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tions, by circumstances, and those observations which either strike upon the senses, or are the first motions of the mind. And though the former raises our admiration more, the latter gives more pleasure, and soothes us more naturally. Thus, a courtly lover may say to his mistress,
With thee for ever I in woods could rest,
And from a desert banish solitude. A shepherd will content himself to say the same thing more simply :
Come, Rosalind, oh! come, for without thee
What pleasure can the country have for me? Again, since shepherds are not allowed to make deep reflections, the address required is so to relate an action, that the circumstances put together shall cause the reader to reflect. Thus, by one delicate circuinstance Corydon tells Alexis that he is the finest songster of the country:
Of seven smooth joints a mellow pipe I have,
For only thou deserv'st it after me." As in another pastoral writer, after the same manner a shepherd informs us how much his mistress likes him ;
As I to cool me bath'd one sultry day,
Yet often stopp'd, and often turn'd her eye. If ever a reflection be pardonable in pastorals, it is where the thought is so obvious, that it seems to come easily to the mind; as in the following admirable improvement of Virgil and Theocritus :
Fair is my flock, nor yet uncomely I,
The bordering flow'rs less beauteous than they grow ?* A second characteristic of a true shepherd is simplicity manners or innocence. This is so obvious from what I
* From the first pastoral of Mr. A. Philips, entitled Lobbin, l. 90, &c.
have before advanced, that it would be but repetition to insist long upon it. I shall only remind the reader, that as the pastoral life is supposed to be where nature is not much depraved, sincerity and truth will generally run through it. Some slight transgressions for the sake of variety may be admitted, which in effect will only serve to set off the simplicity of it in general. I cannot better illustrate this rule than by the following example of a swain who found his mistress asleep:
Once Delia slept on easy moss reclin'd,
Condemn me, shepherds, if I did amiss.* A third sign of a swain is, that something of religion, and even superstition is part of his character. For we find that those who have lived easy lives in the country, and contemplate the works of Nature, live in the greatest awe of their author. Nor doth this humour prevail less now than of old. Our peasants sincerely believe the tales of goblins and fairies, as the heathens those of fauns, nymphs, and satyrs. Hence we find the works of Virgil and Theocritus sprinkled with left-handed ravens, blasted oaks, witchcrasts, evil eyes, and the like. And I observe with great pleasure that our English authort of the pastorals I have quoted hath practised this secret with admirable judgment.
I will yet add another mark, which may be observed very often in the above-named poets, which is agreeable to the character of shepherds, and nearly allied to superstition, I mean the use of proverbial sayings. I take the common similitudes in pastoral to be of the proverbial order, which are so frequent, that it is needless and would be tiresome to quote them. I shall only take notice upon this head, that it is a nice piece of art to raise a proverb above the vulgar style, and still keep it easy and unaf
* From the sixth pastoral of Mr. A. Philips, entitled, Geron, Hobbinol, and Langrett, 1. 73, et seqq. The four lines in the preceding page, relative to Lydia, are quoted in the same pastoral, l. 81, &c.
+ Mr. Ambrose Philips, whose pastorals must have been published before the year 1708, because they are evidently prior to those of Pope. See Dr. Johnson's Lives of English Poets, &c. Vol. iv. p. 295. 8vo, 1781.
fected. Thus the old wish, “God rest his soul," is finely turned :
Then gentle Sydney liv'd, the shepherd's friend,
No 24. WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8, 1713.
-Dost thou, so young,
ACK LIZARD was about fifteen when he was first endeal of fire, and a more than ordinary application to his studies, it gave his conversation a very particular turn. He had too much spirit to hold his tongue in company; but at the same time so little acquaintance with the world, that he did not know how to talk like other people.
After a year and a half's stay at the university, he came down among us to pass away a month or two in the country. The first night after his arrival, as we were at supper, we were all of us very much improved by Jack's table-talk. He told us upon
appearance of a dish of wild fowl, that according to the opinion of some natural philosophers they might be lately come from the moon. Upon which the Sparkler bursting out into a laugh, he insulted her with several questions relating to the bigness and distance of the moon and stars; and after every interrogation would be winking upon me, and smiling at his sister's ignorance. Jack gained his point; for the mother was pleased, and all the servants stared at the learning of their young master. Jack was so encouraged at this success, that for the first week he dealt wholly in paradoxes. It was a common jest with him to pinch one of his sister's lap-dogs, and afterward prove he could not feel it. When the girls were sorting a set of knots, he would demonstrate to them that all the ribands were of the same colour; or rather, says Jack, of no colour to all. My Lady Lizard herself, though she was not a little pleased with her son's improvements, was one day almost angry with him; for having accidentally burnt her fingers as she was lighting the lamp for her tea-pot, in the midst of her anguish
Jack laid hold of the opportunity to instruct her that there was no such thing as heat in fire. In short, no day passed over our heads, in which Jack did not imagine he made the whole family wiser than they were before.
of his conversation which gave me the most pain, was what passed among those country gentlemen that came to visit us. On such occasions Jack usually took upon him to be the mouth of the company; and thinking himself obliged to be very merry, would entertain us with a great many odd sayings and absurdities of their collegecook. I found this fellow had made a very strong impression upon Jack's imagination; which he never considered was not the case of the rest of the
company, until after many repeated trials he found that his stories seldom. made any body laugh but himself.
I all this while looked upon Jack as a young tree shooting out into blossoms before its time: the redundancy of which, though it was a little unseasonable, seemed to foretel an uncommon fruitfulness.
In order to wear out the vein of pedantry which ran through his conversation, I took him out with me one evening, and first of all insinuated to him this rule which I had myself learned from a very great author. * “ To think with the wise, but talk with the vulgar." Jack's good sense soon made him reflect that he had often exposed himself to the laughter of the ignorant by a contrary behaviour; upon which he told me, that he would take care for the future to keep his notions to himself, and converse in the common received sentiments of mankind. He at the same time desired me to give him any other rules of conversation which I thought might be for his improvement. I told him I would think of it; and accordingly, as I have a particular affection for the young man, I gave him the next morning the following rules in writing, which may, perhaps, have contributed to make him the agreeable man he is now.
The faculty of interchanging our thoughts with one another, or what we express by the word conversation, has always been represented by moral writers as one of the noblest privileges of reason, and which more particularly sets mankind above the brute part of the creation.
* B. Gratian. See L'Homme de Cour; or, the Courtier, maxim 3.
Though nothing so much gains upon the affections as this extempore eloquence, which we have constantly occasion for, and are obliged to practise every day, we very rarely meet with any who excel in it.
The conversation of most men is disagreeable,' not so much for want of wit and learning, as of good-breeding and discretion.
If you resolve to please, never speak to gratify any particular vanity or passion of your own, but always with a design either to divert or inform the company. A man who only aims at one of these, is always easy in his dis
He is never out of humour at being interrupted, because he considers that those who hear him are the best judges whether what he was saying could either divert or inform them.
A modest person seldom fails to gain the good-will of those he converses with, because nobody envies a man, who does not appear to be pleased with himself.
We should talk extremely little of ourselves. Indeed what can we say? It would be as imprudent to discover our faults, as ridiculous to count over our fancied virtues. Our private and domestic affairs are no less improper to be introduced in conversation. What does it concern the company how many horses you keep in your stables ? or whether your servant is most knave or fool?
A man may equally affront the company he is in by engrossing all the talk, or observing a contemptuous silence.
Before you tell a story, it may be generally not amiss to draw a short character, and give the company a true idea of the principal persons concerned in it. The beauty of most things consisting not so much in their being said or done, as in their being said or done by such a particular person, or on such a particular occasion,
Notwithstanding all the advantages of youth, few young people please in conversation; the reason is, that want of experience makes them positive, and what they say is rather with a design to please themselves than any one else.
It is certain that age itself shall make many things pass well enough, which would have been laughed at in the mouth of one much younger.
Nothing, however, is more insupportable to men of sense, than an empty formal man who speaks in proverbs,