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ments of human ingenuity perished in the ashes of the Alexandrian library.

Those ingenious Greeks, whom we call the parents of pastoral poetry, were, probably, no more than imitators, that derived their harmony from higher and remoter sources, and kindled their poetical fires at those then unextinguished lamps which burned within the tombs of oriental genius.

It is evident that Homer has availed himself of those magnificent images and descriptions so frequently to be met with in the books of the Old Testament; and why may not Theocritus, Moschus, and Bion, have found their archetypes in other eastern writers, whose names have perished with their works? yet, though it may not be illiberal to admit such a supposition, it would certainly be invidious to conclude, what the malignity of cavillers alone could suggest with regard to Homer, that they destroyed the sources from which they borrowed, and, as it is fabled of the young of the pelican, drained their supporters to death.

As the Septuagint-translation of the Old Testament was performed at the request, and under the patronage, of Ptolemy Philadelphus, it were not to be wondered if Theocritus, who was entertained at that prince's court, had borrowed some of his pastoral imagery from the poetical passages of those books.I think it can hardly be doubted that the Sicilian poet had in his eye certain expressions of the prophet Isaiah, when he wrote the following lines:

Νυν τα μεν φορεοιτε βατοι, φορεοιτε δ' ακανθαν.
Α δε καλα Ναρκισσος επ' αρκευθοισι κομασαι·
Παντα δ' εναλλα γενοιτο, και & πιτυς οχνας ενειακαι
και τως κύνας ώλαφος ἕλκοι.

Let vexing brambles the blue violet bear,
On the rude thorn Narcissus dress his hair,
All, all revers'd-The pine with pears be crown'd,
And the bold deer shall drag the trembling hound.

The cause, indeed, of these phænomena is very different in the Greek from what it is in the Hebrew poet; the former employing them on the death, the latter on the birth, of an important person: but the marks of imitation are nevertheless obvious.

It might, however, be expected, that if Theocritus had borrowed at all from the sacred writers, the celebrated epithalamium of Solomon, so much within his own walk of poetry, would not certainly have escaped his notice. His epithalamium on the marriage of Helena, moreover, gave him an open field for imitation; therefore, if he has any obligations to the royal bard, we may expect to find him there. The very opening of the poem is in the Spirit of the Hebrew song:

Ουτω δε πρωίζα κατέδραθες, ω φιλε γαμβρε,

The colour of imitation is still stronger in the following passage:

Αως αν έλλοισα καλον διέφαινε προσωπον,
Ποτνια νυξ άτε, λευκον εας χειμενος ανέντος
Ωδε και & χρυσεα Ελενα διεφαίνετ' εν ἡμῖν,
Πιειρε, μεγάλη. άτ' ανέδραμεν ογμος αρέρα,
Η καπῳ κυπαρισσος, η άρματι Θεσσαλος ἱππος.

This description of Helen is infinitely above the style and figure of the Sicilian pastoral-" She is like the rising of the golden morning, when the night departeth, and when the winter is over and gone. She

resembleth the cypress in the garden, the horse in the chariots of Thessaly." These figures plainly declare their origin; and others, equally imitative, might be pointed out in the same Idyllium.

This beautiful and luxuriant marriage pastoral of Solomon, is the only perfect form of the oriental eclogue that has survived the ruins of time; a happiness for which it is, probably, more indebted to its sacred character than to its intrinsic merit. Not that it is by any means destitute of poetical excellence: like all the eastern poetry, it is bold, wild, and unconnected in its figures, allusions, and parts, and has all that graceful and magnificent daring which characterises its metaphorical and comparative imagery.

In consequence of these peculiarities, so ill adapted to the frigid genius of the North, Mr. Collins could make but little use of it as a precedent for his oriental eclogues; and even in his third eclogue, where the subject is of a similar nature, he has chosen rather to follow the mode of the Doric and the Latin pastoral.

The scenery and subjects then of the foregoing eclogues alone are oriental; the style and colouring are purely European; and, for this reason, the author's preface, in which he intimates that he had the original from a merchant who traded to the East, is omitted, as being now altogether superfluous.

With regard to the merit of these eclogues, it may justly be asserted, that in simplicity of description and expression, in delicacy and softness of numbers, and in natural and unaffected tenderness, they are not to be equalled by any thing of the pastoral kind, in the English language.



THIS Eclogue, which is entitled Selim, or the Shepherd's Moral, as there is nothing dramatic in the subject, may be thought the least entertaining of the four: but it is by no means the least valuable. The moral precepts which the intelligent shepherd delivers to his fellow-swains, and the virgins their companions, are such as would infallibly promote the happiness of the pastoral life.

In impersonating the private virtues, the poet has observed great propriety, and has formed their genealogy with the most perfect judgment, when he represents them as the daughters of truth and wisdom.

The characteristics of modesty and chastity are extremely happy and peinturesque:

"Come thou, whose thoughts as limpid springs are clear,
To lead the train, sweet Modesty appear;

With thee be Chastity, of all afraid,
Distrusting all, a wise, suspicious maid;

Cold is her breast, like flowers that drink the dew;
A silken veil conceals her from the view."

The two similes borrowed from rural objects are not only much in character, but perfectly natural and expressive. There is, notwithstanding, this defect in the former, that it wants a peculiar propriety; for purity of thought may as well be applied to chastity as to modesty; and from this instance, as well as from a thousand more, we may see the necessity of distinguishing, in characteristic poetry, every object by marks and attributes peculiarly its own.

It cannot be objected to this eclogue, that it wants

both those essential criteria of the pastoral, love and the drama; for though it partakes not of the latter, the former still retains an interest in it, and that too very material, as it professedly consults the virtue and happiness of the lover, while it informs what are the qualities

that must lead to love.


ALL the advantages that any species of poetry can derive from the novelty of the subject and scenery, this eclogue possesses. The rout of a camel-driver is a scene that scarce could exist in the imagination of an European, and of its attendant distresses he could have no idea. These are very happily and minutely painted by our descriptive poet. What sublime simplicity of expression! what nervous plainness in the opening of the poem!

"In silent horror o'er the boundless waste

The driver Hassan with his camels pass'd."

The magic pencil of the poet brings the whole scene before us at once, as it were by enchantment; and in this single couplet we feel all the effect that arises from the terrible wildness of a region unenlivened by the habitations of men. The verses that describe so minutely the camel-driver's little provisions, have a touching influence on the imagination, and prepare the reader to enter more feelingly into his future apprehensions of distress:

"Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall thirst assuage,
When fails this cruse, his unrelenting rage!"

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