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" But poortith Peggy is the worst of a',
Act II. The prologue is the finest picture of pastoral residence I ever met with—from it painters may draw to the lise. Our poet must have been thoroughly acquainted with the manners, customs, and education of shepherds, otherwise he could not have pourtrayed so many incidents in so natural a manner. Even Vire gil, Theocritus, Pope, and other pastoral writers, lose much of their excellence from being too refincd.--Ramsay's personages speak in their native language, without offending, and to this circumstance is he greatly indebted for the celebrity of his drama-..ja short. there is 10 production, of this kind, so happily formed as is the Gentle Shepherd.
In Glacco and Simon we find a noble sincerity, a disposition honest, and a warmness of soul, which is only found where
“ Virtue triumphs, and her sons are blest.” Here these two generous swains prepossess us in favour of Sir William, and scach individuals of his
station how they should act for their benefit and hap. piness.
Song VIII. bears an excellent moral, and the discourse that follows is fraught with just sentiment. Those who know the little regulations in a farmer's family, will feel sensations of pleasure from Glacco's good-natured orders.
"Gae get my Sunday's coat, Wash out the whitest of my bobbit bands, My white skin hose, and mittens for my hands, Then frae their working, cry the bairns in haste, And make yo’rsells as trig, head, feet, and waist, As ye were a' to get young lads or e'en; For we're gaun o'er to dinc wi Syne Bedeen."
In scere IV. the interview between Patie and Peggy is affecting, and tenderly endearing. With what native eloquence do these pastoral lovers breath the language of the heart! O! how genuine are their effusions !---how lovely are their professions with what rapture does the language of Patie fill the very soul!
« I am sure I canna change; ye nced na fear; Though we're but young, I've loved ye many a year; I mind it werl when thou coulast hardly gang, Or lisp out words, I choose you frae th' throng Of all the bairnes, and led thee by the hand, Aft to the tansy know, or rushy strand, There sporing by side, I took delight .To pu''the rushes green, with roots sae white; Of which, as well as my young fancy cou'd, For thee I pluckt the flow'ry bank and snood.”
Peggy's reply is pathetic, and breathes a virtuous compliance, nicely conformable to the dictates of truc love.-Songs X. and XI. are equally the offspring of harmony and rapture. We even participate in the lovers reciprocal exstacy.
Act IIT. Sir Williams's contemplation is fraught with libe. rality, and gives us a favourable opinion of one who has seen the world. This observation is natural
“ Yet 'midst my joys some prospect pain renews,". For who is not susceptible of lively emotions, in viev. ing once more his native fields, alter being removed
long removed from scenes where we spent thc innocence of childhood. Like a philosopher, Sir Wila liam moralizes when he thus attaches happiness to him who
“ Hid from himself, he starts up by the dawn,
Scene II. Symon's house is pourtray'd in the Prologue, and the conversation that ensies gives us a knowledge of country manners. When we discover Sir William in disguise, enjoying social chat with his tenantry, we feel high esteem for a conduct so condescending.The plan is well conceived, and the deception carried on with a jocular glec. The encouragement Patie gave Roger is now verified to the utmost wish of the once desponding lover. Such is the force of love, and such its effects. Jenny unfolds her passion, Roger is almost overpowered with joy; and unpolished as may appear the exclamation
“ I am happy now!o'er happy! had my head! This gust of pleasure's like to be my dead !"
It is the very overflowing of a heart suddenly animated hy attaining wished-for happiness.--Here the coy maiden, with raptures of compliance, owns that his
6 Well try'd love had won the day.” Modesty, that jewel of inestimable value, smothered Cupid's dart 'till a seasonable opportunity extracted the intoxicating instrument. The awaited scene pre
sents, and Symon is agrceably surprised, yea, transported with joy, on Sir William's discovering himself. From this we may learn a moral lesson.
Sir William is here questioning Symon' as to Patie's attainments. The rustic replies thus." Whene'er he drives our ship to Edinboro' port,
He buys some books of history, songs, or sport,
Wi' this, quoth he, on braes I crack wi' kings.”
“ He answered well; and much ye glad my ear,
This allusion, relative to education, is an evident illustration, and happily expressed “ Like the rough di'mond, as it leaves the mine,
Only in little breakings shows its light, 'Till artful polishing has made it shine,
Thus education makes the genius bright.”
Act IV. Represents and gives us a true specimen of housewife chat. In Madge that fury temper, so peculiar to old maids, and their ill-nature, is well depicted. Were this character omitted, the drama would tend still more to a favourable opinion of the pastoral life. - Patie's generous resolve claims esteem and admiration. This afflicted lover derives consolation from giving loose to the determination of his heart. Like a faithful friend is Roger, much affected, and, in the simplicity of heart, astonished at Patie's knowledge. The swain's advice is praiseworthy, and proves how, necessary it is to study authors of judgement and merit.
“ Frae books, the wale of books I gat some skill, . Thae best can teach what's real good and ill, Ne'er grudge ilk year to ware some stanes of chuse, To gain those silent friends that ever plcase.” The last line is admirable, and needs no comment. With what feeling does the poet touch on this tender interview, where two mutual lovers are agitated by fear.--Pegsy, in the simplicity of her soul, says she
“ Darc na think sae high," but at the same time her throbbing bosom betrays that the once cherished hope is still an inhabitant therefor with a pleasing agony the dear maid takes a retrospect of their innocent love professions!-how enchantingly she retraces former pleasures in these endearing words
" Na' more again to hear sweet tales express,
O! but Patie is ennobled by virtuous emotionskind of enthusiasm darts with rapidity over the whole man. In his soothing assurance to his adored Peggy, we read a noble magnanimity of disposition-a fire that stimulates to action, blended with true honour, and crowned with yirtue. Love is the noblest passion implanted in the human breast. Love is in its operations unaccountable, yet sorcibly felt by those entangled in its plcasing swarcs. Our poet must havc expe.