Letter to the Editor

Mr Elliott


I take leave to solicit your attention, and, if you judge my papers worthy of being laid before them, of the Attic Society, to a few ideas which I have hastily thrown together, and which I offer in this shape by way of learning whether my views upon the subject meet with supporters, in which case I may be induced to pursue my design and write a set of Pastorals on the plan I am about to propose.

It has long been matter of regret with me that this species of poetry, which has charmed all ages of the world, from the days of Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus, to those of Pope, Phillips, and Gay, should in these times be falling into disuse and disrepute. The judgment of that great literary luminary, Dr Johnson, at once the Ajax and the Ulysses of Literature, that Pastoral Poetry no longer plays upon the feelings or interests the affections, being a portrait of a mode of life which, if it ever existed at all, has not for centuries had any other being than in the brain of the poet; has proved a knock-down blow which poor Pastoral may never recover without the help of some genius who shall find a mode of varying its monotony and bringing its manners nearer to existing standards, without at the same time losing the exquisite rurality of its situations, and its peculiar turn of poetic beauties. These desiderata I flatter myself I have produced in the accompanying specimen of my new style of Pastoral; the first, by intermixing a variety of numbers and stanzas; the second, by discarding the crook, the pipe, and the goats, and giving to my personages ideas such as we may meet with among our acquaintance; while I attain the third by placing these personages in situations filled with rural and picturesque images.

With these few observations I submit my attempt to your judgment, and I remain,


your very obedient Servant

A humble Votary of the Muses