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Pastoral Poetry
Christopher Marlowe | Sir Walter Raleigh | The Passionate Shepherd To His Love | The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd | Works Cited

Pastoral Poetry

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*Pastoral Poetry is a literary work dealing with the lives of shepherds or rural life in general and typically drawing a contrast between the innocence and serenity of a simple life and the misery and corruption of city and especially court life

*The characters in pastoral poetry are often used as vehicles for the expression of the author's moral, social, or literary views

*Sometimes uses the device of "singing matches" between two or more shepherds

*Themes often include love and death.

Red Rose, Spinning

History of Patoral Poetry:

*The devices of pastoral poetry were largely established by Theocritius.

*The tradition was passed from Greece to Rome, where Virgil alluded to contemporary problems in the rustic society he potrayed.

*Virgil's Eclogues had a powerful effect on poets of the Renaissance.

*The Greek writer Longus' Daphnius and Chloe, written in the 2nd and 3rd century AD, is considered the first prose romance

*Pastoral dramas first appeared in the 15th and 16th centuries.

*During the 16th and 17th centuries, pastoral romance novels appeared.

*In English poetry the appearence in 1579 of Edmund Spenser's Shepheardes Calender brought about a trend towards the pastoral mode.

*Sir Phillip Sidney, Robert Greene, Thomas Nash, Christopher Marlowe, Michael Drayton, Thomas, Dekker, John Donne, Sir Walter Raleigh, Robert Herrick, Andrew Narvell, Thomas Heywood, Thomas Campion, William Browne, William Drummond, and Phneas Fletcher all wrote pastoral poetry.

*Robert Greene and Thomas Lodge wrote prose romances in the pastoral mode.

*Playwrights who attempted pastoral drama incudes William Shakespeare, John Lyly, George Peele, John Fletcher, Ben Johnson, John Day, and James Shirley.


*In later centuries, a reaction against the artificialities of the genre, combinded with new attitudes to the natural man and the natural scene, resulted in a sometimes bitter injection of reality into the rustic scenes of many poets and novelist.

*However the pastoral elegy survives through Percy Shelley and Mathew Arnold.