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turbulency, under the pretence of preserving the rights, privileges, and immunities of the church. In the year 1171, four persons murdered him in the cathedral church of Canterbury, by which action they hoped to make their court to the King, to whom Becket had given great trouble and vexation. In 1173 Becket was canonised, by virtue of a bull from the Pope.1 In 1z21 his body was taken up in the presence of king Henry the Third, and several nobility, and deposited in a rich (hrine, on the east side of the church. The miracles faid to be wrought at his tomb were so numerous, that we are told two large volumes of them were kept in Canterbury church. His character, however, was thought so ambiguous by some, even among the Catholics themselves, that some time after Becket's death, it was publicly debated in the university of Paris, "Whether the foul of Becket was in heaven or in hell?" It must, however, be at least acknowledged, that St. Thomss of Canterbury, was a faint of great fame and reputation. For his shrine was visited from all parts, and enriched with the most costly gifts and ofserings. In one year it is faid that no less than 100,000 came to visit his shrine. And we may form some judgment of the veneration which was paid to his memory, by the account given of the osserings made to the three greatest altars in Christ Church, which stood thus for one year:
£. '. /. At Christ's altar . .' . . . 3z6 At the blessed Virgin's . ..6356
At Becket's 83z 1z 6
But the following year, when probably the Saint's character was still more established in the world, the odds were greater, and St. Thomas carried all before him. The account was thus:
£. >• d.
At Christ's Altar
At the Virgin's . • . . . 418
At Becket's 954 6 3
THE PASTORAL POETRY OF THEOCRITUS.
Thepafiural which sings of happy swains,
And harmless nymphs, that haunts the woods and
Its Jiile must still be natural and clear,
THE nature of pastoral poetry was explained and discussed in our Number for February last, when the Eclogues of ^/ry//became the topic of examination. We then specisied the subjects best sitted for this kind of poetry, and expatiated on the advantages of which it is almost exclusively possessed. But in considering the Eclogues, it was impossible not to reser the reader to the productions of Theocritus, who is by way of eminence stiled the Father of Pastoral Poetry. We shall now, therefore, bring forward a sew biographical particulars respecting this great man, and transcribe a sew illustrative passages from his works, which have deservedly attracted the attention of mankind. We are naturally anxious to become acquainted with that species of poetrv which has imparted no small deVol. VIII.' B g«e gree of gratisication to minds endued with genuine sensibility.
Theocritus was by birth' a Syracnjian, being born at Syracuse in Sicily; but of his parentb little is known. He addressed one of his poems to Hiero, King of Syracuse, who reigned about z75 years before Christ. Hiero, though a famous prince, yet seems to have shewn no great affection for letters. This is supposed to have been the occasion of Theocritus' 16th Idyllium, inscribed with the monarch's name, where the poet asserts the dignity of his prosession, laments his poor encouragement, ,\nd insinuates to the Prince what a brave sigure he would have made in verse, had he been as good a patron as he was a subject to the muses! This coldness and neglect induced Theocritus soon after to leave Sicilf for the Egyptian court, where King Ptolemy-then fat supreme president of arts and wit. Patronised by this monarch, the poet has handsomely panegyrised him, in which, among other things, he extols his.generous encouragement both of learning and ingenuity. .
Of this delightsul son of the muses no further account can be drawn from his works, or indeed from any other records with which later ages have been surnished 1 Too often are we left to gather, very impersectly, the particulars of an eminent man's lise from scattered and unconnected passages of his own productions.—Thus it is with great difficulty that we are capable of learning any thing sufficiently decisive to gratisy the curiosity.
It has teen, indeed, conjectured, that Theocritus suffered a violent death, arising from the indignation of a certain monarch, whom he had by his strains offended. In this idea, however, we have reason to believe that the learned have been mistaken. With much greater probability it is supposed, that Theocritus, the rhetorician, not the poet, sell by the hands of the executioner. Theocritus, the rhetorician, had been guilty of some crime against King Antigonus, who, it seems, had
one one eye only; but being assured by his friends that he fliouid certainly obtain a pardon as soon as he should appear to his majesty's eyes—" Nay then," cried he, " I am indisputably a dead man, if those be the conditions!"
The compositions of this poet are distinguished :imong the ancients by the name of Idyllia, or Idylls, in order to express the sin.illness and variety of their natures. His works, in the language of modern times, would have been entitled miscellanies, or poems on several occasions.
The nine f,rst and eleventh of his Idyllia, are true pastorals; and the other poems are sull of merit. To the former, however, we (hall consine ourselves; and the third Idyll will afford us several beautisul passages for the illustration of pastoral poetry. To persons who have no taste for rural personages and scenes, they will not perceive and relish the beauty of Theqcritus, whose great art is to introduce you into the country, and to entertain you with the objects by which you are there surrounded. This third Idyll is usually brought forward by way of specimen; for it is characterized by ease and simplicity. The subject is love, ever welcome to the youthsul heart.
To Amaryllis, lovely nymph, I speed,
After this tender expostulation, succeeds a pathetic
description of the pangs of love; a poet who has so
The poet then proceeds to enumerate various omens, to which we know the ancients were greatly attached, and in which they implicitly consided:
By a prophetic poppy-leaf I found
You chang'd affection, for it gave no found.
Though in my hand, struck hollow as it lay,
But quickly wither'd like your love away:
An old witch brought fad tidings to my ears,
She who tells fortunes with the sieve and shears;
For leasing barley in my sields of late,
She told me /should love andyou should hate!
For you, my care a milk-white goat supply'd,
Two wanton kids rurr frisking at her side,