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When it saw all, and said that all was good, Till he against his nature learn to strive,
And get the knack of dulness how to thrive.
BEGINNING OF A PASTORAL
ON THE DEATH OF HIS LATE MAJESTY. As hated too as they are, and unfed. Nature their species sure must needs disown, What horrour 's this that dwells upon the plain, Scarce knowing poets, less by poets known. And thus disturbs the shepherds' peaceful reign? Yet this poor thing, so scorn d and set at nought, A dismal sound breaks through the yielding air, Ye all pretend to, and would fain be thought. Forewarning us some dreadful storm is near. Disabled wasting whore-masters are not
The bleating flocks in wild confusion stray, Prouder to own the brats they never got,
The early larks forsake their wandering way, Than fumbling, itching rhymers of the town And cease to welcome-in the new-born day. T'adopt some base-born song that's not their own. Each nymph possest with a distracted fear, Spite of his state, my lord sometimes descends Disorder'd hangs her loose dishevell'd hair. To please the importunity of friends.
Diseases with her strong convulsions reign, The dullest he, thought most for business fit, And deities, not known before to pain, Will venture his bought place to aim at wit; Are now with apoplectic seizures slain. And though he sinks with his employs of state, Hence flow our sorrows, hence increase our fears, Till Common Sense forsake him, he 'll translate. Fach humble plant does drop her silver tears. The poet and the whore alike complains,
Ye tender lambs, stray not so fast away, Of trading quality, that spoil their gains ;
To weep and mourn let us together stay: The lords will write, and ladies will have swains ! O’er all the universe let it be spread, Therefore all you who have male issue born That now the shepherd of the flock is dead. Under the starving sign of Capricorn,
The royal Pan, that shepherd of the sheep, Prevent the malice of their stars in time,
He, who to leave his flock did dying weep, And warn them early from the sin of rhyme : Is gone, ah gone! ne'er to return from Death's Tell them how Spenser starv'd, how Cowley mourud, eternal sleep! How Butler's faith and service was return'd;
Begin, Damela, let thy numbers fly And if such warning they refuse to take,
Aloft where the soft milky way does lie; This last experiment, О parents, make!
Mopsus, who Daphnis to the stars did sing, With hands behind him see th' offender ty'd, Shall join with you, and thither waft our king. The parish whip and beadle by his side;
Play gently on your reeds a mournful strain, Then lead him to some stall that does expose And tell in notes, through all th’ Arcadian plain, The authors he loves most; there rub his nose, The royal Pan, the shepherd of the sheep, Till, like a spaniel lash'd to know command, He, who to leave his flock did dying weep, He by the due correction understand,
Is gone, ah gone! ne'er to return from Death's To keep his brain clean, and not foul the land;
LIFE OF POMFRET,
BY DR. JOHNSON.
Op Mr. John Pomfret nothing is known but from a slight and confused account prefixed to his poems by a nameless friend; who relates, that he was the son of the rev. Mr. Pomfret, rector of Luton in Bedfordshire ; that he was bred at Cambridge'; entered into orders, and was rector of Malden in Bedfordshire, and might have risen in the church; but that, when he applied to Dr. Compton, bishop of London, for institution to a living of considerable value, to which he had been presented, he found a troublesome obstruction raised by a malicious interpretation of some passage in his Choice ; from which it was inferred, that he considered happiness as more likely to be found in the company of a mistress than of a wife.
This reproach was easily obliterated : for it had happened to Pomfret as to almost all other men who plan schemes of life; he had departed from his purpose, and was then married.
The malice of his enemies had however a very fatal consequence : the delay constrained his attendance in London, where he caught the small-pox, and died in 1703, in the thirty-sixth year of his age.
He published his poems in 1699 ; and has been always the favourite of that class of readers, who, without vanity or criticism, seek only their own amusement.
His Choice exhibits a system of life adapted to common notions, and equal to common expectations ; such a state as affords plenty and tranquillity, without exclusion of intellectual pleasures. Perhaps no composition in our language has been oftener perused than Pomfret's Choice.
In his other poems there is an easy volubility; the pleasure of smooth metre is afforded to the ear, and the mind is not oppressed with ponderous or entangled with intricate sentiment. He pleases many; and he who pleases many must have some species of merit.
' He was of Queen's College there, and, by the university-register, appears to have taken his bachelor's degree in 1684, and his master's 1698. H.His father was of Trinity. C.