenious Mr. _ROW_ has done it, in
his excellent Tragedy, call'd _JANE SHORE_.

  _Give me your Drops, Ye soft-descending Rains,
  Give me your Streams, Ye never-ceasing Springs, &c_.

But the very best Turn, methinks, that can possibly be given to this
Thought, Mr. _PHILIPS_, in his Pastorals, has hit upon.

  _Teach me to grieve, with bleating Moan, my Sheep,
  Teach me, thou ever-flowing Stream, to weep;
  Teach me, ye faint, ye hollow Winds, to sigh,
  And let my Sorrows teach me how to dye_.

The Thought likewise of the Heavens and the Works of Nature wailing
along with the Swain, is what Pastoral-Writers all aim at. I need not
quote different Authors, for the different Turns that are given to this
Thought; I remember Mr. _CONGREVE_ has it in four several Places. The
best express'd, I think, is this.

  _The Rocks can Melt, and Air in Mists can mourn,
  And Floods can weep, and winds to Sighs can turn, &c_.

It seem's to be turn'd the best next in these Lines.

  _And now the Winds, which had so long been still,
  Began the swelling Air, with Sighs to fill, &c_.

The Affectation of the Thought show's it self rather more, I think, in
the following Lines.

  _And see, the Heav'ns to weep in Dew prepare.
  And heavy Mists obscure the burd'ned Air
  On ev'ry Tree the Blossoms turn to Tears,
  And every Bough a weeping Moisture bears_.

But give me leave to quote the Thought once more and I have done.

  _The Marble Weep's, and with a silent Pace,
  It's trickling Tears distil upon her Face.
  Falsely ye weep, ye Rocks, and falsely Mourn!
  For never will ye let the Nymph return!_

If any should have a Curiosity to see these Thoughts at large, for
we have not quoted the whole of 'em, he may find 'em in _Congreve_'s
Pastoral, call'd _The Mourning Muse of_ ALEXIS.

I shall trouble you with but one Thought more of those which we reduce
under the Denomination of Refin'd, and that is the ANTITHESIS. I do not
just now remember a Line of this Nature in any Author but Mr. _PHILIPS_;
otherwise, I avoid hinting at particular Faults in a Writer who is
generally regular and correct, in his Sentiments.

  _In vain thou seek'st the Cov'rings of the Grove,
  In the cool Shades to sing the Heats of Love_.

SECT. 2.

_Of_ SIMPLE THOUGHTS. _And the finest quoted out of_ SHAKESPEAR _and_

'Twould be well if Pastoral-Writers would leave aiming at such Thoughts
as these, and endeavour to introduce the Simple Ones in their stead.
But what is most surprizing, is, that their false Thoughts are as seldom
their own, as their true ones, and they steal all indifferently from
_THEOCRITUS_ and _VIRGIL_. Which shows how necessary it is to be a
thorough Critick, if you would be a good Poet.

Pastoral-Writers are sufficiently for Simplicity; nay so much, that
they form their Storys or Fables so little and triffling as to afford
no Pleasure; is it not strange then that they should be so averse to
Simplicity in their Thoughts; where Simplicity would be the greatest
Beauty in their Poetry? Pastoral-Writers have all sorts of false
Thoughts but those which we may call the Too Simple. I do not indeed
know any Author who has such a Thought unless it be our wide-thoughted
_SHAKESPEAR_. And indeed 'tis scarce possible to rise to Simplicity
enough, in Pastoral, much less to have a Thought too Simple.
_SHAKESPEAR_'s is this.

  Des.) _Mine Eyes do itch, doth that boad Weeping?_

  Emil.) _'Tis neither here nor there_.

  Des.) _I have heard it said so: O these Men, these Men!
        Dost thou in Conscience think, tell me_ Emilia,
        _That there be Women do abuse their Husbands,
        In such gross kind_? &c.

        Othello. Act. 4. Sc. last.

But if this passage is too Simple, 'tis for Tragedy so, not for
Pastoral; and because _DESDEMONA_ was a Senators Daughter, and Educated
in so polite a place as _VENICE_; but in Pastoral, I think, we may
Introduce a Character so Young, Simple and Innocent, that there is no
Thought so Simple but will square with it; at least, we have no Instance
of any such one as yet. The Simplicity of this Scene would be inimitable
for Pastoral; and I think, it shows as great if not a greater Genius,
in the Writing it, than any one in _SHAKESPEAR_. But a Scene so truly
Simple and Innocent cannot well be represented. Besides, what is best
writ is most open to the Ridicule of little Genius's; And more, I doubt,
look upon this Scene in _OTHELLO_ as Comedy, than have a taste of that
sweet Simplicity, that is in it, if we consider the Sentiments only in

Yet must we not carry the Reflection too far, of Pastoral-Writers having
no such thing as the Simple in any of their Thoughts, for there
are passages in Mr. _PHILIPS Pieces_ truly Simple. And 'tis worthy
Observation how beautiful a figure they make, tho' we don't consider
'em as being in a Pastoral. Such is the celebrated one, contain'd in the
last of these Lines.

  _I smooth'd her Coats, and stole a silent Kiss:
  Condemn me Shepherds if I did amiss_.

  _Phllips Past_. 6.

But we have greatly more Simple Thoughts in other Pieces than in
Pastorals. The finest of all which, is this famous one in _OTHELLO_.

  _Why I should fear I know not,
  Since Guiltiness I know not: But yet I feel I fear_.

Yet need we not much wonder at the scarcity of these Simple Thoughts;
since there is nothing requires so great a Genius as finely to touch
the SIMPLE; and the greatest Genius's never attempt Pastoral; it being
a Form so mean, little and trifling, without the Ornaments of Poetry,
FABLE, MANNERS, MORAL, &c. and of a confused Imperfect Nature.


_Of COMPARISONS in Pastoral. And how much our modern Pastoral-Writers
have fail'd therein_.

SIMILIES in Pastoral must be managed with an exceeding deal of Care, or
they will be faulty. As a Poet may range Nature for Comparisons; this
gives a Pastoral-Writer a very easy Opportunity of introducing rural
Thoughts. _VIRGIL_ therefore, and those Swains who have written
Pastorals more by Art and Imitation than Genius, generally heap three
or four SIMILIES together for the same thing; and which is of no Moment;
nor wanted any Comparison.

As I have hinted that _Theocritus_ had a Genius capable of writing a
perfect Set of Pastorals, his Similies are infinitely the best of any
Swain's. The chief Rule, I think, to be observ'd is (if Rules can be
given for such Things as these) that SIMILIES be contain'd in three or
four Words. As this of _PHILIPS_'s.

  _Whilon did I, all as this_ Pop'lar _fair,
  Up-raise my heedless Head devoid of Care_, &c.

Or at most they ahould not exceed a Line. As this is a very Beautiful
one In the same Author. And also in his 1st Pastoral.

  _A Girland, deck't with all the Pride of_ May,
  _Sweet as her Breath, and as her Beauty gay_, &c.

I shall not give my Opinion of the following Similies; yet I might say
that I think 'em not altogether so fine as the foregoing two. Altho'
they contain delightful Images

  _As Milk-white Swans on Silver Streams do show,
  And Silver Streams to grace the Meadows flow;
  As Corn the Vales and Trees the Hills adorn,
  So thou to thine an Ornament was't born_.

  _Past_. 3.

The next relates to the Sweetness of _Colinet_'s Voice.

  _Not half so sweet are Midnight Winds, that move
  In drowsy Murmurs o're the waving Grove;
  Nor dropping Waters, that in Grotts distil,
  And with a tinkling Sound their Caverns fill_.

  _Past_. 4.

Methinks thus dressing a Thought so pompous in SIMILIES, raises so our
Expectation, that we are fit to smile when the last Line comes.

There are also another kind of Similies, which being heapt in the same
manner, seem to be design'd by _VIRGIL_, and those who have taken their
Thoughts from him, rather to fill up Space with somthing Pastoral, than
to be the natural Talk of Shepherds. For Swains are not suppos'd to
retard their Storys by many or long SIMILIES; their Talk comes from the
Heart, Unornamental; but Similies, in Pastoral, are for Ornament. But I
must show what kind of Thoughts I mean, which I also account SIMILIES,
but they have a peculiar Turn given to 'em. I remember but two in Mr.
_PHILIPS_ Pastorals.

  _First then shall lightsome Birds forget to fly,
  The briny Ocean turn to pastures dry,
  And every rapid River cease to flow,
  'Ere I unmindful of_ Menalcas _grow_.

The other is this.

  _While Mallow Kids; and Endive Lambs pursue;
  While Bees love Thyme; and Locusts sip the Dew;_
  _While Birds delight in Woods their Notes to strain,
  Thy Name and sweet Memorial shall remain_.

But now I have given Examples of those Similies which seem faulty; and
quoted at the beginning of the Section, some that are good; I will bring
an Instance of a SIMILIE, which is more delightful to the Fancy than all
these put together; and which show's that _Theocritus_ thought 'twas a
small thing to put down Pastoral Thoughts or Images, if he did not cull
the most pleasurable in Nature. _CREECH_ has translated it very well.
_DAPHNIS_ had conquer'd _MENALCAS_ in Singing.

  _The Boy rejoyc'd, he leap'd with youthful Heat,
  As sucking Colts leap when they swig the Teat;
  The other griev'd, he hung his bashful Head,
  As marry'd Virgins when first laid in Bed_.


_Of imitation; or Stealing Sentiments from the_ ANTIENTS.

If a direct Imitation of the Thoughts of the _Greeks_ and _Romans_,
shows no great Richness of Genius, in any kind of Poetry, in Pastoral
'tis much more to be avoided. If a Hero does sometimes talk out _HOMER_
and _VIRGIL_, 'tis not so shocking, because tis not dissonant to Reason
to suppose such a Person acquainted with Letters and Authors; nor is an
Heroick Poems Essence Simplicity; But if a Modern gives me the Talk of a
Shepherd, and I have seen it almost all before in _THEOCRITUS_, _VIRGIL_
and _SPENCER_, it cannot delight me. For that Poetry pleases the most,
that deceives the most naturally. But how can I, while I am reading a
pastoral, impose upon my self that I am among Swains and in the Country,
if I remember all they say is in _Greek_ and _Roman_ Authors. And few
read _Modern-Writers_ but have read the _Antients_ first. A Shepherd
should speak from his Heart, as if he had no design of Pleasing, but
is prompted to utter all he says: But if in all he says we see an
Imitation, or a Thought stole from other Authors, it destroys all
Simplicity, shows Design and Labour.

Besides, Epick Poetry warms and elevates the Mind, hurries it on with
fury and Violence, which prevents our noting any slight Inacuracy, so as
to be offended by it; but in so cool a Poem as Pastoral, whose design
is to sooth and soften the Mind, we have leasure to consider every
Unnaturalness and every Improbability.

SECT. 2.

_Of_ Soloman'_s Allegorical pastorals; Entitled_ The CANTICLES.

Yet I know not how, tho' 'tis so unnatural to find Thoughts in the
Mouths of Shepherds, which we have observ'd in _THEOCRITUS_ and
_VIRGIL_, yet I am never better pleased than with those Thoughts which
are taken out of the Scripture. Methinks the Thoughts in the CANTICLES
are so exceeding fine for Pastoral that 'tis pity to give 'em any other
Turn than what they have there; and if I did take any of those Pastoral
Sentiments, I would translate the whole Passage as we there find it.

_MILTON_ in his soft Passages has often imitated the Thoughts in the
CANTICLES; and Mr. _PHILIPS_ has taken from thence the hint of the
finest Image but one he has in his Pastorals.

  _Breath soft ye Winds, ye Waters gently flow,
  Shield her ye Trees, ye Flow'rs around her grow,
  Ye Swains, I beg ye pass in silence by,
  My Love in yonder Vale asleep doth lye_.

My not disliking Thoughts taken from the CANTICLES, makes me think that
'tis not so much the Thoughts being stolen from _THEOCRITUS_ or _VIRGIL_
that makes me dislike 'em, as the poor and mean Figure they make in
Poetry. Could Poets take as fine Pastoral Images from the Antients, as
this of _Philips_, I believe no one but would be pleased by 'em, come
from whence they would. But the Thoughts which our Writers take from
the Antients are such, that would they trust their own Genius's, I am
satisfied they would, at least, not have worse, nor more false ones.

I was a little surprized when I first read Mr. _Philips_'s _5th_
Pastoral, (which has the most of a story or Fable of any) how he came
to take the very story which _STRADA_ tell's to show what a Genius
_CLAUDIAN_ had. _OVID_'s _Metamorphoses_ is full of such Fairy and
Romantick Tales, and he might well enough have given a Description of a
Bird's contending with a Man for the Prize in Singing, but methinks 'tis
not wholly probable enough for a Fable in Pastoral.

Now the Cause of my mentioning this in Mr. _PHILIPS_, is to persuade, if
possible, those who shall hereafter engage in Pastoral-Writing to trust
to their own Genius's. By that means we may hope Pastoral will, one
Day, arrive at it's utmost Perfection, which if Writers pretend to go no
farther than the first who undertook it (I mean _THEOCRITUS_) it never
can do. For 'tis no one Genius that can bring any Kind of Poetry to it's
greatest Compleatness. And all know by what slow Steps Epick Poetry,
Tragedy, and Comedy arrived at the Perfection they now bear.

SECT. _Last_.

But now the time of Day drew on, when Cubbin must drive his Heifers to
Water. Sophy therefore withdrew, but promised to be there in the Evening

When the Heat of the Day was over, and the Evening Air began to breath
in a delightful manner, Sophy accordingly appear'd, and setting him on
the Rushes, that esprouted up by the River side, open'd his Book, and
proceeded in the following Manner.

_The End of the Third part_.


CHAP. 1.

_Of the Pastoral Language in general_.

I must here premise, that I intend not here a full and compleat
Discourse on the Pastoral Language; for that would take up a Volume. But
I would recommend it to some other Hand; for I know nothing that would
be more acceptable to the Letter'd World than an Enquiry into the Nature
of the _English_ Language.

But there is no Dialect or Part of our Language so little understood,
as that which relates to Pastoral; nor none (not even the Sublime) so
difficult to write. Of all who have attempted Pastoral in our Tongue, no
one (but _SPENCER_) has gone so far as even the weakening and enervating
their Dialect; yet after that is perform'd, a Pastoral-Writer has gone
but half way; for after the Strength is taken away, a Tenderness and
Simplicity of Expression must supply its Place, or else 'tis only bald
and low, instead of Soft and Sweet.

_Spencer_'s Language is what supports his Pastorals; for I can maintain,
that he has not above one Sentiment in fifteen but is either false, or
taken from the Antients, throughout his Pastorals. The greatest
Defect in his Language is it's want of Softness. He has introduced a
sufficient, or perhaps too great a Number, of Old-Words. But they are
promiscuously used. He took not the Pains to form his Dialect before
he wrote his Pastorals, by which means he has used more rough and harsh
Old-Words, than Smooth and Agreeable Ones. They are used where our
common Words were infinitely more Soft and Musical. As _What gar's thee
Greet?_ For, _What makes thee Grieve?_ How Harsh and Grating is the
Sound of _SPENCER_'s two Words, But Instances were endless. He is the
more blamable, because there are full enough Old-Words to render a
Dialect Rustick and Uncommon of the most sweet and delightful Sound
imaginable. As _ween_ or _weet_, for _think_; _yclepen_, for _call'd_,
and the like. These being so tender and soft, render the Language of
Pastoral infinitely more tender also, than any common Words, now in use,
can do.


_How to attain to the_ Soft _in Writing_.

That a Shepherd should talk in a different Dialect from other People, is
allow'd by all. That the Pastoral Language should be soft and agreeable
is equally past dispute. The only remaining Question then is, what it is
that composes such a Dialect, and how to attain it.

In order to compose a Pastoral Dialect entirely perfect; the first
thing, I think, a Writer has to do, is, as we said before, to enervate
it and deprive it of all strength.

As for the manner of enervating a Language, it must be perform'd by the
Genius of the Poet, and not shown by a Critick. However when the Thing
is done, 'tis not difficult to see what chiefly effected it. There are,
I think, _Cubbin_, two Things that principally enervate your Language.

_First_, 'Tis perform'd by throwing out all Words that are _Sonorous_
and raise a _Verse_. Mr. _PHILIPS_ comes the nearest to a Pastoral
Language of any English Swain but _Spencer_. And he has truly enervated
his Language in four several Lines. One of which is the last of these

  _Ye Swains, I beg ye pass in silence by;
  My Love in yonder Vale asleep doth lye_.

The Word Doth, is what enervates the last Line. But 'twould be still
better enervated if Mr. _Philips_ had used only such Words as have very
few Consonants in them. For by Consonants, joyn'd with the Vowel O, a
Writer may render his Language, in Epick Poetry, just as Sonorous as he
will; and by the want of Consonants and by delighting in the other soft
Vowels he may render it weak. I cannot see that Mr. _PHILIPS_ has any
Line where the Language is wholly enervated. But see how _Spencer_ has
done this. Especially in the second of these Lines.

  _The gentle Shepherd sate beside a Spring.
  All in the Shadow of a Bushy Breer. &c_.

In this last Line, there is but one Word end's with a Consonant, where
the following Word begin's with one. But a Writer, who is perfectly
Master of his Language, will be able to have every Line like this; and
no Word more strong than Evening, Rivulet, and the like, will he be
forc'd to use.

_Secondly_, The Language is by nothing more weaken'd, than by the use of
Monisyllables. This no one ever had the least Notion of but _Spencer_.
Which I wonder has not been observed, 'tis so very palpable in him. What
makes the finess of these Lines else?

  _All as the Sheep such was the Shepherd's look,
  For pale and wan he was (alas the while!)
  May seem he lov'd, or also some Care he took,
  Well could he tune his Pipe and form his Stile_.

  Past. 1.

Here is but two Words for four Lines, except Monosyllables.

The best Lines in _PHILIPS_, for the Language, are these, where
Monosyllables reign.

       ..._Fine gain at length, I trow,
  To hoard up to my self such deal of Woe!_

And the last of these; for the first is rough thro' too many Consonants.

  _A lewd Desire strange Lands and Swains to know:
  Ah Gad! that ever I should covet Woe!_  Past. 2.

There are other Methods, I see, Cubbin, you have taken to enervate your
Language; too minute and too numerous to recite, but they are easily, I
think, observ'd, if a Person peruses the Pastoral Writers with Care.

When our Dialect is thus render'd weak and low, we must then add to
it, (in order to render it as pleasant as a Dialect that is not low and
mean) Simplicity, Softness and Rusticity. This is perform'd principally
by these three things. By Old-Terms; by Turns of Words, and Phrazes; and
by Compound Words. Of all which I shall crave leave to treat distinctly.
And first of Ancient Terms.

SECT. 2.

_Of Old-Words_.

When first I look'd into _Chaucer_. I thought him the most dry insipid
Writer I ever saw. And there is indeed nothing very valuable in either
his Images or Thoughts; but after a Person is accustom'd to his manner
of Writing and his Stile, there is something of Simplicity in his Old
Language, inimitably sweet and pleasing. If 'tis thus in _Chaucer_,
in Pastoral such a Language is vastly more delightful. For we expect
something very much out of the Way, when we come among Shepherds; and
how can the Language of Shepherds be made to differ from that of other
Persons, if they use not Old-Words?

'Tis very remarkable that all our greatest Poets whose Works will
live to Eternity, have introduced into their Language Old-Words; as
_Shakespear_, _Spencer_, _Milton_. _Dryden_ also, whose Genius was much
inferiour to those Writers; has used some few. And _Ben. Johnson_ (tho'
he lived at the same time with _Shakespear, Spencer, &c_.) whose Genius
was yet meaner than _Dryden_, has not one Old-Word.

Ancient Terms were doubtless a great disadvantage, especially to
_Spencer_, when his Works appear'd first in the World; but he had a Soul
large enough to write rather for Posterity, than present Applause.
He took so excessive a delight in the Old Language of his admired
_Chaucer_, that he could not help, in some measure, imitating it.

Our greatest Writers having all given into an Ancient Dialect, would
almost encline us of the present Age, to think of making their
Language a standing Language; for Queen _Elizabeth_'s Age is to us what
_Augustus_'s was to the _Latins_; we must never hope to have so many
noble Genius's adorn any one Age for the future; I might have said, any
twenty Ages. Therefore if any _English_ Dialect survives to the
World's End, 'twill certainly be theirs; and 'twill be prudence in any
After-writer to draw his Language as near to theirs as possible; that if
theirs are understood a thousand Years hence, his may too.

But to leave the Consideration of Old-Words in Epick Poetry and Tragedy,
let us proceed to Pastoral. There are several Advantages flow from the
Use of Old-Words, but I have time to mention but two or three.

There is a Spirit and a Liveliness of Expression to be preserv'd in
Pastoral as well as other Poetry; now I affirm that 'tis impossible
to perform this without Old-Words; unless a Writer make Shepherds talk
Sublimely, and with Passion, as in Tragedies.

Again, if a Writer has a Genius for Pastoral he will have some Thoughts
occur so inimitably Simple, that they would appear ridiculous in the
Common Language; and 'tis necessary that the Language should answer to
the Thought. These are the finest Thoughts of all for pastoral.

There are also several Thoughts which, tho' extreamly agreeable to
the simple Innocence of young Country Girls, will appear too luscious,
unless the Simplicity and Rusticity of the Speaker appear's, by the
Old Language spoken. But we smile at a Thought in such simple Language,
which perhaps we shall nauseate in a polite Dialect.

But one of the greatest Advantages of Old-Words, is, that they afford
the Writer so fine an Opportunity of rendring his Language most
inimitably soft and smooth. This cannot be done by any other Means; and
how proper soft and simple Language is to Pastoral (at least where
the Characters are Young, Tender, and Innocent) I need not say. As for
VIRGIL and those Pastoral Writers who seem not to aim at Simplicity
in either their Characters or Sentiments, the using of Old-Words is
entirely different with regard to them. To see a Sentiment, which would
as well become any other Person as a Shepherd, dress'd in the Simplicity
of an Ancient Dialect, would appear nothing but Affectation. We are
used to see such Sentiments in another Dress. Nay, were their Thoughts
Simple, 'twould not be agreeable for them to use Old-Words, unless the
whole Turn of their Language was answerable to it; to have a common,
ordinary Language, with Old-Words scatter'd through it, is a mixt
confused Language, and what is very expressively named by our Word
Hodge-podge. 'Tis not enough therefore, for the forming a pastoral
Language to use Old-Words; a Writer must set down, and by true Pains and
Industry constitute a Language entirely of a piece and consistant;
in performing which the choicest Old-Words will be of some little

If I might advise you, Cubbin, I would have you always write Pastorals
in either such a Language as this, entirely uniform and of a piece, or
else to write in a strong polite Language. Never write any single thing
in a low and mean Language. Polite Language is only faulty with respect
to it's being in Pastoral; but low Language is in it's own Nature
faulty. The first is only unnatural; the latter is stupid and dull.
Therefore unless you resolve to go quite thro', never weaken or enervate
your Pastoral Language at all. Unless you resolve to add Simplicity
and Softness, to supply the place of Strength, never rob it of it's
Strength. It had better have strength and Sprightliness and Politeness
than Nothing.

The best Way is that which Sir _Philip Sidney_ has taken, to suppose
your Swains to live in the _Golden-Age_, and to be above the ordinary
Degree of Shepherds, for Kings Sons and Daughters, were then of
that Employ. And upon this Supposition to make 'em talk in a polite,
delightful and refined Dialect. By this Means you will disable the
Criticks at once.

But perhaps some may expect that I should vindicate the Use of
Old-Words, on my own Account. But for that Reason I am the more careless
in touching the Subject; because I would leave the World to a free and
unbias'd Judgment of what I have done. Nor is this an Age, indeed, to
begin to vindicate Old-Words in. The Method has been approv'd of in all
Ages even in Epick Poetry and Tragedy, and should we go now to defend it
in Pastoral? A Friend indeed of _SPENCER_'s wrote a Vindication of his
Old-Words, but had _SPENCER_ been living be would doubtless have been
ashamed of it's appearing in the World. 'Tis the Opinion of the best
Judges that the Old-Words used by Mr. _Row_, even In the Tragedy of
_JANE SHORE_ are a great Beauty to that Piece. And those who have
objected against _SALLUST_ for affecting Old-Words, have made nothing
out. Tho' History is to deliver plainly Matters of Fact, and not to
flourish, and beautify it's self with foreign Ornaments, as Poetry is.
There are not so many disapprove of _SALLUST_'s Old-Words, as commend
him for adding a Majesty and Solemness to his Writings thereby.

I might add (were there occasion for vindicating Old-Words) that we
have render'd our _English_ Language unexpressive and bare of Words, by
throwing out several useful Old-Words; as _Freundina_ a _She-Friend_;
_Theowin_ a _She-Servant_, &c. But as no one has shewn Old-Words to
be faulty, for so many hundred Years, 'twould be folly to trouble the
Reader with a Vindication of 'em, at this Day. The only Question is,
whether an Author has chose the Softest and Finest; or has shown by his
Choice the weakness of his Judgment.

SECT. 3.

_Of Compound Words_.

Another thing which occasions Softness in the Pastoral Language, if
rightly managed, is the use of Compound Words. But there is nothing
requires a greater Genius than to form Beautiful Compound Words in Epick
Poetry, or more Exactness and Labour in Pastoral. In Epick Poetry 'tis
absurd to make a Compound Word, unless it helps forward the Sence; and
in Pastory, it must add to the Softness of the Dialect, and in some
measure assist the Thought, yet it need not do it so much as in Epick
Poetry; where a Writer of Genius will form such Compound Words as will
each contain as much as a whole Line. As may be seen in _Homer_, and
the _Greek_ Poets, especially. Among the _English_, _Milton_'s are often
very fine.

  _Brandish'd aloft the horrid Edge came down,

The Compound Words, in Pastory, must be so easy and natural, as scarce
to be observ'd from the other Language. They must run easy and smooth,
and glide off the Tongue, and that will occasion their not being
observ'd in the reading.

A Pastoral Writer will often be able, if he gives an Image in one
Line, by a Compound Word in that Line to give another Image, or
another Thought as full and as fine an one as that which the whole
Line contains. But as this and the like Observations cannot be
well understood without Instances quoted, I shall leave 'em to the
Observation of those who intend to engage in Pastoral Writing; for that
and nothing else, will put 'em upon a thorough Search into the Springs
and Rules by which all former Pastoral Writers have excell'd.

SECT. 4.

_Of Turns of Words and Phrazes_.

Another help to Softness, and the very greatest Beauty of all in the
Pastoral Language, is, a handsome use of Phrazes. This must depend
entirely on the Genius of the Writers, for there is no one Rule can be
given for the attaining thereto. A Person who writes now may imitate
_Ovid_ and _Spencer_ in this particular (if he can submit his Fancy
to Imitation) and that is all the Assistance he can have. As for
rural Phrazes, there are not above half a dozen in all the Counties or
Dialects that I am acquainted with.

All that we can do on this Head, is to leave the Reader to Observation.
For I confess that I do not so much as know how I came by those few
I myself have, farther than that by use and practising in an Uncommon
Dialect, I happen'd on 'em at Unawares.

However I may quote those which are the very finest of any in _Spencer_.
Who is the only Writer in our Language that ever attempted tender
Phrazes or Turns of Words. Yet there are two such Passages in _Creech_'s
_Theocritus_, which I will also quote.

  _All as the Sheep, such was the Shepherd's Look;
  For pale and wan he was (alas the while!)_ &c.

And again.

  _Ye Gods of Love, who pity Lover's Pain.
  (If any Gods the Pain of Lovers pity)_ &c.

And again.

  _A simple Shepherd Born in_ Arcady,
  _Of gentlest Blood that ever Shepherd bore_, &c.

Such beautiful Turns of Words as these are extremely scarce in
_Spencer_; but he has not one but what is inimitably fine and natural.

Let us now see the two Phrazes which _Creech_ has happen'd upon.
Whose Language I have observ'd to be infinitely the best of any of our
Pastoral writers, next to Spencer. This is one of them. A Shepherdess
says to a persuading Swain.

  _You will deceive, you Men are all Deceit;
  And we so willing to believe the Cheat_.

The other is this, to Diana; when she consents.

  _I liv'd your Vot'ry, but no more can live_.


_The Tender in Pastory distinguish'd from that in Epick poetry or

'Tis strange to me that our Pastoral Writers should make no Distinction
between their SOFT when they write Pastories, and when they write Epick
Poetry. This in _Philips_ is the Epick Softness, or what we call the
Beautiful sometimes in Epick Poetry in Opposition to the Sublime.

  _Breath soft ye Winds, ye Waters gently flow;
  Shield her ye Trees, ye Flow'rs around her grow_, &c.

And this which also is the Sixth Pastory.

  _Once_ Delia _lay, on easy Moss reclin'd,
  Her lovely Limbs half bare, and rude the Wind_, &c.

This also is of the same kind of SOFT.

  _A Girland deckt in all the Pride of May,
  Sweet as her Breath, and as her Beauty Gay_, &c.

But Instances were endless. In Opposition to this kind of Soft, I shall
quote out of _Spencer_ some Passages which have the truest Softness.
For such that Author has, beyond any in the World, tho' perhaps not very
often. He begins his last Pastory thus.

  _A gentle Shepherd sate besides a Spring,
  All in the shadow of a bushy Breer_, &c.

And his first he begins thus.

  _A Shepherd's Boy (no better do him call)_ &c.

His Pastoral named _Colin Clout's come home_, begins thus.

  _The Shepherd-boy (best known by that Name)
  Who after TITYRUS first sang his Lay,
  Lays of sweet Love, without Rebuke or Blow,
  Sate, as his manner was, upon a Day_, &c.

These Lines of _Spencer_ and those of _Philips_, both contain agreeable
Images and Thoughts, yet are they as different as _Milton_ and

I shall only make one Observation on this difference. Namely, that in
the soft and beautiful Lines of _Philips_, each Word, only signifies a
soft and beautiful Idea; As _Breath, Waters, Flow, Gently, Soft_, &c.
but in _Spencer_ the sound also is soft. Had such an Author dress'd this
inimitable Thought of _Philips_, the Line would have glided as smooth
and easy off the Tongue, as the Waters he mentions, do along the


_That no Language is so fit for Pastoral as the English_.

I have before observed, that this softness is effected, among other
things by little Words; yet I cannot help observing here, that our
Language is infinitely the finest of any in the World for Pastoral, and
it's abounding so much in little Words is one Reason of it. The Pomps
and Stateliness of the Latin Lines could not have been made proper for
Pastoral, unless entirely alter'd, and 'tis not likely that a Genius
daring enough to do that would engage in Pastoral.

The _Romans_ had not a Particle, as we have, before their
_Substantives_; As _A_ and _The Tree_. Seldom used a Word before the
Verbs; as _He goes_, _They go_. Nor had they our _Doth_ and _Does_;
without which no _Englishman_ could form a Pastoral Language. As the
sweet Simplicity of that Line, I have just quoted, is occasion'd by
nothing else.

  _A Shepherd-boy (no better do him call_.)

The _Greek_ Language was greatly more fit for Pastoral than the _Latin_.
Among other Reasons, because the former had so many Particles; and could
render their Language uncommon, by their different Dialects, and by
their various Methods of changing, and of compounding Words. Which no
Language will admit of in an equal degree, besides the _English_. But
then the _Greek_ Language is too sonorous for Pastoral. Give me leave to
show the inimitable softness and sweetness of the _English_ Tongue, only
by instancing in one Word. Which will also show how copious a Language
ours is. I know but three Words the _Greeks_ had to express the Word Lad
or Swain by: [Greek: Agrikôs, Poimruos; and Bôkolos]; and how sonorous
are they all. We have six; Swain, Boy, Shepherd, Youth, Stripling, Lad;
and how inimitably soft is the sound of 'em all.

_Theocritus_ has more Turns of Words or Phrazes than _Spencer_; yet he
could in none of 'em come up to _Spencer_'s smoothness and simplicity
in his Numbers. As I quoted only the Phrazes of my Country-men In the
Chapter on that Head; I will here put down the finest in Theocritus,
tho' I cannot say indeed that he has any but in his first Pastoral.

[Greek: Archete boukolikas Moisai philai harchet haoithas. Thursis hod
hôx Ahitnas, kai Thursidos adea phôna. Pa pok had êsth, oka Daphnis
etaketo, pa poka Numphai;]

The finest of these Lines (and the softest but one that I remember thro'
all his Pieces) is the middle one; it is most incorrigibly translated
by _Creech_: tho' I blame him not for it, because of the difficulty of
inventing fine Phrazes, much more of translating those of other Men,
into Rhime; for which Reason _Creech_ has not attempted to give us any
of _Theocritus_'s Turns of Words.


_That there may be several sorts of Pastorals_.

To conclude this Essay, as there are Tempers and Genius's of all sorts,
so perhaps it may not be amiss to allow Writings of all sorts too. I
think every Person's Aim should be to be subserving as much as possible,
to the Delight and Amusement of his Fellow-Creatures. And if any can
take pleasure in what is really not pleasant, 'tis pity, methinks, to
rob 'em of it. Yet if there is in nature a Method which pursued will be
still more delightful, the Critick is to be observed who points out the
Way thereto.

If any of my Countrymen therefore can take delight from reading the
Pastorals of _Theocritus_ and _Virgil_, or any of those who have
imitated those two Ancients, I shall be ready to allow that there may
be several sorts of Pastorals. 'Tis certain that _Milton_ and _Homer_,
(thro' the Scene of the Former lying about the Sphere of Men) are as
different as _East_ from _West_, yet both excellent. Tragedy has
as different sorts as Epick-Poetry; Nor are _Julius Caesar_ and the
_Orphan_ of the same Nature. The same difference in Tragedy, is between
all those, whose Chief CHARACTER is a Hero, and those that draw a
Female, as _Jane Shore_, the Lady _Jane Gray_, _and the like_, are to me
entirely different from _Shakespear's_, not respecting the Excellency of
'em. _Shakespear_ having a Genius made for the Sublime, and perhaps Mr.
_Row_ rather for the Soft and Tender; as appears in two Passages at the
End of _JANE SHORE_. Which in my Judgment are not much excell'd by even
_Otway_ himself.

Since I have mention'd that Author, I can't help remarking how difficult
a thing it is for any Person to know what his own Genius is fittest for;
and how great a Chance it is whether ever a Writer comes to know it.
Tho' _Otway_ had so fine a Genius for the TENDER, it never appear'd till
a little before he dyed. Thro' all his Plays we cannot trace even
the least Glimpse of it, till his two last, _The Orphan_ and _Venice
Preserv'd_. But we run the Digression too far.

SECT. 2.

_What Kind of Pastorals would please most Universally; and delight the
greatest Number of Readers_.

For my own Part, as I said, I could be delighted with any Kind of
Pastoral, if the Writer would but be at the Pains of selecting the
most beautiful Images, and tenderest Thoughts. This is the first and
principal Matter. Yet this might be perform'd by a moderate Capacity,
without a Genius born for Tragedy.

Would a Person but form a delightful Story, invent new and uncommon and
pleasing Characters, and furnish his Mind with a small Number of fine
Images from the Country, before he sate down to write his Pieces, He
would not fail of Success. But if Writers will only put down a parcel
of common triffling Thoughts from _Theocritus_ and _Virgil_, nor will so
much as aim at any thing themselves, can you blame me Cubbin, if I throw
'em aside. Let 'em have a thousand Faults, I can be pleas'd by 'em,
if they have but Beauties with 'em; nor will you ever hear me blame
_Shakespear_ for his Irregularity. And Pastoral is delightful to me in
it's own Nature, that were these Authors to employ but my Mind in any
manner, I should have Patience to peruse 'em.

But if these Authors were unwilling to be at the Pains of forming a
pleasant Story themselves, they might go upon little Tales already
known, such as, _The Two Children in the Wood_, and a thousand others
inimitably pretty and delightful.

And had we a Set of such Pastorals as these, I am satisfied they would
take extreamly. More Cubbin, perhaps than yours ever will; because
perfect Pastories are directed only to Persons of Reading and Judgment.
But you cannot I suppose satisfie your own Mind, unless you write up to
what you judge the Standard of Perfection in every sort of Writing.


_Notes on the Text_.

It was impractical to issue Purney's _Enquiry_ in facsimile because
of the blurred condition of the photostats. This reprint follows the
original text faithfully, with the following exceptions: the long
"s" and the double "v" are modernized; small capitals, which appear
frequently in the 1717 version, are reduced to lower-case letters; a few
very slight typographical errors have been silently corrected. On page
40, line 1, _thoroughly_ reads _throughly_ in the original; and the
three lines of Greek on p. 70, somewhat garbled in the original, are
given in corrected form.




  _General Editors_



    Students, scholars, and bibliographers of literature, history,
    and philology will find the publications valuable. _The
    Johnsonian News Letter_ has said of them: "Excellent facsimiles,
    and cheap in price, these represent the triumph of modern
    scientific reproduction. Be sure to become a subscriber; and
    take it upon yourself to see that your college library is on the
    mailing list."

    The Augustan Reprint Society is a non-profit, scholarly
    organization, run without overhead expense. By careful
    management it is able to offer at least six publications each
    year at the unusually low membership fee of $2.50 per year in
    the United States and Canada, and $2.75 in Great Britain and the

    Libraries as well as individuals are eligible for membership.
    Since the publications are issued without profit, however, no
    discount can be allowed to libraries, agents, or booksellers.

    New members may still obtain a complete run of the first year's
    publications for $2.50, the annual membership fee.

    During the first two years the publications are issued in three
    series: I. Essays on Wit; II. Essays on Poetry and Language; and
    III. Essays on the Stage.


  MAY, 1946: Series I, No. 1--Richard, Blackmore's _Essay upon Wit_
             (1716), and Addison's _Freeholder_ No. 45

  JULY, 1946: Series II, No. 1--Samuel Cobb's _Of Poetry_ and
              _Discourse on Criticism_ (1707).

  SEPT., 1946: Series III, No. 1--Anon., _Letter to A. H. Esq.;
               concerning the Stage_ (1698), and Richard Willis'
               _Occasional Paper_ No. IX (1698).

  Nov., 1946: Series I, No. 2--Anon., _Essay on Wit_ (1748),
              together with Characters by Flecknoe, and Joseph
              Warton's _Adventurer_ Nos. 127 and 133.

  JAN., 1947: Series II, No. 2--Samuel Wesley's _Epistle to a
              Friend Concerning Poetry_ (1700) and _Essay on
              Heroic Poetry_ (1693).

  MARCH, 1947: Series III, No. 2--Anon., _Representation of the
               Impiety and Immorality of the Stage_ (1704) and
               anon., Some _Thoughts Concerning the Stage_


  MAY, 1947: Series I, No. 3--John Gay's _The Present State of
             Wit_; and a section on Wit from _The English
             Theophrastus_. With an Introduction by Donald Bond.

  JULY, 1947: Series II, No. 3--Rapin's _De Carmine Pastorali_,
              translated by Creech. With an Introduction by J.E.

  SEPT., 1947: Series III, No. 3--T. Hanmer's (?) _Some Remarks on
               the Tragedy of Hamlet_. With an Introduction by
               Clarence D. Thorpe.

  Nov., 1947: Series I, No. 4--Corbyn Morris' _Essay towards
              Fixing the True Standards of Wit, etc_. With an
              Introduction by James L. Clifford.

  JAN., 1948: Series II, No. 4--Thomas Purney's _Discourse on the
              Pastoral_. With an Introduction by Earl Wasserman.

  MARCH, 1948: Series III, No. 4--Essays on the Stage, selected,
               with an Introduction by Joseph Wood Krutch.

    The list of publications is subject to modification in response
    to requests by members. From time to time Bibliographical
    Notes will be included in the issues. Each issue contains an
    Introduction by a scholar of special competence in the field

    The Augustan Reprints are available only to members. They will
    never be offered at "remainder" prices.


  RICHARD C. BOYS, _University of Michigan_
  EDWARD NILES HOOKER, _University of California, Los Angeles_
  H.T. SWEDENBERG, JR., _University of California, Los Angeles_


  EMMET L. AVERY, _State College of Washington_
  LOUIS I. BREDVOLD, _University of Michigan_
  BENJAMIN BOYCE, _University of Nebraska_
  CLEANTH BROOKS, _Louisiana State University_
  JAMES L. CLIFFORD, _Columbia University_
  ARTHUR FRIEDMAN, _University of Chicago_
  SAMUEL L. MONK, _University of Minnesota_
  JAMES SUTHERLAND, _Queen Mary College, London_

       *       *       *       *       *

Address communications to any of the General Editors. British and
Continental subscriptions should be sent to

  B.H. Blackwell
  Broad Street
  Oxford, England

       *       *       *       *       *

_Please enroll me as a member of the Augustan Reprint Society_.

  _I enclose the membership fee for the second year_ (1947-1948).
                         _the first and second year_ (1946-1948).


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