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False and inconstant nymph, thou lyest! said he:
“THOU Lyest,” she said ; And I deserv'd her hate, If I should thee believe. “ Believe," saith she.
For why? Thy idle words are of no weight. “ Weight,” she answers. Therefore I'll depart. To which resounding Echo answers,
There are some ludicrous Echoes of this kind in the third Canto of Hudibras, to which we refer the reader; because they cannot well be separated from their context.
Although this species of composition is sufficiently trifling, it seems, from some allusions by Martial as well as other Authors, to have been well known to the Greek and Roman poets. In latter times, many playful specimens were produced. Such is that famous Echo of Erasmus, Decem annos consumpsi in legendo Ciceroneone,' that is ove, asine."
OF PASTORAL POETRY.
The simple manners and calm enjoyments of rural life have always presented, to the moralist, a striking contrast to the vice and misery of crowded cities and the everlasting turmoil of the busy haunts of men. Much of this contrast really exists; but imagination has come in aid of the real distinction; and the Golden Age of the poets has ever been an Age of Shepherds who fed their flocks in luxuriant meadows, and played, on their reeds, to the listening divinities of the woods, or sung the charms of their mistresses : seated under the shade of a spreading beech, or on the banks of a murmuring stream. The narratives, songs, and dramas, which are supposed to have been recited, sung, or acted by shepherds (Latin pastores) are PASTORALS. They are necessarily confined to few objects and few incidents; and hence Pastoral Poetry is the simplest, but at the same time the most difficult, species of fictitious composition.
Pastorals are also called Bucolics, from the
Greek bous an ox, and kolon food, from which was derived boukolos, a herdsman, in opposition to one who tended sheep, or goats. Taste often differs, unaccountably, with the age and country. Our ideas of pastoral life are associated with the sheep. The goat can scarcely appear in a poem the characteristic of which is innocent simplicity; and both the ox and his owner are too apt to remind us of rudeness and vulgarity. It was otherwise with the Greeks and Romans. Oxen were, with them, the noblest of domestic animals. They shared, with men, the praise-worthy labours of agriculture; and, crowned with garlands, they had the honour of being sacrificed to the superior gods. Theocritus, who may be reckoned the father of Pastoral Poetry (for Virgil was not only his follower but his imitator) distinguishes the Goatherd, the Shepherd, and the Neatherd, as rising in the scale of rank. The Goatherds worshipped Pan, as their preceptor in the art of singing or playing on the pipe ; while the Neatherds and the Shepherds were the disciples of Apollo and the Muses.” The distinction of these three classes was afterwards lost.
The ancient Pastorals were either Dialogues or Monologues. A monologue (Greek monos, alone, and logos, a speech) is a poetical piece, where there is only a single speaker,—what, in
a Drama, would be called a Soliloquy. An Idyl, Idyllion, or Idyllium (Greek diminutive from eidos, an image, or representation,) is, strictly speaking, a short Pastoral, of the narrative or descriptive kind. An Eclogue (also Greek) is literally a chosen, or picked, discourse, and was originally the same as the Idyl, there being no difference in kind between the Idyls of Theocritus and the Eclogues of Virgil: but, in modern usage, they are shepherds only who converse in the Eclogue, while, in the Idyl, although the subject must be rural, there is no necessity to introduce a rustic speaker. The Idyllion has been seldom attempted in English. One of the most successful is a paraphrastical translation, by Cunningham, from the Greek of Bion. It is an address to the Evening Star; and is too well known to warrant our troubling the reader by repeating it. The following, besides giving an example of this species of poetry, may induce the student to turn his attention to poetical prose: a kind of composition which prevails among other nations, but which, though well suited to the language, is little cultivated in this country. The Hyacinth here addressed is the Harebell.
THE HYACINTH. Of all the flowers of the spring, the rose is most cherished by Venus. She is pleased to behold it in the woods of Idalia. With her delicate fingers she gently opens its odoriferous calyx; and on its spreading flowers she cradles the God of Love, when, fatigued with his cruel labours, he resigns himself to sleep, while the woodnymphs sing softly around him.
The queen of heaven, haughty Juno, protects the gaudy tulip. Upon its petals we behold the colours of the favourite bird of the goddess. I have seen the woodnymphs, in their light dances, fear to tread upon the violet, their darling ornament. Echo is still enamoured of the pale narcissus.
The flowers chosen by the immortals are beautiful; but there is one still more beauteous for me. O, sweet and modest hyacinth! It is thee whom I love-thee whom I prefer to all the flowers of the immortals. Come, rest upon my bosom, while I elevate my voice-while I consecrate thee in my song.
Lovely flower! thy perfume excels that of the rose. Gently balanced on thy slender stem, thou hidest not thy head like the timid violet, nor courtest attention like the flaunting tulip, but receivest without exacting our homage. Thy colour, the pure tint of an azure sky, is associated with the tender and melancholy remembrance of what once has been. Thy delicate form gives a grace to the nosegay of the shepherdess, and, twined with the glossy ringlets, adorns her flowing hair. O, sweet and modest hyacinth!
Last evening, in the woods, I heard a young shepherd, whose voice mingled melodiously with the tones of the nightingale. He sung of the snowdrop, the earliest flower of the spring. Doubtless, young shepherd, it is beautiful; but its beauties are transient: before thy song has ceased, they are no more. My hyacinth is more lovely