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turbulency, under the pretence of preserving the rights, privileges, and iminunities of the church. In the year 1171, four persons murdered him in the cathedral church of Canterbury, by which action they hoped to make their court to the King, to whom Becket had given great trouble and vexation. In 1173 Becket was canonised, by virtue of a bull from the Pope.' In 122 1 his body was taken up in the presence of king Henry the Third, and several nobility, and deposited in a rich shrine, on the east side of the church. The miracles said to be wrought at his tomb were so numerous, that we are told two large volumes of them were kept in Canterbury church. His character, however, was thought so ambiguous by fume, even among the Catho. lics themselves, that some time after Becket's death, it was publicly debated in the university of Paris, “ Whether the soul of Becket was in heaven or in hell ?” It must, however, be at least acknowledged, that St. Thomas of Canterbury, was a faint of great fame and reputation. For his shrine was visited from all parts, and enriched with the most costly gifts and of. ferings. In one year it is said that no less than 100,000 came to visit his shrine. And we may form fome judgment of the veneration which was paid to his memory, by the account given of tlie offerings made to the three greatest altars in Christ Church, which stood thus for one year :
£ s. d. At Chrift's altar . • .
3 2 6 At the blessed Virgin's . .. 63 5 6
At Becket's . . . . . . 832 12 6 But the following year, when probably the Saint's character was still more established in the world, the odds were greater, and St. Thomas carried all before him. The account was thus:
f. s. d.
(No. XXXI.] THE PASTORAL POETRY OF THEOCRITUS,
The paftoral which fings of happy swains,
ANON. THE nature of pastoral poetry was explained and
I discussed in our Number for February last, when the Eclogues of Virgil became the topic of examination. We then specified the subjects best fitted for this kind of poetry, and expatiated on the advantages of which it is almost exclusively possessed. But in conlidering the Ecloguos, it was impossible not to refer the reader to the productions of THEOCRITUS, who is by way of eminence stiled the Father of Pastoral Poetry. We shall now, therefore, bring forward a few biographical particulars respecting this great man, and transcribe a few illustrative passages from his works, which have deservedly attracted the attention of mankind. We are naturally anxious to become acquainted with that species of poetry which has imparted no small de
gree of gratification to minds endued with genuine sensibility.
THEOCRITUS was by birth' a Syracufian, being born at Syracuse in Sicily ; but of his parents litule is known. He addressed one of his poems to Hiero, King of Syracuse, who reigned about 275 years before Christ. Hiero, though a famous prince, yet seems to have shewn no great affection for letters. This is supposed to have been the occafion of THEOCRITUS' 16th Idyl. lium, inscribed with the monarch's name, where the poet asserts the dignity of his profession, laments his poor encouragement, and infinuates to the Prince what a brave figure he would have made in verse, had he been as good a patron as he was a subject to the muses ! This coldness and neglect induced THEOCRITUS loon after to leave Sicily for the Egyptian court, where King Ptolemy. then sat supreme president of arts and wit. Patronised by this inonarch, the poet has hand. somely panegyrised him, in which, among other things, he extols his generous encouragement both of learning and ingenuity.
Of this delightful son of the muses no further account can be drawn from his works, or indeed from any other records with which later ages have been furnished ! Too often are we left to gather, very imperfectly, the particulars of an eminent man's life from scattered and unconnected passages of his own productions. Thus it is with great difficulty that we are capable of learning any thing sufficiently decisive to gratify the curiosity.
It has been, indeed, conjectured, that Theocritus suffered a violent death, arising from the indignation of a certain monarch, whom he had by his strains offended. In this idea, however, we have reason to believe that the learned have been mistaken. With much greater · probability it is supposed, that Theocritus, che rheto
rician, nor the poet, fell by the hands of the execu. tioner. Theocritus, the rhetorician, had been guilty of Some crime against King Antigonus, who, it seems, had
one eye only ; but being afsured by his friends that he fhould certainly obtain a pardon as soon as he should appear to his majesty's eyesc" Nay then," cried he, “I am indisputably a dead man, if shole be the condi
The compositions of this poet are distinguished among the ancients by the name of Idyllia, or Idylls, in order to exprels the finallness and variety of their natures. His works, in the language of modern times, would have been entitled miscellanies, or poems on several occafions.
The nine firit and eleventh of his Idyllia, are true paftorals; and the other poems are full of merit. To the former, however, we shall confine ourselves; and the third Idyll will afford us feveral beautiful passages for the illustration of pastoral poetry. To persons who hare no taste for rural personages and scenes, they will not perceive and relish the beauty of THEOCRITUS, whore great art is to introduce you into the country, and to enter:ain you with the objeĉts by which you are there surrounded. This third Idyll is usually brought forward by way of specimen; for it is characterized by cale and fimplicity. The subject is love, ever welcome to the youthful heart,
To Amaryllis, lovely nymph, I speed,
Tityrus! tend them with affiduous care, :)
To-morrow will produce as many more."
description of the pangs of love ; a poet who has so
Meanwhile these heart-consuming pains remove,
You'll laugh to see me plunging in the main.
By a prophetic poppy-leaf I found