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ed. Dryden's versification, however, has very great merit; and, like all his productions, has much spirit, mixed with carelessness. If not so smooth and correct as Pope's, it is, however, more varied and easy. He subjects himself less to the rule of closing the sense with the couplet; and frequently takes the liberty of making his couplets run into one another, with somewhat of the freedom of blank verse.
QUESTIONS. On what has our author now finish- music of the song? What was the eared his observations; and what remains? Ily character of these members; but As what does our author design this what followed ? From what has been lecture; and in what manner does said, what appears? From what does he propose to treat it? What is our it appear that they knew no other than first inquiry? Of the answer to this these? What, therefore, follows? What question, what is observed ? In what farther reason is there why such comhave some made its essence to consist, positions only, could be transmitted to and by what authority do they support posterity? How is this illustrated ? their opinion? How does it appear that What bear testimony to these facts; this is too limited a definition? Why is, and of this remark, what illustrations it too loose to make the characteristics follow ? How does it appear, that, in of poetry lie in imitation? What is the the same manner, among all other namost just and comprehensive definition tions, poets and songs are the first obwhich can be given of poetry? How is jects that make their appearance ? this definition fully illustrated? What From this deduction, what follows; has our author added to this definition; and why? What occur among all naand why? How nearly do verse and tions; and what are the general disprose approach each other; and what tinguishing characters of all the most remarks follow ? From what will the ancient original poetry? Of that strong truth and justness of the definition hyperbolical manner, which we have given, appear? To whom have the long been accustomed to call the orienGreeks ascribed the origin of poetry ? tal manner of poetry, what is obserOf such persons as these, what is re- ved? When do mankind most resemble marked ? To imagine what, is a great each other? What is the effect of its error; and why? In order to explore subsequent revolutions ? What influthe rise of poetry, to what must we ence has diversity of climate, and have recourse? What has been often manners of living, on the first poetry of said ? What period of society never nations? Of this remark, what illusexisted? What'illustration, then, of the trations are given? Repeat the passage paradox, that poetry is older than prose, from Lucan. From what does it apfollows ? Where, only, have we had an pear that the early poetry of the Greopportunity of being made acquainted cian nations assumed a philosophical with men in their savage state? Of cast? Who have always bee.? the them, what do we learn from concur- greatest poets of the east; and among ring accounts of travellers? Here, then, them, of what was poetry the vehicle ? in what do we see the beginnings of of the ancient Arabs, what are we inpoetic composition ? What two parti-formed? Of what two sorts were they?. culars would early distinguish this Of the former, what is observed ? Who language of song ? How is this illus- seem to have been the first who introtrated ? What influence do strong emo- duced a more regular structure, and tions exert over the passions; and what closer connexion of parts, into their do we, consequently, do? Hence, what poetical writings? What was the state arises? What is man by nature; and of poetry during its infancy? In the how is this remark illustrated? What, progress of society and arts, what did therefore, follows? As the first poets they begin to assume ? But in the first sung their own verses. of what was this rude state of poetical effusions, what may the beginning? What fell in with the easily be discerned ? How is this re
mark illustrated? Of all of these kinds What is remarked of this accent? How of poetry, however, what is observed ? is this illustrated ? Of what structure is What, also, was then blended in one our English heroic verse? With regard mass? How is this illustrated ? In to the place of these accents, what rewhat period of society was this the marks are made ? What is another escase? When was this order changed? sential circumstance in the construc
What effect was produced by the in- tion of our verse ? In what other verse vention of the art of writing? What is it found? Of its use in French, what effect did this produce on the histo- is observed; and by what example is rian, the philosopher, and the orator? | this illustrated ? On French verses, What did poetry now become? What what is farther remarked ? On the was the effect of these separations ? other hand, what is a distinguishing From what, however, does it appear advantage of our English verse ? After that poetry, in its ancient, original con- what syllables may the pause fall, and dition, was perhaps more vigorous than what remark follows? By this means, it is in its modern state? What, there-what are added to English versificafore, is not to be wondered at ? When tion? What effect is produced, when did authors begin to affect what they the pause falls earliest, or after the did not feel; and what was the conse-fourth syllable? By what example is quence? Of the separation of music this illustrated? When the pause falls from poetry, what is remarked ? How after the fifth syllable, what is its efis this remark illustrated ? Of the mu- fect, and what does the verse then sic, and of the musical instruments of lose? Repeat the example. When that early period, what is observed; the pause follows the sixth syllable, and what follows? What is certain ? what air does the tenour of the music When did music lose all its ancient assume ? By what example is this ilpower of inflaming the hearers with lustrated ? But when does the grave, strong emotions; and into what did it solemn cadence, become still more sensink? What does poetry, in all nations, sible ? Of this kind of verse, what is still preserve ? Whence arises that observed; and what example is given ? great characteristic of poetry which we Why has our author taken his examnow call verse? Why does our author ples from verses in rhyme ? Of blank confine himself to a few observations verse, what is here observed? With upon English versification ? Upon regard to our verse, what have some what did nations, whose language and maintained This, in the opinion of pronunciation were of a musical kind, our author, is the same thing as what; rest their versification ? Upon what did and why? To what is this apprehendothers, who did not make the quantities ed to be contrary; and for what reaof their syllables so distinctly perceived son? How are blank verse and rhyme in pronouncing them, rest them ? The contrasted? With what opinion does former was the case with whom, and our author coincide, yet, in what inwith whom is the latter? Among the vectives can he not join? Why might Greeks and Romans, of every syllable, rhyme be barbarous in Latin or Greck what is remarked ? Úpon this principle, verse ? But what does not, therefore, to wh: t extent was the number of syl-| follow? How are these remarks illuslables contained in their hexameter trated ? How does it appear to be rot verse, allowed to vary? In order to true, that rhyme is merely a monkish ascertain the regular time of every invention ? What do these instances verse, what were invented ? By these show; and what remark follows? Of measures, what were tried ? How is the present form of our English rhyme, this illustrated? Why would the intro- in couplets, what is observed? What duction of these feet into English verse, measure was generally used in the be entirely out of place? What illus-days of Queen Elizabeth; and what is tration of this remark follows? With observed of it? Who first brought courwhat words is this the case? Of the dif- lets into vogue; and who established ference, in general, made between long the usage? Of them, what is farther and short syllables, in our manner of remarked ? What is the character of pronouncing them, what is observed ? Mr. Pope's versification? How does From what does the only perceptible Dryden compare with him ? difference, among our syllables, arise ?!
1. The definition of poetry.
A. English versification,
when differently placed.
(d.) After the seventh syllable.
PASTORAL POETRY.-LYRIC POETRY.
In the last lecture, I gave an account of the rise and progress of poetry, and made some observations on the nature of English versification. I now proceed to treat of the chief kinds of poetical composition, and of the critical rules that relate to them. I shall follow that order which is most simple and natural; beginning with the lesser forms of poetry, and ascending from them to the epic and dramatic, as the most dignified. This lecture shall be employed on pastoral and lyric poetry.
Though I begin with the consideration of pastoral poetry, it is not because I consider it as one of the earliest forms of poetical composition. On the contrary, I am of opinion that it was not cultivated as a distinct species, or subject of writing, until society had advanced in refinement. Most authors have, indeed, indulged the fancy, that because the life which mankind at first led was rural, therefore their first poetry was pastoral, or employed in the celebration of rural scenes and objects. I make no doubt, that it would borrow many of its images and allusions from those natural objects with which men were best acquainted; but I am persuaded, that the calm and tranquil scenes of rural felicity were not, by any means, the first objects which inspired that strain of composition, which we now call poetry. It was inspired, in the first periods of every nation, by events and objects which roused men's passions ; or, at least, awakened their wonder and admiration. The actions of their gods and heroes, their own exploits in war, the successes or misfortunes of their countrymen and friends, furnished the first themes to the bards of every country. What was of a pastoral kind in their compositions, was incidental only. They did not think of choosing for their theme the tranquillity and the pleasures of the country, as long as these were daily and familiar objects to them. It was not till men nad begun to be assembled in great cities, after the distinctions of rank and station were formed, and the bustle of courts and large societies was known, that pastoral poetry assumed its present form. Men then began to look back upon the more simple and innocent life which their forefathers led, or which, at least, they fancied them to have led: they looked back upon it with pleasure, and in those rural
scenes, and pastoral occupations, imagining a degree of felicity to take place, superior to what they now enjoyed, conceived the idea of celebrating it in poetry. It was in the court of King Ptolemy, that Theocritus wrote the first pastorals with which we are acquainted; and, in the court of Augustus, he was imitated by Virgil.
But whatever may have been the origin of pastoral poetry, it is undoubtedly a natural and very agreeable form of poetical composition. It recalls to our imagination those gay scenes, and pleasing views of nature, which commonly are the delight of our childhood and youth; and to which, in more advanced years, the greatest part of men recur with pleasure. It exhibits to us a life, with which we are accustomed to associate the ideas of peace, of leisure, and of innocence; and, therefore, we readily set open our heart to such representations as promise to banish from our thoughts the cares of the world; and to transport us into calm elysian regions. At the same time, no subject seems to be more favourable to poetry. Amidst rural objects, nature presents, on all hands, the finest field for description; and nothing appears to flow more of its own accord, into poeti. cal numbers, than rivers and mountains, meadows and hills, flocks and trees, and shepherds void of care. Hence, this species of poetry has, at all times, allured many readers, and excited many writers. But, notwithstanding the advantages it possesses, it will appear from what I have farther to observe upon it, that there is hardly any species of poetry which is more difficult to be carried to perfection, or in which fewer writers have excelled.
Pastoral life may be considered in three different views: either such as it now actually is; when the state of shepherds is reduced to be a mean, servile, and laborious state; when their employments are becoine disagreeable, and their ideas gross and low; or such as we may suppose it once to have been, in the more early and simple ages, when it was a life of ease and abundance, when the wealth of men consisted chiefly in flocks and herds, and the shepherd, though unrefined in his manners, was respectable in his state; or lastly, such as it never was, and never can in reality be, when, to the ease, innocence, and simplicity of the early ages, we attempt to add the polished taste and cultivated manners of modern times. Of these three states, the first is too gross and mean, the last too refined and unnatural, to be made the ground-work of pastoral poetry. Either of these extremes is a rock upon which the poet will split, if he approach too near it. We shall be disgusted if he gives us too much of the servile employments, and low ideas of actual peasants, as Theocritus is censured for having sometimes done: and if, like some of the French and Italian writers of pastorals, he makes his shepherds discourse as if they were courtiers and scholars, he then retains the name only, but wants the spirit of pastoral poetry.
He must, therefore, keep in the middle station between these. He must form to himself the idea of a rural state, such as in certain periods of society may have actually taken place, where there was ease, equality, and innocence; where shepherds were gay and agreeable, without being learned or refined; and plain and artless without being gross and wretched. The great charm of pastoral poetry arises, from the view which itexhibits of the tranquillity and happiness of a rural life. This pleasing illusion, therefore, the poet must carefully maintain. He must display to us all that is agreeable in that state, but hide whatever is displeasing.* Let him paint its simplicity and innocence to the full; but cover its rudeness and misery. Distresses, indeed, and anxieties he may attribute to it; for it would be perfectly unnatural to suppose any condition of human life to be without them; but they must be of such la nature, as not to shock the fancy with any thing peculiarly disgusting in the pastoral life. The shepherd may well be afflicted for the displeasure of his mistress, or for the loss of a favourite lamb. It is a sufficient recommendation of any state, to have only such evils as these to deplore. In short, it is the pastoral life somewhat embellished and beautified, at least, seen on its fairest side only, that the poet ought to present to us. But let him take care that, in embellishing nature, he do not altogether disguise her; or pretend to join with rural simplicity and happiness, such improvements as are unnatural and foreign to it. If it be not exactly real life which he presents to us, it must, however, be somewhat that resembles it. This, in my opinion, is the general idea of pastoral poetry. But, in order to examine it more particularly, let us consider, first, the scenery; next, the characters; and, lastly, the subjects and actions, which this sort of composition should exhibit.
As to the scene, it is clear, that it must always be laid in the country, and much of the poet's merit depends on describing it beautifully. Virgil is, in this respect, excelled by Theocritus, whose descriptions of natural beauties are richer and more picturesque
* In the following beautiful lines of the first Eclogue, Virgil has, in the true spirit of a pastoral poet, brought together as agreeable an assemblage of images of rural pleasure as can any where be found :
Fortunate senex! hic inter flumina nota,
Happy old man! here mid th' accustom'd streams
Nor turtles from the aèrial elms to plain.