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pations, or from fcenes of nature very little embellished by art. They have nothing of an epigrammatic turn, or scholastic affectation of period. Theocritus possessed the difficult. art of giving his verses that amiable ease and negligence which Thould characterize the infant state of poetry. He knew how to give his poems an agreeable air of innocence, adapted to those early ages, wherein the ingenuous sentiments of the heart assisted to warm the imagination, already excited by the most inchanting scenes of nature. It must be confefred, indeed, that the simplicity of manners prevailing in his own times, and the esteem in which agriculture was still held, facilitated his endeavours herein. The turn for epigram and quaintness of phrase had not made any way, nor had good sense, and a taste for the truly beautiful, as yet given place to wit.”
We have quoted this character of Theocritus, because it accounts extremely well for that fimplicity we find in his writings. But whatever fimplicity we may allow the age of Theocritus, it is pretty evident that he chofe to introduce, in his pastorals, Shepherds of former times. His mention of the Sybarites, Id: 5. and of Mylo's carrying off a Herdsman in the fourth Idyllion, is a proof of this. Theocritus was contemporary with Ptolemy Philadelphus, and wrote about A. a. t. 260, and we find that Milo with a hundred thousand Crotonians, overcame three hundred thousand Sybaritus, and deItroyed their town, A. A. C. 509.
How well Mr. Gesner has followed his original, and how successfully he has accommodated these Eslays to the æra of ancient fimplicity; we must now enquire.
The second Essay, entitled Milo, must be allowed to be a very happy imitation of Theocritus, both in style and fenti
As it is translated entirely in a kind of blank verse, and is not, like most of the others, a mixture of verse and profe, we shall quote it at large.
O Thou, who lovelier art than dewy morn,
'That mix'd their founds with thy enchanting lays. Rev. Aug. 17621
Full nineteen harvests, Chloe, have I seen;
Give me thy heart, fair Chloe, for 'tis sweet
Hung with soft skins is my convenient grot,
Thus Milo fung, the Shepherd of the Grot,
This is not only a general imitation of the style and sentia ment of the Greek Paftoral Poet, but several of his particular beauties are as closely copied by our Author as they were by Virgil. This will appear by comparing the following passages.
Hung with foft skins is my convenient grot,
Ει δε μοι παρ υδωρ ψυκρον τιβας' εν de
Οχναν μεν παρ ποσσι παρα πλευραισι δε μαλα
Χύ ποιμαν ξηρος Τηνοθι, και αι βίαιαι.
'Αλλ υπο τα πηρα τα' άσομαι αγκας εχων τυ,
Συνομα μαλ' έσορών, ταν Σικελαν ες αλα. Idyl. 8, The close imitation of the last quoted beautiful passage, is a striking testimony of the Author's good taste; but it is a proof also, among many others, that he has affected ornas. ment much more than his original. The Sicilian Poet says simply, “ but to fit under this rock and sing, with thee, my girl, in my arms ; with a prospect of my sheep feeding together, and of the sea of Sicily.”—His German Imitator is not content with giving his Shepherd merely a prospect of the sea, but adds the sporting tritons and the setting fun. Theocri
tus has a stream, a vine, and an apple tree bending with fruit near his cottage. Gesner has the same ; but his stream foams over a rock, waters the cresses and flowers in its course, and at last falls into a lake, whose fides are over-hung with willows; his vine forms a shade to defend him from the noonday sun; and his apple tree is stuck round with vines.
Imagery is the very foul of poetry, but it may be too complex and ornate. When images are multiplied, every particular object loses the effect it would have had when considered fimply. Our modern Poets seem to be unapprized of this truth; seeing they are at so much pains to croud their works with ornament.
Mr. Gefner profeffes to adapt his pastoral Eflays to the Golden Age ; but he has sometimes introduced objects unknown, and sentiments ill accommodated,
to that æra. Thus, in the pastoral we have quoted, satyrs are introduced, " clapping their clattering castancts ;" which, however well the sound may be adapted to the sentiment in the English tranflation, we must not pass over without censure; the caftanet being an instrument peculiar to the German dance, and altogether unknown to the Golden Age.
The reward which Thyrsis offers Myrtillis for his song, is a Dutch toy of a very curious conftruction.
" Come Myrtillis, as the folitude of the night, and awful brightness of the moon to solemn songs invite us, hear my proposal. This fine earthen lamp, so curiously constructed, will I give thee. My father made it in a dragon's form, with wings and feet; in its open mouth the lighted candle burns; while, see its tail turned up, is twisted round to form a handle. This will I give thee, if the moving tale of Daphnis and Chloe thou wilt sing."
In this tale Chloe is represented standing on the bank of a river,
Impatient for th' arrival of the boat,
In which her Daphnis hould have cross’d the food.
view the past scenes of my life, (says he) I seem to liave lived a long, long summer's day; ny gloomy moments, but as transient showers, that chear the plants, and fertilize the plains.” It is the beauty of comparative imagery, to admit a variety of similar circumstances. Had Palemon compared his life to a summer's day, only on account of its length, the image would have had nothing striking in it; but when he purlues the chain of fimilitude, and adds, that his gloomy moments had been like those transient thowers that chear the plants, and fertilize the plains, implying, in that image, the moral utility of affliction, the comparison then becomes extremely striking and beautiful.
When the aged Shepherd mentions how long his wife Myrta had been dead, he thus happily exprefles himself: “ 'Twelve times the Spring hath strewn thy grave with flowers." The beauty of the expression consists in this, that what at the first glance appeared to be fiction, is, upon reflection, discovered to be truth. When simple imagery can assume a metaphorical air, without losing any thing of its original propriety, it has always a happy effect.
It is seldom, however, that this felicity of expression can be hit upon; for as there are no rules to direct us in the search of it, it must be merely the result of chance and accident.
None of these rural Essays has afforded us more pleasure than that entitled Lycas, or the Invention of Gardens. Nothing can be more simple than the thought, or more poetical than the expresion.
“ Shut up at home by the rude Winter's cold, and stormy winds that whirl the flakes of snow in furious blasts ; my active fancy shall from memory draw the lively images of flowery May, of sultry Summer, or the beauteous scenes of golden Autumn. From the best I'll chuse, and thence for Daphne will compose a fong. Thus for his Mistress doth the Shepherd chuse the choicest flowers, to form a chaplet to adorn her hair. O, may I please my Daphne, as I fing, how, when the world was young, a Shepherd Swain invented Gardens.
“ This is the spot the Shepherd Lycas said, beneath this elm at yester setting-fun, the charming Chloe gave me first a kiss. Here didst thou stand, fair Chloe, when, emboldened by a sigh, I threw my arnis around thy lovely waist; meanwhile my fluttering heart, my tearful eyes, the broken accents from my stammering tongue, all spoke my love. Then