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Till fortune should occasion new afford,
15She said therefore, O shepherd fortunate ! That troubles fome didft whilom feele and proue, Yet liueft now in this contented state, Let my mishap thy thoughts to pitie moue, To entertaine me as a willing mate In thepherds life, which I admire and love;
Within these pleasant groues percharrce my hart, Of her discomforts, may vnload some part,
If gold or wealth of most esteemed deare,
Two christall streames fell from her watrie eies;
But yet her gestures and her lookes (I gesse)
Both cheese and butter could she make, and frame
F Mr. JOHN POMFRET nothing is known
but from a flight and confused account prefixed to his poems by a nameless friend; who relates, that he was the fon of the Rev. Mr. Pomfret, rector of Luton in Bedfordshire; that he was bred at Cambridge *; entered into orders, and was rector of Malden in Bedfordshire, and might have risen in the Church; but that, when he applied to Dr. Compton, bishop of London, for institution to a living of considerable value, to which he had been presented, he found a troublesome obstruction raised by a malicious interpretation of some passage in his Choice; from which it was inferred, that he considered happiness as more likely to be found in the company of a mistress than of a wife p.
And as I near approach'd the verge of life,
This reproach was easily obliterated : for it had happened to Pomfret as to all other men who plan schemes of life; he had departed from his purpose, and was then married.
The malice of his enemies had however a very fatal consequence : the delay constrained his attendance in London, where he caught the small-pox, and died in 1703, in the thirty-fixth year of his age.
He publisfied his poems in 1699; and has beeri always the favourite of that class of readers, who, without vanity or criticism, seek only their own amusement.
His Choice exhibits a system of life adapted to common notions, and equal to common expectations ; such a state as affords plenty and tranquillity, without exclusion of intellectual pleasures. Perhaps no composition in our language has been oftener perused than Pomfret's Choice.
Should take upon him all my worldly care,
While I did for a better state prepare. * If my memory does not greatly mislead me, in the earlier edi. tions the last line but one above-cited stood thus :
Should take upon her all my worldly care. This has been frequently mentioned as the only passage in the poem that could obstruct his institution, and the interpretation thereof is here, as elsewhere, stigmatised as malicious, and the rather, for that at the time of his application to the bishop he was married ; a cireumftance that revokes the sentiment no otherwise than by fnewing that the author had changed his opinion.
But the preceding part of the poem contains a wish to have near him an “obliging fair one to converse with, constant to herself and " to him, whose conversation should infpire him with new joys, and " who should be said, even by envy, to go the least of womankind
astray.” The lines are too filly to be worth inserting, but, if not capable of a bad construction, they must be owned to be at least anbiguous.
İn his other poems there is an easy volubility; the pleasure of smooth metre is afforded to the ear, and the inind is not opprefied with porderous or entangled with intricate sentiment. He pleases many, and he who pleases many must have some species of inerit.
*** Whoever will be at the pains of comparing the most admired of Pomfret's poeins, his Choice, with Dr. Pope's Wish, will be convinced how much the manly sense of the latter outweighs the puerile inanity of the foriner Of Pomfret's Poems, few have ever been readers but the illiterate, and such as are delighted with trite sentiments and vulgar imagery; and as these are the most numerous of those that can read at all, it is no wonder that by Iuch they have been often perufed.