pastoral: During the Renaissance
The pastoral eclogue enjoyed a revival during the Renaissance. Vergil's Bucolics was translated in the 15th cent. in Italy, and pastoral eclogues were written by Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. The most elaborate pastoral romance was the Arcadia by Jacopo Sannazaro, written partly in prose and partly in verse. Poliziano's Orfeo (c.1471) is one of the earliest pastoral dramas. In France the pastourelle—a short poem in dialogue in which a minstrel courts a shepherdess—appeared as early as the 14th cent. and is exemplified in Le Jeu de Robin et de Marion, a play by Adam de La Halle.
In English literature the pastoral is a familiar feature of Renaissance poetry. Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia (1590) is an epic story in pastoral dress, and in The Shepheardes Calender (1579) Edmund Spenser used the pastoral as a vehicle for political and religious discussion. Many of the love lyrics of Shakespeare, Ben Jonson, and Michael Drayton have a pastoral setting. Christopher Marlowe's
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love is one of the most famous pastoral lyrics, and Milton's philosophical and deeply felt
Lycidas is a great pastoral elegy. In drama well-known examples of the pastoral are Shakespeare's As You Like It, the shearers' feast in A Winter's Tale, and Milton's masque Comus.
- In Ancient Greece
- During the Renaissance
- During the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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