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which I have often heard Mr. Shenstone term the definition of a grotto. We now wind up a shady path on the left hand, and crossing the head of this cascade, pass beside the river that supplies it in our way up to the house. One seat first occurs under a shady vak as we ascend the hill; soon after we enter the shrubbery, which half surrounds the house, where we find two seats, thus inscribed to two of his most particular friends. The first thus :
Amicitiæ et meritis
Ipsæ te, Tityre! pinys, Ipsi te fontes, ipsa bæc arbvsta, vocabant 20. and a little further the other, with the following inscription :
Amicitiæ et meritis
RICHARDI JAGO 21. From this last is an opening down the valley over a large sliding lawn, well edged with vaks, to a piece of water crossed by a considerable bridge in the flat
—the steeple of Hales, a village amid trees, making on the whole a very pleasing picture. Thus winding through flowering shrubs, beside a menagerie for doves, we are conducted to the stables. But
To the friendship and merits
20 Thee, Tityrus! the pines,
21 To the
let it not be forgot, that on the entrance into this shrubbery the first object that strikes us is a Venus de Medicis, beside a bason of gold-fish, encompassed round with shrubs, and illustrated with the following inscription :
. - Semi-reducta Venus 22:
My sober vows I pay ;
The bold, the pert, the gay.
To bribe the Pbrygian boy;
To save disastrous Troy.
She every bosom warms,
And half reveals her charms.
Who plan the rural shade,
Of pomp, at large display'd.
Your mazy bounds invest,
Let Fancy paint the rest.
To grace your wood or field,
In aught you paint or build.
Of gold, from British groves,
Of China's vain alcoves.
The most coercive chain;
A PREFATORY ESSAY ON ELEGY.
It is observable that discourses prefixed to poetry are contrived very frequently to inculcate such tenets as may exhibit the performance to the greatest advantage: the fabric is very commonly raised in the first place, and the measures by which we are to judge of its merit are afterwards adjusted.
There have been few rules given us by the critics concerning the structure of Elegiac poetry; and far be it from the author of the following trifles to dignify his own opinions with that denomination: he would only intimate the great variety of subjects, and the different styles in which the writers of Elegy have hitherto indulged themselves, and endeavour to shield the following ones by the latitude of their example.
If we consider the etymology of the word ', the epithet which Horace gives it?, or the confession which Ovid makes concerning it, I think we may conclude thus much however, that Elegy, in its true and genuine acceptation, includes a tender and querulous idea; that it looks upon this as its peculiar characteristic, and so long as this is thoroughly sustained, admits of a variety of subjects,
? E-Mɛyelv, k-particulam dolendi. 2 Miserabiles elegos
Hor. 3 Heu nimis ex vero nunc tibi nomen erit.
Ovid. de Morte Tibulli.
which by its manner of treating them it renders its own: it throws its melancholy stole over pretty different objects, which, like the dresses at a funeral procession, gives them all a kind of solemn and uniform appearance.
It is probable that Elegies were written, at first, upon the death of intimate friends and near relations; celebrated beauties, or favourite mistresses ; beneficent governors and illustrious men: one may add, perhaps, of all those who are placed by Virgil in the Jaurel grove of his Elysium, (Vide Hord's Dissertation on Horace's Epistle)
Quique sui memores alios fecere merendo. After these subjects were sufficiently exhausted, and the severity of fate displayed in the most af. fecting instances, the poets sought occasion to vary their complaints, and the next tender species of sorrow that presented itself was the grief of absent or neglected lovers; and this indulgence might be indeed allowed them, but with this they were not contented: they had obtained a small corner in the province of love, and they took advantage, from thence, to overrun the whole territory: they sung its spoils, triumphs, ovations, and rejoicings , as well as the captivity and exequies that attended it: they gave the name of Elegy to their pleasantries as well as lamentations, till at last, through their abundant fondness for the myrtle, they forgot that the cypress was their peculiar garland.
In this it is probable they deviated - from the original design of Elegy, and it should seem that
* Dicite lo Pwan, et lo bis dicite Pæan.
any kind of subjects, treated in such a manner as to diffuse a pleasing melancholy, might far better deserve the name, than the facetious mirth and libertine festivity of the successful votaries of Love.
But not to dwell too long upon an opinion which may seem, perhaps, introduced to favour the following performance, it may not be improper to examine into the use and end of Elegy. The most important end of all poetry is to encourage virtue. Epic and tragedy chiefly recommend the public virtues; Elegy is of a species which illustrates and endears the private. There is a truly virtuous pleasure connected with many pensive contemplations, which it is the province and excellency of Elegy to enforce: this, by presenting suitable ideas, has discovered sweets in melancholy which we could not find in mirth, and has led us, with success, to the dusty urn, when we could draw no pleasure from the sparkling bowl. As Pastoral conveys an idea of simplicity and innocence, it is in particular the task and merit of Elegy to shew the innocence and simplicity of rural life to advantage ; and that in a way distinct from Pastoral, as much as the plain but judicious landlord may be imagined to surpass his tenant both in dignity and understanding. It shonld also tend to elevate the more tranquil virtues of humility, disinterestedness, simplicity, and innocence : but then there is a degree of elegance and refinement no way inconsistent with these rural virtues, and that raises Elegy above that merum rus, that unpolished rusticity, which has given our Pastoral writers their highest reputation.