Imágenes de páginas

No tuneful voice is heard of joy or love,
But mournful filence faddens all the grove.
Unhappy Italy! whofe alter'd state

Has felt the worst severity of Fate :

Not that Barbarian hands her Fafces broke,

And bow'd her haughty neck beneath their yoke;
Nor that her palaces to earth are thrown,
Her cities defart, and her fiel's unfown;
But that her ancient Spirit is decay'd,


That facred Wisdom from her bounds is fled, That there the fource of Science flows no more, Whence its rich ftreams fupply'd the world before.


Illuftrious Names! that once in Latium fhin'd, Born to inftruct, and to command Mankind; Chiefs, by whofe Virtue mighty Rome was rais'd, And Poets, who thofe chiefs fublimely prais'd! Oft I the traces you have left explore, Your afhes vifit, and your urns adore; Oft kifs, with lips devout, fome mould'ring ftone, With ivy's venerable fhade o'ergrown ; 'Those hallow'd ruins better pleas'd to fee Than all the pomp of modern Luxury.

[ocr errors]


As late on Virgil's tomb fresh flow'rs I ftrow'd, While with th' infpiring Mufe my bofom glow'd, Crown'd with eternal bays my ravish'd eyes Beheld the Poet's awful Form arise: Stranger, he faid, whofe pious hand has paid These grateful rites to my attentive fhade, When thou shalt breathe thy happy native air, To Pope this meffage from his Mafter bear: Great Bard, whose numbers I myself inspire, To whom I gave my own harmonious lyre,



If high exalted on the Throne of Wit,
Near Me and Homer thou aspire to fit,
No more let meaner Satire dim the rays
That flow majeftic from thy nobler Bays;
In all the flow'ry paths of Pindus ftray,
But fhun that thorny, that unpleafing way;
Nor, when each soft engaging Muse is thine,
Addrefs the least attractive of the Nine.




Of thee more worthy were the task, to raise A lafting Column to thy Country's Praise, To fing the Land, which yet alone can boast That Liberty corrupted Rome has loft ; Where Science in the arms of Peace is laid, And plants her Palm beneath the Olive's fhade. Such was the Theme for which my lyre I ftrung, Such was the People whofe exploits I fung; Brave, yet refin'd, for Arms and Arts renown'd, With diff'rent bays by Mars and Phoebus crown'd, Dauntless oppofers of Tyrannic Sway,

But pleas'd, a mild AUGUSTUS to obey.

If these commands fubmiffive thou receive,
Immortal and unblam'd thy name fhall live;
Envy to black Cocytus fhall retire,

And howl with Furies in tormenting fire;
Approving Time shall confecrate thy Lays,
And join the Patriot's to the Poet's Praise.





Difcourfe on PASTORA L.

Written in the Year M DCC IV.

Rura mihi et rigui placeant in vallibus amnes,
Flumina amem, fylvafque, inglorius !


[blocks in formation]




3. I




HERE are not, I believe, a greater number of any fort of verfes than of thofe which are called Paftorals; nor a fmaller, than of thofe which are truly fo.It therefore feems neceffary to give fome account of this kind of Poem, and it is my defign to comprize in this fhort paper the fubftance of thofe numerous differtations the Critics have made on the fubject, without omitting any of their rules in my own favour. You will alfo find fome points, reconciled, about which they seem to differ, and a few remarks, which, I think, have efcaped their obfervation.

The original of Poetry is afcribed to that Age which fucceeded the creation of the world: and as' the keeping of flocks feems to have been the firft; employment of mankind, the moft ancient fort of poetry was probably pastoralt. It is natural to ima-! gine, that the leifure of thofe ancient fhepherds admitting and inviting fome diverfron, none was fo proper to that folitary and fedentary life, as finging; and that in their fongs they took occafion to celebrate their own felicity. From hence a Poem was in


* Written at fixteen years of age. P.
+ Fontenelle's Difc. on Paftorals.
B 2


« AnteriorContinuar »