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ing allegorical poems of this kind. Pope's are as full of senseless finery and trite affectation as if a peer of the realm were to sit for his picture with a crook and cocked-hat on, smiling with an insipid air of no-meaning, between nature and fashion. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia' is a lasting monument of perverted power, where an image of extreme beauty, as that of 'the shepherd-boy piping as though he should never be old,' peeps out once in a hundred folio pages, amidst heaps of intricate sophistry and scholastic quaintness. It is not at all like Nicholas Poussin's picture, in which he represents some shepherds wandering out in a morning of the spring, and coming to a tomb with this inscription, I also was an Arcadian !' Perhaps the best pastoral in the language is that prose-poem, Walton's 'Complete Angler.' That well-known work has a beauty and romantic interest equal to its simplicity, and arising out of it. In the description of a fishing-tackle, you perceive the piety and humanity of the author's mind. It is to be doubted whether Sannazarius's Piscatory Eclogues are equal to the scenes described by Walton on the banks of the river Lea. He gives the feeling of the open air; we walk with him along the dusty roadside, or repose on the banks of the river


under a shady tree, and in watching for the finny prey, imbibe what he beautifully calls. 'the patience and simplicity of poor honest fishermen.' We accompany them to their inn at night, and partake of their simple but delicious fare, while Maud, the pretty milkmaid, at her mother's desire sings the classical ditties 1 of the poet Marlowe, Come live with me, and be my love.' Good cheer is not neglected in this work, any more than in Homer or any other history that sets a proper value on the good things of this life. The prints in the Complete Angler' give an additional reality and interest to the scenes it describes. While Tottenham Cross shall stand, and longer, thy work, amiable and happy old man, shall last! It is in the notes to it that we find that character of 'a fair and happy milkmaid,' by Sir Thomas Overbury, which may vie in beauty and feeling with Chaucer's character of Griselda:

A fair and happy milkmaid is a country wench that is so far from making herself beautiful by art, that one look of hers is able to put all face-physic out of countenance. knows a fair look is but a dumb orator to comShe mend virtue, therefore minds it not. All her

1 Ditty, not ditties; the other songs introduced into the work are not Marlowe's. - ED.

excellences stand in her so silently as if they had stolen upon her without her knowledge. The lining of her apparel (which is herself) is far better than outsides of tissue; for though she be not arrayed in the spoil of the silk-worm, she is decked in innocency, a far better wearing. She doth not, with lying long a-bed, spoil both her complexion and conditions. Nature hath taught her too immoderate sleep is rust to the soul; she rises, therefore, with chanticleer, her dame's cock, and at night makes the lamb her curfew. . . . Her breath is her own, which scents all the year long of June, like a newmade haycock. She makes her hand hard with labour, and her heart soft with pity; and when winter evenings fall early, sitting at her merry wheel, she sings a defiance to the giddy wheel of Fortune. She doth all things with so sweet a grace, it seems ignorance will not suffer her to do ill, being her mind is to do well. She bestows her year's wages at next fair; and in choosing her garments, counts no bravery in the world like decency. The garden and beehive are all her physic and chirurgery, and she lives the longer for 't. She dares go alone and unfold sheep in the night, and fears no manner of ill, because she means none; yet to say the truth, she is never alone, for she is still accom

panied with old songs, honest thoughts, and prayers, but short ones; yet they have their efficacy, in that they are not palled with ensuing idle cogitations. Lastly, her dreams are so chaste that she dare tell them; only a Friday's dream is all her superstition: that she conceals for fear of anger. Thus lives she; and all her care is she may die in the spring-time to have store of flowers stuck upon her winding-sheet.'

The love of the country has been sung by poets, and echoed by philosophers; but the first have not attempted, and the last have been greatly puzzled, to account for it. I do not know that any one has ever explained satisfactorily the true source of this feeling, or of that soothing emotion which the sight of the country, or a lively description of rural objects, hardly ever fails to infuse into the mind. Some have ascribed this feeling to the natural beauty of the objects themselves: others to the freedom from care, the silence and tranquillity which scenes of retirement afford; others to the healthy and innocent employments of a country life; others to the simplicity of country manners; and others to a variety of different causes but none to the right one. All these indeed have their effect, but there is another principal one which has not been touched upon,

or only slightly glanced at. I will not, however, imitate Mr. Horne Tooke, who, after enumerating seventeen different definitions of the verb, and laughing at them all as deficient and nugatory, at the end of two quarto volumes does not tell us what the verb really is, and has left posterity to pluck out the heart of his mystery.' I will say at once what it is that distinguishes this interest from others, and that is its abstractedness. The interest we feel in human nature is exclusive, and confined to the individual; the interest we feel in external Nature is common, and transferable from one object to all others of the same class.

Thus, Rousseau in his 'Confessions' relates that when he took possession of his room at Annecy, he found that he could see a little spot of green' from his window, which endeared his situation the more to him because, he says, it was the first time he had had this object constantly before him since he left Boissy, the place where he was at school when a child.1 Some such feeling as that here described will be found lurking at the bottom of all our attachments of this sort. Were it not for the

1 Pope also declares that he had a particular regard for an old post which stood in the courtyard before the house where he was brought up.

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