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P R É F A C E.
I am inclined to think, that both the writers of I think a good deal may be said to extenuato books and the readers of them, are generally not a the fault of bad Poets. What we call a Genius, little unreasonable in their expectations. The first is hard to be distinguished, by a man himself, from feem to fancy that the world must approve of a strong inclination : and if his genius be ever so whatever they produce, and the latter to imagine great, he cannot at first discover it any other way, that authors are obliged to plcase them at any rate. than by giving way to that prevalent propensity Methinks, as, on the one hand, no single man is which renders him the more liable to be mistaken. born with a right of controuling the opinions of The only method he has, is to make the experiment all the rest; fo, on the other, the world has no by writing, and appealing to the judgment of title to dema:d, that the whole care and time of others: now, if he happens to write ill (which is any particular person should be sacrificed to its certainly no fin in itself), he is immediately made entertainnient. Therefore, I cannot but believe an object of ridicule. I wish we had the humathat writers and readers are under equal obliga- niiy to refled, that even the worst authors might, tions, for as much fame, or pleasure, as each af in their endeavour to please us, deserve something fords the other.
at our hands. We have no cause to quarrel with Every one acknowledges, it would be a wild them but for their obstinacy in perlifting to write; notion to expect perfection in any work of man · and this too may admit of alleviating circumand yet one would think the contrary was taken ftances. Their particular friends may be either for granted, by the judgment commonly passed ignorant or insincere; and the rest of the world upon poems. A critic supposes he has done his in general is too well bred to fhock them with a part, if he proves a writer to have failed in an truth, which generally their booksellers are the expreslion, or erred in any particular point : and first that inform them of. This happens not till can it then be wondered at, if the Poets, in ge- they have spent too much of their time, to apply neral, seem resolved not to own themselves in any to any profession which might better fit their taerror ? For, as long as one side will make no al lents; and till such talents as they have are so far lowances, the other will be brought to no acknow. discredited as to be but of small service to them. ledgments
For (what is the hardest case imaginable) the reI am afraid this exéreme zcal on both sides is ill- putation of a man generally depends upon the first placed ; Poetry and Criticisın being by no means steps he makes in the world; and people will the universal concern of the world, but only the establish their opinion of us, from what we do at affair of idle men who write in their closets, and that season, when we have leaft judgment to die of idle men who read there.
rect us Yet sure, upon the whole, a bad author deserves On the other hand, a good poet no sooner combetter usage than a bad critic: for a writer's en-municates his works with the fame desire of indeavour, for the most part, is to please his readers, formation, but it is imagined he is a vain young and he fails merely through the misfor: une of an, creature given up to the ambition of fame ; when ill judgment; but such a critic's is to put them perhaps the poor man is all the while trembling ont of humour; a design he could never go upon with the fear of being ridiculous. If he is made without both that and an ill temper.
to hope he may please the world, he falls under
very unlucky circumstances : for from the mo* In the former editions it was thuis —" For as ment he prints, he must expect to hear no more " long as one fide despises a well-meant endeavour, the truth, than if he were a prince, or a beauty If “otber will not be satisfied with a moderate approba- he has not very good sense (and indeed there are « tion."
But the Aurbor altered it, as ibele words twenty men of wit for one man of sense), his lizvere ratber a consequence from the conclufion be would ving thus in a course of flattery may put him in draw, than the conclufion itself, which bebas nou inje: ted. no imall danger of becoming a coscomb: if he
has, he will consequently have so much diffidence stantly applied themselves not only to that art; but as not to reap any great fatisfa&tion from his to that single branch of an art, to which their tapraise ; fince, if it be given to his face, it can lent was moft powerfully bent; and it was the fcarce be distinguished from flattery; and if in his business of their lives to correct and finish their absence, it is hard to be certain of it. Were he works for pofterity. If we can pretend to have fare to be commended by the best and most know used fame industry, let us expect the same iming, he is as fure of being envied by the worst and mortality : Though, if we took the fame care, most ignorant, which are the majority; for it is we should still lie under a further misfortune : with a fine genius, as with a fine fashion, all those they writ in languages that became universal and are displeafed at it who are not able to follow it : everlasting, while ours are extremely limited both and it is to be feared that esteem will seldom do in extent and in duration : A mighty foundation any man so much good, as ill-will does him harm for our pride: when the utmost we can hope is Then there is a third class of people who make but to be read in one island, and to be thrown the largeft part of mankind, those of ordinary or alide at the end of one age. indiffcrent capacities; and these (to a man, will All that is left us is to recommend our produca kate or suspect him : a hundred honest gentlemen tions by the imitation of the Ancients; and it will will dread him as a wit, and a hundred innocent be found true, that, in every age, the highest chawomen as a satirift. In a word, whatever be his rader for sense and learning has been obtained by fate in poetry, it is ten to one but he must give those who have been most indebted to them. For, up all the reasonable aims of life for it. There to say truth, whatever is very good sense, muft are indeed some advantages accruing from a ge- have been common sense in all times; and what we nius to poetry, and they are all I can think of : call Learning, is but the knowledge of the senfe of the agreeable power of self-amusement when a our predecessors. Therefore they who say our man is idle or alone; the privilege of being ad- thoughts are not our own, because they resemble mitted into the best company; and the freedom the Ancients, may as well say our faces are not our of saying as many careless things as other people, own, because they are like our Fathers: And indeed without being so severely remarked upon. it is very anreasonable, that people should expect us
I believe, if any one, early in his life, should to be scholars, and yet be angry to find us fo. contemplate the dangerous fate of authors, he I fairly confess that I have served myself all I would scarce be of their number on any considera could by reading ; that I made use of the judgment tion. The life of a wit is a warfare upon earth; of authors dead and living; that I omitted no means and the present spirit of the learned world is such, in my power to be informed of my errors, both by that to atrempe to ferve it (any way) one must my friends and enemies : But the true reason these have the constancy of a martyr, and a resolution to pieces are not more corred, is owing to the confuffer for its fake. I could with people would be. sideration how short a time they and I have to lieve, what I am pretty certain they will not, that live : One may be ashamed to consume half one's I have been much less concerned about fame than days in bringing sense and rhyme together; and I durft declare till this occafion, when methinks I what critic can be so unreasonable, as not to leave should find more credit than I could heretofore, a man time enough for any more serious emfioce my writings have had their fate already, and ployment, or more agreeable amufen:cnt? it is too late to think of prepossessing the reader The only plea I fall use for the favour of the in their favour. I would plead it as some merit public, is, that I have as great a respect for it, as in me, that the world has never been prepared most authors have for themselves; and that I have for these trifles by prefaces, biassed by recommen sacrificed much of my own self-love for its sake, in dations, dazzled with the names of great patrons, preventing not only many mean things from seeing wheedled with fine reasons and pretences, or the light, but many which I thought tolerable. I troubled with excuses. I confess it was want of would not be like those authers, whoforgive themconfideration that made me an author : | writ felves some particular lines for the sake of a whole because it amused me; I corrected because it was poem, and vice versa a whole poem for the sake of as pleasant to me to corre& as to write; and isome particular lines. I believe, no one qualifi. published because I was told I might please such cation is so likely to make a good writer, as the as it was a credit to please. To what degree I power of rejecting his own thoughts; and it must. have done this, I am really ignorant ; I had too be this (if any thing) that can give me a thance much fondness for my productions to judge of to be one. For what I have published, I can only them at first, and too much judgment to be pleased hope to be pardoned; but for what I have burned, with them at lart. But I have reason to think they I deserve to be praised. On this account the world can h ve no reputation which will continue long, is under some obligation to me, and owes me the or which deserves to do fo; for they have always justice in return, to look upon no verses as minc falleo fort not only of what I read of others, but that are not inserted in this collection. And pere even cf my own ideas of poetry
haps nothing could make it worth my while to If any one should imagine I am not in earnest, I own what are really so, but to avoid the imputadefire him to reflect that the Ancients (to-say the tion of so many dull and immoral things, as partly lealt of them) bad as much genius as we; and that by malice, and party by ignorance, have been to take more pains, and employ more time, cannot
ascribed to nic. I must further acquit myself of fail to produce more complete pieces. They con the presumption of having ligt my name to re
commend any miscellanies, or works of other men; , with my writings, or with this apology for them. a thing I never thought becoming a person who I am sensible how difficult it is to speak of one's has hardly credit enough to answer for his own. self with decency: but when a man muft fpeak of
In this office of colleđing my pieces, I am alto- himself, the best way is to speak truth of himself, gether uncertain, whether to look upon myself as or, he may depend upon it, others will do it for a man building a monument, or burying the dead. him. I'll therefore make this Preface a general
If time shall make it the former, may these confession of all my thoughts of my own poetry, poems (as long as they last) remain as a testimony resolving with the same freedom to expose mythat their author never made his talents subfer- self, as it is in the power of any other to expose vient to the mean and unworthy ends of party or them. In the first place, I thank God and nature, self-interest; the gratification of public prejudices that I was born with a love to poetry; for nothing or private passions; the flattery of the undeserving, more conduces to fill up all the intervals of our or the insult of the unfortunate. If I have written time, or, if rightly used, to make the whole course well, let it be considered that it is what no man of life entertaining : “ Cantantes licet usque (mi. can do without good sense; a quality that not only nus via lædet)." It is a vast happiness to postess renders one capable of being a good writer, but a the pleasures of the head, the only pleasures in good man. And if I have made any acquisition which a man is sufficient to himself, and the only in the opinion of any one under the notion of the part of him which, to his fatisfa&tion, he can emformer, let it be continued to me under no other ploy all day long. The Muses are " amicæ omnia title than that of the latter.
um horarum;" and, like our gay acquaintance, But if this publication be only a more folemn the best company in the world, as long as one exfuneral of my remains, I delire it to be known pects no real service from them. I confefs there that I die in charity, and in my senses ; without was a time when I was in love with myself, and any murmurs against the justice of this age, or my first productions were the children of self-love any mad appeals to posterity. I declare I shall upon innocence. I had made an Epic Poem, and think the world in the right, and quietly submit Panegyrics on all the princes in Europe, and to every truth which time shall discover to the thought myself the greatest genius that ever prejudice of these writings; not so much as wish. was. I cannot but regret those delightful visions ing so irrational a thing, as that every body should of my childhood, which, like the fine colours we be deceived merely for my credit. However, I see when our eyes are shut, are vanished for ever. desire it may be then contidered, That there are Many trials, and fad experience, have so undevery few things in this collection which were not ceived me by degrees, that I am utterly at a loss at written under the age of five-and-twenty; so that what rate to value myself. As for fame, I shall my youth may be made (as it never fails to be in be glad of any I can get, and not repine at any I cxecutions) a case of compassion : That I was miss; and, as for vanity, I have enough to keep never so concerned about my works as to vindi- me from hanging myself, or even from withing cate them in print, believing, if any thing was those hanged who would take it away. It was good, it would defend itself, and what was bad this that made me write. The sense of my faults could never be defended : That I used no artifice made me correct; besides, that it was as pleasant to raise or continue a reputation, depreciated no to me to correct as to write. dead author I was obliged to, bribed no living At p. 9. c. 2. I. 26. In the first place, I own thać one with unjust praise, insulted no adversary with I have used my best endeavours to the finishing ill language ; or, when I could not attack a rival's | these pieces : That I made whac advantage i works, encouraged reports against his morals. could of the judgment of authors dead and living; To conclude, if this volume perish, let it serve as a and that I omitted no means in my power to be warning to the critics, not to take too much pains informed of my errors by my friends and my enefor the future to destroy such things as will die of mies : And that I expect no favour on account of themselves ; and a memento mori to some of my vain my youth, business, want of health, or any such contemporaries the Poets, to teach them that, when idle excuses. But the true reason they are not real merit is wanting, it avails nothing to have been yet more corre&, is owing to the conlideration encouraged by the great, commended by the emi- how short a time they, and i, have to live. Aman Rent, and favoured by the public in general. that can expect but sixty years, may be alhamed Noo. 10. 1716.
to employ thirty in measuring syllables, and bringing sense and rhyme together. We spend our youth in pursuit of riches or fame, in hopes to en
joy them when we are old; and when we are old, VARIATions in the Author's Manuscript Prefaceo hope the Wits will pardon me, if I reserve some
we find it too late to enjoy any thing. I therefore
of my time to save my soul; and that some wife Arter page 9. c. 1. l. 27. it followed thus: For my men will be of my opinion, even if I should think part, I confess, had I seen things in this view, at a part of it better spent in the enjoyments of life, first, the public had acver been troubled either than in pleasing the critics.
PA S T O R A L S
WRITTEN IN THE YEAR 1704.
Rura mihi et rigui placeant in valibus amnes,
DISCOURSE ON PASTORAL POETRY.*
Tgere are not, I believe, a greater number of rural employment, the poets chose to introduce any sort of verses than those which are called their persons, from whom it received the name of Paftorals; por a smaller, than those which are Pastoral. truly fo. It therefore seems necessary to give A pastoral is an imitation of the action of a fome account of this kind of Poem; and it is my thepherd, or one confidered under that character. desiga to comprise in this short paper the fub- The form of this imitation is dramatic, or narraftance of those numerous dissertations the Critics tive, or mixed of both †; the fable simple, the have made on the subject, without omitting any manners not too polite nor too rustic: the of their rules in my own favour. You will also thoughts are plain, yet admit a little quickness find some points reconciled, about which they and passion, but that short and flowing: the exfeem to differ; and a few remarks, which, i preffion humble, yet as pure as the language will abink, have escaped their observation.
afford; neat, but not florid; easy, and yet lively. The original of Poetry is ascribed to that Age In short, the fable, manners. thoughts, and erwhich succeeded the creation of the world; and pressions, are full of the greatest fimplicity in naas the keeping of flocks seems to have been the first employment of mankind, the most ancient The complete character of this poem consists sort of Poetry was probably Pastoralt. It is na in fimplicity , brevity, and delicacy; the two tural to imagine, that the leisure of those ancient first of which render an eclogue natural, and the shepherds admitting and inviting some diver- last delightful. fon, none was so proper to that solitary and se If we could copy nature, it may be useful to dantary life as singing; and that in their songs take this idea along with us, that paftoral is an they took occasion to celebrate their own felicity. image of what they call the Golden Age. So From hence a Poem was invented, and after that we are not to describe our shepherds as fhepwards improved to a perfe& image of that happy herds at this day really are, but as they may be time ; which, by giving us an esteem for the vir conceived then to have been, when the best of tues of a former age, might recommend them to men followed the employment. To carry this the present. And since the life of shepherds was resemblance yet further, it would not be amiss to attended with more tranquillity than any other give these hepherds some skill in astronomy, as • Written at fixteen years of a..
# Heinfius in Thessr. Fontenelle's Difcourse on Paftorals.
S Rapin, de Carm, Paf. p. 2.
far as it may be useful to that fort of life. And , his descriptions, of which that of the cup in the
principally concerned, he is much superior to his
these ancients their pattern. The most considerWe must therefore use some illusion to render a able genius appears in the famous Taslo, and our pastoral delightful; and this consists in exposing Spenser. Taffo in his Aminta has as far excelled the best side only of a shepherd's life, and in con all the pastoral writers, as in his Gierusalemme he cealing its miseries t. Nor is it enough to intro- has outdone the epic poets of his country. But as duce thepherds discoursing together in a natural his piece seems to have been the original of a new way; but å regard must be had to the subject, sort of poem, the pastoral comedy, in Italy, it canthat it contain some particular beauty in itself, not so well be confidered as a copy of the ancients. and that it be different in every eclogue. Be-Spenser's Calendar, in Mr. Dryden's opinion, is fides, in each of them a designed scenc or prospect the most complete work of this kind which any is to be presented to our view, which should like nation has produced ever since the time of Virwise have its variety . This variety is obtained gilt: not but that he may be thought imperin a great degree by frequent comparisons, drawn fed in some few points. His eclogues are somefrom the molt agreeable objects of the country; what too long, if we compare them with the anby interrogations to things inanimate; by beauti- cients. He is sometimes too allegorical, and fui digreffions, but those short; sometimes by in treats of matters of religion in a pastoral style, as fisting a little on circumstances; and lastly, by e- the Mantuan had done before him. He has emlegant turns on the words, which render the ployed the lyric meafure, which is contrary to numbers extremely sweet and pleasing. As for the practice of the old poets. His ftanza is not the numbers themselves, though they are proper. Till the same, nor always well chofen. This last ly of the heroic measure, they should be the may be the reason his expression is sometimes not smoothest, the most easy and flowing iniaginable. concise enough: for the tetrasic has obliged
It is by rules like these that we ought to judge him to extend his sense to the length of four of paftoral. And Gince the instructions given for lines, which would have been more closely conany art are to be delivered as that art is in
fined in the couplet. section, they must of necellity be derived from In the manners, thoughts, and characters, he those in whom it is acknowledged so to be
comes near to Theocritus himself; though, nottherefore from the practice of Theocritus and withstanding all the care he has taken, he is cerVirgil (the only undisputed authors of pastoral) tainly inferior in his dialect : for the Doric had that the critics' have drawn the foregoing notions its beauty and propriety in the time of l'heocriconcerning it.
tus; it was used in part of Greece, and frequent Theocritus excells all others in nature and sim- in the mouths of many of the greatest persons : plicity, The subjects of his Idyllia are purely whereas the old English and country phrases of pastoral; but he is not so exat in his persons, Spenser were either entirely obsolete, or spoken having introduced reapers | aud fihermen as only by people of the lowelt condition. As there well as fhepherds. He is apt to be too long in is a difference betwixt sinplicity and rusticity, ro
the expression of simple thoughts should be plain, Rapin, Reflex. sur l'Art Poet. d' Arif. p. 2. Re- but not clownish. The addition he has made of pero xxvii.
a calendar to his eclogues, is very beautiful; + Prej to Virg. Poft. in Dryd. Virg. * Fontenelle's Difc. of Paftorals.
• Rapin, Refl. on Arift. part ii. Refi. xxvi.See tire forementioned Preface
Pref. to the Ecl. in Dryden's Virg. @EPINIAI. ddyl, . and A4IEII, 1d38. xxi. † Dedication to Virg. Ed,