1799 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Moses Browne

Nathan Drake, in "On Pastorals" Literary Hours (1799; 1800) 1:336-37.



That pleasing little poem, The Fishermen of Theocritus, probably first suggested to Sannazarius the idea of writing piscatory eclogues who has been followed with much success by Phineas Fletcher and Brown. Whatever may be thought of the employment, as suited to the eclogue, of those who live on the sea-shore and subsist by catching the produce of the deep, it will readily be allowed that our rivers at least, fertilise the most rich and romantic parts of our island, and that they display to the fisher lingering upon their banks the most lovely scenery, such as mingling with the circumstances of his amusement, and the detail of appropriate incident, would furnish very delightful pictures, and in the genuine style of Bucolic poetry. Fletcher and Brown have in this manner rendered their eclogues truly interesting, and even Izaac Walton, though no poet, has in his Complete Angler introduced some inimitably drawn pastoral scenes.