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Title: De Carmine Pastorali

Author: René Rapin

Author of introduction, etc.: J. E. Congleton

Translator: Thomas Creech

Release date: December 28, 2004 [eBook #14495]
Most recently updated: April 10, 2021

Language: English

Original publication: Los Angeles: The Augustan Reprint Society, 1947

Credits: David Starner, Louise Hope and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team


Series Two:
Essays on Poetry

No. 3

Rapin’s De Carmine Pastorali,
prefixed to Thomas Creech’s translation
of the Idylliums of Theocritus (1684)

With an Introduction by
J. E. Congleton
a Bibliographical Note

The Augustan Reprint Society
July, 1947
Price: 75c


Richard C. Boys, University of Michigan
Edward Niles Hooker, University of California, Los Angeles
H. T. Swedenberg, Jr., University of California, Los Angeles


Emmett 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 H. Monk, University of Minnesota
James Sutherland, Queen Mary College, London

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


de Carmine Pastorali: the first Part

de Carmine Pastorali: the second Part

de Carmine Pastorali: the third Part


Bibliographic Note



Recent students of criticism have usually placed Rapin in the School of Sense. In fact Rapin clearly denominates himself a member of that school. In the introduction to his major critical work, Reflexions sur la Poetique d'Aristote (1674), he states that his essay "is nothing else, but Nature put in Method, and good Sense reduced to Principles" (Reflections on Aristotle's Treatise of Poesie, London, 1731, II, 131). And in a few passages as early as "A Treatise de Carmine Pastorali" (1659), he seems to imply that he is being guided in part at least by the criterion of "good Sense." For example, after citing several writers to prove that "brevity" is one of the "graces" of pastoral poetry, he concludes, "I could heap up a great many more things to this purpose, but I see no need of such a trouble, since no man can rationally doubt of the goodness of my Observation" (p.41).

The basic criterion, nevertheless, which Rapin uses in the "Treatise" is the authority of the Ancients—the poems of Theocritus and Virgil and the criticism of Aristotle and Horace. Because of his constant references to the Ancients, one is likely to conclude that he (like Boileau and Pope) must have thought they and Nature (good sense) were the same. In a number of passages, however, Rapin depends solely on the Ancients. Two examples will suffice to illustrate his absolutism. At the beginning of "The Second Part," when he is inquiring "into the nature of Pastoral," he admits:

And this must needs be a hard Task, since I have no guide, neither Aristotle nor Horace to direct me.... And I am of opinion that none can treat well and clearly of any kind of Poetry if he hath no helps from these two (p. 16).
In "The Third Part," when he begins to "lay down" his Rules for writing Pastorals," he declares:
iiYet in this difficulty I will follow Aristotle's Example, who being to lay down Rules concerning Epicks, propos'd Homer as a Pattern, from whom he deduc'd the whole Art; So I will gather from Theocritus and Virgil, those Fathers of Pastoral, what I shall deliver on this account (p. 52).
These passages represent the apogee of the neoclassical criticism of pastoral poetry. No other critic who wrote on the pastoral depends so completely on the authority of the classical critics and poets. As a matter of fact, Rapin himself is not so absolute later. In the section of the Réflexions on the pastoral, he merely states that the best models are Theocritus and Virgil. In short, one may say that in the "Treatise" the influence of the Ancients is dominant; in the Réflexions, "good Sense."

Reduced to its simplest terms, Rapin's theory is Virgilian. When deducing his theory from the works of Theocritus and Virgil, his preference is almost without exception for Virgil. Finding Virgil's eclogues refined and elegant, Rapin, with a suggestion from Donatus (p. 10 and p. 14), concludes that the pastoral "belongs properly to the Golden Age" (p. 37)—"that blessed time, when Sincerity and Innocence, Peace, Ease, and Plenty inhabited the Plains" (p. 5). Here, then, is the immediate source of the Golden Age eclogue, which, being transferred to England and popularised by Pope, flourished until the time of Dr. Johnson and Joseph Warton.

In France the most prominent opponent to the theory formulated by Rapin is Fontenelle. In his "Discours sur la Nature de l'Eglogue" (1688) Fontenelle, with studied and impertinent disregard for the Ancients and for "ceux qui professent cette espèce de religion que l'on s'est faite d'adorer l'antiquité," expressly states that the basic criterion by which he worked was "les lumières naturelles de la raison" (OEuvres, Paris, 1790, V, 36). It is careless and incorrect to imply that Rapin's and Fontenelle's theories of pastoral poetry are similar, as Pope, Joseph Warton, and many other critics and scholars haveiii done. Judged by basic critical principles, method, or content there is a distinct difference between Rapin and Fontenelle. Rapin is primarily a neoclassicist in his "Treatise"; Fontenelle, a rationalist in his "Discours." It is this opposition, then, of neoclassicism and rationalism, that constitutes the basic issue of pastoral criticism in England during the Restoration and the early part of the eighteenth century.

When Fontenelle's "Discours" was translated in 1695, the first phrase of it quoted above was translated as "those Pedants who profess a kind of Religion which consists of worshipping the Ancients" (p. 294). Fontenelle's phrase more nearly than that of the English translator describes Rapin. Though Rapin's erudition was great, he escaped the quagmire of pedantry. He refers most frequently to the scholiasts and editors in "The First Part" (which is so trivial that one wonders why he ever troubled to accumulate so much insignificant material), but after quoting them he does not hesitate to call their ideas "pedantial" (p. 24) and to refer to their statements as grammarian's "prattle" (p. 11). And, though at times it seems that his curiosity and industry impaired his judgment, Rapin does draw significant ideas from such scholars and critics as Quintilian, Vives, Scaliger, Donatus, Vossius, Servius, Minturno, Heinsius, and Salmasius.

Rapin's most prominent disciple in England is Pope. Actually, Pope presents no significant idea on this subject that is foreign to Rapin, and much of the language—terminology and set phrases—of Pope's "Discourse" comes directly from Rapin's "Treatise" and from the section on the pastoral in the Reflections. Contrary to his own statement that he "reconciled" some points on which the critics disagree and in spite of the fact that he quotes Fontenelle, Pope in his "Discourse" is a neoclassicist almost as thoroughgoing as Rapin. ivThe ideas which he says he took from Fontenelle are either unimportant or may be found in Rapin. Pope ends his "Discourse" by drawing a general conclusion concerning his Pastorals: "But after all, if they have any merit, it is to be attributed to some good old authors, whose works as I had leisure to study, so I have not wanted care to imitate." This statement is diametrically opposed to the basic ideas and methods of Fontenelle, but in full accord with and no doubt directly indebted to those of Rapin.

The same year, 1717, that Pope 'imitated' Rapin's "Treatise," Thomas Purney made a direct attack on Rapin's neoclassic procedure. In the "Preface" to his own Pastorals he expresses his disapproval of Rapin's method, evidently with the second passage from Rapin quoted above in mind:
Rapine's Discourse is counted the best on this Poem, for 'tis the longest. You will easily excuse my not mentioning all his Defects and Errors in this Preface. I shall only say then, that instead of looking into the true Nature of the Pastoral Poem, and then judging whether Theocritus or any of his Followers have brought it to it's utmost Perfection or not. Rapine takes it for granted that Theocritus and Virgil are infallible; and aim's at nothing beyond showing the Rules which he thinks they observ'd. Facetious Head! (Works, Oxford, 1933, pp. 51-52. The Peroy Reprints, No. XII)
The influence of Rapin on the development of the pastoral, nevertheless, was salutary. Finding the genre vitiated with wit, extravagance, and artificiality, he attempted to strip it of these Renaissance excrescencies and restore it to its pristine purity by direct reference to the Ancients—Virgil, in particular. Though Rapin does not have the psychological insight into the esthetic principles of the genre equal to that recently exhibited by William Empson or even to that expressed by Fontenelle, he does understand the intrinsic appeal of the pastoral which has enabled it to survive, and often to flourish, through the centuries in painting, music, andv poetry. Perhaps his most explicit expression of this appreciation is made while he is discussing Horace's statement that the muses love the country:
And to speak from the very bottome of my heart... methinks he is much more happy in a Wood, that at ease contemplates this universe, as his own, and in it, the Sun and Stars, the pleasing Meadows, shady Groves, green Banks, stately Trees, flowing Springs, and the wanton windings of a River, fit objects for quiet innocence, than he that with Fire and Sword disturbs the World, and measures his possessions by the wast that lys about him (p. 4).

René Rapin (1621-1687), in spite of his duties as a Jesuit priest and disputes with the Jansenists, became one of the most widely read men of his time and carried on the celebrated discussions about the Ancients with Maimbourg and Vavasseur. His chef-d'oeuvre without contradiction is Hortorum libri IV. Like Virgil, Spenser, Pope, and many aspiring lesser poets, he began his literary career by writing pastorals, Eclogae Sacrae (1659), to which is prefixed in Latin the original of "A Treatise de Carmine Pastorali."

    J.E. Congleton
        University of Florida

Reprinted here from the copy owned by the Boston Athenaeum by permission.




de Carmine Pastorali

Written by Rapin.

The First Part.

TO be as short as possible in my discourse upon the present Subject, I shall not touch upon the Excellency of Poetry in general; nor repeat those high Encomiums, (as that tis the most divine of all human Arts, and the like) which Plato in his Jone, Aristotele in his Poetica, and other Learned men have copiously insisted on: And this I do that I might more closely and briefly pursue my present design, which, no doubt will not please every man; for since I treat of that part of Poetry, which (to use Quintilian’s words,) by reason of its Clownishness, is affraid of the Court and City; some may imagine that I follow Nichocaris his humor, who would paint only the most ugly and deform’d, and those too in the meanest and most frightful dress, that real, or fancy’d Poverty could put them in.

2For some think that to be a Sheapard is in it self mean, base, and sordid; And this I think is the first thing that the graver and soberer sort will be ready to object.

But if we consider how honorable that employment is, our Objectors from that Topick will be easily answer’d, for as Heroick Poems owe their dignity to the Quality of Heroes, so Pastorals to that of Sheapards.

Now to manifest this, I shall not rely on the authority of the Fabulous, and Heroick Ages, tho, in the former, a God fed Sheep in Thessaly, and in the latter, Hercules the Prince of Heroes, (as Paterculus stiles him) graz’d on mount Aventine: These Examples, tis true, are not convinceing, yet they sufficiently shew that the employment of a Sheapard was sometime look’d upon to be such, as in those Fabulous times was not alltogether unbecomeing the Dignity of a Heroe, or the Divinity of a God: which consideration if it cannot be of force enough to procure excellence, yet certainly it may secure it from the imputation of baseness, since it was sometime lookt upon as fit for the greatest in Earth or Heaven.

But not to insist on the authority of Poets, Sacred Writt tells us that Jacob and Esau, two great men, were Sheapards; And Amos, one of the Royal Family, asserts the same of himself, for He was among the Sheapards of Tecua, following that employment: The like by Gods own appoint3ment prepared Moses for a Scepter, as Philo intimates in his life, when He tells us, that a Sheapards Art is a suitable preparation to a Kingdome; the same He mentions in the Life of Joseph, affirming that the care a Sheapard hath over his Cattle, very much resembles that which a King hath over his Subjects: The same Basil in his Homily de S. Mamm. Martyre hath concerning David, who was taken from following the Ews great with young ones to feed Israel, for He says that the Art of feeding and governing are very near akin, and even Sisters: And upon this account I suppose twas, that Kings amongst the Greeks reckoned the name of Sheapard one of their greatest titles, for, if we believe Varro, amongst the Antients, the best and bravest was still a Sheapard: Every body knows that the Romans the worthiest and greatest Nation in the World sprang from Sheapards: The Augury of the Twelve Vulturs plac’t a Scepter in Romulus’s hand which held a Crook before; and at that time, as Ovid says,

His own small Flock each Senator did keep.

Lucretius mentions an extraordinary happiness, and as it were Divinity in a Sheaperd’s life,

Thro Sheapards ease, and their Divine retreats.

And this is the reason, I suppose, why the solitude of the Country, the shady Groves, and security of that happy Quiet was so grateful to the Muses, for thus Horace represents them,

The Muses that the Country Love.

Which Observation was first made by Mnasalce the Sicyonian in his Epigram upon Venus

The Rural Muse upon the Mountains feeds.

For sometimes the Country is so raveshing and delightful, that twill raise Wit and Spirit even in the dullest Clod, And in truth, amongst so many heats of Lust and Ambition which usually fire our Citys, I cannot see what retreat, what comfort is left for a chast and sober Muse.

And to speak from the very bottome of my heart, (not to mention the integrity and innocence of Sheapards upon which so many have insisted, and so copiously declaimed) methinks he is much more happy in a Wood, that at ease contemplates this universe, as his own, and in it, the Sun and Stars, the pleasing Meadows, shady Groves, green Banks, stately Trees, flowing Springs, and the wanton windings of a River, fit objects for quiet innocence, than he that with Fire and Sword disturbs the World, and measures his possessions by the wast that lys about him: Augustus in the remotest East fights for peace, but how tedious were his Voyages? how troublesome his Marches? how great his disquiets? what fears and hopes distracted his designs? whilst Tityrus contented with a little, happy in the enjoyment of his Love, and at ease under his spreading Beech.

Taught Trees to sound his Amaryllis name.

5 On the one side Melibœus is forc’t to leave his Country, and Antony on the other; the one a Sheapard, the other a great man, in the Common-Wealth; how disagreeable was the Event? the Sheapard could endure himself; and sit down contentedly under his misfortunes, whilst lost Antony,unable to hold out, and quitting all hopes both for himself and his Queen, became his own barbarous Executioner: Than which sad and deplorable fall I cannot imagine what could be worse, for certainly nothing is so miserable as a Wretch made so from a flowrishing & happy man; by which tis evident how much we ought to prefer before the gaity of a great and shining State, that Idol of the Crowd, the lowly simplicity of a Sheapards Life: for what is that but a perfect image of the state of Innocence, of that golden Age, that blessed time, when Sincerity and Innocence, Peace, Ease, and Plenty inhabited the Plains?

Take the Poets description

Here Lowly Innocence makes a sure retreat,
A harmless Life, and ignorant of deceit,
and free from fears with various sweet’s encrease,
And all’s or’e spread with the soft wings of Peace:
Here Oxen low, here Grots, and purling Streams,
And Spreading shades invite to easy dreams.

And thus Horace,

Happy the man beyond pretence
Such was the state of Innocence, &c.

6 And from this head I think the dignity of Bucolicks is sufficiently cleared, for as much as the Golden Age is to be preferred before the Heroick, so much Pastorals must excell Heroick Poems: yet this is so to be understood, that if we look upon the majesty and loftiness of Heroick Poems, it must be confest that they justly claim the preheminence; but if the unaffected neatness, elegant, graceful smartness of the expression, or the polite dress of a Poem be considered, then they fall short of Pastorals: for this sort flows with Sweet, Elegant, neat and pleasing fancies; as is too evident to every one that hath tasted the sweeter muses, to need a farther explication: for tis not probable that Asinius Pollio, Cinna, Varius, Cornelius Gallus, men of the neatest Wit, and that lived in the most polite Age, or that Augustus Cæsar the Prince of the Roman elegance, as well as of the common Wealth, should be so extreamly taken with Virgils Bucolicks, or that Virgil himself a man of such singular prudence, and so correct a judgment, should dedicate his Eclogues to those great Persons; unless he had known that there is somewhat more then ordinary Elegance in those sort of Composures, which the wise perceive, tho far above the understanding of the Crowd: nay if Ludovicus Vives, a very learned man, and admired for politer studies may be believed, there is somewhat more sublime and excellent in those Pastorals, than the Common 7 sort of Grammarians imagine: This I shall discourse of in an other place, and now inquire into the Antiquity of Pastorals.

The Antiquity of Pastorals.

Since Linus, Orpheus, and Eumolpus were famous for their Poems, before the Trojan wars; those are certainly mistaken, who date Poetry from that time; I rather incline to their opinion who make it as old as the World it self; which Assertion as it ought to be understood of Poetry in general, so especially of Pastoral, which, as Scaliger delivers, was the most antient kind of Poetry, and resulting from the most antient way of Liveing: Singing first began amongst Sheapards as they fed their Flocks, either by the impulse of nature, or in imitation of the notes of Birds, or the whispering of Trees.

For since the first men were either Sheapards or Ploughmen, and Sheapards, as may be gathered out of Thucydides and Varro, were before the others, they were the first that either invited by their leisure, or (which Lucretius thinks more probable) in imitation of Birds, began a tune.

Thro all the Woods they heard the pleasing noise
Of chirping Birds, and try’d to frame their voice,
And Imitate, thus Birds instructed man,
And taught them Songs before their Art began.

In short, tis so certain that Verses first began in the Country that the thing is in it self evident, and this Tibullus very plainly signifies,

First weary at his Plough the labouring Hind
In certain feet his rustick words did bind:
His dry reed first he tun’d at sacred feasts
To thanks the bounteous Gods, and cheer his Guests.

In certain feet according to Bern Cylenius of Verona his interpretation in set measures: for Censorinus tells us, that the antient Songs were loose and not ty’d up to any strict numbers, and afterwards by certain laws and acknowledged rules were confin’d to such and such measures: for this is the method of Nature in all her works, from imperfect and rude beginnings things take their first rise, and afterwards by fit and apposite additions are polish’t, and brought to perfection: such were the Verses which heretofore the Italian Sheapards and Plough-men, as Virgil says, sported amongst themselves.

Italian Plough-men sprung from antient Troy
Did sport unpolish’t Rhymes——

Lucretius in his Fifth Book de Natura Rerum, says, that Sheapards were first taught by the rushing of soft Breezes amongst the Canes to blow their Reeds, and so by degrees to put their Songs in tune.

For Whilst soft Evening Gales blew or’e the Plains
And shook the sounding Reeds, they taught the Swains,
And thus the Pipe was fram’d, and tuneful Reed,
And whilst the Flocks did then securely feed,
The harmless Sheapards tun’d their Pipes to Love,
And Amaryllis name fill’d every Grove.

From all which tis very plain that Poetry began in those days, when Sheapards took up their employment: to this agrees Donatus in his Life of Virgil, and Pontanus in his Fifth Book of Stars, as appears by these Verses.

Here underneath a shade by purling Springs
The Sheapards Dance, whilst sweet
Amyntas sings;
Thus first the new found Pipe was tun’d to Love,
And Plough-men taught their Sweet hearts to the Grove,

Thus the Fescennine jests when they sang harvest-home, and then too the Grape gatherers and Reapers Songs began, an elegant example of which we have in the Tenth Idyllium of Theocritus.

From this birth, as it were, of Poetry, Verse began to grow up to greater matters; For from the common discourse of Plough-men and Sheapards, first Comedy, that Mistress of a private Life, next Tragedy, and then Epick Poetry which is lofty and Heroical arrose, This Maximus Tyrius confirms in his Twenty first dissertation, where he tells us that Plough-men just comeing from their work, and scarce cleansed from the filth of their employment, did use to flurt out some sudden and extempore Catches; and from this beginning Plays were produc’d and the Stage erected: Thus 10 much concerning the Antiquity, next of the Original of this sort.

About this Learned men cannot agree, for who was the first Author, is not sufficiently understood; Donatus, tis true, tells us tis proper to the Golden Age, and therefore must needs be the product of that happy time: but who was the Author, where, what time it was first invented hath been a great Controversy, and not yet sufficiently determined: Epicharmus one of Pythagoras his School, in his ἀλκύονι mentions one Diomus a Sicilian, who, if we believe Athænæus was the first that wrote Pastorals: those that fed Cattle had a peculiar kind of Poetry, call’d Bucolicks, of which Dotimus a Sicilian was inventer:

Diodorus Siculus ἐν τοῖς μυθολογουμένοις, seems to make Daphnis the son of Mercury and a certain Nymph, to be the Author; and agreeable to this, Theon an old scholiast on Theocritus, in his notes upon the first Idyllium mentioning Daphnis, adds, he was the author of Bucolicks, and Theocritus himself calls him the Muses Darling: and to this Opinion of Diodorus Siculus Polydore Virgil readily assents.

But Mnaseas of Patara in a discourse of his concerning Europa, speaks thus of a Son of Pan the God of Sheapards: Panis Filium Bubulcum à quo & Bucolice canere: Now Whether Mnaseas by that Bubulcum, means only a Herds-man, or one skilled in Bucolicks, is uncertain; but if Valla’s 11 judgment be good, tis to be taken of the latter: yet Ælian was of another mind, for he boldly affirms that Stesichorus called Himeræus was the first, and in the same place adds, that Daphnis the Son of Mercury was the first Subject of Bucolicks.

Some ascribe the Honor to Bacchus the President of the Nymphs, Satyrs, and the other Country Gods, perhaps because he delighted in the Country; and others attribute it to Apollo called Nomius the God of Sheapards, and that he invented it then when he served Admetus in Thessaly, and fed his Herds: For, tis likely, he to recreate himself, and pass away his time, applied his mind to such Songs as were best suitable to his present condition: Many think we owe it to Pan the God of Sheapards, not a few to Diana that extreamly delighted in solitude and Woods; and some say Mercury himself: of all which whilst Grammarians prattle, according to their usual custome they egregiously trifle; they suffer themselves to be put upon by Fables, and resign their judgment up to foolish pretentions, but things and solid truth is that we seek after.

As about the Author, so concerning the place of its Birth there is a great dispute, some say Sparta, others Peloponesus, but most are for Sicily.

Valla the Placentine, a curious searcher into Antiquity, thinks this sort of Poetry first appear’d amongst the Lacedemonians, for when the Persians had wasted allmost all Greece, the Spartans say 12 that they for fear of the Barbarians fled into Caves and lurking holes; and that the Country Youth then began to apply themselves in Songs to Diana Caryatis, together with the Maids, who midst their Songs offerd Flowers to the Goddess: which custome containing somewhat of Religion was in those places a long time very scrupulously observed.

Diomedes the Grammarian, in his treatise of Measures, declares Sicily to be the Place: for thus he says, the Sicilian Sheapards in time of a great Pestilence, began to invent new Ceremonies to appease incensed Diana, whom afterward, for affording her help, and stopping the Plague they called Λύην: i.e. the Freer from their Miserys. This grew into custom, and the Sheapards used to meet in Companies, to sing their deliverer Diana’s praise, and these afterwards passing into Italy were there named Bucoliastæ.

Pomponius Sabinus tells the story thus: When the Hymns the Virgins us’d to sing in the Country to Diana were left off, because, by reason of the present Wars, the Maidens were forc’t to keep close within the Towns; the Shepherds met, and sang these kind of Songs, which are now call’d Bucolicks, to Diana; to whom they could not give the usual worship by reason of the Wars: But Donatus says, that this kind of Verses was first sung to Diana by Orestes, when he wandred about Italy; after he fled from Scythia Taurica, and had 13 taken away the Image of the Goddess and hid it in a bundle of sticks, whence she receiv’d the name of Fascelina, or Phacelide ἀπὸ τοῦ φακέλου At whose Altar, the very same Orestes was afterward expiated by his Sister Iphigenia: But how can any one rely on such Fables, when the inconsiderable Authors that propose them disagree so much amongst themselves?

Some are of Opinion that the Shepherds, were wont in solem and set Songs about the Fields and Towns to celebrate the Goddess Pales; and beg her to bless their flocks and fields with a plenteous encrease and that from hence the name, and composure of Bucolicks continued.

Other prying ingenious Men make other conjectures, as to this mazing Controversy thus Vossius delivers himself; The Antients cannot be reconcil’d, but I rather incline to their opinion who think Bucolicks were invented either by the Sicilians or Peloponesians, for both those use the Dorick dialect, and all the Greek Bucolicks are writ in that: As for my self I think, that what Horace says of Elegies may be apply’d to the present Subject.

But who soft Elegies was the first that wrote
Grammarians doubt, and cannot end the doubt:

For I find nothing certain about this matter, since neither Valla a diligent inquirer after, and a good judge in such things, nor any of the late writers produce any thing upon which I can safely rely; yet what beginning this kind of Poetry 14 had, I think I can pretty well conjecture: for tis likely that first Shepherds us’d Songs to recreate themselves in their leisure hours whilst they fed their Sheep; and that each man, as his wit served, accommodated his Songs to his present Circumstances: to this Solitude invited, and the extream leisure that attends that employment absolutely requir’d it: For as their retirement gave them leisure, and Solitude a fit place for Meditation, Meditation and Invention produc’d a Verse; which is nothing else but a Speech fit to be sung, and so Songs began: Thus Hesiod was made a Poet, for he acknowledges himself that he receiv’d his inspiration;

Whilst under Helicon he fed his Lambs.

for either the leisure or fancy of Shepherds seems to have a natural aptitude to Verse.

And indeed I cannot but agree with Lucretius that accurate Searcher into Nature, who delivers that from that state of Innocence the Golden Age, Pastorals continued down to his time, for after he had in his fifth book describ’d that most happy age, he adds,

For then the Rural Muses reign’d.

From whence ’tis very plain, that as Donatus himself observ’d, Pastorals were the invention of the simplicity and innocence of that Golden age, if there was ever any such, or certainly of that time which succeeded the beginning of the World: For tho the Golden Age must be ac15knowledged to be only in the fabulous times, yet ’tis certain that the Manners of the first Men were so plain and simple, that we may easily derive both the innocent imployment of Shepherds, and Pastorals from them.


The Second PART.

NOW let us inquire into the nature of Pastoral, in what its excellencies consist, and how it must be made to be exact: And this must needs be a hard Task, since I have no guide, neither Aristotle nor Horace to direct me; for both they, whatever was the matter, speak not one word of this sort of Verse. And I am of opinion that none can treat well and clearly of any kind of Poetry if he hath no helps from these two: But since they lay down some general Notions of Poetry which may be useful in the present case, I shall follow their steps as close as possible I can.

Not only Aristotle but Horace too hath defin’d that Poetry in general is Imitation; I mention only these two, for tho Plato in his Second Book de Rep. and in his Timæus delivers the same thing, I shall not make use of his Authority at all: Now as Comedy according to Aristotle is the Image and Representation of a gentiel and City Life, so is Pastoral Poetry of a County and Sheapards Life; for since Poetry in general is Imitation; its several Species must likewise Imitate, take Aristotles own words Cap. 1. πᾶσαι τυγχάνουσιν οὖσαι μιμήσεις; And these Species are 17 differenc’t either by the subject matter, when the things to be imitated are quite different, or when the manner in which you imitate, or the mode of imitation is so: ἐν τρισὶ δὲ ταύταισ διαφοραῖς ἡ μιμησίς ἐστιν, ἐν οἷς καὶ ἅ, καὶ ὥς: Thus tho of Epick Poetry and Tragedy the Subject is the same, and some great illustrious Action is to be imitated by both, yet since one by representation, and the other by plain narration imitates, each makes a different Species of imitation. And Comedy and Tragedy, tho they agree in this, that both represent, yet because the Matter is different, and Tragedy must represent some brave action, and Comedy a humor; these Two sorts of imitation are Specifically different. And upon the same account, since Pastoral chooses the manners of Sheapards for its imitation, it takes from its matter a peculiar difference, by which it is distinguish’d frõ all others.

But here Benius in his comments upon Aristotle hath started a considerable query: which is this; Whether Aristotle, when he reckons up the different Species of Poetry Cap 1. doth include Pastoral, or no? And about this I find learn’d men cannot at all agree: which certainly Benius should have determin’d, or not rais’d: some refer it to that sort which was sung to Pipes, for that Pastorals were so Apuleius intimates, when at the marriage Feast of Phyche He brings in Paniscus singing Bucolicks to his Pipe; But since they did not seriously enough consider, what Aristotle 18 meant by that which he calls αυλητικὴν they trifle, talk idly, and are not to be heeded in this matter; For suppose some Musitian should sing Virgils Ænæis to the Harp, (and Ant. Lullus says it hath been done,) should we therefore reckon that divine and incomparable Master of Heroick Poetry amongst the Lyricks?

Others with Cæsius Bassus and Isacius Tzetzes hold that that distribution of Poetry, which Aristotle and Tully hath left us, is deficient and imperfect; and that only the chief Species are reckoned, but the more inconsiderable not mention’d: I shall not here interest my self in that quarrel of the Criticks, whether we have all Aristotles books of Poetry or no; this is a considerable difficulty I confess, for Laertius who accurately weighs this matter, says that he wrote two books of Poetry, the one lost, and the other we have, tho Mutinensis is of an other mind: but to end this dispute, I must agree with Vossius, who says the Philosopher comprehended these Species not expressly mentioned, under a higher and more noble head: and that therefore Pastoral was contain’d in Epick. for these are his own words, besides there are Epicks of an inferior rank, such as the Writers of Bucolicks. Sincerus, as Minturnus quotes him, is of the same mind, for thus he delivers his opinion concerning Epick Verse: The matters about which these numbers may be employed is various; either mean and low, as in Pastorals, great and lofty, as when 19 the Subject is Divine Things, or Heroick Actions, or of a middle rank, as when we use them to deliver precepts in: And this likewise he signifys before, where he sets down three sorts of Epicks: one of which, says he, is divine, and the most excellent by much in all Poetry; the other the lowest but most pure, in which Theocritus excelled, which indeed shews nothing of Poetry beside the bare numbers: These points being thus settled, the remaining difficultys will be more easily dispatched.

For as in Dramatick Poetry the Dignity and meanness of the Persons represented make two different Species of imitation the one Tragick, which agrees to none but great and Illustrious persons, the other Comick, which suits with common and gentile humors: so in Epick too, there may be reckoned two sorts of Imitation, one of which belongs to Heroes, and that makes the Heroick; the other to Rusticks and Sheapards and that constitutes the Pastoral, now as a Picture imitates the Features of the face, so Poetry doth action, and tis not a representation of the Person but the Action. The Definition of Pastoral. From all which we may gather this definition of Pastoral: It is the imitation of the Action of a Sheapard, or of one taken under that Character: Thus Virgil’s Gallus, tho not really a Sheapard, for he was a man of great quality in Rome, yet belongs to Pastoral, because he is represented like a Sheapard: hence the Poet:

The Goatherd and the heavy Heardsmen came,
And ask’t what rais’d the deadly Flame.

The Scene lys amongst Sheapards, the Swains are brought in, the Herdsmen come to see his misery, and the fiction is suited to the real condition of a Sheapard; the same is to be said for his Silenus, who tho he seems lofty, and to sound to loud for an oaten reed, yet since what he sings he sings to Sheapards, and suits his Subject to their apprehensions, his is to be acknowledged Pastoral. This rule we must stick to, that we might infallibly discern what is stricktly Pastoral in Virgil and Theocritus, and what not: for in Theocritus there are some more lofty thoughts which not having any thing belonging to Sheapards for their Subject, must by no means be accounted Pastoral, But of this more in its proper place.

My present inquiry must be what is the Subject Matter of a Pastoral, about which it is not easy to resolve; since neither from Aristotle, nor any of the Greeks who have written Pastorals, we can receive certain direction. For sometimes they treat of high and sublime things, like Epick Poets; what can be loftier than the whole Seaventh Idyllium of Bias in which Myrsan urges Lycidas the Sheapard to sing the Loves of Deidamia and Achilles. For he begins from Helen’s rape, and goes on to the revengful fury of the Atrides, and shuts up in one Pastoral, all that is great and sounding in Homers Iliad.

Sparta was fir’d with Rage
And gather’d Greece to prosecute Revenge.

And Theocritus his verses are sometimes as sounding and his thoughts as high: for upon serious consideration I cannot mind what part of all the Heroicks is so strong and sounding as that Idyllium on Hercules λεοντοφονω in which Hercules himself tells Phyleus how he kill’d the Lyon whose Skin he wore: for, not to mention many, what can be greater than this expression.

And gaping Hell received his mighty Soul:

Why should I instance in the διόσκουροι, which hath not one line below Heroick; the greatness of this is almost inexpressible.

ἀνὴρ ὑπέροπλος ἐνήμερος, ἐνδιάασκε
δεινὸς ἰδεῖν

And some other pieces are as strong as these, such is the Panegyrick on Ptolemy, Helen’s Epithalamium, and the Fight of young Hercules and the Snakes: now how is it likely that such Subjects should be fit for Pastorals, of which in my opinion, the same may be said which Ovid doth of his Cydippe.

Cydippe, Homer, doth not fit thy Muse.

For certainly Pastorals ought not to rise to the Majesty of Heroicks: but who on the other side 22 dares reprehend such great and judicious Authors, whose very doing it is Authority enough? What shall I say of Virgil? who in his Sixth Eclogue hath put together allmost all the particulars of the fabulous Age; what is so high to which Silenus that Master of Mysterys doth not soar?

For lo! he sung the Worlds stupendious birth,
How scatter’d seeds of sea, of Air, and Earth,
And purer Fire thro universal night
And empty space did fruitfully unite:
From whence th’ innumerable race of things
By circular successive order springs:

And afterward

How Pyrra’s Stony race rose from the ground,
And Saturn reign’d with Golden plenty crown’d,
How bold
Prometheus (whose untam’d desire,
Rival’d the Sun with his own Heavenly Fire)
Now doom’d the
Scythian Vulturs endless prey
Severely pays for Animating Clay:

So true, so certain ’tis, that nothing is so high and lofty to which Bucolicks may not successfully aspire. But if this be so, what will become of Macrobius, Georgius Valla, Julius Scaliger, Vossius, and the whole company of Grammarians? who all affirm that simplicity and meanness is so essential to Pastorals, that it ought to be confin’d to the State, Manners, Apprehension and even common phrases of Sheapards: for nothing can 23 be said to be Pastoral, which is not accommodated to their condition; and for this Reason Nannius Alcmaritanus in my opinion is a trifler, who, in his comments on Virgils Eclogues, thinks that those sorts of Composures may now and then be lofty, and treat of great subjects: where he likewise divides the matter of Bucolicks, into Low, Middle, and High: and makes Virgil the Author of this Division, who in his Fourth Eclogue, (as he imagines) divides the matter of Bucolicks into Three sorts, and intimates this division by these three words: Bushes, Shrubs and Woods.

Sicilian Muse begin a loftier strain,
The Bushes and the Shrubs that shade the Plain
Delight not all; if I to Woods repair
My Song shall make them worth a Consuls Care

By Woods, as he fancys, as Virgil means high and stately Trees, so He would have a great and lofty Subject to to be implyed,such as he designed for the Consul: by Bushes, which are almost even with the ground, the meanest and lowest argument; and by Shrubs a Subject not so high as the one, nor so low as the other, as the thing it-self is, And therefore these lines

    If I to Woods repair
My Song shall make them worth a
Consuls care.

24 are thus to be understood, That if we choose high and sublime arguments, our work will be fit for the Patronage of a Consul, This is Nanniu’s interpretation of that place; too pedantial and subtle I’me affraid, for tis not credible that ever Virgil thought of reckoning great and lofty things amongst the Subjects of Bucolicks especially since

When his Thalia rais’d her bolder voice
And Kings and Battles were her lofty choice
Phæbus did twitch his Ear, mean thoughts infuse,
And with this whisper check’t th’ inspiring Muse.
A Sheapard, Tityrus, his Sheep should feed,
And choose a subject suited to his reed

This certainly was a serious admonition, implyed by the twitching of his Ear, and I believe if he had continued in this former humor and not obey’d the smarting admonition. He had still felt it: so far was he from thinking Kings and Battels fit Themes for a Sheapards song: and this evidently shows that in Virgils opinion, contrary to Nanniu’s fancy, great things cannot in the least be comprehended within the subject matter of Pastorals; no, it must be low and humble, which Theocritus very happily expresseth by this word Βουκολιάσδην i. e. as the interpreters explain it, sing humble Strains.

Therefore let Pastoral never venture upon a 25 lofty subject, let it not recede one jot from its proper matter, but be employ’d about Rustick affairs: such as are mean and humble in themselves; and such are the affairs of Shepherds, especially their Loves, but those must be pure and innocent; not disturb’d by vain suspitious jealousy, nor polluted by Rapes; The Rivals must not fight, and their emulations must be without quarrellings: such as Vida meant.

Whilst on his Reed he Shepherd’s strifes conveys,
And soft complaints in smooth Sicilian lays

To these may be added sports, Jests, Gifts, and Presents; but not costly, such are yellow Apples, young stock-Doves, Milk, Flowers, and the like; all things must appear delightful and easy, nothing vitious and rough: A perfidious Pimp, a designing Jilt, a gripeing Usurer, a crafty factious Servant must have no room there, but every part must be full of the simplicity of the Golden-Age, and of that Candor which was then eminent: for as Juvenal affirms

Baseness was a great wonder in that Age;

Sometimes Funeral-Rites are the subject of an Eclogue, where the Shepherds scatter flowers on the Tomb, and sing Rustick Songs in honor of the Dead: Examples of this kind are left us by Virgil in his Daphnis, and Bion in his Adonis, and this hath nothing disagreeable to a Shepherd: In 26 short whatever, the decorum being still preserv’d, can be done by a Sheapard, may be the Subject of a Pastoral.

Now there may be more kinds of Subjects than Servius or Donatus allow, for they confine us to that Number which Virgil hath made use of, tho Minturnus in his second Book de Poetâ declares against this opinion: But as a glorious Heroick action must be the Subject of an Heroick Poem, so a Pastoral action of a Pastoral; at least it must be so turn’d and wrought, that it might appear to be the action of a Shepherd; which caution is very necessary to be observ’d, to clear a great many difficulties in this matter: for tho as the Interpreters assure us; most of Virgils Eclogues are about the Civil war, planting Colonys, the murder of the Emperor, and the like, which in themselves are too great and too lofty for humble Pastoral to reach, yet because they are accomodated to the Genius of Shepherds, may be the Subject of an Eclogue, for that sometimes will admit of Gods and Heroes so they appear like, and are shrouded under the Persons of Shepherds: But as for these matters which neither really are, nor are so wrought as to seem the actions of Shepherds, such are in Moschus’s Europa, Theocritus’s Epithalamium of Helen, and Virgil’s Pollio, to declare my opinion freely, I cannot think them to be fit Subjects for Bucolicks: And upon this account I suppose ’tis that Servius in his 27 Comments on Virgil’s Bucoliks reckons only seven of Virgil’s ten Eclogues, and onely ten of Theocritus’s thirty, to be pure Pastorals, and Salmasius upon Solinus says, that amongst Theocritus’s Poems there are some which you may call what you please Beside Pastorals: and Heinsius in his Scholia upon Theocritus will allow but Ten of his Idylliums to be Bucoliks, 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 11. for all the rest are deficient either in matter or form, and from this number of pure pastoral Idylliums I am apt to think, that Theocritus seems to have made that Pipe, on which he tun’d his Pastorals and which he consecrated to Pan of ten Reeds, as Salmasius in his notes on Theocritus’s Pipe hath learnedly observed: in which two Verses always make one Reed of the Pipe, therefore all are so unequal, like the unequal Reeds of a Pipe, that if you put two equals together which make one Reed, the whole inequality consists in ten pairs; when in the common Pipes there were usually no more then seven Reeds, and this the less curious observers have heedlessly past by.

Some are of opinion that whatever is done in the Country, and in one word, every thing that hath nought of the City in it may be treated of in Pastorals; and that the discourse of Fishers, Plow-men, Reapers, Hunters, and the like, belong to this kind of Poetry: which according to the Rule that I have laid down cannot be true for, as I before hinted nothing but the action of a 28 Shepherd can be the Subject of a Pastoral.

I shall not here enquire, tho it may seem proper, whether we can decently bring into an Eclogue Reapers, Vine-dressers, Gardners, Fowlers, Hunters, Fishers, or the like, whose lives for the most part are taken up with too much business and employment to have any vacant time for Songs, and idle Chat, which are more agreeable to the leisure of a Sheapards Life: for in a great many Rustick affairs, either the hardship and painful Labor will not admit a song, as in Plowing, or the solitude as in hunting, Fishing, Fowling, and the like; but of this I shall discourse more largely in another place.

Now ’tis not sufficient to make a Poem a true Pastoral, that the Subject of it is the action of a Shepherd, for in Hesiods ἔργα and Virgils Georgicks there are a great many things that belong to the employment of a Shepherd, yet none fancy they are Pastorals; from whence ’tis evident, that beside the matter, which we have defin’d to be the action of a Sheapard, there is a peculiar Form proper to this kind of Poetry by which ’tis distinguish’d from all others.

Of Poetry in General Socrates, as Plato tells us, would have Fable to be the Form: Aristotle Imitation: I shall not dispute what difference there is between these two, but only inquire whether Imitation be the Form of Pastoral: ’tis certain that Epick Poetry is differenc’t from Tragick on29ly by the manner of imitation, for the latter imitates by action, and the former by bare narration: But Pastoral is the imitation of a Pastoral action either by bare narration, as in Virgil’s Alexis, and Theocritus’s 7th Idyllium, in which the Poet speaks all along in his own Person: or by action as in Virgil’s Tityrus, and the first of Theocritus, or by both mixt, as in the Second and Eleventh Idylliums, in which the Poet partly speaks in his own Person, and partly makes others speak, and I think the old Scholiast on Theocritus took an hint from these when he says, that Pastoral is a mixture made up of all sorts, for ’tis Narrative, Dramatick, and mixt, and Aristotle, tho obscurely, seems to hint in those words, In every one of the mentioned Arts there is Imitation, in some simple, in some mixt; now this latter being peculiar to Bucolicks makes its very form and Essence: and therefore Scaliger, in the 4th Chapter of his first Book of Poetry, reckons up three Species of Pastorals, the first hath but one Person, the second several, which sing alternately; the third is mixt of both the other: And the same observation is made by Heinsius in his Notes on Theocritus, for thus he very plainly to our purpose, the Character of Bucolicks is a mixture of all sorts of Characters, Dramatick, Narrative, or mixt: from all which ’tis very manifest that the manner of Imitation which is proper to Pastorals is the mixt: for in other kinds of Poetry ’tis one and simple, at least 30 not so manifold; as in Tragedy Action: in Epick Poetry Narration.

Now I shall explain what sort of Fable; Manners, Thought, Expression, which four are necessary to constitute every kind of Poetry, are proper to this sort.

Concerning the Fable which Aristotle calls, σύνθεσιν τῶν πραγμάτων,

I have but one thing to say: this, as the Philosopher hints, as of all other sorts of Poetry, so of Pastoral is the very Soul. and therfore Socrates in Plato says, that in those Verses which he had made there was nothing wanting but the Fable: therefore Pastorals as other kinds of Poetry must have their Fable, if they will be Poetry: Thus in Virgil’s Silenus which contains the Stories of allmost the whole Fabulous Age, two Shepherds whom Silenus had often promis’d a Song, and as often deceived, seize upon him being drunk and asleep, and bind him with wreath’d Flowers; Ægle comes in and incourages the timorous youths, and stains his jolly red Face with Blackberries, Silenus laughs at their innocent contrivance, and desires to be unbound, and then with a premeditated Song satisfies the Nymph’s and Boys Curiosity; The incomparable Poet sings wonders, the Rocks rejoyce, the Vales eccho, and happy Eurotas as if Phœbus himself sang, hears all, and bids the Laurels that grow upon his Banks listen to, and learn the Song.

Happy Eurotas as he flow’d along
Heard all, and bad the Laurels learn the Song.

Thus every Eclogue or Idyllium must have its Fable, which must be the groundwork of the whole design, but it must not be perplext with sudden and unlookt for changes, as in Marinus’s Adonis: for that, tho the Fable be of a Shepherd, yet by reason of the strange Bombast under Plots, and wonderful occurences, cannot be accounted Pastoral; for that it might be agreeable to the Person it treats of, it must be plain and simple, such as Sophocles’s Ajax, in which there is not so much as one change of Fortune. As for the Manners, let that precept, which Horace lays down in his Epistle to the Pisones, be principally observed.

Let each be grac’t with that which suits him best.

For this, as ’tis a rule relateing to Poetry in general, so it respects this kind also of which we are treating; and against this Tasso in his Amyntas, Bonarellus in his Phyllis, Guarinus in his Pastor Fido, Marinus in his Idylliums, and most of the Italians grievously offend, for they make their Shepherds too polite, and elegant, and cloth them with all the neatness of the Town, and Complement of the Court, which tho it may seem very pretty, yet amongst good Critics, let Veratus 32 say what he will in their excuse, it cannot be allowed: For ’tis against Minturnus’s Opinion, who in his second Book de Poetâ says thus: Mean Persons are brought in, those in Comedy indeed more polite, those in Pastorals more unelegant, as suppos’d to lead a rude life in Solitude; and Jason Denor a Doctor of Padua takes notice of the same as a very absurd Error: Aristotle heretofore for a like fault reprehended the Megarensians, who observ’d no Decorum in their Theater, but brought in mean persons with a Train fit for a King and cloath’d a Cobler or Tinker in a Purple Robe: In vain doth Veratus in his Dispute against Jason Denor, to defend those elaborately exquisite discourses, and notable sublime sentences of his Pastor Fido, bring some lofty Idylliums of Theocritus, for those are not acknowledged to be Pastoral; Theocritus and Virgil must be consulted in this matter, the former designdly makes his Shepherds discourse in the Dorick i. e. the Rustick Dialect, sometimes scarce true Grammar; & the other studiously affects ignorance in the persons of his Shepherds, as Servius hath observ’d, and is evident in Melibæus, who makes Oaxes to be a River in Crete when ’tis in Mesopotamia: and both of them take this way that the Manners may the more exactly suit with the Persons they represent, who of themselves are rude and unpolisht: And this proves that they scandalously err, who make their Shepherds appear polite and elegant; nor can I imagine what Veratus 33 who makes so much ado about the polite manners of the Arcadian Shepherds, would say to Polybius who tells us that Arcadians by reason of the Mountainousness of the Country and hardness of the weather, are very unsociable and austere.

Now as too much neatness in Pastoral is not to be allow’d, so rusticity (I do not mean that which Plato, in his Third Book of a Commonwealth, mentions which is but a part of a down right honesty) but Clownish stupidity, such as Theophrastus, in his Character of a Rustick, describes; or that disagreeable unfashionable roughness which Horace mentions in his Epistle to Lollius, must not in my opinion be endur’d: On this side Mantuan errs extreamly, and is intolerably absur’d, who makes Shepherds blockishly sottish, and insufferably rude: And a certain Interpreter blames Theocritus for the same thing, who in some mens opinion sometimes keeps too close to the Clown, and is rustick and uncouth; But this may be very well excus’d because the Age in which he sang was not as polite as now.

But that every Part may be suitable to a Shepherd, we must consult unstain’d, uncorrupted Nature; so that the manners might not be too Clownish nor too Caurtly: And this mean may be easily observed if the manners of our Shepherds be represented according to the Genius of the golden Age, in which, if Guarinus may be be34liev’d, every man follow’d that employment: And Nannius in the Preface to his Comments on Virgil’s Bucolicks is of the same opinion, for he requires that the manners might represent the Golden Age: and this was the reason that Virgil himself in his Pollio describes that Age, which he knew very well was proper to Bucolicks: For in the whole course of a Shepherds life there can be no form more excellent than that which was the practise of the Golden Age; And this may serve to moderate and temper the affections that must be exprest in this sort of Poetry, and sufficiently declare the whole Essence of it, which in short must be taken from the nature of a Shepherds life to which a Courtly dress is not agreeable.

That the Thought may be commendable, it must be suitable to the manners; as those must be plain and pure that must be so too: nor must contain any, deep, exquisite, or elaborate fancies: And against this the Italians offend, who continually hunt after smart witty sayings, very foolishly in my opinion; for in the Country, where all things should be full of plainess and simplicity who would paint or endeavor to be gawdy when such appearances would be very disagreeable and offend? Pontanus in this matter hath said very well, The Thought must not be to exquisite and witty, the Comparisons obvious and common, such as the State of Persons and Things require: Yet tho too scrupulous a Curiosity in Ornament ought to be re35jected, yet lest the Thought be cold and flat, it must have some quickness of Passion, as in these.

Cruel Alexis can’t my Verses move?
Hast thou no Pitty? I must dye for Love

And again,

He neither Gods, nor yet my Verse regards.

The Sense must not be long, copious, and continued, ForPastoral is weak, and not able to hold out; but of this more when I come to lay down rules for its Composure: But tho it ought to imitate Comedy in its common way of discourse, yet it must not chose old Comedy for its pattern, for that is too impudent, and licentiously abusive: Let it be free and modest, honest and ingenuous, and that will make it agreeable to the Golden Age.

Let the Expression be plain and easy, but elegant and neat, and the purest which the language will afford; Pontanus upon Virgils Bucolicks gives the very same rule, In Bucolicks the Expression must be humble, nearer common discourse than otherwise, not very Spirituous and vivid, yet such as shows life and strength: Tis certain that Virgil in his Bucolicks useth the same words which Tully did in the Forum or the Senate; and Tityrus beneath his shady Beech speaks as pure and good Latin as Augustus in his Palace, as Modicius in his Apology for Virgil hath excellently observ’d: 36 This rule, ’tis true; Theocritus hath not so strictly follow’d, whose Rustick and Pastoral Muse, as Quintilian phraseth it, not only is affraid to appear in the Forum, but the City, and for the very same thing an Alexandrian flouts the Syracucusian Weomen in the Fifteenth Idyllium of Theocritus, for when they, being then in the City, spoke the Dorick Dialect, the delicate Citizen could not endure it, and found fault with their distastful, as he thought, pronunciation: and his reflection was very smart.

Like Pidgeons you have mouths from Ear to Ear.

So intolerable did that broad way of pronunciation, tho exactly fit for a Clowns discourse, seem to a Citizen: and hence Probus observes that ’twas much harder for the Latines to write Pastorals than for the Greeks; because the Latines had not some Dialects peculiar to the Country, and others to the City, as the Greeks had; Besides the Latine Language, as Quintilian hath observ’d, is not capable of the neatness which is necessary to Bucolicks, no, that is the peculiar priviledge of the Greeks: We cannot, says he, be so low, they exceed us in subtlety, and in propriety they are at more certainty than We: and again, in pat and close Expressions we cannot reach the Greeks: And, if we believe Tully, Greek is much more fit for Ornament than Latin for it hath much more of that neatness, 37 and ravishing delightfulness, which Bucolicks necessarily require.

Yet of Pastoral, with whose Nature we are not very well acquainted, what that Form is which the Greeks call the Character, is not very easy to determine; yet that we may come to some certainty, we must stick to our former observation, viz. that Pastoral belongs properly to the Golden Age: For as Tully in his Treatise de Oratore says, in all our disputes the Subject is to be measur’d by the most perfect of that kind, and Synesius in his Encomium on Baldness hints the very same, when he tells us that Poetry fashions its subject as Men imagine it should be, and not as really it is: πρὸς δόξαν, οὐ πρὸς ἀλήθειαν: Now the Life of a Shepherd, that it might be rais’d to the highest perfection, is to be referr’d to the manners and age of the world whilst yet innocent, and such as the Fables have describ’d it: And as Simplicity was the principal vertue of that Age, so it ought to be the peculiar Grace, and as it were Character of Bucolicks: in which the Fable, Manners, Thought, and Expression ought to be full of the most innocent simplicity imaginable: for as Innocence in Life, so purity and simplicity in discourse was the Glory of that Age: So as gravity to Epicks, Sweetness to Lyricks, Humor to Comedy, softness to Elegies and smartness to Epigrams, so simplicity to Pastorals is proper; and one upon Theocritus says, that the Idea of his Bucolicks is in every part pure, and in all 38 that belongs to simplicity very happy: Such is this of Virgil, unwholsome to us Singers is the shade

Of Juniper, ’tis an unwholsome shade:

Than which in my opinion nothing can be more simply; nothing more rustically said; and this is the reason I suppose why Macrobius says that this kind of Poetry is creeping and upon mean subjects; and why too Virgils Tityrus lying under his shady Beech displeaseth some; Excellent Criticks indeed, whom I wish a little more sense, that they might not really be, what they would not seem to be, Ridiculous: Theocritus excells Virgil in this, of whom Modicius says, Theocritus deserves the greatest commendation for his happy imitation of the simplicity of his Shepherds, Virgil hath mixt Allegories, and some other things which contain too much learning, and deepness of Thought for Persons of so mean a Quality: Yet here I must obviate their mistake who fancy that this sort of Poetry, because in it self low and simple, is the proper work of mean Wits, and not the most sublime and excellent perfections: For as I think there be can nothing more elegant than easy naked simplicity, so likewise nothing can require more strength of Wit, and greater pains; and he must be of a great and clear judgment, who attempts Pastoral, and comes of with Honor. For there is no part of Poetry that requires more spirit, for if any part is not close and well compacted the whole Fabrick will be ruin’d, and the 39 matter, in it self humble, must creep; unless it is held up by the strength and vigor of the Expression.

Another qualification and excellence of Pastoral is to imitate Timanthes’s Art, of whom Pliny writes thus; Timanthes was very Ingenious, in all his peices more was to be understood than the Colours express’d, and tho his Art was very extraordinary yet his Fancy exceeded it: In this Virgil is peculiarly happy, but others, especially raw unexperienced Writers, if they are to describe a Rainbow, or a River, pour out their whole stock, and are unable to contain: Now ’tis properly requisite to a Pastoral that there should be a great deal coucht in a few words, and every thing it says should be so short, and so close, as if its chiefest excellence was to be spareing in Expression: such is that of Virgil;

These Fields and Corn shall a Barbarian share?
See the Effects of all our Civil War

How short is that? how concise? and yet how full of sense in the same Eclogue.

I wonder’d why all thy complaints were made,
Absent was

And the like you may every where meet with, as

Mopsus weds Nisa, what may’nt Lovers hope?

and in the second Eclogue,

Whom dost thou fly ah frantick! oft the Woods
Hold Gods, and
Paris equal to the Gods.

This Grace Virgil learn’d from Theocritus, allmost most all whose Periods; especially in the third Idyllium, have no conjunction to connect them, that the sense might be more close, and the Affection vehement and strong: as in this

Let all things change, let Pears the Firs adorn
Daphnis dyes.

And in the third Eclogue.

But when she saw, how great was the surprize! &c.

And any one may find a great many of the like in Theocritus and Virgil, if with a leisurely delight he nicely examines their delicate Composures: And this I account the greatest grace in Pastorals, which in my opinion those that write Pastorals do not sufficiently observe: ’tis true Ours (the French) and the Italian language is to babling to endure it; This is the Rock on which those that write Pastorals in their Mother tongue are usually split, But the Italians are inevitably lost; who having store of Wit, a very subtle invention and flowing fancy, cannot contain; everything that comes into their mind must be poured out, nor are they able to endure the least restraint: as is evident from Marinus’s Idylliums, and a great many of that nation who have ventur’d on such composures; For unless there are many 41 stops and breakings off in the series of a Pastoral, it can neither be pleasing nor artificial: And in my Opinion Virgil excells Theocritus in this, for Virgil is neither so continued, nor so long as Theocritus; who indulges too much the garrulity of his Greek; nay even in those things which he expresseth he is more close, and more cautiously conceals that part which ought to be dissembled: And this I am sure is a most admirable part of Eloquence; as Tully in his Epistle to Atticus says, ’tis rare to speak Eloquently, but more rare to be eloquently silent: And this unskillful Criticks are not acquainted with, and therefore are wont oftner to find fault with that which is not fitly exprest, than commend that which is prudently conceal’d: I could heap up a great many more things to this purpose, but I see no need of such a trouble, since no man can rationally doubt of the goodness of my Observation. Therefore, in short, let him that writes Pastorals think brevity, if it doth not obscure his sense, to be the greatest grace which he can attain.

Now why Bucolicks should require such Brevity, and be so essentially sparing in Expression, I see no other reason but this: It loves Simplicity so much that it must be averse to that Pomp and Ostentation which Epick Poetry must show, for that must be copious and flowing, in every part smooth, and equal to it self: But Pastoral must dissemble, and hide even that which it would 42 show, like Damon’s Galatea, who flies then when she most desires to be discovered.

And to the Bushes flys, yet would be seen.

And this doth not proceed from any malitious ill-natur’d Coyness, as some imagine, but from an ingenuous modesty and bashfulness, which usually accompanies, and is a proof of Simplicity: Tis very rare, says Pliny, to find a man so exquisitely skillful, as to be able to show those Features in a Picture which he hides, and I think it to be so difficult a task, that none but the most excellent Wits can attempt it with success: For small Wits usually abound with a multitude of words.

The third Grace of Bucolicks is Neatness, which contains all the taking prettiness and sweetness of Expression, and whatsoever is call’d the Delicacies of the more delightful and pleasing Muses: This the Rural Muses bestow’d on Virgil, as Horace in the tenth Satyr of his first Book says,

And Virgils happy Muse in Eclogues plays,
soft and facetious

Which Fabius takes to signify the most taking neatness and most exquisite Elegance imaginable: For thus he explains this place, in which he agrees with Tully, who in his Third Book de Oratore, says, the Atticks are Facetious i.e. elegant: Tho the common Interpreters of these words are not of the same mind: But if by Facetious Horace had meant jesting, and such as is design’d to make men laugh, and apply’d that to Virgil, nothing 43 could have been more ridiculous; ’tis the design of Comedy to raise laughter, but Eclogue should only delight, and charm by its takeing prettiness: All ravishing Delicacies of Thought, all sweetness of Expression, all that Salt from which Venus, as the Poets Fable, rose; are so essential to this kind of Poetry, that it cannot endure any thing that is scurillous, malitiously biteing, or ridiculous: There must be nothing in it but Hony, Milk, Roses, Violets, and the like sweetness, so that when you read you might think that you are in Adonis’s Gardens, as the Greeks speak, i.e. in the most pleasant place imaginable: For since the subject of Eclogue must be mean and unsurprizing, unless it maintains purity and neatness of Expression, it cannot please.

Therefore it must do as Tully says his friend Atticus did, who entertaining his acquaintance with Leeks and Onions, pleas’d them all very well, because he had them serv’d up in wicker Chargers, and clean Baskets; So let an Eclogue serve up its fruits and flowers with some, tho no costly imbellishment, such as may answer to the wicker Chargers, and Baskets; which may be provided at a cheap rate, and are agreeable to the Country: yet, (and this rule if you aim at exact simplicity, can never be too nicely observ’d,) you must most carefully avoid all paint and gawdiness of Expression, and, (which of all sorts of Elegancies is the most difficult to be avoided) 44 you must take the greatest care that no scrupulous trimness, or artificial fineness appear: For, as Quintilian teaches, in some cases diligence and care most most troublesomly perverse; and when things are most sweet they are next to loathsome and many times degenerate: Therefore as in Weomen a careless dress becomes some extreamly. Thus Pastoral, that it might not be uncomely, ought sometimes to be negligent, or the finess of its ornaments ought not to appear and lye open to every bodies view: so that it ought to affect a studied carelessness, and design’d negligence: And that this may be, all gawdiness of Dress, such as Paint and Curls, all artificial shining is to be despis’d, but in the mean time care must be taken that the Expression be bright and simply clean, not filthy and disgustful, but such as is varnisht with Wit and Fancy: Now to perfect this, Nature is chiefly to be lookt upon, (for nothing that is disagreeable to Nature can please) yet that will hardly prevail naked, by it self, and without the polishing of Art.

Then there are three things in which, as in its parts, the whole Character of a Pastoral is contain’d: Simplicity of Thought and expression: Shortness of Periods full of sense and spirit: and the Delicacy of a most elegant ravishing unaffected neatness.

Next I will enquire in to the Efficient, and then into the Final Cause of Pastorals.

45 Aristotle assigns two efficient Causes of Poetry, The natural desire of Imitation in Man whom he calls the most imitative Creature; and Pleasure consequent to that Imitation: Which indeed are the Remote Causes, but the Immediate are Art and Nature; Now according to the differences of Genius’s several Species of Poetry have been introduced. For as the Philosopher hath observ’d, διεσπάθη κατὰ τὰ οἰκεῖα ἤθη ἡ ποίησις Thus those that were lofty imitated great and Illustrious; those that were low spirited and groveling mean Actions: And every one, according to the various inclination of his Nature, follow’d this or that sort of Poetry: This the Philosopher expresly affirms, And Dio Chrysostomus says of Homer that he received from the Gods a Nature fit for all sorts of Verse: but this is an happiness which none partake but, as he in the same place intimates, Godlike minds.

Not to mention other kinds of Poetry, what particular Genius is requir’d to Pastoral I think, is evident from the foregoing Discourse, for as every part of it ought to be full of simple and inartificial neatness, so it requires a Wit naturally neat and pleasant, born to delight and ravish, which are the qualifications certainly of a great and most excellent Nature: For whatsoever in any kind is delicate and elegant, that is usually most excellent: And such a Genius that hath a sprightfulness of Nature, and is well instructed 46 by the rules of Art, is fit to attempt Pastorals.

Of the end of Pastorals tis not so easy to give an account: For as to the end of Poetry in General: The Enemies of Poets run out into a large common place, and loudly tell us that Poetry is frivolous and unprofitable. Excellent men! that love profit perchance, but have no regard for Honesty and Goodness; who do not know that all excellent Arts sprang from Poetry at first.

Which what is honest, base, or just, or good,
Better than
Crantor, or Chrysippus show’d.

For tis Poetry that like a chast unspotted Virgin, shews men the way, and the means to live happily, who afterward are deprav’d by the immodest precepts of vitiated and impudent Philosophy. For every body knows, that the Epick sets before us the highest example of the Bravest man; the Tragedian regulates the Affections of the Mind; the Lyrick reforms Manners, or sings the Praises of Gods, and Heroes; so that there’s no part of Poetry but hath it’s proper end, and profits.

But grant all this true, Pastoral can make no such pretence: if you sing a Hero, you excite mens minds to imitate his Actions, and notable Exploits; but how can Bucolicks apply these or the like advantages to its self? He that reads 47 Heroick Poems, learns what is the vertue of a Hero, and wishes to be like him; but he that reads Pastorals, neither learns how to feed sheep, nor wishes himself a shepherd: And a great deal more to this purpose you may see in Modicius, as Pontanus cites him in his Notes on Virgil’s Eclogues.

But when tis the end of Comedy, as Jerom in his Epistle to Furia says, to know the Humors of Men, and to describe them; and Demea in Terence intimates the same thing,

To look on all mens lives as in a Glass,
And take from those Examples for our Own

so that our Humors and Conversations may be better’d, and improv’d; why may not Pastoral be allow’d the same Priviledge, and be admitted to regulate and improve a Shepherd’s life by its Bucolicks? For since tis a product of the Golden Age, it will shew the most innocent manners of the most ancient Simplicity, how plain and honest, and how free from all varnish, and deceit, to more degenerate, and worse times: And certainly for this tis commendable in its kind, since its design in drawing the image of a Country and Shepherd’s life, is to teach Honesty, Candor, and Simplicity, which are the vertues of private men; as Epicks teach the highest Fortitude, and Prudence, and Conduct, which are the vertues of Generals, and Kings. And tis ne48cessary to Government, that as there is one kind of Poetry to instruct the Citizens, there should be another to fashion the manners of the Rusticks: which if Pastoral, as it does, did not do, yet would it not be altogether frivolous, and idle, since by its taking prettinesses it can delight, and please. It can scarce be imagin’d, how much the most flourishing times of the Roman Common-wealth, in which Virgil wrote, grew better and brisker by the use of Pastoral: with it were Augustus, Mecænas, Asinius Pollio, Alphenus Varus, Cornelius Gallus, the most admired Wits of that happy Age, wonderfully pleas’d; for whatever is sweet, and ravishing, is contain’d in this sweetest kind of Poetry. But if we must slight every thing, from which no profit is to be hop’d, all pleasures of the Eye and Ear are presently to be laid aside; and those excellent Arts, Musick, and Painting, with which the best men use to be delighted, are presently to be left off. Nor is it indeed credible, that so many excellent Wits, as have devoted themselves to Poetry, would ever have medled with it, if it had been so empty, idle, and frivolous, as some ridiculously morose imagine; who forsooth are better pleas’d with the severity of Philosophy, and her harsh, deform’d impropriety of Expressions. But the judgments of such men are the most contemptible in the world; for when by Poetry mens minds are fashioned to generous 49 Humors, Kindness, and the like: those must needs be strangers to all those good qualites, who hate, or proclaim Poetry to be frivolous, and useless.


The Third PART.

Rules for writing Pastorals.

IN delivering Rules for writing Pastorals, I shall not point to the streams, which to look after argues a small creeping Genius, but lead you to the fountains. But first I must tell you, how difficult it is to write Pastorals, which many seem not sufficiently to understand: For since its matter is low, and humble, it seems to have nothing that is troublesome, and difficult. But this is a great mistake, for, as Horace says of Comedy, "It is by so much the more difficult, by how much the less pardonable are the mistakes committed in its composure": and the same is to be thought of every thing, whose end is to please, and delight. For whatsoever is contriv’d for pleasure, and not necessarily requir’d, unless it be exquisite, must be nauseous, and distastful; as at a Supper, scraping Musick, thick Oyntment, or the like, because the Entertainment might have been without all these; For the sweetest things, and most delicious, are most apt to satiate; for tho the sense may sometimes be pleas’d, yet it presently disgusts that which is 51 luscious, and, as Lucretius phraseth it,

E’en in the midst and fury of the Joys,
Some thing that’s better riseth, and destroys

Beside, since Pastoral is of that nature, that it cannot endure too much negligence, nor too scrupulous diligence, it must be very difficult to be compos’d, especially since the expression must be neat, but not too exquisite, and fine: It must have a simple native beauty, but not too mean; it must have all sorts of delicacies, and surprizing fancies, yet not be flowing, and luxuriant. And certainly, to hit all these excellencies is difficult enough, since Wit, whose nature it is to pour it self forth, must rather be restrain’d than indulg’d; and that force of the Mind, which of it self is so ready to run on, must be checkt, and bridled: Which cannot be easily perform’d by any, but those who have a very good Judgment, and practically skill’d in Arts, and Sciences: And lastly, a neat, and as it were a happy Wit; not that curious sort, I mean, which Petronius allows Horace, lest too much Art should take off the Beauty of the Simplicity. And therefore I would not have any one undertake this task, that is not very polite by Nature, and very much at leisure. For what is more hard than to be always in the Country, and yet never to be Clownish? to sing of mean, and trivial mat52ters, yet not trivially, and meanly? to pipe on a slender Reed, and yet keep the sound from being harsh, and squeaking? to make every thing sweet, yet never satiate? And this I thought necessary to premise, in order to the better laying down of such Rules as I design. For the naked simplicity both of the Matter and Expression of a Pastoral, upon bare Contemplation, might seem easily to be hit, but upon trial ’twill be found a very hard task: Nor was the difficulty to be dissembled, lest Ignorance should betray some into a rash attempt. Now I must come to the very Rules; for as nothing excellent can be brought to perfection without Nature, (for Art unassisted by that, is vain, and ineffectual,) so there is no Nature so excellent, and happy, which by its own strength, and without Art and Use can make any thing excellent, and great.

But tis hard to give Rules for that, for which there have been none already given; for where there are no footsteps nor path to direct, I cannot tell how any one can be certain of his way. Yet in this difficulty I will follow Aristotle’s Example, who being to lay down Rules concerning Epicks, propos’d Homer as a Pattern, from whom he deduc’d the whole Art: So I will gather from Theocritus and Virgil, those Fathers of Pastoral, what I shall deliver on this account. For all the Rules that are to be given of any Art, are to be given of it as excellent, and perfect, and 53 therefore ought to be taken from them in whom it is so.

The first Rule shall be about the Matter, which is either the Action of a Shepherd, or contriv’d and fitted to the Genius of a Shepherd; for tho Pastoral is simple, and bashful, yet it will entertain lofty subjects, if it can be permitted to turn and fashion them to its own proper Circumstances, and Humor: which tho Theocritus hath never done, but kept close to pastoral simplicity, yet Virgil hath happily attempted; of whom almost the same Character might be given, which Quintilian bestow’d on Stesichorus, who with his Harp bore up the most weighty subjects of Epick Poetry; for Virgil sang great and lofty things to his Oaten Reed, but yet suited to the Humor of a Shepherd, for every thing that is not agreeable to that, cannot belong to Pastoral: of its own nature it cannot treat of lofty and great matters.

Therefore let Pastoral be smooth and soft, not noisy and bombast; lest whilst it raiseth its voice, and opens its mouth, it meet with the same fate that, they say, an Italian Shepherd did, who having a very large mouth, and a very strong breath, brake his Pipe as often as he blow’d it. This is a great fault in one that writes Pastorals: for if his words are too sounding, or his sense too strong, he must be absurd, because indecently loud. And this is not the rule of an unskilful 54 impertinent Adviser, but rather of a very excellent Master in this Art; for Phoebus twitcht Virgil by the Ear, and warn’d him to forbear great Subjects: but if it ventures upon such, it may be allow’d to use some short Invocations, and, as Epicks do, modestly implore the assistance of a Muse. This Virgil doth in his Pollio, which is a Composure of an unusual loftiness:

Sicilian Muse begin a loftier strain.

So he invocates Arethusa, when Cornelius Gallus Proconsul of Ægypt and his Amours, matters above the common reach of Pastoral, are his Subject.

One Labor more O Arethusa yield.

Why he makes his application to Aretheusa is easy to conjecture, for she was a Nymph of Sicily, and so he might hope that she could inspire him with a Genius fit for Pastorals which first began in that Island, Thus in the seventh and eighth Eclogue, as the matter would bear, he invocates the Nymphs and Muses: And Theocritus does the same,

Tell Goddess, you can tell.

From whence ’tis evident that in Pastoral, tho it never pretends to any greatness, Invocations 55 may be allow’d: But whatever Subject it chooseth, it must take care to accommodate it to the Genius and Circumstances of a Shepherd. Concerning the Form, or mode of Imitation, I shall not repeat what I have already said, viz. that this is in it self mixt; for Pastoral is either Alternate, or hath but one Person, or is mixt of both: yet ’tis properly and chiefly Alternate. as is evident from that of Theocritus.

Sing Rural strains, for as we march along
We may delight each other with a Song

In which the Poet shows that alternate singing is proper to a Pastoral: But as for the Fable, ’tis requisite that it should be simple, lest in stead of Pastoral it put on the form of a Comedy, or Tragedy if the Fable be great, or intricate: It must be One; this Aristotle thinks necessary in every Poem, and Horace lays down this general Rule,

Be every Fable simple, and but one:

For every Poem, that is not One, is imperfect, and this Unity is to be taken from the Action: for if that is One, the Poem will be so too. Such is the Passion of Corydon in Virgil’s second Eclogue, Melibœus’s Expostulation with Tityrus about his Fortune; Theocritus’s Thyrsis, Cyclops, and Amaryllis, of which perhaps in its proper place I may treat more largely. 56 Let the third Rule be concerning the Expression, which cannot be in this kind excellent unless borrow’d from Theocritus’s Idylliums, or Virgil’s Eclogues, let it be chiefly simple, and ingenuous: such is that of Theocritus,

A Kid belongs to thee, and Kids are good,

Or that in Virgil’s seventh Eclogue,

This Pail of Milk, these Cakes (Priapus) every year
Expect; a little Garden is thy care:
Thou’rt Marble now, but if more Land I hold,
If my Flock thrive, thou shalt be made of Gold

than which I cannot imagine more simple, and more ingenuous expressions. To which may be added that out of his Palemon,

And I love Phyllis, for her Charms excell;
At my departure O what tears there fell!
She sigh’d, Farewell Dear Youth, a long Farewell

Now, That I call an ingenuous Expression which is clear and smooth, that swells with no insolent words, or bold metaphors, but hath something familiar, and as it were obvious in its Composure, and not disguis’d by any study’d and affected dress: All its Ornament must be like the Corn and fruits in the Country, easy to 57 be gotten, and ready at hand, not such as requires Care, Labor, and Cost to be obtain’d: as Hermogenes on Theocritus observes; See how easie and unaffected this sounds,

Pines murmurings, Goatherd, are a pleasing sound,

and most of his expressions, not to say all, are of the same nature: for the ingenuous simplicity both of Thought and Expression is the natural Characteristick of Pastoral. In this Theocritus and Virgil are admirable, and excellent, the others despicable, and to be pittied; for they being enfeebled by the meanes of their subject, either creep, or fall flat. Virgil keeps himself up by his choice and curious words, and tho his matter for the most part (and Pastoral requires it) is mean, yet his expressions never flag, as is evident from these lines in his Alexis:

The glossy Plums I’le bring, and juicy Pear,
Such as were once delightful to my Dear:
I’le crop the Laurel, and the Myrtle tree,
Confus’dly set, because their Sweets agree

For since the matter must be low, to avoid being abject, and despicable, you must borrow some light from the Expression; not such as is dazling, but pure, and lambent, such as may shine thro the whole matter, but never flash, and blind. 58 The words of such a Stile we are usually taught in our Nurses armes, but ’tis to be perfected and polished by length of time, frequent use, study, and diligent reading of the most approved Authors: for Pastoral is apt to be slighted for the meaness of its Matter, unless it hath some additional Beauty, be pure, polisht, and so made pleasing, and attractive. Therefore never let any one, that designs to write Pastorals, corrupt himself with foreign manners; for if he hath once vitiated the healthful habit, as I may say, of Expression, which Bucolicks necessarily require, ’tis impossible he should be fit for that task. Yet let him not affect pompous or dazling Expressions, for such belong to Epicks, or Tragedians. Let his words sometimes tast of the Country, not that I mean, of which Volusius’s Annals, upon which Catullus hath made that biting Epigram, are full; for though the Thought ought to be rustick, and such as is suitable to a Shepherd, yet it ought not to be Clownish, as is evident in Corydon, when he makes mention of his Goats.

Young sportive Creatures, and of spotted hue,
Which suckled twice a day, I keep for you:
Thestilis hath beg’d, and beg’d in vain,
But now they’re Hers, since You my Gifts disdain

For what can be more Rustical, than to design those Goats for Alexis, at that very time when 59 he believes Thestylis’s winning importunity will be able to prevail? yet there is nothing Clownish in the words. In short, Bucolicks should deserve that commendation which Tully gives Crassus, of whose Orations he would say, that nothing could be more free from childish painting, and affected finery. So let the Expression in Pastoral be without gawdy trappings, and all those little fineries of Art, which are us’d to set off and varnish a discourse: But let an ingenuous Simplicity. and unaffected pleasing Neatness appear in every part; which yet will be flat, if ’t is drawn out to any length, if not close, short, and broken, as that in Virgil,

He that loves Bavius Verses, hates not Thine:

And in the same Eclogue,

  —It is not safe to drive too nigh,
The Bank may fail, the Ram is hardly dry

And in Corydon,

To learn this Art what won’t Amyntas do?

And in Theocritus much of the same nature may be seen; as in his other Pastoral Idylliums, so chiefly in his fifth. Thus Battus in the fourth Idyllium, complaining for the loss of Amaryllis, 60

Dear Nymph, dear as my Goats, you dy’d.

And how soft and tender is that in the third Idyllium,

And she may look on me, she may be won,
She may be kind, she is not perfect Stone

And in this concise, close way of Expression lies the chiefest Grace of Pastorals: for in my opinion there’s nothing in the whole Composition that can delight more than those frequent stops, and breakings off. Yet lest in these too it become dull and sluggish, it must be quickned by frequent lively touches of Concernment: such as that of the Goatherd in the third Idyllium,

—I see that I must die:

Or Daphnis’s despair, which Thyrsis sings in the first Idyllium,

Ye Wolves, and Pards, and Mountain Bores adieu,
The Herdsmen now must walk no more with You

How tender are the lines, and yet what passion they contain! And most of Virgil’s are of this nature, but there are likewise in him some touches of despairing Love, such as is this of Alphesibœus,

Nor have I any mind to be reliev’d:

61Or that of Damon,

I’le dy, yet tell my Love e’en whilst I dy:

Or that of Corydon,

He lov’d, but could not hope for Love again.

For tho Pastoral doth not admit any violent passions, such as proceed from the greatest extremity, and usually accompany despair; yet because Despairing Love is not attended with those frightful and horrible consequences, but looks more like grief to be pittied, and a pleasing madness, than rage and fury, Eclogue is so far from refusing, that it rather loves, and passionately requires them. Therefore an unfortunate Shepherd may be brought in, complaining of his successless Love to the Moon, Stars, or Rocks, or to the Woods, and purling Streams, mourning the unsupportable anger, the frowns and coyness of his proud Phyllis; singing at his Nymphs door, (which Plutarch reckons among the signs of Passion) or doing any of those fooleries, which are familiar to Lovers. Yet the Passion must not rise too high, as Polyphemus’s, Galateas’s mad Lover, of whom Theocritus divinely thus, as almost of every thing else:

His was no common flame, nor could he move
In the old Arts, and beaten paths of Love,
No Flowers nor Fruits sent to oblige the Fair,
His was all Rage, and Madness

For all violent Perturbations are to be diligently avoided by Bucolicks, whose nature it is to be soft, and easie: For in small matters, and such must all the strifes and contentions of Shepherds be, to make a great deal of adoe, is as unseemly, as to put Hercules’s Vizard and Buskins on an Infant, as Quintilian hath excellently observ’d. For since Eclogue is but weak, it seems not capable of those Commotions which belong to the Theater, and Pulpit; they must be soft, and gentle, and all its Passion must seem to flow only, and not break out: as in Virgil’s Gallus,

Ah, far from home and me You wander o’re
Alpine snows, the farthest Western shore,
And frozen
Rhine. When are we like to meet?
Ah gently, gently, lest thy tender feet
Sharp Ice may wound

To these he may sometimes joyn some short Interrogations made to inanimate Beings, for those spread a strange life and vigor thro the whole Composure. Thus in Daphnis,

Did not You Streams, and Hazels, hear the Nymphs?

Or give the very Trees, and Fountains sense, as in Tityrus,

Thee (Tityrus) the Pines, and every Vale,
The Fountains, Hills, and every shrub did call

for by this the Concernment is express’d; and of the like nature is that of Thyrsis, in Virgil’s Melibœus, 63

When Phyllis comes, my wood will all be green.

And this sort of Expressions is frequent in Theocritus, and Virgil, and in these the delicacy of Pastoral is principally contain’d, as one of the old Interpreters of Theocritus hath observ’d on this line, in the eighth Idyllium,

Ye Vales, and Streams, a race Divine:

But let them be so, and so seldom us’d, that nothing appear vehement, and bold, for Boldness and Vehemence destroy the sweetness which peculiarly commends Bucolicks, and in those Composures a constant care to be soft and easie should be chief: For Pastoral bears some resemblance to Terence, of whom Tully, in that Poem which he writes to Libo, gives this Character,

His words are soft, and each expression sweet.

In mixing Passion in Pastorals, that rule of Longinus, in his golden Treatise περὶ ὕψους, must be observ’d, Never use it, but when the matter requires it, and then too very sparingly. Concerning the Numbers, in which Pastoral should be written, this is my opinion; the Heroick Measure, but not so strong and sounding as in Epicks, is to be chosen. Virgil and Theocritus have given us examples; for tho Theocritus hath in one Idyllium mixt other Numbers, yet that can be of no force against all the rest; and Virgil useth no Numbers but Heroick, from whence it may be inferr’d, that those are the fittest. 64 Pastoral may sometimes admit plain, but not long Narrations such as Socrates in Plato requires in a Poet; for he chiefly approves those who use a plain Narration, and commends that above all other which is short, and fitly expresseth the nature of the Thing. Some are of opinion that Bucolicks cannot endure Narrations, especially if they are very long, and imagine there are none in Virgil: but they have not been nice enough in their observations, for there are some, as that in Silenus.

Young Chromis and Mnasylus chanct to stray,
Where (sleeping in a Cave)
Silenus lay,
Whose constant Cups fly fuming to his brain,
And always boyl in each extended vein:
His trusty Flaggon, full of potent Juice,
Was hanging by, worn out with Age, and Use, &c.

But, because Narrations are so seldom to be found in Theocritus, and Virgil, I think they ought not to be often us’d; yet if the matter will bear it, I believe such as Socrates would have, may very fitly be made use of. The Composure will be more suitable to the Genius of a Shepherd, if now and then there are some short turns and digressions from the purpose: Such is that concerning Pasiphae in Silenus, although tis almost too long; but we may give Virgil a little leave, who takes so little liberty himself. 65 Concerning Descriptions I cannot tell what to lay down, for in this matter our Guides, Virgil, and Theocritus, do not very well agree. For he in his first Idyllium makes such a long immoderate description of his Cup, that Criticks find fault with him, but no such description appears in all Virgil; for how sparing is he in his description of Melibœus’s Beechen Pot, the work of Divine Alcimedon? He doth it in five verses, Theocritus runs out into thirty, which certainly is an argument of a wit that is very much at leisure, and unable to moderate his force. That shortness which Virgil hath prudently made choice of, is in my opinion much better; for a Shepherd, who is naturally incurious, and unobserving, cannot think that tis his duty to be exact in particulars, and describe every thing with an accurate niceness: yet Roncardus hath done it, a man of most correct judgment, and, in imitation of Theocritus, hath, considering the then poverty of our language, admirably and largely describ’d his Cup; and Marinus in his Idylliums hath follow’d the same example. He never keeps within compass in his Descriptions, for which he is deservedly blam’d; let those who would be thought accurate, and men of judgment, follow Virgil’s prudent moderation. Nor can the Others gain any advantage from Moschus’s Europa, in which the description of the Basket is very long, for that Idyllium is not Pastoral; yet I confess, that some 66 descriptions of such trivial things, if not minutely accurate, may, if seldom us’d, be decently allow’d a place in the discourses of Shepherds.

But tho you must be sparing in your Descriptions, yet your Comparisons must be frequent, and the more often you use them, the better and more graceful will be the Composure; especially if taken from such things, as the Shepherds must be familiarly acquainted with: They are frequent in Theocritus but so proper to the Country, that none but a Shepherd dare use them. Thus Menalcas in the eighth Idyllium:

Rough Storms to Trees, to Birds the treacherous Snare,
Are frightful Evils; Springes to the Hare,
Soft Virgins Love to Man, &c.

And Damœtas in Virgil’s Palæmon,

Woolves sheep destroy, Winds Trees when newly blown,
Storms Corn, and me my
Amaryllis frown.

And that in the eighth Eclogue,

As Clay grows hard, Wax soft in the same fire,
Daphnis does in one extream desire.

And such Comparisons are very frequent in him, and very suitable to the Genius of a Shepherd; as likewise often repetitions, and doublings of some words: which, if they are luckily plac’d have an unexpressible quaintness, and make the Numbers extream sweet, and the turns ravishing and delightful. An instance of this we have in Virgil’s Melibœus,

Phyllis the Hazel loves; whilst Phyllis loves that Tree,
Myrtles than Hazels of less fame shall be

As for the Manners of your Shepherds, they must be such as theirs who liv’d in the Islands of the Happy or Golden Age: They must be candid, simple, and ingenuous; lovers of Goodness, and Justice, affable, and kind; strangers to all fraud, contrivance, and deceit; in their Love modest, and chast, not one suspitious word, no loose expression to be allowed: and in this part Theocritus is faulty, Virgil never; and this difference perhaps is to be ascrib’d to their Ages, the times in which the latter liv’d being more polite, civil, and gentile. And therefore those who make wanton Love- stories the subject of Pastorals, are in my opinion very unadvis’d; for all sort of lewdness or debauchery are directly contrary to the Innocence of the golden Age. There is another thing in which Theocritus is faulty, and that is making his Shepherds too sharp, and abusive to one another; Comatas and Lacon are ready to fight, and the railing between those two is as bitter as Billingsgate: Now certainly such Raillery cannot be suitable to those sedate times of the Happy Age.

As for Sentences, if weighty, and Philosophical, common Sense tells us they are not fit for a Shepherd’s mouth. Here Theocritus cannot be altogether excus’d, but Virgil deserves no reprehension. But Proverbs justly challenge admission into Pastorals, nothing being more common in 68 the mouths of Countrymen than old Sayings.

Thus much seem’d necessary to be premis’d out of RAPIN, for the direction and information of the Reader.


p. 13. l. 15. read
the wind.

p. 15. l. 16. read

p. 60. l. 4. read

p. 95. l. 17. read
whilst all.

p. 112. l. 9. read
of my Love.

Transcriber’s Note: The errata listed above appear to belong to the Creech translation of Theocritus, not included in this reprint. A few misprints in the Rapin text were corrected for this e-text. The corrections appear like this.

Rapin's Discourse of Pastorals was first published in Latin, with his eclogues, under the title: Eclogae, cum dissertatione de carmine pastorali. Parisiis, apud S. Cramoisy, 1659.

The English translation by Thomas Creech, prefixed to his translation of the Idylliums of Theocritus, appeared in 1684. A second edition "to which is prefix'd, The Life of Theocritus. By Basil Kennet", was printed at London for E. Curll, at the Dial and Bible against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street, in 1713, and a third edition, also printed for Curll, appeared in 1721.

Ella M. Hymans

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