Glossary P

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Universal Elements of Poetry

paeon - The paeon is from the Greek "a dance and hymn with a specific rhythm which is endued with an absolving in healing power" in verse the paeon occurs in Greek and Latin as a tetrasyllable (four syllable) metrical foot. It consists of three short and one long syllable that may occur in any order. Thus a foot can and often does bridge multiple words, for example primus paeon: x / x x: secundus paeon: x x / x: tertius paeon: x x x / quartus paeon.

As in Ovid's Tristia:

x x / x / x / x / x x / x
Vergilium vîdî tantum, nec amâra Tibullô

/ x x / x x/ | / x x / x x /
Tempus amîcitiae fâta dedêre meae.

Translation. "I only saw Vergil, greedy Fate gave Tibullus no time for me."

palinode - From the Greek literally “taking it back song.” In English a “recantation.” First example is from Stesichorus, who wrote two poems about Helen of Troy: one true and one false. According to the false one, Helen was never in Troy, but a phantom of her was sent there by the gods. According to an anecdote, Stesichorus was struck blind after he had written the first, traditional version, and did not regain his sight until he had completed the second one.

Most Greek literaries believe Stesichorus is the poet Tisios because the name Stesichorus means "Chorus Master", a title and not a name. He wrote in the Doric dialect. Most of his works covered the Homeric epic about Troy. Written on papyrus, very little of his works have survived. His poems were accompanied by a chorus or maybe a solo singer and a flute. He is traditionally credited with inventing the triad: three stanza metrical groupings, which were later used in verses and Athenian stage dramas: strophe: turn, antistrophe: counterturn, and epodos: after song.

Plato in his Phaedrus preserved the Stesichorus palinode, which reads:
"That story is not true.
You [Helen] never sailed in the benched ships.
You never went to the city of Troy."

Here is Aristotle’s account from Rhetoric II as a warning about the penalty for taking revenge on ones enemies:

“When the people of Himera had made Phalaris military dictator, and were going to give him a bodyguard, Stesichorus wound up a long talk by telling them the fable of the horse who had a field all to himself. Presently there came a stag and began to spoil his pasturage. The horse, wishing to revenge himself on the stag, asked a man if he could help him to do so. The man said, ‘Yes, if you will let me bridle you and get on to your back with javelins in my hand’. The horse agreed, and the man mounted; but instead of getting his revenge on the stag, the horse found himself the slave of the man. ‘You too’, said Stesichorus, ‘take care lest your desire for revenge on your enemies, you meet the same fate as the horse. By making Phalaris military dictator, you have already let yourselves be bridled. If you let him get on to your backs by giving him a bodyguard, from that moment you will be his slaves.’"

Another example from Chaucer’s narrative poem The Canterbury Tales is The Legend of Good Women (1386). It is the longest of the tales covering Cleopatra, Thisbe, Dido, Hypsipyle, Medea, Ariadne, Philomela, Phyllis, and Hypemnestia; and never finished. The legend recounts women who suffered or died because they were faithful in love to treacherous men. This work has 2700 lines all written in iambic pentameter and decasyllabic couplets. The prologue describes how in a dream Chaucer is confronted by Alceste for his disparaging remarks about women particulary in Troilus and Criseyde. Alceste demands from Chaucer a palinode or rebutal poem extolling the virtues of women and their good deeds.

“For thy trespas, and understond hit here:
Thou shalt, whyl that thou livest, yeer by yere,
The moste party of thy tyme spende
In making of a glorious Legende
Of Gode Wommen, maidenes and wyves,
That weren trewe in lovinge al hir lyves;
And telle of false men that hem bitrayen,
That al hir lyf ne doon nat but assayen”

panegyric - A form of praise originally to be given orally. From the Greek word meaning "a speech fit for a general assembly," never critical. This form in contrast to "elegy" which was a poem dealing with death in general or of a specific individual. Qasida is panegyric poetry in Arabic, Persian, Turkish, and Urdu.

Here is an example by Ben Jonson To the Memory of Shakespeare. This poem contains the famous quote "A good poet's made, as well as born."

To draw no envy, SHAKSPEARE, on thy name,
Am I thus ample to thy book and fame ;
While I confess thy writings to be such,
As neither Man nor Muse can praise too much.
'Tis true, and all men's suffrage. But these ways
Were not the paths I meant unto thy praise ;
For seeliest ignorance on these may light,
Which, when it sounds at best, but echoes right ;
Or blind affection, which doth ne'er advance
The truth, but gropes, and urgeth all by chance ;
Or crafty malice might pretend this praise,
And think to ruin where it seemed to raise.
These are, as some infamous bawd or whore
Should praise a matron ; what could hurt her more ?
But thou art proof against them, and, indeed,
Above the ill fortune of them, or the need.
I therefore will begin: Soul of the age!
The applause ! delight ! the wonder of our stage!
My SHAKSPEARE rise ! I will not lodge thee by
Chaucer, or Spenser, or bid Beaumont lie
A little further, to make thee a room :
Thou art a monument without a tomb,
And art alive still while thy book doth live
And we have wits to read, and praise to give.
That I not mix thee so my brain excuses,
I mean with great, but disproportioned Muses :
For if I thought my judgment were of years,
I should commit thee surely with thy peers,
And tell how far thou didst our Lyly outshine,
Or sporting Kyd, or Marlowe's mighty line.
And though thou hadst small Latin and less Greek,
From thence to honour thee, I would not seek
For names : but call forth thund'ring Aeschylus,
Euripides, and Sophocles to us,
Pacuvius, Accius, him of Cordova dead,
To life again, to hear thy buskin tread
And shake a stage : or when thy socks were on,
Leave thee alone for the comparison
Of all that insolent Greece or haughty Rome
Sent forth, or since did from their ashes come.
Triumph, my Britain, thou hast one to show
To whom all Scenes of Europe homage owe.
He was not of an age, but for all time !
And all the Muses still were in their prime,
When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Our ears, or like a Mercury to charm !
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joyed to wear the dressing of his lines !
Which were so richly spun, and woven so fit,
As, since, she will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please ;
But antiquated and deserted lie,
As they were not of Nature's family.
Yet must I not give Nature all ; thy art,
My gentle Shakspeare, must enjoy a part.
For though the poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion : and, that he
Who casts to write a living line, must sweat,
(Such as thine are) and strike the second heat
Upon the Muses' anvil ; turn the same,
And himself with it, that he thinks to frame ;
Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn ;
For a good poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou ! Look how the father's face
Lives in his issue, even so the race
Of Shakspeare's mind and manners brightly shines
In his well torned and true filed lines;
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandisht at the eyes of ignorance.
Sweet Swan of Avon ! what a sight it were
To see thee in our waters yet appear,
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames,
That so did take Eliza, and our James !
But stay, I see thee in the hemisphere
Advanced, and made a constellation there !
Shine forth, thou Star of Poets, and with rage
Or influence, chide or cheer the drooping stage,
Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourned like night,
And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.

pantoum - The pantoum is a four line Malayan verse form introduced by Ernest Fouinet into French versification. The Malay version was an exercise in improvisation. There is no limit to the number of quatrains and the lines may be of any length. Each quatrain has a rhyme scheme of abab although variants are possible. Every line is repeated twice. For all quatrains except the first, the first line of the current quatrain repeats the second line in the preceeding quatrain.

The question may be asked "What happens when there is no following stanza to pick up the linking lines?" The pantoum resolves this in one of two ways. The final quatrain may reach back and pick up lines one and/or three of the first stanza. Or the last stanza may be a couplet comprised of these two lines in reverse order from the first stanza.

Here is an example using the first solution by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Justice (1925-2004) Pantoum of the Great Depression:

Our lives avoided tragedy
Simply by going on and on,
Without end and with little apparent meaning.
Oh, there were storms and small catastrophes.

Simply by going on and on
We managed. No need for the heroic.
Oh, there were storms and small catastrophes.
I don't remember all the particulars.

We managed. No need for the heroic.
There were the usual celebrations, the usual sorrows.
I don't remember all the particulars.
Across the fence, the neighbors were our chorus.

There were the usual celebrations, the usual sorrows
Thank god no one said anything in verse.
The neighbors were our only chorus,
And if we suffered we kept quiet about it.

At no time did anyone say anything in verse.
It was the ordinary pities and fears consumed us,
And if we suffered we kept quiet about it.
No audience would ever know our story.

It was the ordinary pities and fears consumed us.
We gathered on porches; the moon rose; we were poor.
What audience would ever know our story?
Beyond our windows shone the actual world.

We gathered on porches; the moon rose; we were poor.
And time went by, drawn by slow horses.
Somewhere beyond our windows shone the actual world.
The Great Depression had entered our souls like fog.

And time went by, drawn by slow horses.
We did not ourselves know what the end was.
The Great Depression had entered our souls like fog.
We had our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues.

But we did not ourselves know what the end was.
People like us simply go on.
We had our flaws, perhaps a few private virtues,
But it is by blind chance only that we escape tragedy.

And there is no plot in that; it is devoid of poetry.

In this example Clement Long ends his pantoum Always the One Who Loves His Father Most with the couplet or second choice:

Always the one who loves his father most, Line 1
the one the father loves the most in turn
will fight against his father as he must
Neither knows what he will come to learn

The one the father loves the most in turn Line 2 of the first quatrain
tells the father no and no and no,
but neither knows what he will come to learn
nor cares a lot what that could be, and so

tells his father no and no and no, Line 2 of the second quatrain
is ignorant of what the years will teach
nor cares a lot what that could be, and so
unties the knot that matters most, while each

is ignorant of what the years will teach, Line 2 of the third quatrain
they'll learn how pride - if each lives out his years
unties the know that matters most, while each
will feel a sadness, feel the midnight fears.

They'll learn how pride - if each lives out his years Line 2 of the fourth
will lose the aging other as a friend,
will feel a sadness, feel the midnight fears.
The child and then the father, world without end,

will lose the aging other as a friend. Line 2 of the fifth quatrain
And then the child of that one, too, will grow
the child and then the father, world without end
in turn to fight his father, comme il faut,

will fight against his father, as he must, Lines 1 and 2 of the first
always, the one who loves his father most. quatrain in reverse.

I hope this helps in understanding this pantoum form.

paradox - In verse this would be a self-contradictory phrase or sentence. Alexaner Pope wrote several examples in his Essay on Man. This one in particular, "Great God of all things, yet prey to all," is from the following poem:

The Riddle of the World

Know then thyself, presume not God to scan
The proper study of Mankind is Man.
Placed on this isthmus of a middle state,
A Being darkly wise, and rudely great:
With too much knowledge for the Sceptic side,
With too much weakness for the Stoic's pride,
He hangs between; in doubt to act, or rest;
In doubt to deem himself a God, or Beast;
In doubt his mind and body to prefer;
Born but to die, and reas'ning but to err;
Whether he thinks to little, or too much;
Chaos of Thought and Passion, all confus'd;
Still by himself, abus'd or disabus'd;
Created half to rise and half to fall;
Great Lord of all things, yet a prey to all,
Sole judge of truth, in endless error hurl'd;
The glory, jest and riddle of the world.

"Waging the peace" is an example of a paradox frequently used by politicians. Here is G. K. Chesterton's The Donkey:

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil's walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

Probably some of the best examples are to be found in the Bible. Here is one: "For whosoever willl lose his life for my sake and the gospel's, the same shall save it."

parody - A verse of style and content that exaggerates or reductio ad absurdum the original intent of a particular poem. Those poems originally written in iambic rhymed couplets are prime targets for parody. The most famous example is Father William by Lewis Carroll, which parodies the original verse written in 1799 and of the same title by Robert Southey:

You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
The few locks which are left you are grey;
You are hale, Father William, a hearty old man,
Now tell me the reason I pray.
In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth would fly fast,
And abused not my health and my vigor at first
That I never might need them at last.
You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And pleasures with youth pass away,
And yet you lament not the days that are gone,
Now tell me the reason I pray.
In the days of my youth, Father William replied,
I remember'd that youth could not last;
I thought of the future whatever I did,
That I never might grieve for the past.
You are old, Father William, the young man cried,
And life must be hastening away;
You are chearful, and love to converse upon death!
Now tell me the reason I pray.
I am cheerful, young man, Father William replied,
Let the cause thy attention engage;
In the days of my youth I remember'd my God!
And He hath not forgotten my age.

Other examples are taken from Housman’s A Shropshire Lad which fits in both style and rhythm as this one by Humbert Wolfe:

When lads have done with labour
In Shropshire, one will cry
Let's go and kill a neighbour,"
And t'other answers "Aye!"
So this one kills his cousins,
And that one kills his dad;
And, as they hang by dozens
At Ludlow, lad by lad,
Each of them one-and-twenty,
All of them murderers,
The hangman mutters: "Plenty
Even for Housman's verse.

Housman himself described as “the only good parody” of A Shropshire Lad is Hugh Kinsmill’s version of When I Was One and Twenty:

What, still alive at twenty-two,
A clean upstanding chap like you?
Why, if your throat is hard to slit,
Slit your girl's and swing for it!
Like enough you won't be glad
When they come to hang you, lad,
But bacon's not the only thing
That's cured by hanging from a string.
When the blotting pad of night
Sucks the latest drop of light,
Lads whose job is still to do
Shall whet their knives and think of you.

pastoral, English - The pastoral entered the Middle Ages as the lowest of all the genres, even lower than the comedy; fit for young poets only as practice and introduction. It was the fall of the Roman empire and the rise of the Roman Church which subsequently destroyed the Greek and Roman writings and works of art charging them as pagen, un-Christian, and immoral. For over a thousand years, from the fourth to the fifteenth century, political, personal life, social instituions, literature and the arts were under the Church control, what was once called the "Dark Ages." It was St. Augustine the Platonizer and St. Thomas Aquinas the Aristotelian who rewrote the litany of the Church to reconcile it with that of classical thought. Paving the way for Renaissance France, Italy, and later England. In France it was revitalized by a group of poets named La Pleiade after the seven great Alexandrian poets of Greece. The group was comprised of Joachim du Bellay (1522-1560), Pierre de Ronsard (1524-1585), Estienne Jodelle (1532-1573), and Remy Belleau (1527-1577). Their goal was to sustain the imitative classic model of Virgil. In reality they had no Pindar, no Virgil, no Petrarch and no Milton and produced nothing other than mediocre sonnets and songs hampered by the French love of "sense, logic, and order" componded by the insistence of only two participants. Thus the content of the eclogue was to be love interwoven around tales of political allegory.

In Italy the revival began with the amateur astronomer Dante (1265-1321) and the eg(c)logue Questio de aqua et terra, who switched to the vernacular Italian and coined the term eg(c)logue which had no etymology, but meaning "goat talk" from "aix" meaning goat and "logos" meaning speech. Boccaccio wrote the Latin Eclogues, however they are not thought well of but I may add them later. Petrarch (1304-1374), father of humanism, wrote the very worthy twelve eglogues Bucolicum Carmen, each with a different topic: Parthenias. Argus. Amor pastorius. Dedalus. Pietas pastoralis. Pastorum pathos. Grex infectus et suffectus. Diuortium. Querulus. Laurea Ocidens. Galathea. conflictatio.

Here is Number 4. This is a discussion between two persons on who is the more deserving of the "Lyre of Dedalus":

Tale quis ingenium, tanti quis muneris usum,
Ut niveum compegit ebur, nervosque loquentes
Addidit ac numeros, die, o Tyrrhene, quis ille?
Daedalus? Anne alias dextrae successor et artis?

Daedalus ipse fuit; nec falleris omine, Galle.
Artificum stupor aeternus, quem docta potensque
Miratur natura virum. Mihi maximus ille
Argutam dedit hanc citharam plectrumque modosque.

Cuius amor meriti? Cuius pulcherrima merces?

Nullus; sponte sua ille meum quaesivit amorem;
Dignus quem sylvae, quem grex, quem pastor adoret.

Qua tamen haec regione tibi sors obvia venit?

Est nemus aërium, trabibus quo frigida quernis
Submovet umbra diem; non illie aura, nec estus,
Non gregis aut hominum vernos premit ungula flores;
Fontibus adversis circum duo flumina surgunt;
Hoc secat Etruscos, petit illud gurgite Romani:
Hic, quasi venturi presagus, tristia mecum
Plurima volvebam, flebam quoque: vidit ab alto
Daedalus annosas inter considere fagos;
Accessit, citharamque ferens, puer, accipe, dixit:
Hac casus solare tuos, hac falle laborem.

Infelix! Ubi tunc aberam? Fortasse fuisset,
Hec fortuna alii, citharam michi Daedalus illam.
Novit enim egregie, atque interdum visus amare est.

Hanc minime; fortasse aliam: nam millia multa
Ille habet et large partitur munera in omnes,
Galle; sed ante diu, quam praesens sylva vireret
Hec fuerat promissa michi. Namque anxia partu
Mater anhelanti Lucinam voce rogabat,
Et mestum ignarus lucis iam limen adibam.
Attulit ecce pium fors Daedalon: haud mora; mixto
Vagitu gemituque gravi concussus, apertas
Substitit ante fores; deque obstetricibus uni,
Si puer est, citharam dabimus, si nata monile,
Dixerat, ac speculum; subitoque evanuit. Inde
Polliciti redit ille memor; factoque beavit

Utilis invidiae species, imitatio fervens
Incutiensque animo stimulos, Tyrrhene, fatebor.
Ardeo nunc similem citharam, nisi forsitan ista
(Quod malim) camuse velis. Sunt vellera nobis
Mollia, sunt hoedi. Pretium vel grande licebit
Ipse rei parvae statuas; parebitur ultro.

Grande, rei parvae? Citharae solatia nescis;
Rem magnam (si nota) voces. Fastidia mulcet;
Laxatos animos refovet; solatur amicos;
Gaudia restituit pellit de pectore luctum;
Exsiccat lacrymas; compescit flebile murmur;
Spes revehit, frangitque metum, vultumque serenat.

Quid pretio malore vetat vel magna pacisei?

Non mihi setigeri quantumvis pascitur usquam,
Villigerique gregis; nedum leve vellus et hedi,
Sit pretium citharae; non si tibi gurgi latos
Ambiat Hermus agros, rutilisque oblimet arenis.
Quid mihi divitiae, rerum quid mutus acervus?
Nostras cernis opes. Haec est qua crebra rebellis
Praelia fortunae, mundique premenda vincla,
Pauperiemque levo. Rigidas hoc saepe per alpes,
Perque nemus vacuum, perque atra silenda noctis
Fisus eo: plaudunt volucres et concava saxa;
Interea tristes fugiunt per nubila curae.

Laude sitim cumulas. Fer opera, optatoque potiri
Te duce contingat: vivam memor, emoriarque.

Sera animam quae cura subit? brevis ecce iuventae
Flos cecidit; tunc tempus erat; mine discere turpe est,
Quod pulchrum didicisse foret. Sic volvitur aetas;
Omnia sic volvit fugiens, ac nescia fraeni.
Sorte tua contentus abi, citharamque relinque.
Est quibus a teneris tractata suaviter annis.

Poscitur auxilium, tu consulis? Incipe rebus
Mecum. Verba aliis, quos possunt verba movere.
Poscimus hanc avide; toto nil pulchrius orbe est.

Pulchra movent oculos, sed prosunt apta fruenti;
In partemque venit pudor, atque modestia voti.

Oh felix, oh chare Deis, Tyrrhene, supernis!

Tell me, who ws the genius, who with a craft so artful!
Fashioned its snow-white ivory and to it attached the speaking
Cords and the musical numbers? Disclose who it was, Tyrrhenus:
Daedulus? Or a disciple like him in his art and his talent?

Daedalus? Even he. Your guess is the right one Gallus.
Craftsman supreme of all time, whose manhood amazes Nature
Mighty and wise though she be. From the most excellent master
I have received the bow and the pick and the notes of my music.

What did you do to deserve it? What service won you such a guerdon?

Nothing at all. Instead it was he who sought out my friendship,
He who is rioghtly adored by the woods and the flocks and the shepherds.

Say in what land did you win such gracious favor of fortune?

High in the clouds stands a woodland. Oak groves with their cooling shadows
Darken the light of heaven. No breeze stirs, no ray of sunshine
Penetrates. Spring flowers bloom, untrodden by man or his cattle
Bordering it rise two rivers, each from a different source springing:
One flows through Tuscan meadows, the other seeks Rome as it courses
There once, as if I could see the future, I sat, brooding sadly
Over my sorrows and weeping, when from his station above me
Daedalus marked me despairing under the age-old beeches.
Bearing his lyre he drew near me. "Take this, my lad." so he bade me;
"Let it console your cares and beguile your long days of labor."

Why wasn't I there? Alas! Such good fortune might have befallen
me in your stead. Because Daedalus knows me and erstwhile has shown me
I am certain.

This one he would not, I think; another perhaps; he has many
Thousands in truth and with all men he readily shares his bounty.
This one, however, he'd promised to me long ago, ere he was present
Forest was verdant. My mother was lying in anguish of birthpangs,
Gasping, imploring the aid of Lucina, and I was approaching
All unaware, the threshold of grief when a merciful fortune
Brought the kind Daedalus to us. Moved by her piteous accents
Mingled with my firest outcries, straightway he stood at our oopen
doorway. Addressing then one of the midwives he spoke as follows:
If it's a boy we shall give him a lyre, and if it's a girl child
She'll hve a necklace and mirror. And saying these words he vanished.
Afterwards, true to his pledge, he returned and so made me happy.

Let it be granted, Tyrrhenus, the fever of emulation,
Spurring our spirits onward, is not a bad kind of envy;
Frankly I burn to possess a similar lyre, though I'd rather,
If you would let me, have yours. Look here: I have goats and sheepskins.
Downy and soft. Fix yourself the price you would take for that little
Object, and high though it be I’ll pay and add something to it.

So for this "little" thing you’d pay a great price? Nay you know not
What it is worth or wou'd call it a great thing. In trougles it soothes us,
Raises our weary spirits, affords our friends consolation
Rids our hearts of their sorrows, making them once more joyful,
Dires up our tears and appeases all our complaints and even
Banishes feer, bring hope to our hearts and calm to our faces.

Well, then, why not for this great thing consider a price somewhat higher?

Far from exchanging my lyre for a pair of goats or a sheepskin
I would not take a whole herd, no matter in what pasture nourished,
Whether fleece-bearing or shaggy of hide nor even if Hermus
Flooded your ample fields with its pebbles of gold, As for riches
What to I care for them? An accumulation of voiceless
Things! Nay, my wealth is my lyre. By its virtue alone I am free of
Fortun'e incessant onslaughts and poverty all of the fetters
Fastened on my be the world. With my music I traverse full often
Wasteland and woods and ascend barren crags and fearlessly wander
Through the dark silence of night. While the birds and the caverns applaud me.
All of my cares, as I sing, fall away and are lost in the shadows.

Tributes like those rouse my thirst. Pray help; let me be by your favor
I may obtain my desire, In life and in death I;'ll be grateful.

Late to your heart come such longings. The flower of youth has faded
That would have been the right season. In truth it's a sorry lesson,
Learning a good thing too late to avail us. But such is Time's nature,
Ever in flight and bearing all with him, heedless of bridle.
Go, be content with your lot; leave the lyre to its rightful owners;
Those who from tender years have drawn from its strings sweet music.

Asking for help I am given only advice. Nay, I beg you,
Deeds I would lhave. Save your words for those who may find them persuasive,
Give me the lyre. For me the whole world holds nothing more pleasing.

Pleasing things draw the eye; things fitting are best for the user:
Further, I'd say: one's desires should be subject to some moderation.

Lucky Tyrrehenus, so favored and cherished by Heaven's Immortals!

Prior to 1684 England relied mostly on translations of the Latin classics. As a country, England had no unifying language. The genre was already somewhat dismantled by Virgil who had drifted away from the idyllic, pastoral life toward realism and the actual life; from Latin to the vernacular Italian; from the real to the artificial; from idyllic love to symbolism and allegory. Thus trees and animals become persons; shepherds are thinkers; cattle and lizards are politicians.

In England the Elizabethan Era brought forth several poets who wrote exemplary pastoral poetry beginning with Sir Philip Sidney (1554-1586). Although his Epithalimum did not reach the literary quality of his colleague, Spenser, nevertheless it has exemplary characteristics of the pastoral of that period:


Let mother earth now deck herself in flowers,
To see her offspring seek a good increase,
Where justest love doth vanquish Cupid’s powers
And war of thoughts is swallowed up in peace
Which never may decrease,
But like the turtles fair
Live one in two, a well united pair,
Which, that no chance may stain,
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain.

O heav’n awake, show forth thy stately face;
Let not these slumb’ring clouds thy beauties hide,
But with thy cheerful presence help to grace
Thy honest bridegroom and the bashful bride,
Whose loves may ever bide,
Like to the elm and vine,
With mutual embracements them to twine;
In which delightful pain,
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain.

Ye nymphs which in the waters empire have,
Since Lalus’ music oft doth yield you praise,
Grant to the thing which we for Lalus crave:
Let one time (but long first) close up their days,
One grave their bodies seize,
And like two rivers sweet
When they, though diverse, do together meet,
One stream both streams contain;
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain.

Pan, father Pan, the god of silly sheep,
Whose care is cause that they in number grow,
Have much more care of them that them do keep,
Since from these good the others’ good doth flow,
And make their issue show
In number like the herd
Of younglings which thyself with love hast reared,
Or like the drops of rain:
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain.

Virtue, if not a god, yet God’s chief part,
Be thou the knot of this their open vow:
That still he be her head, she be his heart,
He lean to her, she unto him do bow;
Each other still allow,
Like oak and mistletoe,
Her strength from him, his praise from her do grow,
In which most lovely train,
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain

But thou foul Cupid, sire to lawless lust,
Be thou far hence with thy empoisoned dart
Which, though of glitt’ring gold, shall here take rust
Avoids thy hurtful art,
Not needing charming skill
Such minds with sweet affections for to fill,
Which being pure and plain,
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain

All churlish words, shrewd answers, crabbed looks,
All privateness, self-seeking, inward spite,
All waywardness which nothing kindly brooks,
All strife for toys and claiming master’s right,
Be hence ay put to flight;
All stirring husband’s hate
Gainst neighbours good for womanish debate
Be fled as things most vain,
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain

All peacock pride, and fruits of peacock’s pride,
Longing to be with loss of substance gay
With recklessness what may thy house betide,
So that you may on higher slippers stay,
For ever hence away.
Yet let not sluttery,
The sink of filth, be counted housewifery;
But keeping wholesome mean,
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain

But above all, away vile jealousy,
The ill of ills, just cause to be unjust,
(How can she love where love cannot win trust?)
Go snake, hide them in dust,
Ne dare once show thy face
Where open hearts do hold so constant place;
That they thy sting restrain,
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain

The earth is decked with flow’rs, the heav’ns displayed,
Muses grant fits, nymphs long and joined life,
Pan store of babes, virtue their thoughts well stayed,
Cupid’s lust gone, and gone is bitter strife,
Happy man, happy wife.
No pride shall them oppress,
Nor yet shall yield to loathsome sluttishness,
And jealousy is slain;
O Hymen long their coupled joys maintain

Edmund Spenser (1552-1599), a Cambridge scholar famous for his translations of du Bellay and Petrarch wrote The Shepherd's Calender. Published in 1579, the poem has twelve eclogues, one for each month. These were moral eclogues, some prefer to to call them parables, but they are certainly didactic. The thematic material was based on the inequities of life in the commonwealth of England. For example, October is a debate about the responsibility of the poet to society. May, July, and September argue the inequities of the church, while February argues the conflict between old and young. Here is February:

AH for pittie, wil ranke Winters rage,
These bitter blasts neuer ginne tasswage?
The keene cold blowes throug my beaten hyde,
All as I were through the body gryde.
My ragged rontes all shiver and shake,
As doen high Towers in an earthquake:
They wont in the wind wagge their wrigle tailes,
Perke as Peacock: but nowe it auales.

Lewdly complainest thou laesie ladde,
Of Winters wracke, for making thee sadde.
Must not the world wend in his commun course
From good th badd, and from badde to worse,
From worse vnto that is worst of all,
And then returne to his former fall?
Who will not suffer the stormy time,
Where will he liue tyll the lusty prime?
Selfe haue I worne out thrise threttie yeares,
Some in much ioy, many in many teares:
Yet never complained of cold nor heate,
Of Sommers flame, nor of Winters threat:
Ne euer was to Fortune foeman,
But gently tooke, that vngently came.
And euer my flocke was my chiefe care,
Winter or Sommer they mought well fare.

No marueile Thenot, if thou can not beare
Cherefully the Winters wrathfull cheare:
For Age and Winter accord full nie,
This chill, that cold, this crooked, that wrye.
And as the lowring Wether lookes downe,
No marueile Thenot, if thou can not beare
Cherefully the Winters wrathfull cheare:
For Age and Winter accord full nie,
This chill, that cold, this crooked, that wrye.
And as the lowring Wether lookes downe,

The soueraigne of seas he blames in vaine,
That once seabeate, will to sea againe.
So loytring liue you little heardgroomes,
Keeping your beastes in the budded broomes:
And when the shining sunne laugheth once,
You deemen, the Spring is come attonce.
Tho gynne you, fond flyes, the cold to scorn,
And crowing in pypes made of greene corne,
You thinken to be Lords of the yeare.
But eft, when ye count you freed from feare,
Comes the breme winter with chamfred browes,
Full of wrinckles and frostie furrowes:
Drerily shooting his stormy darte,
Which cruddles the blood, and pricks the harte.
Then is your carelesse corage accoied,
Your carefull heards with cold bene annoied.
Then paye you the price of your surqedrie,
With weeping, and wayling, and misery.

Ah foolish old man, I scorne thy skill,
That wouldest me, my springing yougth to spil.
I deeme, thy braine emperished bee
Through rusty elde, that hath rotted thee:
Or sicker thy head veray tottie is,
So on thy corbe shoulder it leanes amisse.
Now thy selfe hast lost both lopp and topp,
Als my budding branch thou wouldest cropp:
But were thy yeares greene, as now bene myne,
To other delights they would encline.
Tho wouldest thou learne to caroll of Loue,
And hery with hymnes thy lasses gloue.
Tho wouldest thou pype of Phyllis prayse:
But Phyllis is myne for many dayes:
I wonne her with a girdle of gelt,
Embost with buegle about the belt.
Such an one shepeheards woulde make full faine:
Such an one would make thee younge againe.

Thou art a fon, of thy loue to boste,
All that is lent to loue, wyll be lost.

Seest, howe brag yond Bullocke beares,
So smirke, so smoothe, his pricked eares?
His hornes bene as broade, as Rainebowe bent,
His dewelap as lythe, as lasse of Kent.
See howe he venteth into the wynd.
Weenest of loue is not his mynd?
Seemeth thy flock thy counsell can,
So lustlesse bene they, so weake so wan,
Clothed with cold, and hoary wyth frost.
Thy flocks father his corage hath lost:
Thy Ewes, that wont to haue blowen bags,
Like wailful widdowes hangen their crags:
The rather Lambes bene starued with cold,
All for their Maister is lustlesse and old.

Cuddie, I wote thou kenst little good,
So vainely taduance thy headlesse hood.
For Youngth is a bubble blown vp with breath,
Whose witt is weakenesse, whose wage is death,
Whose way is wildernesse, whose ynne Penaunce,
And stoopegallaunt Age the hoste of Greeuance.
But shall I tel thee a tale of truth,
Which I cond of Tityrus in my youth,
Keeping his sheepe on the hils of Kent?

To nought more, Thenot, my mind is bent,
Then to heare nouells of his deuise:
They bene so well thewed, and so wise,
What euer that good old man bespake.

Many meete tales of youth did he make,
And some of loue, and some of cheualrie:
But none fitter than this to applie.
Now listen a while, and hearken the end.

THere grewe an aged Tree on the greene,
A goodly Oake sometime had it bene,
With armes full strong and largely displayd,
But of their leaues they were disarayde:
The bodie bigge, and mightily pight,
Throughly rooted, and of wonderous hight:
Whilome had bene the King of the field,
And mochell mast to the husband did yielde,
And with his nuts larded many swine.
But now the gray mosse marred his rine,
His bared boughes were beaten with stormes,
His toppe was bald, & wasted with wormes,
His honor decayed, his braunches sere.
Hard by his side grew a bragging brere,
Which proudly thrust into Thelement,
And seemed to threat the Firmament.
Yt was embellisht with blossomes fayre,
And thereto aye wonned to repayre
The shepheards daughters, to gather flowres,
To peinct thir girlonds with his colowres.
And in his small bushes vsed to shrowde
The sweete Nightingale singing so lowde:
Which made this foolish Brere wexe so bold,
That on a time he cast him to scold,
And snebbe the good Oake, for he was old.
Why standst there (quoth he) thou brutish blocke?
Nor for fruict, nor for shadowe serues thy stocke:
Seest, how fresh my flowers bene spredde,
Dyed in Lilly white, and Cremsin redde,
With leaves engrained in lusty greene,
Colours meete to clothe a mayden Queene.
Thy wast bignes but combers the grownd,
And dirks the beauty of my blossomes rownd.
The mouldie mosse, which thee accloieth,
My Sinnamon smell too much annoieth.
Wherefore soone I rede thee, hence remove,
Least thou the price of my displeasure proue.
So spake this bold brere with great disdaine:
Little him answered the Oake againe,
But yielded, with shame and greefe adawed,
That of a weede he was ouerawed.
Yt chaunced after vpon a day,
The Hus-bandman selfe to come that way,
Of custome to seruewe his grownd,
And his trees of state in compasse rownd.
Him when the spitefull brere had espyed,
Causlesse complained, and lowdly cryed
Vnto his Lord, stirring vp sterne strife:
O my liege Lord, the God of my life,
Pleaseth you ponder your Suppliants plaint,
Caused of wrong, and cruell constraint,
Which I your poore Vassall dayly endure:
And but your goodnes the same recure,
Am like for desperate doole to dye,
Through felonous force of mine enemie.
Greatly aghast with this piteous plea,
Him rested the goodman on the lea,
And badde the Brere in his plaint proceede.
With painted words tho gan this proude weede,
(As most vsen Ambitious folke:)
His colowred crime with craft to cloke.
Ah my soueraigne, Lord of creatures all,
Thou placer of plants both humble and tall,
Was not I planted of thine owne hand,
To be the primrose of all thy land,
With flowring blossomes, to furnish the prime,
And scarlot berries in Sommer time?
How falls it then, that this faded Oake,
Whose bodie is sere, whose braunches broke,
Whose naked Armes stretch vnto the fyre,
Vnto such tyrannie doth aspire:
Hindering with his shade my louely light,
And robbing me of the swete sonnes sight?
So beate his old boughes my tender side,
That oft the bloud springeth from wounds wyde:
Vntimely my flowres forced to fall,
That bene the honor of your Coranall.
And oft he lets his cancker wormes light
Vpon my braunches, to worke me more spight:
And oft his hoarie locks downe doth cast,
Where with my fresh flowretts bene defast.
For this, and many more such outrage,
Crauing your goodlihead to aswage
The ranckorous rigour of his might,
Nought aske I, but onely to hold my right:
Submitting me to your good sufferance,
And praying to be garded from greeuance.
To this the Oake cast him to replie
Well as he couth: but his enemie
Had kindled such coles of displeasure,
That the good man noulde stay his leasure,
But home him hasted with furious heate,
Encreasing his wrath with many a threate.
His harmefull Hatchet he hent in hand,
(Alas, that it so ready should stand)
And to the field alone he speedeth.
(Ay little helpe to harme there needeth)
Anger nould let him speake to the tree,
Enaunter his rage mought cooled bee:
But to the roote bent his sturdy stroke,
And made many wounds in the wast Oake.
The Axes edge did oft turne againe,
As if halfe vnwilling to cutte the graine:
Semed, the sencelesse yron dyd feare,
Or to wrong holy eld did forbeare.
For it had bene an auncient tree,
Sacred with many a mysteree,
And often crost with the priestes crewe,
And often halowed with holy water dewe.
But sike fancies weren foolerie,
And broughten this Oake to this miserye.
For nought mought they quitten him from decay:
For fiercely the good man at him did laye.
The blocke oft groned vnder the blow,
And sighed to see his neare ouerthrow.
In fine the steele had pierced his pitth,
Tho downe to the earth he fell forthwith:
His wonderous weight made the grounde to quake,
Thearth shronke vnder him, and seemed to shake.
There lyeth the Oake, pitied of none.
Now stands the Brere like a Lord alone,
Puffed vp with pryde and vaine pleasaunce:
But all this glee had no continuaunce.
For eftsones Winter gan to approche,
The blustring Boreas did encroche,
And beate vpon the solitarie Brere:
For nowe no succoure was seene him nere.
Now gan he repent his pryde to late:
For naked left and disconsolate,
The byting frost nipt his stalke dead,
The watrie wette weighed downe his head,
And heaped snowe burdned him so sore,
That nowe vpright he can stand no more:
And being downe, is trodde in the durt
Of cattell, and brouzed, and sorely hurt.
Such was thend of this Ambitious brere,
For scorning Eld

Now I pray thee shepheard, tel it not forth:
Here is a long tale, and little worth.
So longe haue I listned to thy speche,
That graffed to the ground is my breache:
My hartblood is welnigh frorne I feele,
And my galage growne fast to my heele:
But little ease of thy lewd tale I tasted.
Hye thee home shepheard, the day is nigh wasted.

Thenots Embleme.

Iddio perche e vecchio,
Fa suoi al suo essempio.

Cuddies Embleme.

Niuno vecchio,
Spaventa Iddio.

One change in pastoral poetry came with Michael Drayton (1563-1631) whose Pastorals replaced Pan with God and classic mythological characters became allegorical:

Phoebus full out his yearly course had runne,
(The woeful Winter laboring to out-weare)
And though 't was long first, yet at length begunne,
To heave himself up to our hemisphere,
For which pleas'd Heaven to see this happie hour,
O'rcome with Joy wept many a silver showre.

When Philomel, the augure of the Spring,
Whose Tunes expresse a brothers trayt'rous Fact,
Whilst the fresh groves with her complaints doe ring,
To Cynthia her sad tragedie doth act.
The jocund Mirle perch'd on the highest spray,
Sings his love forth, to see the pleasant May.

The crawling snake against the morning sunne,
Like Iris shewes his sundrie coloured coat,
The gloomie shades and enviously doth shunne,
Ravish'd to heare the warbling birds to roat,
The bucke forsakes the lawn's where he hath fed,
Fearing the hunt should view his velvet head.

Through ev'ry part dispersed is the bloud,
The lustie spring in fulnesse of her pride:
Man, bird, and beast, each tree, and every floud,
Highly rejoycing in this goodly tyde:
Save Rowland, leaning on a ranpike tree,
Wasted with age, forlorne with wo was he.

Great God, quoth he, (with hands rear'd to the skye)
Thou wise creatour of the starrie light,
Whose wondrous workes thy essence doe imply,
In the dividing of the day and night:
The earth releeving with the teeming spring,
Which the late Winter low before did bring.

O thou strong builder of the firmament,
Who placed'st Phoebus in his fiery carre,
And for the planets wisely didst invent,
Their sundry Mansions, that they should not jarre,
Appointing Phoebe Mistress of the Night,
From Titan’s flames to fetch her forked light.

From that bright palace where thou reign'st alone,
Whose floore with stars is gloriously inchased;
Before the footstoole of whose glittering Throne,
Those thy high orders severally are placed,
Receive my vowes, that may thy Court ascend,
Where thy cleere presence all the powers attend.

Shepheards great aoveraigne, graciously receive,
Those thoughts to thee continually erected,
Nor let the world of comfort me bereave,
Whilst I before it sadly lye dejected,
Whose sinnes, like fogs that over-cloud the aire,
Darken those beames which promis'd me so faire.

My hopes are fruitlesse, and my faith is vaine,
And but meere shewes, disposed me to mocke,
Such are exalted basely that can faine,
And none regards just Rowland of the rocke.
To those fat pastures, which Flocks healthfull keepe,
Malice denyes me entrance with my sheepe.

Yet nill I Nature enviously accuse,
Nor blame the heavens thus haplesse me to make,
What they impose, but vainly we refuse,
When not our power their punishment can slake.
Fortune the world, that towzes to and fro,
Fickle to all, is constant in my wo.

This only rests, Time shall devoure my sorrow,
And to affliction minister reliefe,
When as there never shall succeed a morrow,
Whose labouring houres shall lengthen out my griefe,
Nor in my brest, Care sit againe so deepe:
Tyring the sad Night with distemp'red sleepe.

And when that Time expired hath the date,
What weares out all things, lastly perish must,
And that all-searching and impartiall Fate,
Shall take account of long-forgotten dust,
When every being, silently shall cease,
Lock'd in the armes of everlasting Peace.

Now in the Ocean, TITAN quench'd his flame,
That summon'd CINTHIA, to set up her light
And she the neer'st of the Celestiall frame,
Sat the most glorious on the brow of Night.
When the poore Swaine, with heavinesse opprest,
To the cold Earth sanke sadly downe to rest

Francis Quarles (1592-1674) wrote during the Commonwealth Era (1649-1659) and into the return of the Tudors. Not an outstanding poet, however in Shepheards Oracles he covered every aspect of religious controversy bearing down on the time. Quarles, a devoted Anglican, assails the Puritan party in the last ecologue. Here is the final stanza:

Wee'l down with all the Varsities,
Where Lerning is profest,
Because they practise and maintain
The Language of the Beast:
Wee'l drive the Doctors out of doores,
And Arts what ere they be,
Wee'l cry both Arts, and Learning down,
And, Hey! then up goe we.

In octosyllabic couplets John Milton (1608-1674) wrote L'Allegro where he describes the role of the pastoral:

"Every Shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the vale."

Hence loathed Melancholy,
Of Cerberus, and blackest Midnight born,
In Stygian cave forlorn,
'Mongst horrid shapes, and shrieks, and sights unholy;
Find out some uncouth cell,
Where brooding Darkness spreads his jealous wings,
And the night-raven sings;
There under ebon shades, and low-brow'd rocks,
As ragged as thy locks,
In dark Cimmerian desert ever dwell.
But come thou goddess fair and free,
In heav'n yclep'd Euphrosyne,
And by men, heart-easing Mirth,
Whom lovely Venus at a birth
With two sister Graces more
To Ivy-crowned Bacchus bore;
Or whether (as some sager sing)
The frolic wind that breathes the spring,
Zephyr, with Aurora playing,
As he met her once a-Maying,
There on beds of violets blue,
And fresh-blown roses wash'd in dew,
Fill'd her with thee, a daughter fair,
So buxom, blithe, and debonair.
Haste thee nymph, and bring with thee
Jest and youthful Jollity,
Quips and cranks, and wanton wiles,
Nods, and becks, and wreathed smiles,
Such as hang on Hebe's cheek,
And love to live in dimple sleek;
Sport that wrinkled Care derides,
And Laughter holding both his sides.
Come, and trip it as ye go
On the light fantastic toe,
And in thy right hand lead with thee,
The mountain-nymph, sweet Liberty;
And if I give thee honour due,
Mirth, admit me of thy crew
To live with her, and live with thee,
In unreproved pleasures free;
To hear the lark begin his flight,
And singing startle the dull night,
From his watch-tower in the skies,
Till the dappled dawn doth rise;
Then to come in spite of sorrow,
And at my window bid good-morrow,
Through the sweet-briar, or the vine,
Or the twisted eglantine;
While the cock with lively din,
Scatters the rear of darkness thin,
And to the stack, or the barn door,
Stoutly struts his dames before;
Oft list'ning how the hounds and horn
Cheerly rouse the slumb'ring morn,
From the side of some hoar hill,
Through the high wood echoing shrill.
Sometime walking, not unseen,
By hedge-row elms, on hillocks green,
Right against the eastern gate,
Where the great Sun begins his state,
Rob'd in flames, and amber light,
The clouds in thousand liveries dight.
While the ploughman near at hand,
Whistles o'er the furrow'd land,
And the milkmaid singeth blithe,
And the mower whets his scythe,
And every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the dale.
Straight mine eye hath caught new pleasures
Whilst the landskip round it measures,
Russet lawns, and fallows gray,
Where the nibbling flocks do stray;
Mountains on whose barren breast
The labouring clouds do often rest;
Meadows trim with daisies pied,
Shallow brooks, and rivers wide.
Towers, and battlements it sees
Bosom'd high in tufted trees,
Where perhaps some beauty lies,
The cynosure of neighbouring eyes.
Hard by, a cottage chimney smokes,
From betwixt two aged oaks,
Where Corydon and Thyrsis met,
Are at their savoury dinner set
Of herbs, and other country messes,
Which the neat-handed Phyllis dresses;
And then in haste her bow'r she leaves,
With Thestylis to bind the sheaves;
Or if the earlier season lead
To the tann'd haycock in the mead.
Sometimes with secure delight
The upland hamlets will invite,
When the merry bells ring round,
And the jocund rebecks sound
To many a youth, and many a maid,
Dancing in the chequer'd shade;
And young and old come forth to play
On a sunshine holiday,
Till the live-long daylight fail;
Then to the spicy nut-brown ale,
With stories told of many a feat,
How Faery Mab the junkets eat,
She was pinch'd and pull'd she said,
And he by friar's lanthorn led,
Tells how the drudging goblin sweat,
To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn
That ten day-labourers could not end;
Then lies him down, the lubber fiend,
And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
Basks at the fire his hairy strength;
And crop-full out of doors he flings,
Ere the first cock his matin rings.
Thus done the tales, to bed they creep,
By whispering winds soon lull'd asleep.
Tower'd cities please us then,
And the busy hum of men,
Where throngs of knights and barons bold,
In weeds of peace high triumphs hold,
With store of ladies, whose bright eyes
Rain influence, and judge the prize
Of wit, or arms, while both contend
To win her grace, whom all commend.
There let Hymen oft appear
In saffron robe, with taper clear,
And pomp, and feast, and revelry,
With mask, and antique pageantry;
Such sights as youthful poets dream
On summer eves by haunted stream.
Then to the well-trod stage anon,
If Jonson's learned sock be on,
Or sweetest Shakespeare, Fancy's child,
Warble his native wood-notes wild.
And ever against eating cares,
Lap me in soft Lydian airs,
Married to immortal verse,
Such as the meeting soul may pierce
In notes with many a winding bout
Of linked sweetness long drawn out,
With wanton heed, and giddy cunning,
The melting voice through mazes running,
Untwisting all the chains that tie
The hidden soul of harmony;
That Orpheus' self may heave his head
From golden slumber on a bed
Of heap'd Elysian flow'rs, and hear
Such strains as would have won the ear
Of Pluto, to have quite set free
His half-regain'd Eurydice.
These delights if thou canst give,
Mirth, with thee I mean to live.

A Cambridge scholar, became a convert to the Church of England and a voice for the cause of Puritan England and Oliver Cromwell. His thematic works deal with the theme of good and evil. At the end of the Reformation he was imprisoned for heresy. His most famous works are Paradise Lost and Samson Agonistes.

His assistant was Andrew Marvel (1621-1678), who managed to survive the Civil War raging between the reformists and the royalists. Later as a member of Parliament he wrote political satire. Here is an allegorical pastoral Thoughts in a Garden:

Vainly men themselves amaze
To win the palm, the oak, or bays,
And their uncessant labours see
Crown'd from some single herb or tree,
Whose short and narrow-verged shade
Does prudently their toils upbraid;
While all the flowers and trees do close
To weave the garlands of repose!
Fair Quiet, have I found thee here,
And Innocence thy sister dear?
Mistaken long, I sought you then
In busy companies of men:
Your sacred plants, if here below,
Only among the plants will grow:
Society is all but rude
To this delicious solitude.

No white nor red was ever seen
So amorous as this lovely green.
Fond lovers, cruel as their flame,
Cut in these trees their mistress' name:
Little, alas! they know or heed
How far these beauties hers exceed!
Fair trees! wheres'e'er your barks I wound,
No name shall but your own be found.

When we have run our passions' heat,
Love hither makes his best retreat:
The gods, that mortal beauty chase,
Still in a tree did end their race;
Apollo hunted Daphne so
Only that she might laurel grow;
And Pan did after Syrinx speed
Not as a nymph, but for a reed.

What wondrous life in this I lead!
Ripe apples drop about my head;
The luscious clusters of the vine
Upon my mouth do crush their wine;
The nectarine and curious peach
Into my hands themselves do reach;
Stumbling on melons, as I pass,
Ensnared with flowers, I fall on grass.

Meanwhile the mind from pleasure less
Withdraws into its happiness;
The mind, that ocean where each kind
Does straight its own resemblance find;
Yet it creates, transcending these,
Far other worlds, and other seas;
Annihilating all that's made
To a green thought in a green shade.

Here at the fountain's sliding foot,
Or at some fruit-tree's mossy root,
Casting the body's vest aside,
My soul into the boughs does glide;
There, like a bird, it sits and sings,
Then whets and combs its silver wings,
And, till prepared for longer flight,
Waves in its plumes the various light.

Such was that happy Garden-state
While man there walk'd without a mate:
After a place so pure and sweet,
What other help could yet be meet!
But 'twas beyond a mortal's share
To wander solitary there:
Two paradises 'twere in one,
To live in Paradise alone.

How well the skilful gard'ner drew
Of flowers and herbs this dial new!
Where, from above, the milder sun
Does through a fragrant zodiac run:
And, as it works, th' industrious bee
Computes its time as well as we.
How could such sweet and wholesome hours
Be reckon'd, but with herbs and flowers!

Another Marvelle pastoral, Hortus, in Latin with translation:

Quisnam adeo, mortale genus, praecordia versat:
Heu Palmae, Laurique furor, vel simplicis Herbae!
Arbor ut indomitos ornet vix una labores;
Tempora nec foliis praecingat tota maglignis.
Dum simud implexi, tranquillae ad ferta Quiaetis,
Omnigeni coeunt Flores, integraque Sylva.
Alma Quies, teneo te! et te Germana Quietis
Simplicitas! Vos ergo diu per Templa, per urbes,
Quaesivi, Regum perque alta Palatia frustra.
Sed vos Hotrorum per opaca siluentia longe
Celarant Plantae virides, et concolor Umbra.
O! mibi si vestros liceat violasse recessus.
Erranti, lasso, et vitae melioris anhelo,
Municipem servate novum, votoque potitum,
Frondosae Cives optate in florea Regna.
Me quoque, vos Musae, and, te conscie testor Apollo,
Non Armenta juvant hominum, Circique boatus,
Mugitusve Fori; sed me Penetralia veris,
Horroresque trahunt muti, et Consortia sola.
Virgineae quem non suspendit Gratia formae?
Quam candore Nives vincentum, Ostrumque rubore,
Vestra tamen viridis superet (me judice) Virtus.
Nec foliis certare Comae, nec Brachia ramis,
Nec possint tremulos voces aequare susurros.
Ah quoties saevos vidi (quis credat?) Amantes
Sculpentes Dominae potiori in cortice nomen?
Nec puduit truncis inscribere vulnera sacris.
Ast Ego, si vestras unquam temeravero stirpes,
Nulla Neaera, Chloe, Faustina, Corynna, legetur:
In proprio sed quaeque libro signabitur Arbos.
O charae Platanus, Cyparissus, Populus, Ulnus!
Hic Amor, exutis crepidatus inambulat alis,
Enerves arcus et stridula tela reponens,
Invertitque faces, nec se cupit usque timeri;
Aut experrectus jacet, indormitque pharetrae;
Non auditurus quanquam Cytherea vocarit;
Nequitias referuut nec somnia vana priores.
Laetantur Superi, defervescente Tyranno,
Et licet experti toties Nymphasque Deasque,
Arbore nunc melius potiuntur quisque cupita.
Jupiter annosam, neglecta conjuge, Quercum
Deperit; baud alia doluit sic pellice. Juno.
Lemniacum temerant vestigia nulla Cubile,
Nic Veneris Mavors meminit si Fraxinus adsit.
Formosae pressit Daphnes vestigia Phaebus
Ut fieret Laurus; sed nil quaesiverat ultra.
Capripes et peteret quod Pan Syringa fugacem,
Hoc erat ut Calamum posset reperire Sonorum.
Desunt multa.
Nec tu, Opisex horti, grato sine carmine abibis:
Qui brevibus plantis, et laeto flore, notasti
Crescentes horas, atque intervalla diei.
Sol ibi candidior fragrantia Signa pererrat;
Proque truci Tauro, stricto pro forcipe Cancri,
Securis violaeque rosaeque allabitur umbris.
Sedula quin et Apis, mellito intenta labori,
Horologo sua pensa thymo Signare videtur.
What madness so stirs the heart of man?
Alas, madness for the Palm and the Laurel, or for the simple grass!
So that one tree will scarcely crown his curbless efforts.
Nor wholly circle his temples with its scanty leaves.
While at the same time, entrwined in garlands of tranquil Quiet,
All flowers meet, and the virgin woods
Fair Quiet, I hold you! And you, sister of Quiet,
Innocence! You a long time in temples, in cities
I sought in vain and in the palaces of kings.
But you in the shaded silences of gardens, far off,
The green plants and life-colored shadow hide.
Oh! If I am ever allowed to profane your retreats,
Wandering about, faint, and panting for a better life,
Preserve your new citizen, and me, having attained my wish,
Leafy citizens, accept in the flowery kingdom.
Me also, you Muses and I call you, omniscient Apollo, as witness
Herds of men do not please, nor the roaring of the Circus,
Not the bellowing of the Forum; but me the sactuaries of spring
And silent veneration draw, and solitary communion.
Whom does the grace of maidenly beauty not attest?
Which, although it excells snows in whiteness and purple in redness.
Yet your green force (in my opinion) surpasses.
Hair cannot compete with leaves, nor arms with branches,
Nor are tremulous voices able to equal you whisperings.
Ah, how often have I seen (who would believe it?) cruel lovers
Carving the name of their mistress on bark, which is more worthy of love?
Nor was there a sense of shame for inscribing wounds on sacred trunks.
But I, if ever I shall have profaned your stocks,
No Neaera, Choloe, Faustina, Coroynna shall be read:
But the name of each tree shall be written on its own bark.
O dear plane tree, cypress, poplar, elm!
Here Love, his wings cast aside, walks about in sandals,
Laying aside his nerveless bows and hissing arrows,
And inverts his torches, nor does he wish to be feared;
Or he lies stretched out and sleeps on his quiver;
Nor will he hear, although Cytherea call;
Nor do idle dreams report previous iniquities.
The Gods rejoice, the Tyrant ceasing to rage,
And although they have known nymphs and goddesses many times,
Each one achieves his desires better now in a tree.
Jupiter, forgetful of his wife, languishes for the aged oak
Juno has not suffered thsu for another rival.
No traces dishonor the bed of Vulcan
Now is Mars mindful of Venus if the ash be present.
Phaebus pursued beautiful Daphne
That she might become a laurel; but he had sought nothing more.
Though goat-footed Pan felll upon fleeing Syrinx,
This was that he might procure a sounding reed.
Many things are lacking
Now you, maker of the garden, shall not depart without a grateful song;
Who in the brief plants and joyous flowers have indicated
Growing hours and intervals of the day.
There the sun more bright passes through the fragrant signs;
And the sedulous bee, intent on its sweet labor,
Seems to mark its duties with the thyme as horologe
Sweet lapse of time, healthful work
Hours to be numbered in herbs and flowers.

Another pastoral poet is William Browne of Tavistock (1588-1645). His best known is Britannia's Pastorals, or, as students like to think of, as "one of those books that is well-cited but little read". A narrative poem in three books in many ways reminiscent of Spenser. Book I was first published in 1613, Book II in 1616, and Book III not until 1852. Browne exceeds in the use of allegory, metaphor, and periphrasis. An example of the latter is extracted here from Book II, iii, begining at line 855:

And now Hyperion from his glitt'ring throne Sev'e times his quick'ning rays had bravely shown Unto the other world, since Walla last Had on her Tavy's head the garland plac'ed; And this day, as of right, she wends abroad To ease the meadows of their willing load.

Browne was familiar "with every tree that grew in the woods, every fish that swam in the waters of his beloved Devon". Strange that the work should be filled with digressions from the pastoral theme. Especially cited is this description of Time from Book I, iv, beginning at line 307:

...a lusty aged, swain,
That cuts the green tufts off the' enamell'd plain, And with his scythe hath many a summer shorn The plough'd-lands lab/ring with a crop of corn.

Browne stands out as a great patriot and defender of his native land in these words from Book II, iii, beginning line 601:

Hail, thou my native soil! thou blessed plot, Whose equal all the world affordeth not!
Show me who can so many crustal rills,
Such sweet-cloth'd valleys or aspiring hills, And if the earth can show the like again, Yet will she tail in her sea-ruling men.
Time never can produce men to o'ertake
Or worthy Hawkins, or of thousands more
That by their power made the devonian shore Mock the proud tagus, for whose richest spoil The boasting Spaniard left the Indian soil Bankrupt of store, knowing it would quite cost By winning this, though all the rest were lost.

"Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!"

By the end of the seventeenth century the pastoral had all been eclipsed The Augustans comprised of Joseph Addison (1672-1719), Alexander Pope (1688-1744), and Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who sought to imitate Ovid, Horace, or Virgil, the great Latin poets of the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus, all sought other genres. Enter Romanticism, a literary period roughly between 1780 to 1830 that produced such notables as Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Byron and many others.

The pastoral in England during the Augustan (Classic or Pre-Romantic) period spanned from the time of Queen Anne throughout the first two Georges. Described as more Latin than Greek and more French than Latin. It's difficult to imagine a pastoral occurring under Augustan formalism where the premier occupation was clearness, propriety, decorum, moderation and coldness of feeling for the writing of the day. Queen Anne poetry particularly fell under the influence of platitudes thus Alexander Pope (1688-1744) as the poet of aphorisms:

"Virtue alone is happiness below"
"To err is human, to forgive divine"
"Charms strike the eye, but merit wins the soul"

Edward Young (1683-1763) "Procrastination is the thief of time"

Henry Beers gave a beautiful description of the language of the Augustan pastoral where "women" became "nymphs"; the sheep as "the fleecy care"; fish "the scaly tribe"; a picket fence "a spiculated paling"; it was considered vulgar to say "the moon is rising" rather "Cynthia is lifting her silver horn!" Every fruit, apple, cherry, peach was designated "the treasures of Pomona". And how about this from Pope's My Study Windows, instead of just "coffee" he writes "the fragrant juice of Mocha's berry brown." The satirist William Wycherly (1640-1716) wrote his own poetic comment on the language of the Augustan pastoral after reading Pope's eclogues:

Some in a polish'd style write pastoral:
Arcadia speaks the language of the Mall
Like some fair shepherdess, the sylvan Muse Should wear those flowers her native fields produce; And the true measure of a shepherd's wit Should, like his garb, be for the country fit:
Yet must his pure and unaffected thought More nicely than a common swain's be wrought; So with becoming art, the players dress In silks the shepherd and the shepherdess; Yet still unchanged the form and mode remain, Shap'd like the homely russet of the swain.
Your rural Muse appears to justify
The longlost graces of simplicity.

An excellent example of the Augustan pastoral are the Oriental Eclogues written by William Collins (1721-1739) at the age of seventeen. He uses the designated place scheme of Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar and the time-of-day of Alexander Pope. These four eclogues found more readers than all of Pope's pastorals. The four eclogues follow the pastoral atribution as in the opening eclogue where Selim, a Persian poet, sits on the bank of the Tigris lecturing to a group of young females in praise of virtue:

Eclogue 1

Scene, a Valley near Bagdad.
Time, the morning.

Ye Persian Maids, attend your Poet's Lays,
And hear how Shepherds pass their golden Days:
Not all are blest, whom Fortune's Hand sustains
With Wealth in Courts, nor all that haunt the Plains:
Well may your Hearts believe the Truths I tell;
'Tis Virtue makes the Bliss, where'er we dwell.

Thus Selim sung; by sacred Truth inspir'd;
No Praise the Youth, but her's alone desir'd:
Wise in himself, his meaning Songs convey'd
Informing Morals to the Shepherd Maid,
Or taught the Swains that surest Bliss to find,
What Groves nor Streams bestow, a virtuous Mind.

When sweet and od'rous, like an Eastern Bride,
The radiant Morn resum'd her orient Pride,
When wanton Gales, along the Valleys play,
Breathe on each Flow'r, and bear their Sweets away:
By Tigris' Wand'ring Waves he sate, and sung
This useful Lesson for the Fair and Young.

Ye Persian Dames, he said, to ye belong,
Well may they please, the Morals of my Song;
No fairer Maids, I trust, than ye are found,
Grac'd with soft Arts, the peopled World around!
The Morn that lights you, to your Loves supplies
Each gentler Ray delicious to your Eyes:
For ye those Flow'rs her fragrant Hands bestow,
And yours the Love that Kings delight to know.
Yet think not these, all beauteous as they are,
The best kind Blessings Heav'n can grant the Fair!
Who trust alone in Beauty's feeble Ray,
Balsora's Pearls have more of Worth than they;
Drawn from the Deep, they sparkle to the Sight,
And all-unconscious shoot a lust'rous Light:
Such are the Maids, and such the Charms they boast,
By Sense unaided, or to Virtue lost.
Self-flattering Sex! your Hearts believe in vain
That Love shall blind, when once he fires the Swain;
Or hope a Lover by your Faults to win,
As Spots on Ermin beautify the Skin:
Who seeks secure to rule, be first her Care
Each softer Virtue that adorns the Fair,
Each tender Passion Man delights to find,
The lov'd Perfections of a female Mind.

Blest were the Days, when Wisdom held her Reign,
And Shepherds sought her on the silent Plain,
With Truth she wedded in the secret Grove,
The fair-eyed Truth, and Daughters bless'd their Love.

O haste, fair Maids, ye Virtues come away,
Sweet Peace and Plenty lead you on your way!
The balmy Shrub, for ye shall love our Shore,
By Ind' excell'd or Araby no more.

Lost to our Fields, for so the Fates ordain,
The dear Deserters shall return again.
O come, thou Modesty, as they decree,
The Rose may then improve her Blush by Thee.
Here make thy Court amidst our rural Scene,
And Shepherd-Girls shall own Thee for their Queen.
With Thee be Chastity, of all afraid,
Distrusting all, a wise suspicious Maid;
But Man the most; not more the Mountain Doe
Holds the swift Falcon for her deadly Foe.
Cold is her Breast, like Flow'rs that drink the Dew;
A silken Veil conceals her from the View.
No wild Desires amidst thy Train be known,
But Faith, whose Heart is fix'd on one alone:
Desponding Meekness with her down-cast Eyes,
And friendly Pity full of tender Sighs;
And Love the last: By these your Hearts approve,
These are the Virtues that must lead to Love.

Thus sung the Swain, and Eastern Legends say,
The Maids of Bagdat verify'd the Lay:
Dear to the Plains, the Virtues came along,
The Shepherds lov'd, and Selim bless'd his Song.

Eclogue II
Hassan: Or, the Camel Driver
Scene: The desert
Time: Midday

In silent horror o’er the boundless waste
The driver Hassan with his camels past:
One cruise of water on his back he bore,
And his light scrip contain’d a scanty store;
A fan of painted feathers in his hand,
To guard his shaded face from scorching sand.
The sultry sun had gain’d the middle sky,
And not a tree, and not an herb was nigh;
The beasts with pain their dusty way pursue;
Shrill roar’d the winds, and dreary was the view!
With desperate sorrow wild, the affrighted man
Thrice sigh’d, thrice struck his breast, and thus began:
‘Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
‘When first from Schiraz’ walls I bent my way!’

‘Ah! little thought I of the blasting wind,
The thirst, or pinching hunger, that I find!
Bethink thee, Hassan, where shall thirst assuage,
When fails this cruise, his unrelenting rage?
Soon shall this scrip its precious load resign;
Then what but tears and hunger shall be thine?
‘Ye mute companions of my toils, that bear
In all my griefs a more than equal share!
Here, where no springs in murmurs break away,
Or moss-crown’d fountains mitigate the day,
In vain ye hope the green delights to know,
Which plains more blest, or verdant vales bestow:
Here rocks alone, and tasteless sands, are found,
And faint and sickly winds for ever howl around.
‘Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
‘When first from Schiraz’ walls I bent my way!’
‘Curst be the gold and silver which persuade
Weak men to follow far fatiguing trade!
The lily peace outshines the silver store,
And life is dearer than the golden ore:
Yet money tempts us o’er the desert brown,
To every distant mart and wealthy town.
Full oft we tempt the land, and oft the sea;
And are we only yet repaid by thee?
Ah! why was ruin so attractive made?
Or why fond man so easily betray’d?
Why heed we not, whilst mad we haste along,
The gentle voice of peace, or pleasure’s song?

Or wherefore think the flowery mountain’s side,
The fountain’s murmurs, and the valley’s pride,
Why think we these less pleasing to behold
Than dreary deserts, if they lead to gold?
‘Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
‘When first from Schiraz’ walls I bent my way!’
‘O cease, my fears!––all frantic as I go,
When thought creates unnumber’d scenes of woe,
What if the lion in his rage I meet!
Oft in the dust I view his printed feet:
And, fearful! oft, when day’s declining light
Yields her pale empire to the mourner night,
By hunger roused, he scours the groaning plain,
Gaunt wolves and sullen tigers in his train:
Before them Death with shrieks directs their way,
Fills the wild yell, and leads them to their prey.
‘Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
‘When first from Schiraz’ walls I bent my way!’
‘At that dead hour the silent asp shall creep,
If aught of rest I find, upon my sleep:
Or some swoln serpent twist his scales around,
And wake to anguish with a burning wound.
Thrice happy they, the wise contented poor,
From lust of wealth, and dread of death secure!
They tempt no deserts, and no griefs they find;
Peace rules the day, where reason rules the mind.
‘Sad was the hour, and luckless was the day,
‘When first from Schiraz’ walls I bent my way!’

‘O hapless youth!––for she thy love hath won,
The tender Zara will be most undone!
Big swell’d my heart, and own’d the powerful maid,
When fast she dropt her tears, as thus she said:
“Farewell the youth whom sighs could not detain;
Whom Zara’s breaking heart implored in vain!
Yet, as thou go’st, may every blast arise
Weak and unfelt, as these rejected sighs!
Safe o’er the wild, no perils mayst thou see,
No griefs endure, nor weep, false youth, like me.”
O let me safely to the fair return,
Say, with a kiss, she must not, shall not mourn;
Go teach my heart to lose its painful fears.
O! let me teach my heart to lose its fears,
Recall’d by Wisdom’s voice, and Zara’s tears.’
He said, and call’d on heaven to bless the day,
When back to Schiraz’ walls he bent his way.

Eclogue III Abra or The Georgian Sultana
scene: a forest.
time: evening.

In Georgia’s land, where Tefflis’ towers are seen,
In distant view, along the level green,
While evening dews enrich the glittering glade,
And the tall forests cast a longer shade,
What time ’tis sweet o’er fields of rice to stray,
Or scent the breathing maize at setting day;
Amidst the maids of Zagen’s peaceful grove,
Emyra sung the pleasing cares of love.
Of Abra first began the tender strain,
Who led her youth with flocks upon the plain.
At morn she came those willing flocks to lead,
Where lilies rear them in the watery mead;
From early dawn the livelong hours she told,
Till late at silent eve she penn’d the fold.
Deep in the grove, beneath the secret shade,
A various wreath of odorous flowers she made:
Gay-motley’d pinks and sweet jonquils she chose,
The violet blue that on the moss-bank grows;
All sweet to sense, the flaunting rose was there;
The finish’d chaplet well adorn’d her hair.
Great Abbas chanced that fated morn to stray,
By love conducted from the chase away;
Among the vocal vales he heard her song,
And sought, the vales and echoing groves among;
At length he found, and woo’d the rural maid;
She knew the monarch, and with fear obey’d.
‘Be every youth like royal Abbas moved,
‘And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!’
The royal lover bore her from the plain;
Yet still her crook and bleating flock remain:
Oft, as she went, she backward turn’d her view,
And bade that crook and bleating flock adieu.
Fair, happy maid! to other scenes remove,
To richer scenes of golden power and love!
Go leave the simple pipe and shepherd’s strain;
With love delight thee, and with Abbas reign!
‘Be every youth like royal Abbas moved,
‘And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!’
Yet, ’midst the blaze of courts, she fix’d her love
On the cool fountain, or the shady grove;
Still, with the shepherd’s innocence, her mind
To the sweet vale, and flowery mead, inclined;
And oft as spring renew’d the plains with flowers,
Breathed his soft gales, and led the fragrant hours,
With sure return she sought the sylvan scene,
The breezy mountains, and the forests green.
Her maids around her moved, a duteous band!
Each bore a crook, all rural, in her hand:
Some simple lay, of flocks and herds, they sung;
With joy the mountain and the forest rung.

‘Be every youth like royal Abbas moved,
‘And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!’
And oft the royal lover left the care
And thorns of state, attendant on the fair;
Oft to the shades and low-roof’d cots retired,
Or sought the vale where first his heart was fired:
A russet mantle, like a swain, he wore,
And thought of crowns, and busy courts, no more.
‘Be every youth like royal Abbas moved,
‘And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!’
Blest was the life that royal Abbas led:
Sweet was his love, and innocent his bed.
What if in wealth the noble maid excel?
The simple shepherd girl can love as well.
Let those who rule on Persia’s jewel’d throne
Be famed for love, and gentlest love alone;
Or wreathe, like Abbas, full of fair renown,
The lover’s myrtle with the warrior’s crown.
O happy days! the maids around her say;
O haste, profuse of blessings, haste away!
‘Be every youth like royal Abbas moved,
‘And every Georgian maid like Abra loved!’

Eclogue IV Agib and Secander; or the Fugitives:

Scene, A mountain in Circassia.
Time, Midnight.
In fair Circassia, where, to love inclined,
Each swain was blest, for every maid was kind;
At that still hour, when awful midnight reigns,
And none, but wretches, haunt the twilight plains;
What time the moon had hung her lamp on high,
And past in radiance through the cloudless sky;
Sad, o’er the dews, two brother shepherds fled,
Where wildering fear and desperate sorrow led:
Fast as they press’d their flight, behind them lay
Wide ravaged plains, and valleys stole away:
Along the mountain’s bending sides they ran,
Till, faint and weak, Secander thus began.

O stay thee, Agib, for my feet deny,
No longer friendly to my life, to fly.
Friend of my heart, O turn thee and survey!
Trace our sad flight through all its length of way

And first review that long extended plain,
And yon wide groves, already past with pain!
Yon ragged cliff, whose dangerous path we tried!
And, last, this lofty mountain’s weary side!

Weak as thou art, yet, hapless, must thou know
The toils of flight, or some severer woe!
Still, as I haste, the Tartar shouts behind,
And shrieks and sorrows load the saddening wind:
In rage of heart, with ruin in his hand,
He blasts our harvests, and deforms our land.
Yon citron grove, whence first in fear we came,
Droops its fair honors to the conquering flame:
Far fly the swains, like us, in deep despair,
And leave to ruffian bands their fleecy care.

Unhappy land, whose blessings tempt the sword,
In vain, unheard, thou call’st thy Persian lord!
In vain thou court’st him, helpless, to thine aid,
To shield the shepherd, and protect the maid!
Far off, in thoughtless indolence resign’d,
Soft dreams of love and pleasure soothe his mind:
’Midst fair sultanas lost in idle joy,
No wars alarm him, and no fears annoy.

Yet these green hills, in summer’s sultry heat,
Have lent the monarch oft a cool retreat.

Sweet to the sight is Zabran’s flowery plain,
And once by maids and shepherds loved in vain!
No more the virgins shall delight to rove
By Sargis’ banks, or Irwan’s shady grove;
On Tarkie’s mountain catch the cooling gale,
Or breathe the sweets of Aly’s flowery vale:
Fair scenes! but, ah! no more with peace possest,
With ease alluring, and with plenty blest!
No more the shepherds’ whitening tents appear,
Nor the kind products of a bounteous year;
No more the dale, with snowy blossoms crown’d!
But ruin spreads her baleful fires around.

In vain Circassia boasts her spicy groves,
For ever famed for pure and happy loves:
In vain she boasts her fairest of the fair,
Their eyes’ blue languish, and their golden hair!
Those eyes in tears their fruitless grief must send;
Those hairs the Tartar’s cruel hand shall rend.

Ye Georgian swains, that piteous learn from far
Circassia’s ruin, and the waste of war;
Some weightier arms than crooks and staves prepare,
To shield your harvests, and defend your fair:

The Turk and Tartar like designs pursue,
Fix’d to destroy, and steadfast to undo.
Wild as his land, in native deserts bred,
By lust incited, or by malice led,
The villain Arab, as he prowls for prey,
Oft marks with blood and wasting flames the way;
Yet none so cruel as the Tartar foe,
To death inured, and nurst in scenes of woe.

He said; when loud along the vale was heard
A shriller shriek, and nearer fires appear’d:
The affrighted shepherds, through the dews of night,
Wide o’er the moonlight hills renew’d their flight.

Another example from Collins in this Horatian ode Ode to Simplicity:

O thou, by Nature taught
To breathe her genuine thought
In numbers warmly pure, and sweetly strong; Who first on mountains wild, In Fancy, loveliest child, Thy babe, or Pleasure's, nurs'd the pow'rs of song!

Thou, who with hermit heart,
Disdain'st the wealth of art,
And gauds, and pageant weeds, and trailing pall, But com'st a decent maid, In Attic robe array'd, Chaste, unboastful nymph, to thee I call!

By all the honey'd store
On Hybla's thymy shore;
By all her blooms, and mingled murmurs dear; By her whose lovelorn woe In ev'ning musings slow Sooth'd sweetly sad Electra's poet's ear:

By old Cephisus deep,
Who spread his wavy sweep
In warbled wand'rings round thy green retreat; On whose enamell'd side, When holy Freedom died, No equal haunt allur'd thy future feet.

O sister meek of Truth,
To my admiring youth,
Thy sober aid and native charms infuse!
The flow'rs that sweetest breathe,
Tho' Beauty cull'd the wreath,
Still ask thy hand to range their order'd hues.

While Rome could none esteem
But virtue's patriot theme,
You lov'd her hills, and led her laureate band; But stay'd to sing alone To one distinguish'd throne, And turn'd thy face, and fled her alter'd land.

No more, in hall or bow'r,
The passions own thy pow'r;
Love, only love her forceless numbers mean; For thou hast left her shrine, Nor olive more, nor vine, Shall gain thy feet to bless the servile scene.

Tho' taste, tho' genius bless
To some divine excess,
Faints the cold work till thou inspire the whole; What each, what all supply, May court, may charm our eye; Thou, only thou canst raise the meeting soul!

Of these let others ask,
To aid some mighty task,
I only seek to find thy temp'rate vale;
Where oft my reed might sound
To maids and shepherds round,
And all thy sons, O Nature, learn my tale.

Others like Johnson and Rapin viewed the pastoral as the lowest form of epic but the most pure and set out these characteristics: "Let it not recede one jot from its proper matter, but be employ'd about rustic affairs...there are to be no fights; songs and sports are acceptable...all things must appear delightful and easy; no serious quarrels..or costly gifts, nothing vicious and rough...simplicity and candor must characterize this verse."

There were attempts to restore the pastoral during the Romantic movement. Wordsworth appears to have only completed this one titled The Brothers which is actually the final in a series:

These Tourists, Heaven preserve us! needs must live
A profitable life: some glance along
Rapid and gay, as if the earth were air.
And they were butterflies to wheel about
Long as their summer lasted; some, as wise,
Upon the forehead of a jutting crag
Sit perch'd with book and pencil on their knee,
And look and scribble, scribble on and look,
Until a man might travel twelve stout miles,
Or reap an acre of his neighbour's corn.
But, for that moping son of Idleness
Why can he tarry _yonder_?--In our church-yard
Is neither epitaph nor monument,
Tomb-stone nor name, only the turf we tread.
And a few natural graves. To Jane, his Wife,
Thus spake the homely Priest of Ennerdale.
It was a July evening, and he sate
Upon the long stone seat beneath the eaves
Of his old cottage, as it chanced that day,
Employ'd in winter's work. Upon the stone
His Wife sate near him, teasing matted wool,
While, from the twin cards tooth'd with glittering wire,
He fed the spindle of his youngest child,
Who turn'd her large round wheel in the open air
With back and forward steps. Towards the field
In which the parish chapel stood alone,
Girt round with a bare ring of mossy wall,
While half an hour went by, the Priest had sent
Many a long look of wonder, and at last,
Risen from his seat, beside the snowy ridge
Of carded wool--which the old Man had piled
He laid his implements with gentle care,
Each in the other lock'd; and, down the path
Which from his cottage to the church-yard led,
He took his way, impatient to accost
The Stranger, whom he saw still lingering there.

'Twas one well known to him in former days,
A Shepherd-lad: who ere his thirteenth year
Had chang'd his calling, with the mariners
A fellow-mariner, and so had fared
Through twenty seasons; but he had been rear'd
Among the mountains, and he in his heart
Was half a Shepherd on the stormy seas.
Oft in the piping shrouds had Leonard heard
The tones of waterfalls, and inland sounds
Of caves and trees; and when the regular wind
Between the tropics fill'd the steady sail
And blew with the same breath through days and weeks,
Lengthening invisibly its weary line
Along the cloudless main, he, in those hours
Of tiresome indolence would often hang
Over the vessel's aide, and gaze and gaze,
And, while the broad green wave and sparkling foam
Flash'd round him images and hues, that wrought
In union with the employment of his heart,
He, thus by feverish passion overcome,
Even with the organs of his bodily eye,
Below him, in the bosom of the deep
Saw mountains, saw the forms of sheep that graz'd
On verdant hills, with dwellings among trees,
And Shepherds clad in the same country grey
Which he himself had worn.

And now at length,
From perils manifold, with some small wealth
Acquir'd by traffic in the Indian Isles,
To his paternal home he is return'd,
With a determin'd purpose to resume
The life which he liv'd there, both for the sake
Of many darling pleasures, and the love
Which to an only brother he has borne
In all his hardships, since that happy time
When, whether it blew foul or fair, they two
Were brother Shepherds on their native hills.
--They were the last of all their race; and now,
When Leonard had approach'd his home, his heart
Fail'd in him, and, not venturing to inquire
Tidings of one whom he so dearly lov'd,
Towards the church-yard he had turn'd aside,
That, as he knew in what particular spot
His family were laid, he thence might learn
If still his Brother liv'd, or to the file
Another grave was added.--He had found
Another grave, near which a full half hour
He had remain'd, but, as he gaz'd, there grew
Such a confusion in his memory,
That he began to doubt, and he had hopes
That he had seen this heap of turf before,
That it was not another grave, but one,
He had forgotten. He had lost his path,
As up the vale he came that afternoon,
Through fields which once had been well known to him.
And Oh! what joy the recollection now
Sent to his heart! he lifted up his eyes,
And looking round he thought that he perceiv'd
Strange alteration wrought on every side
Among the woods and fields, and that the rocks,
And the eternal hills, themselves were chang'd.

By this the Priest who down the field had come
Unseen by Leonard, at the church-yard gate
Stopp'd short, and thence, at leisure, limb by limb
He scann'd him with a gay complacency.
Aye, thought the Vicar, smiling to himself;
'Tis one of those who needs must leave the path
Of the world's business, to go wild alone:
His arms have a perpetual holiday,
The happy man will creep about the fields
Following his fancies by the hour, to bring
Tears down his check, or solitary smiles
Into his face, until the setting sun
Write Fool upon his forehead. Planted thus
Beneath a shed that overarch'd the gate
Of this rude church-yard, till the stars appear'd
The good man might have commun'd with himself
But that the Stranger, who had left the grave,
Approach'd; he recogniz'd the Priest at once,
And after greetings interchang'd, and given
By Leonard to the Vicar as to one
Unknown to him, this dialogue ensued.


You live, Sir, in these dales, a quiet life:
Your years make up one peaceful family;
And who would grieve and fret, if, welcome come
And welcome gone, they are so like each other,
They cannot be remember'd. Scarce a funeral
Comes to this church-yard once, in eighteen months;
And yet, some changes must take place among you.
And you, who dwell here, even among these rocks
Can trace the finger of mortality,
And see, that with our threescore years and ten
We are not all that perish.--I remember,
For many years ago I pass'd this road,
There was a foot-way all along the fields
By the brook-side--'tis gone--and that dark cleft!
To me it does not seem to wear the face
Which then it had.


Why, Sir, for aught I know,
That chasm is much the same--


But, surely, yonder--


Aye, there indeed, your memory is a friend
That does not play you false.--On that tall pike,
(It is the loneliest place of all these hills)
There were two Springs which bubbled side by side, [3]
As if they had been made that they might be
Companions for each other: ten years back,
Close to those brother fountains, the huge crag
Was rent with lightning--one is dead and gone,
The other, left behind, is flowing still.--
For accidents and changes such as these,
Why we have store of them! a water-spout
Will bring down half a mountain; what a feast
For folks that wander up and down like you,
To see an acre's breadth of that wide cliff
One roaring cataract--a sharp May storm
Will come with loads of January snow,
And in one night send twenty score of sheep
To feed the ravens, or a Shepherd dies
By some untoward death among the rocks:
The ice breaks up and sweeps away a bridge--
A wood is fell'd:--and then for our own homes!
A child is born or christen'd, a field plough'd,
A daughter sent to service, a web spun,
The old house cloth is deck'd with a new face;
And hence, so far from wanting facts or dates
To chronicle the time, we all have here
A pair of diaries, one serving, Sir,
For the whole dale, and one for each fire-side,
Your's was a stranger's judgment: for historians
Commend me to these vallies.


Yet your church-yard
Seems, if such freedom may be used with you,
To say that you are heedless of the past.
Here's neither head nor foot-stone, plate of brass,
Cross-bones or skull, type of our earthly state
Or emblem of our hopes: the dead man's home
Is but a fellow to that pasture field.


Why there, Sir, is a thought that's new to me.
The Stone-cutters, 'tis true, might beg their bread
If every English church-yard were like ours:
Yet your conclusion wanders from the truth.

We have no need of names and epitaphs,
We talk about the dead by our fire-sides.
And then for our immortal part, _we_ want
No symbols, Sir, to tell us that plain tale:
The thought of death sits easy on the man [4]
Who has been born and dies among the mountains:


Your dalesmen, then, do in each other's thoughts
Possess a kind of second life: no doubt
You, Sir, could help me to the history
Of half these Graves?


With what I've witness'd; and with what I've heard,
Perhaps I might, and, on a winter's evening,
If you were seated at my chimney's nook
By turning o'er these hillocks one by one,
We two could travel, Sir, through a strange round,
Yet all in the broad high-way of the world.
Now there's a grave--your foot is half upon it,
It looks just like the rest, and yet that man
Died broken-hearted.


'Tis a common case,
We'll take another: who is he that lies
Beneath yon ridge, the last of those three graves;--
It touches on that piece of native rock
Left in the church-yard wall.


That's Walter Ewbank.
He had as white a head and fresh a cheek
As ever were produc'd by youth and age
Engendering in the blood of hale fourscore.
For five long generations had the heart
Of Walter's forefathers o'erflow'd the bounds
Of their inheritance, that single cottage,
You see it yonder, and those few green fields.
They toil'd and wrought, and still, from sire to son,
Each struggled, and each yielded as before
A little--yet a little--and old Walter,
They left to him the family heart, and land
With other burthens than the crop it bore.
Year after year the old man still preserv'd
A chearful mind, and buffeted with bond,
Interest and mortgages; at last he sank,
And went into his grave before his time.
Poor Walter! whether it was care that spurr'd him
God only knows, but to the very last
He had the lightest foot in Ennerdale:
His pace was never that of an old man:
I almost see him tripping down the path
With his two Grandsons after him--but you,
Unless our Landlord be your host to-night,
Have far to travel, and in these rough paths
Even in the longest day of midsummer--


But these two Orphans!


Orphans! such they were--
Yet not while Walter liv'd--for, though their Parents
Lay buried side by side as now they lie,
The old Man was a father to the boys,
Two fathers in one father: and if tears
Shed, when he talk'd of them where they were not,
And hauntings from the infirmity of love,
Are aught of what makes up a mother's heart,
This old Man in the day of his old age
Was half a mother to them.--If you weep, Sir,
To hear a stranger talking about strangers,
Heaven bless you when you are among your kindred!
Aye. You may turn that way--it is a grave
Which will bear looking at.


These Boys I hope
They lov'd this good old Man--


They did--and truly,
But that was what we almost overlook'd,
They were such darlings of each other. For
Though from their cradles they had liv'd with Walter,
The only kinsman near them in the house,
Yet he being old, they had much love to spare,
And it all went into each other's hearts.
Leonard, the elder by just eighteen months,
Was two years taller: 'twas a joy to see,
To hear, to meet them! from their house the School
Was distant three short miles, and in the time
Of storm and thaw, when every water-course
And unbridg'd stream, such as you may have notic'd
Crossing our roads at every hundred steps,
Was swoln into a noisy rivulet,
Would Leonard then, when elder boys perhaps
Remain'd at home, go staggering through the fords
Bearing his Brother on his back.--I've seen him,
On windy days, in one of those stray brooks,
Aye, more than once I've seen him mid-leg deep,
Their two books lying both on a dry stone
Upon the hither side:--and once I said,
As I remember, looking round these rocks
And hills on which we all of us were born,
That God who made the great book of the world
Would bless such piety--


It may be then--


Never did worthier lads break English bread:
The finest Sunday that the Autumn saw,
With all its mealy clusters of ripe nuts,
Could never keep these boys away from church,
Or tempt them to an hour of sabbath breach.
Leonard and James! I warrant, every corner
Among these rocks and every hollow place
Where foot could come, to one or both of them
Was known as well as to the flowers that grew there.
Like roe-bucks they went bounding o'er the hills:
They play'd like two young ravens on the crags:
Then they could write, aye and speak too, as well
As many of their betters--and for Leonard!
The very night before he went away,
In my own house I put into his hand
A Bible, and I'd wager twenty pounds,
That, if he is alive, he has it yet.


It seems, these Brothers have not liv'd to be
A comfort to each other.--


That they might
Live to that end, is what both old and young
In this our valley all of us have wish'd,
And what, for my part, I have often pray'd:
But Leonard--


Then James still is left among you--


'Tis of the elder Brother I am speaking:
They had an Uncle, he was at that time
A thriving man, and traffick'd on the seas:
And, but for this same Uncle, to this hour
Leonard had never handled rope or shroud.
For the Boy lov'd the life which we lead here;
And, though a very Stripling, twelve years old;
His soul was knit to this his native soil.
But, as I said, old Walter was too weak
To strive with such a torrent; when he died,
The estate and house were sold, and all their sheep,
A pretty flock, and which, for aught I know,
Had clothed the Ewbauks for a thousand years.
Well--all was gone, and they were destitute.
And Leonard, chiefly for his brother's sake,
Resolv'd to try his fortune on the seas.
'Tis now twelve years since we had tidings from him.
If there was one among us who had heard
That Leonard Ewbank was come home again,
From the great Gavel [5], down by Leeza's Banks,
And down the Enna, far as Egremont,
The day would be a very festival,
And those two bells of ours, which there you see
Hanging in the open air--but, O good Sir!
This is sad talk--they'll never sound for him
Living or dead--When last we heard of him
He was in slavery among the Moors
Upon the Barbary Coast--'Twas not a little
That would bring down his spirit, and, no doubt,
Before it ended in his death, the Lad
Was sadly cross'd--Poor Leonard! when we parted,
He took me by the hand and said to me,
If ever the day came when he was rich,
He would return, and on his Father's Land
He would grow old among us.

If that day
Should come, 'twould needs be a glad day for him;
He would himself, no doubt, be as happy then
As any that should meet him--

Happy, Sir--


You said his kindred all were in their graves,
And that he had one Brother--

That is but
A fellow tale of sorrow. From his youth
James, though not sickly, yet was delicate,
And Leonard being always by his side
Had done so many offices about him,
That, though he was not of a timid nature,
Yet still the spirit of a mountain boy
In him was somewhat check'd, and when his Brother
Was gone to sea and he was left alone
The little colour that he had was soon
Stolen from his cheek, he droop'd, and pin'd and pin'd;


But these are all the graves of full grown men!


Aye, Sir, that pass'd away: we took him to us.
He was the child of all the dale--he liv'd
Three months with one, and six months with another:
And wanted neither food, nor clothes, nor love,
And many, many happy days were his.
But, whether blithe or sad, 'tis my belief
His absent Brother still was at his heart.
And, when he liv'd beneath our roof, we found
(A practice till this time unknown to him)
That often, rising from his bed at night,
He in his sleep would walk about, and sleeping
He sought his Brother Leonard--You are mov'd!
Forgive me, Sir: before I spoke to you,
I judg'd you most unkindly.


But this youth,
How did he die at last?


One sweet May morning,
It will be twelve years since, when Spring returns,
He had gone forth among the new-dropp'd lambs,
With two or three companions whom it chanc'd
Some further business summon'd to a house
Which stands at the Dale-head. James, tir'd perhaps,
Or from some other cause remain'd behind.
You see yon precipice--it almost looks
Like some vast building made of many crags,
And in the midst is one particular rock
That rises like a column from the vale,
Whence by our Shepherds it is call'd, the Pillar.
James, pointing to its summit, over which
They all had purpos'd to return together,
Inform'd them that he there would wait for them:
They parted, and his comrades pass'd that way
Some two hours after, but they did not find him
At the appointed place, a circumstance
Of which they took no heed: but one of them,
Going by chance, at night, into the house
Which at this time was James's home, there learn'd
That nobody had seen him all that day:
The morning came, and still, he was unheard of:
The neighbours were alarm'd, and to the Brook
Some went, and some towards the Lake; ere noon
They found him at the foot of that same Rock
Dead, and with mangled limbs. The third day after
I buried him, poor Lad, and there he lies.


And that then _is_ his grave!--Before his death
You said that he saw many happy years?


Aye, that he did--


And all went well with him--


If he had one, the Lad had twenty homes.


And you believe then, that his mind was easy--


Yes, long before he died, he found that time
Is a true friend to sorrow, and unless
His thoughts were turn'd on Leonard's luckless fortune,
He talk'd about him with a chearful love.


He could not come to an unhallow'd end!


Nay, God forbid! You recollect I mention'd
A habit which disquietude and grief
Had brought upon him, and we all conjectur'd
That, as the day was warm, he had lain down
Upon the grass, and, waiting for his comrades
He there had fallen asleep, that in his sleep
He to the margin of the precipice
Had walk'd, and from the summit had fallen head-long,
And so no doubt he perish'd: at the time,
We guess, that in his hands he must have had
His Shepherd's staff; for midway in the cliff
It had been caught, and there for many years
It hung--and moulder'd there.

The Priest here ended--
The Stranger would have thank'd him, but he felt
Tears rushing in; both left the spot in silence,
And Leonard, when they reach'd the church-yard gate,
As the Priest lifted up the latch, turn'd round,
And, looking at the grave, he said, "My Brother."
The Vicar did not hear the words: and now,
Pointing towards the Cottage, he entreated
That Leonard would partake his homely fare:
The other thank'd him with a fervent voice,
But added, that, the evening being calm,
He would pursue his journey. So they parted.

It was not long ere Leonard reach'd a grove
That overhung the road: he there stopp'd short,
And, sitting down beneath the trees, review'd
All that the Priest had said: his early years
Were with him in his heart: his cherish'd hopes,
And thoughts which had been his an hour before.
All press'd on him with such a weight, that now,
This vale, where he had been so happy, seem'd
A place in which he could not bear to live:
So he relinquish'd all his purposes.
He travell'd on to Egremont; and thence,
That night, address'd a letter to the Priest
Reminding him of what had pass'd between them.
And adding, with a hope to be forgiven,
That it was from the weakness of his heart,
He had not dared to tell him, who he was.

This done, he went on shipboard, and is now
A Seaman, a grey headed Mariner.

pastoral, Greek - Sir Walter Greg’s 1906 definition of pastoral is “a genre bred out of a contrast between town and country” or “the world is too much with us” as a nostalgic ache for a simpler life. Comments of others pretty much agree with this analysis. Renato Poggioli in 1956 expressed the view that “the psychological root of the pastoral is a double longing after innocence and happiness to be recovered not through conversion or regeneration but merely through a retreat”. And Kermode (1932) “the general town/country tension as the defining characteristic of the genre”. In William Empson’s “Some Versions of the Pastoral he proposes that the technique of the pastoral mode amounts to the “process of putting the complex into the simple”. Like other genres, there are certain identifiers. For the pastoral the primary identifier is the presence of a shepherd or shepherdess. A secondary one would be contrast between town and country. A third would be allegory and satire on the corruption of government through dialogue. And a fourth, mythology, and yet a fifth would be the hexameter.

For clarity we establish the term “pastoral” while “idyll” “bucolic” and “eclogue” . The eclogue is misassociated with pastoral. The word “ecologue” means “picking” or “selecting” in Greek and refers to the process by which poets bundled their best works together thus Virgil’s Eclogues. Also the word “idyll” or in Greek eidyllion, means something akin to “a little picture”.

Scholars suggest three possible places for the origin of the pastoral: Lacedaemon, during the Persian War, shepherds entered the temple and sang praises to Artemis; Sicily, when Orestes, composed songs in praise of Artemis; and Syracuse where songs were given by shepherds again in praise of Artemis.

Very little of these efforts remain. It was from the Sicilian poet Theocritus now living in Alexandria that the first true poet and inventor of the pastoral emerged.

The stage was set for in the first half of the third century. Alexandria under the Ptolemies eclipsed all western cities by its magnificence, wealth and architectural splendor, a perfect spawning ground for yearning for the simplicity of the pastoral and in need of romantic escape. Amidst these surroundings Theocritus wrote his pastorals, which he called idylls. “All poems have three styles; the descriptive, the dramatic, and the mixed,” his Idylls reflect all styles including the hexameter. Here is the First Idyll, depicted by the Tivada painting Old Fisherman, housed in the Louvre. It is in the amoeban style thus speaking parts are assigned and merge into song:

The whispering of the pinetree by the spring
Is sweet music, goatherd, and your piping
Is sweet too. You’ll take the second prize
After Pan. If he chooses the horned goat,
You’’ get the she. But if he’s awarded
The she-goat, the kid will come to you
And kids’ flesh is sweet before you milk them

Shepherd, your song is sweeter than the water
The tumbles and splashes down from the rocks,
If the Muses get the ewe for their prize,
You’ll win the sucking lamb. But if they choose
The lamb, you’ll carry away the ewe.

In the Nymph’s name, Goatherd, won’t you sit down
On the slope among the tamarisks
And pipe, while I look after your goats?

No, shepherd. We never pipe at noon,
For fear of Pan, who’s resting then,
tired from the chase. His temper’s short,
and bitter anger quivers on his nostrils.
But Thyrsis, you used to sing of Daphnis”
Troubles and you’re skilled in pastoral song.
Let’s sit under the elm, facing the statue
Of Priapos and the Nymphs of the Spring,
Over where the shepherds’ seat and the oak trees are.
And if you’’ll sing as you did against Chromis,
The Libyan, I’ll let you milk three times
A she-goat that’s borne twins and when she’s suckled them
Yield two pailfuls besides. And I’ll give you
A deep bowl too, rubbed with sweet wax,
Double-handled, newly carved, still smelling
From the chisel. Along the upper lip
Runs ivy intertwined with marigold.

All around it winds a tendril
Proud with its yellow fruit. And inside
Is fashioned a woman such a the gods
Might made, dressed in a robe and stood.
And beside her two handsome, long-haired men
Contend with one another in talking,
Yet her heart is untouched. She glances
At one of them and smiles, but her thoughts
Are on the other, while their eyes
Are hollow with longing, but in vain.

Beside them is shown an old fisherman
And a jagged rock on which the old man
Busily gathers his great net for a cast
Like a man that puts his heart in his work.
You’d say he was fishing with all the strength
Of his limbs, the way the muscles stand out
About his neck. An though he’s gray-haired,
He has the strength of youth. And not far
From the sea-battered old man is a vineyard,
loaded with red-ripe clusters and guarded
by a small boy sitting on a stone wall.

On either side of him are two foxes,
One goes up and down the vine-rows, stealing
The ripe grapes, while the other concentrates
All her cunning of the boy’s leather bag,
Vowing she’ll never let him alone
Till she’s made away with his breakfast.
But the boy weaves a pretty cricket-cage
Of asphodel bound round with rushes,
And takes more pleasure in his weaving
Then care for his wallet and his vines.

And around the bowl in all directions
Winds the supple acanthus, a marvel
Of craftsmanship, something to wonder at.
I paid a ferryman of Kalydon
A goat, and a great white cheese for it.
But it’s still new, and has never yet
touched my lips. I’ll give it to you
gladly, friend, if you’ll sing me that fine song,
And I mean what I say. Begin, good sir,
For you mustn’t save up your singing
For Haides, where everything’s forgotten.

Thyrsis sings: …
May your lovely mouth be filled with honey,
Thyrsis, and with honeycomb. And may you eat
Sweet figs from Aigilos, for your singing
Is better than the cicada’s. here’s the bowl.
Notice friend, how good it smells. You’d think
It had been dipped in the well of Hours.
Come, Kissitha! Now milk her. Hey, you she-goats.
Stop your skipping or you’ll rouse old Billy.

And here is Idyll VII, the favorite of critics. There are two popular translations one by Anna Rist and that of Barriss Mills. For the most part I have reproduced that of Rist with a few of my own preferences:

It happened one time that we left the city and hied
To the Haleis. Eucritus and I and Amyntas made it three.
A harvest feast was being given for Demeter
by Phrasidamos and Antigenes, two sons of Lykopeos,
of a noble line sprung from ancient Klytia.
Clyteia and Chalkon himself, who struck
His knee hard against the rock
And brought our the Bourina spring
Gushing at his feet. Whereupon
elms and poplars wove luxuriant green-leaf arches
overhead to make a shady place.

Our journey, was not yet halfdone
Not yet come in sight of Brasilas’ tomb,
By the Muses’ grace we overtook
A fine fellow, by name
Lykidas of Cydonia. He was goatherd,
As anyone could tell, for he fitten the part completely:
On his shoulders he wore
A rough mustard-colored goatskin
Still smelling of rennet, and across
His chest a broad belt strapped in
An old tunic. In his right hand
He carried a stick of wild olive wood.

He smiled, and with mocking eyes
He spoke to me, a grin still hanging
On his lip;. ‘Well, Simichidas,
Where do your feet draw you this noontide,
When the very lizard’s asleep in the wall,
And the crested larks desert the fields?
Are you speeding to dine where you’ve not been asked, or running,
to some townsman’s wine-party? Why, at every step
the pebbles sing out one by one as they bounce from your boots!”
spinning and ringing.” I answered
‘Friend Lycidas, all tell me you are
a piper without equal among herdsmen and reapers.
And happy I am to hear it yet I have a lurking
Hope I may prove your equal. We go this road
to a harvest home: some friends
are honoring fair-robed Demeter first-fruits
who has heaped their threshing-floor
With a large measure of fat barley!. I pray you then,
The way is ours and ours the day: let’s sing
Country songs: the pleasure may well be mutual.
I too am a sounding reed of the Muses, and called by all
An excellent poet, though Zeus knows I am no gull!
I am not, in my own conceit, a match as yet
for the noble Samian Sikelidas, not Philetas.
I should rival their song as a frog vies with cicadas!”

I spoke, with design, and merrily laughed the goatherd,
‘I present you with my olive stick, waid he,
‘for a sapling fashioned by Zeus, from the true stock.
How I hate the builder who seeks to raise his house
as high as the peak of Mount Oromedon there,
and the Muses’ cuckoos, with their eye on the bard of Chios!
In vain of labor! But let us begin the singing,
Simichidas: I propose, see here, friend, if you like
A trifling thing I laboured over lately on the hillside.

‘Fair sail shall Ageanax mave to Mitylene
when the wet southwester chases the waves to where
the Kids set in the evening, and Orion
in the morning plants his feet on the ocean floor.
Fair sail shall Ageanax have to Mitylene
So he but save Lycidas from Aphoridite’s oven,
for the love of him is the hot blast that consumes me!
Ah, the halcyons shall stroke to sleep the sea waves.
Notus allying Eurus, who stirs the weeds
in the depths the halcyons, birds of the wraith nymphs
most loved, and those whose catch is from the sea.
May Ageanax, seeking crossing to Mitylene,
find all weather to his turn and reach his haven
after a safe voyage. I on that day
shall sport a wreath of anise flowers, or roses,
or snowdrops, round my brow, and by the fire
reclining, drink off a cask of Prelean wine,
with a servant by to roast me beans on the hearth.

My couch shall be heaped cubit-deep with fleabane,
And asphodel, and crinkled celery, and sweet
the draughts I’ll quaff, pledging to mind his name,
Ageanax, in every cup, and thrusting out
my lip to the lees. Two shepherds shall pipe to me,
one of Acharnae, one of Lycopas, and Tityrus
nearby will sing of how, when Daphnis the herd
loved Xenea once, the hills around
groaned, and the oaks that grow in Himera’s banks
mourned him, the while he wasted like the snows
below rearing Haemus, Athose, Rhodope
or remotest Caucasus lying.
And he shall sing of the goatherd enclosed in a great coffer,
alive, by his wicked master’s presumption: the snub-nosed bees
fed him from bland flowers, hieing from the meadow
to the fragrant cedar chest, for the Muse had honeyed
nectar spilt on his lips. O blessed Comatas!
Yours was this happy ordeal to be penned in the chest
And labor one yearlong spring, on honeycomb fed!
Would, in my day, you were numbered among the living;
then would I herd your fine goats on the hillsides
and listen to your voice, as you lay and warbled sweetly
under the oaks or pines, divine Comatas!”

So much he spoke and ceased. I in my turn
Addressed him this: ‘Lycidas, friend, I too
Have herding on the mountains learned from the nymphs
Many a noble theme it may be fame
Has borne them even to the throne of Zeus! But this
I shall regale you with is by far the foremost
Hear me, then, for pleasure you prove to the Muses:

‘The loves have sneezed for Simichidas, poor wretch,
Myrto I love, as the goats love the spring.
But Aratus, dearest of men to me, harbors the sting
of desire in his bowels for a boy witness the noblest
of gentlemen, Aristis, whom Apollo himself
would not begrudge to stand with his lyre and sing
beside his Delphian tripods witness, Aristis,
how Aratus burns to the marrow with love for a boy!
Pan, who rule Homole’s lovely plain,
deliver him unbidden into my friend’s hands!
Whether it be indeed the tender Philinus,
Or whether another. Dear Pan, if you do so,
May the Arcadian boys never take squills
to your ribs and shoulders at times when meat is scarce.
But if otherwise, then be bitten all over your hide,
and scratch yourself with your nails: your bed by of nettles!
May the depths of winter find you among the mountains
of Thrace, turning beside the river Hebrus,
that lies toward the Pole; in summer may you
graze your herd a world away, among
the Ethiopians, uner the Blemyes’ rock,
whence Nile is no more seen. But you, O loves,
with your apple blushes, leave the sweet vale
of Hyetis and Byblis, and Oecus, the steep seat
of blond Dione, and strike me with your bows
the languorous Philinus, the wretch who nowise pities
my friend. And faith, he’s already riper than a pear,
and the women cry, “Alas, your youthful flower
fades, Philinus!” Let us mount guard
over his threshold no more, Aratus: no more
wear out our feet, but let the morning’s cockcrow
deliver another to numb grief! Let Molon
bear the bout and its punishment with, but we
find peace within, and an old crone beside
to spit on us, bidding all that is ugly away.’

So much I spoke, and Lycidas, as before,
laughing happily, made me accept his stick,
as a token of our friendship from the Muses,
and branching life, he went by th Pyxa road.
But Eucritus and I and pretty Amyntas turned
toward Phrasidamus’ and laid us down
on soft beds of scented rushes and newly picked
vine leaves, while overhead rustled
many a poplar and elm, and near at hand
from the nymph’s cave splashed cicadas carried
their chirping labor on, and the tree frog croaked
far-off in the dense thorn bush. Larks and linnets
sang, and the turtledove made moan, and the bees
hovered around and about the fountains. All things
smelled of rich harvest and fruiting abundance
of pears by our feet and apples rolled at our side,
and branches burdened with plums earthward drooped.
A cask was loosed of the four-year seal on its head.
Ye nymphs of Castalia, dwelling on Parnassus’ peak,
Was it such a bowl that in Pholus’ craggy cave
The aged Chiron placed before Heracles?
Such nectar persuaded the shepherd who grazed beside Anapus
That strong Polyphemus
who pelted ships with mountains such as you nymphs
set welling that day for our drink, beside the altar.
Demeter’s, of the threshing floor? Ah, again
may I set up a great winnowing-fan on her heaps of grain
while she laughs , with sheaves and poppies in her hands.

pastoral, Latin - It begins with Publius Vergilius Maro or Virgil (70-19 BC). As a farm boy from a small rustic village in Transpadane Gaul, Virgil was sent to Cremona by his father to prepare himself for public life. Thus Vergil assumed the toga virilis at the age of fifteen. The toga virilis conferred important rights and privileges on the Roman youth and was a necessary step towards full inclusion in aspects of public life. That same year Vergil left Cremona to finish his literary studies in Milan and learn how "to think on his feet" so to speak. Vergil was twenty-five when Caesar was assassinated (44 BC) and what followed was a period of political upheaval marked by large-scale property confiscation under Anthony and the era of Augustus. But Vergil's father was no ordinary farmer, his landholding was extensive and his loyalty proven. Maecenas, Minister of arts, recognized his poetic talent and made him a member of Augustus' court circle, where from that point on Virgil made it his special duty to dignify the life of the farmer for the betterment and survival of the State. At the court Virgil wrote ten pastorals under Eclogues from 42-37 BC and the four books of Georgics from 27-30 BC. Filled with tales of sadness, uncertainty, sudden death, with the one hope, that of labor and the worth of work.

In the didactic Georgics was viewed as an effort at rehabilitating the country's agriculture in order to feed its growing population. Most of the recent immigrants now occupying the farmland were not skilled farmers. So Virgil more for patriotism chose to turn men's thoughts towards the land. The origin of the name is from the Greek "georgika" for "agricultural things". First coined by the 2nd century BC Greek poet Nicander of Colphon. Joseph Addison (1672-1719) gave this description:

"A Georgic therefore is some part of the science of husbandry put into a pleasing dress and set off with all the beauties and embellishments of poetry". There are several translations available; we chose this one as it adheres to the Latin hexameter. Here in English hexameter is Book I:

Quid faciat laetas segetes, wuo sidere terram
vertiere, Maecenas, ulmisque adiungere vitis
conveniat, quae cura boum, qui cultus habendo...

What giveth us glad crops, what star makes timely the ploughman's
Labor, or his that mates, Maecenas, vine to the elmtree;
How cattle ask tendance; how a sheepfold rightly is order'd;
How to manage bee-thrift needs long-tried mastery hence I
Mean to ordain my son. O ye most brightly set oe'r us,
Cosmic avauntcouriers in skies of yearly betiding,
Corn-mother and Wine-sire: if by your bounty the earth hath
In the fat ears' harvest found change for Chaony's acorns,
And added an art's grape-juice to the cups Achelous affordeth;
And ye Fauns, the benigh patrons of rural achievement,
Come, trip it, O ye fauns, nor Dryad beauty be absent
Your gifts I celebrate; and thou, fork-bearer, at whose stroke
Earth to the first snorting charger gave easy deliv'rance,
Neptune; thou forester, whose plump three hundred of oxen
Fleck the thickets of Ceos, a snow-white company, browsing;
And quitting ancestral woodlands and nursery hillsides,
Pan, god of our sheep-pens, if ever thy Maenalus hold thee,
Favor us, O Tegean; thou lady Minerva, the oil-tree's
Discoverer; thou boy the crooked plough's genius; and thou,
Cypress in hand, Sylvan, freshpull'd for tender affection;
Gods all and goddesses, whose care and duty the fields are,
Ye that nurse the springing youg crops that come to us unsown,
And thou, Caesar at heav'n's high board what council awaits thee
In city or landscape, as choice best pleaseth a world-wide
Fosterer of firld-crops, with wind and welkin attendant,
Myrtle-crown'd thy lovely mother's own frontlet aforetime;
Or whether as seagod thou com'st, on a boundless horizon
Idol of all mariners, far Thule's sovran allegiance,
Or whether in fit room, where months march slowly, a new star
Set 'twixt Erigone thou shinest and the rapacious
Claws, where in reverence swart Scorpion already bendeth
Back those fiery talons, and leaves thee more than a just space;
Whatsever thy state (since Tartarus idly awaiteth
Thee for a king, nor wouldst thou assume so monwtrous a kingdom,
Albein Elysian playgrounds move Greece to amazement,
And to reward a mother's fond search Proserpina cares not
Grant me a fair convoy' though bold my venture, approve it;
And with me pitying the tillers htat know not of earth's ways
Enter upon thy course, and learn with mercy to hear us.

Early in spring when first the gushing snow-water is unseald
On the chill heights, and neath the zephyr there crumbleth a soft earth,
Then would I have my steer to begin: let him under the plough's weight
Strain and groan, while in the furrow gleams bvrightly the coulter.
That land pays avarice and doth what is askt of it, even
That which hath unto the heats twice lain and twice to the hoar-frosts:
Thence are immense harvests and granges fil'd to the bursting.

But be it ours whose plain yet lies unbroken afore us,
First to remark hev'n's sinds and learn their shifty behavior,
And waht crops our country giveth, what places afford them,
What this region offers, what that less kindly refuseth,
Here corn most flourishes; there grapes show sprightlier increase;
Here woods and shrubberies; pastures spontaneous elsewhere.
Lo! how sweet the saffron that Timolus wafts to us, how comes
Ivory of Ind, how balmy to breath is Arabia's incense!
But bare-lim'd the Chalybs send iron; Pontus a foul juice'
Castory; Epirus prize mares that conquer at Elis.
These laws and covenants, nature's unchanging enactments,
Stood ratified in different climates, since first to a void world
Deucalion's stone-cast, for men's engendering order'd,
Rose with a born hardness. Come, therefore, lose not a moment,
Hark to the young year's call, and let the laborious oxen
Turn the fat earth with a will, and hot suns ripening after
Bake the flatten'd loamclods, bringing all to a dusty refinement.
But be a soil unkind, 'tis enough with light-driven engine

(at si non fuerit tellus fecunda, sub ipsum
Arcturum tenui sat erit suspendere sulco:
illie, officiant laetis ne frugibus herbae,
hic, sterilem exiguus ne deserat umor harenam.
Alternis idem tonsas caessare novalis
et segnem patiere stu durescere campum)

E'en to the rising of Arcturus delicately to lift it;
Yonder lest the tillage from gay weeds meet with a hindrance,
Here lest sandy gravel drain off too quickly the mosture.

Ev're other season to the reapt fields thou'lt give a respite,
And the rough earth by the sufferance grows scurfy with idlesse;
Or thou'lt sow the yellow corn's gold when timely the star turns
Where the podded beanstalks shook their glad bravery lately,
Or the verches' thin tribes thou took'st; or lifted at harvest
Tart lupine's brittle haulms tinkled like brushwood about thee.
For scorching to the soil is a flax-crop, scorching an oaten,
And scorching the poppies that draw death's drowsiness o'er them.
Turn by burn makes easy the toil; let it only not irk thee
On sorry drought to scatter wet dung with copious outlay,
And throw grimy ashes broadcast where fruiting is over.
So by a rotation thy fields are gently recruited,
Neither hath earth unplough'd meanwhile any thankless appearance.
Oft is it of benefit when fields are weary to fire them
And to set in crisp flames the stubble's thin trumpery crackling:
Either as into the earth thereby there passes a new food
And hidden enrichment, or fire by sweeping a while field
Bakes the vicious fault out and sweats off all the redundant
Moisture, or else to the heat new pores and arteries open
Blockt up blindly before, whence fresh sap comes to the herbage;
Or more closely the chinks are stopt, more firmly are harden'd
'Gainst the dripping rainshow'rs and fierce suns wheeling above them
And the breath of Boreas that burns with frore penetration.
Much good afield harrowing doeth he who breaks the inert clods,
Or draggeth his wicker hurdle across: from lofty Olympous
Him golden Ceres never ungraciously regardeth.
Much good alike doeth, he who where he hath already cloven
Over again travelleth cross-wise, his journey reversing,
And drilleth earth many times and brings his fields to obedience.

Lurking in Virgil's shadow are Modian, Calpurnius, Tibullus, and Nemesianus squabbling among each other to dislodge the poet's mantle. There doesn't seem to be much new thematic material: grazing, weaving, piping, singing and the same characters, especially Pan, doing all.

From Modian, a Carolingian poet who became the bishop of Autun. From his First Eclogue which critics believe to be modeled after Virgil's First Eclogue, where an unnamed lad and old man engage in dialogue:

Tu frondosa, senex vates, protectus opaca
arbore iam tandem victrici palma potiris
Ludis habens nivea circumdata tempora lauro,
arguto tenui modularis carmine musa,
nulla, senex, pateris proclivi naufraga mundi,
nulla pericla times paternis tutus in arvis.
nos egra varils agitati mente procellis
fluctibus in mediis ferimur per naufraga ponti,
litora nulla fuit mihimet spes certa videndi,
non votis patriam negue pinguia rura meorum.

Old sage, covered by the dark leafy tree,
You finally hold the palm of victory,
You play, hving your white-haired temples surrounded by laurel,
And you practice a clear song with your slender Muse.
Old man, you suffer no shipwrecks of an upset world;
Safe in your paternal fields, you fear no dangers.
We, however, with our distressed min tossed about by vrious storms.
Are born aloft in the midst of the waves, through the shipwrecks of the sea
I had no certain hope of seeing shore,
Or my homeland or the rich fields of my people, in answer to my prayers.

Tibullus (55 bc-19 bc) was a leading elegaic poet. He probably most remembered by Book I of Corpus Tibullianum where he recounts his difficulties with women especitally one called Nemesis. Here is an excerpt from Book I where the message is "beauty is stronger than magic":

num te carminubus, num te pallentibus herbis
devovit tacito tempore noctis anus?
cantus vicines fruges traducit ab agris
cantus et iratae detinet anguis iter,
cantus et e curru Lunam deducere temptat
et faceret, si non aera repulsa sonent.
quic queror, heu, misero carmen nocuisse, quid herbas?
forma nihil magicis utitur auxiliis.

Did an old woman bewitch ypou with incantations
Or pale herbs at the silent time of night?
Magical song transfers crops from neighboring fields;
Magical song stops the path even of an angry snake;
Magical song tries to lead even the Moon down from her chariot
And would succeed if clashing cymbals did not ring out.
Why do I lament, alas, that song or herbs harmed you, unhappy one?
Beauty uses no magical help.

Calpurnius: Was the most ambitious of the challengers, though he to was hardly successful. Critics offer these excerpts as examples of Calpurnius' mimicry of Virgil who himself adapted from Theocratus:

Intactam Crocalen puer Astacus et puer Idas,
Idas lanigeri dominus gregis, Astacus horti,
dilexere diu, formosus uterque nec impar
voce sonans.

The boy Astacus and the boy Idas
Idas the master of the wool-bearing flock, Astacus of the garden,
Have for a long time loved the virgin Crocale, each of them beautiful
And not unequal in the sound of thie voice. C. Eclogue 2

ambo florentes actatibus, Arcades ambo,
et cantare pares et respondere parati...
alternis igitur contendere versibus ambo
coepere, alternos Musae memisse volebant

both were in the flower of youth, both were Arcadians,
Equal in singing and prepared to respond to verses...
Therefore they both began to compete with alternate verses,
And the Muses wished to remember alternate verses. V Eclogue 7

Nemisianus was a Roman poet born in Carthage only four of his eclogues have survived all written in the Virgilian tradition. This excerpt from the First Eclogue of Nemisianus:

Dum fiscella tibi fluviali, Tityre, iunco
texitur et raucis immunia rura cicadis,
incipe, si quod habes gracili sub arundine carmen
caompositum, nam te calamos inflare labello
Pan docuit versuque bonus tibi favit Apollo.
incipe, dum salices haedi, dum garmina vaccae

While you weave a basket out of river rush, Tityrus,
And the fields are as yet free from noisy cicadas,
Begin, if you have any song composed for the thin reed.
For Pan taught you to play the pies with your lip,
And goodly Apollo has favored you with verse.
Begin, while the goats crop the willows, while the cows
Crop the meadows...

Virgil's Eclogues or more correctly Bucolics preceded the Georgics but proved to be the more systainable of his writings. Perhaps because they adressed the issue of world peace to a population tired of the warrings of the pagan Roman emperors. The revival of the Eclogues came during the Renaissance; in Italy under Petrarch, Giovanni Boccacio, and Battista Spagnoli, in France Pierre de Ronsard and in Spain Garcilaso de la Vega.
But it was in England that the form came to fruition.

periodic sentence climax - A long, complex sentence in which the sense is not known until the final word or words. Ex.

And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge, and though I have faith, so that I could remove mountains and have not charity, I am nothing. Corin: I:13.

Like as the waves make toward the pebbled shore, So do our minutes hasten to their end:
Each changing place with that which goes before, In sequent toil all forwards do contend. Nativity, once in the main of light, Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crowned, Crooked elipses 'gainst his glory fight, And time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth And deliver the parallels in beauty's brow, Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth, And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow.
And yet times in hope my verse shall stand, Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

Shakespeare, Petrarchan Sonnet

Years and years ago, when I was a boy,
when there were wolves in Wales, and birds the color of red-flannel petticoats whisked past the harp-shaped hills, when we sang and wallowed all night and day in caves that smelt like Sunday afternoons in damp front farmhouse parlors, and we chased, with the jawbones of deacons, the English and the bears, before the motor car, before the wheel, before the duchess-faced horse, when we rode the daft and happy hills bareback, it snowed and snowed.

Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas in Wales

personism - A means of expression involving personal experience. Although not given this descriptive title, the movement actually began in the early 1900's with the poet Wallace Stevens (1879-1955), who explored the interaction of reality with perceived reality. Some of his more familiar poems were Le Monocle Mon Uncle, Sunday Morning, and The Emperor of Ice Cream. His collected poems won him the Pulitzer Prize in 1954. It was adopted by Frank O’Hara who gave it a name, he describes it in these words:

“Personism, a movement which I recently founded and which nobody knows about, interests me a great deal, being so totally opposed to this kind of abstract removal that it is verging on a true abstraction for the first time, really, in the history of poetry. Personism is to Wallace Stevens what la poési pure was to Béranger. Personism has nothing to do with philosophy, it's all art. It does not have to do with personality or intimacy, far from it! But to give you a vague idea, one of its minimal aspects is to address itself to one person (other than the poet himself), thus evoking overtones of love without destroying love's life-giving vulgarity, and sustaining the poet's feelings towards the poem while preventing love from distracting him into feeling about the person. That's part of Personism. It was founded by me after lunch with LeRoi Jones on August 27, 1959, a day in which I was in love with someone (not Roi, by the way, a blond). I went back to work and wrote a poem for this person. While I was writing it I was realizing that if I wanted to I could use the telephone instead of writing the poem, and so Personism was born. It's a very exciting movement which will undoubtedly have lots of adherents. It puts the poem squarely between the poet and the person, Lucky Pierre style, and the poem is correspondingly gratified. The poem is at last between two persons instead of two pages. In all modesty, I confess that it may be the death of literature as we know it..."

The movement is best described as a study in objectivity vs subjectivity in recording events.

Pindaric ode - From the Greek Theban poet Pindaros (518-432) also known as the Direaean Swan. This form was meant to be accompanied by music and dance. It has three movements, strophe or turn, antistrophe or counterturn, and epode or stand. The first two were identical in music and text. The turn so-called because it required the chorus to move from a given spot on the stage to the right. The counterturn or antistrophe the chorus moved to the left. The final movement or epode was sung to different music whild the chorus stood still. The rhyming was usually couplets and quatrains. Ben Johson (1573-1637) introduced the form into English literature. He and Thomas Gray were the only successful producers of the form. Here are the opening three movements from Ben Johnson's To the Immortal Memory and Friendship of Sir Lucius Cary and Sir H. Morrison:

Strophe or Turn

Brave infant of Saguntum, clear
Thy coming forth in that great year,
When the prodigious Hannibal did crown
His rage with razing your immortal town.
Thou looking then about,
Ere thou wert half got out,
Wise child, didst hastily return,
And mad'st thy mother's womb thine urn.
How summ'd a circle didst thou leave mankind
Of deepest lore, could we the centre find!

Antistrophe or Counterturn

Did wiser nature draw thee back,
From out the horror of that sack;
Where shame, faith, honour, and regard of right,
Lay trampled on? The deeds of death and night
Urg'd, hurried forth, and hurl'd
Upon th' affrighted world;
Sword, fire and famine with fell fury met,
And all on utmost ruin set:
As, could they but life's miseries foresee,
No doubt all infants would return like thee.

Epode or Stand

For what is life, if measur'd by the space,
Not by the act?
Or masked man, if valu'd by his face,
Above his fact?
Here's one outliv'd his peers
And told forth fourscore years:
He vexed time, and busied the whole state;
Troubled both foes and friends;
But ever to no ends:
What did this stirrer but die late?
How well at twenty had he fall'n or stood!
For three of his four score he did no good.

Here is Thomas Gray's Pindaric Ode The Bard:


"Ruin seize thee, ruthless King!
Confusion on thy banners wait,
Tho' fann'd by Conquest's crimson wing
They mock the air with idle state.
Helm, nor hauberk's twisted mail,
For even thy virtues, tyrant, shall avail
To save thy secret soul from nightly fears,
From Cambria's curse, from Cambria's tears!"
Such were the sounds, that o'er the crested pride
Of the first Edward scatter'd wild dismay,
Is down the steep of Snowdon's shaggy side
He wound with toilsome march his long array.
Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance;
To arms! cried Mortimer, and couch'd his quiv'ring lance.


On a rock, whose haughty brow
Frowns o'er old Conway's foaming flood,
Rob'd in the sable garb of woe,
With haggard eyes the poet stood;
(Loose his beard, and hoary hair
Stream'd, like a meteor, to the troubled air)
And with a master's hand, and prophet's fire,
Struck the deep sorrows of his lyre;
"Hark, how each giant-oak, and desert cave,
Sighs to the torrent's awful voice beneath!
O'er thee, O King! their hundred arms they wave,
Revenge on thee in hoarser murmurs breathe;
Vocal no more, since Cambria's fatal day,
To high-born Hoel's harp, or soft Llewellyn's lay.


"Cold is Cadwallo's tongue,
That hush'd the stormy main;
Brave Urien sleeps upon his craggy bed:
Mountains, ye mourn in vain
Modred, whose magic song
Made huge Plinlimmon bow his cloud-topp'd head.
On dreary Arvon's shore they lie,
Smear'd with gore, and ghastly pale:
Far, far aloof th' affrighted ravens sail;
The famish'd eagle screams, and passes by.
Dear lost companions of my tuneful art,
Dear, as the light that visits these sad eyes,
Dear, as the ruddy drops that warm my heart,
Ye died amidst your dying country's cries--
No more I weep. They do not sleep.
On yonder cliffs, a griesly band,
I see them sit, they linger yet,
Avengers of their native land:
With me in dreadful harmony they join,
And weave with bloody hands the tissue of thy line:--

Strophe II

"'Weave the warp, and weave the woof,
The winding sheet of Edward's race.
Give ample room, and verge enough
The characters of hell to trace.
Mark the year, and mark the night,
When Severn shall re-echo with affright
The shrieks of death, thro' Berkley's roofs that ring,
Shrieks of an agonising King!
She-Wolf of France, with unrelenting fangs,
That tear'st the bowels of thy mangled mate,
From thee be born, who o'er thy country hangs
The scourge of Heav'n. What terrors round him wait!
Amazement in his van, with Flight combin'd,
And Sorrow's faded form, and Solitude behind.


"'Mighty victor, mighty lord,
Low on his funeral couch he lies!
No pitying heart, no eye, afford
A tear to grace his obsequies.
Is the Sable Warrior fled?
Thy son is gone. He rests among the dead.
The swarm, that in thy noon-tide beam were born?
Gone to salute the rising Morn.
Fair laughs the Morn, and soft the Zephyr blows,
While proudly riding o'er the azure realm
In gallant trim the gilded vessel goes;
Youth on the prow, and Pleasure at the helm;
Regardless of the sweeping Whirlwind's sway,
That, hush'd in grim repose, expects his evening prey.


"'Fill high the sparkling bowl,
The rich repast prepare;
Reft of a crown, he yet may share the feast.
Close by the regal chair
Fell Thirst and Famine scowl
A baleful smile upon their baffled guest.
Heard ye the din of battle bray,
Lance to lance, and horse to horse?
Long years of havoc urge their destin'd course
And thro' the kindred squadrons mow their way.
Ye towers of Julius, London's lasting shame,
With many a foul and midnight murther fed,
Revere his consort's faith, his father's fame,
And spare the meek usurper's holy head.
Above, below, the rose of snow,
Twined with her blushing foe, we spread:
The bristled Boar in infant-gore
Wallows beneath the thorny shade.
Now, brothers, bending o'er th' accursed loom
Stamp we our vengeance deep, and ratify his doom.


"'Edward, lo! to sudden fate
(Weave we the woof. The thread is spun)
Half of thy heart we consecrate.
(The web is wove. The work is done.)'
Stay, oh stay! nor thus forlorn
Leave me unbless'd, unpitied, here to mourn!
In yon bright track, that fires the western skies!
They melt, they vanish from my eyes.
But oh! what solemn scenes on Snowdon's height
Descending slow their glitt'ring skirts unroll?
Visions of glory, spare my aching sight,
Ye unborn Ages, crowd not on my soul!
No more our long-lost Arthur we bewail.
All-hail, ye genuine kings, Britannia's issue, hail!


"Girt with many a baron bold
Sublime their starry fronts they rear;
And gorgeous dames, and statesmen old
In bearded majesty appear.
In the midst a form divine!
Her eye proclaims her of the Briton-line;
Her lion-port, her awe-commanding face,
Attemper'd sweet to virgin-grace.
What strings symphonious tremble in the air,
What strings of vocal transport round her play!
Hear from the grave, great Taliessin, hear;
They breathe a soul to animate thy clay.
Bright Rapture calls, and soaring, as she sings,
Waves in the eye of Heav'n her many-colour'd wings.


"The verse adorn again
Fierce War, and faithful Love,
And Truth severe, by fairy Fiction drest.
In buskin'd measures move
Pale Grief, and pleasing Pain,
With Horror, tyrant of the throbbing breast.
A voice, as of the cherub-choir,
Gales from blooming Eden bear;
And distant warblings lessen on my ear,
That lost in long futurity expire.
Fond impious man, think'st thou, yon sanguine cloud,
Rais'd by thy breath, has quench'd the orb of day?
To-morrow he repairs the golden flood,
And warms the nations with redoubled ray.
Enough for me: with joy I see
The different doom our Fates assign.
Be thine Despair, and scept'red Care,
To triumph, and to die, are mine."
He spoke, and headlong from the mountain's height
Deep in the roaring tide he plung'd to endless night.

poem titles - Not all poems have titles given by the poet. Whenever we find that the title is identical to the first line it is probably given as an “editorial convenience” i.e. to recognize the poem in the index or in the text. For example the Shakespeare sonnet Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day, and John Donne’s Batter my heart, three-personed God. Emily Dickinson never gave titles to any of her poems: There’s been a death, in the opposite house, A light exists in Spring, I never saw a moor; Wordsworth’s The world is too much with us.

poetical imagery (Bennett) – A perceived likeness between different things. A favorite of the metaphysical poets. It may be quite simple, as in Robert Herrick’s (1591-1674) poem Julia:

Some asked me where the rubies grew,
And nothing did I say,
But with my finger pointed to
The lips of Julia.

Some asked how pearls did grow, and where,
Then spake I to my girl,
To part her lips and show me there
The quarelets of pearl.

One asked me where the roses grew;
I bade him not go seek,
But forthwith bade my Julia show
A bud in either cheek.

Or complex as in William Butler Yeats’ That the Night Come:

She lived in storm and strife,
Here soul had such desire
For what proud death may bring
That it could not endure
The common good of life,
But lived as ‘twere a king
That packed his marriage day
With a banneret and pennon,
Trumpet and kettledrum,
And the outrageous cannon,
To bundle time away
That the night come.”

poetic categories - According to John Ruskin, champion of the Pre-Raphaelites, there are two categories of poets: the creative, which includes Shakespeare, Homer, and Dante, and the reflective, which includes Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Tennyson.

The difference is explained:

Dante writes of leaves “spirits fall from the bank of Acheron as dead leaves flutter from a bough.” He gives us a clear separation or perception of spirits (souls) and leaves both falling helplessly.

Whereas when Coleridge writes of leaves:

“The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
That dances, as often as dance can.”

He gives them a life – he creates a new vision of leaves dancing.

poetic sentence - In composition we consider such matters as proximity, priority, and word order. Students learn to "look forward" as when an adverbial is placed between two words it refers to the one following, not to the one preceding; when an adjective comes before a word, it refers to the following word i.e. "no concrete image should be suggested until" the materials pertaining to it "have been introduced first; and the main clause is first, the conditional clause follows to reshape the meaning as in this example from Francis Bacon:

"a crowd is not a company, and faces are but a gallery of pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."

Such examples are quite vexing to those learning to read English. Deviations are rhetorical rather than grammatical.
For word order there is simply beginning, middle, and end. The rule for students is for the least important information should be placed in the middle. However the poet engages in departures, the first of which is adjective predicate as in:

"Sharper than a serpent's tooth is an ungrateful child," Shakespeare. King Lear
"Dear is the memory of our wedded lives,
And dear the last embraces of our wives." Tennyson. Lotos Eaters

"Hateful is the dark blue sky,
Vaulted o'er the dark-blue sea." Tennyson. Lotos Eaters

"O sweet is the new violet that comes beneath the skies,
And sweeter is the lamb's young voice to me that cannot rise;
And sweet is all the land about, and all the flowers that blow,
And sweeter far is death than life to me that long to go." Tennyson Lotos Eaters
"Past was the flight, and welcome seemed the tower." Thomas Campbell Gertrude of Wyoming
"Great is thy power, and great thy fame,
Far kenn'd and noted is thy name" Robert Burns Address to the Devil Stanza 3

Second and more frequently found is the adverb then verb as in:

Vanish’d the Saxon’s struggling spear,
Vanish’d the mountain sword
The drawbridge fell – they hurry out,
Clatters each plank and swinging chain The Lady of the Lake

“Stood vast infinitude confined.” Milton Paradise Lost

Flash’d all their sabres bare,
Flash’d as they turn’d in air. Tennyson Charge of the Light Brigade

"Stole a maiden from her place
Lightly to the warrior stepped,
Took the face-cloth from the face,
Yet she neither moved nor wept.

Rose the nurse of ninety years,
Set his child upon her knee
Like summer tempest came her tears
Sweet my child I live for thee." Tennyson The Princess. Home they Brought her Warrior Dead

"Comes a vapour from the margin, blackening over heath and holt
Cramming at the blast before it, in its breast a thunderbolt." Tennyson Locksley Hall

"Resounds the living surface of the ground,
Nor delightful is the ceaseless hum." James Thomson The Four Seasons: Summer

"Came a troop with broadswords swinging,
Bits and bridles sharply ringing." Whittier Barclay of Uri

"Thy venom'd goblet will we quaff until
We fill - we fill
And by they mother's lips Was heard no more
For clamour, when the golden palace door
Open'd again." Keats Endymion

In poetry "inversion can be a source of strength..." Learn to recognize occasions where a poet has used the inversion to strengthen meter or meaning.

poulter's measure - Poems written in poulter's meter consists Alexandrines and fourteens. Couplets in which a twelve-syllable rhymes with a fourteen-syllable line. The Poulters measure provides the best examples of iambic heptameter. The Poulters measure alternates Alexandrines (iambic hexameter) with Fourteeners (iambic heptameter).

The name for this meter was given by George Gascoigne because poulters gave twelve to the dozen and sometimes fourteen. It was most popular in the Elizabethan era. A perfect example is this dramatic monologue in couplets by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517-1547) Lament for Her Lover Being at Sea:

Good ladies, you that have your pleasure in exile,
Step in your foot, come take a place, and mourn with me a while,
And such as by their lords do set but little price,
Let them sit still: it skills them not what chance come on the dice.
But ye whom Love hath bound by order of desire
To love your lords, whose good deserts none other would require:
Come you yet once again, and set your foot by mine,
Whose woeful plight and sorrows great no tongue may well define.
My love and lord, alas, in whom consists my wealth,
Hath fortune sent to pass the seas in hazard of his health.
That I was wont for to embrace, contented mind's,
Is now amid the foaming floods at pleasure of the winds.
There God him well preserve, and safely me him send,
Without which hope, my life alas were shortly at an end.
Whose absence yet, although my hope doth tell me plain,
With short return he comes anon, yet ceaseth not my pain.
The fearful dreams I have, oft times they grieve me so,
That then I wake and stand in doubt, if they be true, or no.
Sometime the roaring seas, me seems, they grow so high,
That my sweet lord in danger great, alas, doth often lie.
Another time the same doth tell me, he is come;
And playing, where I shall him find with T., his little son.
So forth I go apace to see that liefsome sight,
And with a kiss me thinks I say: "Now welcome home, my knight;
Welcome my sweet, alas, the stay of my welfare;
Thy presence bringeth forth a truce betwixt me and my care."
Then lively doth he look, and salveth me again,
And saith: "My dear, how is it now that you have all this pain?"
Wherewith the heavy cares that heap'd are in my breast,
Break forth, and me dischargeth clean of all my huge unrest.
But when I me awake and find it but a dream,
The anguish of my former woe beginneth more extreme,
And me tormenteth so, that uneath may I find
Some hidden where, to steal the grief of my unquiet mind.
Thus every way you see with absence how I burn;
And for my wound no cure there is but hope of good return;
Save when I feel, by sour how sweet is felt the more,
It doth abate some of my pains that I abode before.
And then unto myself I say: "When that we two shall meet,
But little time shall seem this pain, that joy shall be so sweet."
Ye winds, I you convert in chiefest of your rage,
That you my lord me safely send, my sorrows to assuage;
And that I may not long abide in such excess,
Do your good will to cure a wight that liveth in distress.

C. L. Lewis refers to the poulter's measure as "lumbering". The poulter's meter was introduced into English by Thomas Wyatt. Lewis went on to comment that the iambic heptameter of the Alexandrine does not fit well with the rhythm of English although working well with French, fourteeners are much more friendly. William Blake's Book of Thel is often cited as an example of Poulter's Measure however it is not written in iambic heptameter.

prose mesurée - Fr. see blank verse.

Proteus - From the Greek legend according to Homer, he in the sea and arose every mid-day from the sea to sleep in the shadow of the coastal rocks surrounded by sea-monsters. If anyone were to seize him he immediately assumed a different shape and escaped. He has been a source of many literary mentions:

“In vain, though by their powerful Art they bind
Volotile Hermes, and call up unbound
In various shapes old Proteus from the Sea.
Drain’d through a Limbec to his native form” Paradise Lost, III

In 1658 from The Garden of Cyrus of Sir Thomas Browne:

“Why Proteus in Homer the symbole of the first matter, before he settled himself in the midst of his Sea-Monsters, doth place them out by fives?"

Then Shakespeare, who used Proteus twice: first as a comparative figure for Richard III in Henry VI:

“I can add colors to the chameleon,
Change shapes with Proteus for advantages,
And set the murderous Machiavel to school. Act III, Scene ii.

And second as a character in The Two Gentlemen of Verona.

Jung, the twentieth century psychologist with his emphasis on myth made a personification of the Protean or unconscious or “shape-changing” as an “archetype”.

The term has since evolved into an adjective form as in flexible, versatile, adaptable.
Source: The World is too much with me. Wordsworth

pure poetry - A message-free verse. The poems are concerned with the language rhythm, alliteration, assonance, and repetition. The American poet Edgar Allan Poe’s The Bells is the tour de force. In this short work sleigh bells, wedding bells, funeral bells, alarm bells are all represented. There are some examples by French poets, particularly Mallarme and Paul Verlaine sans the onomatopoeia element. Here is Mallarme’s Album Leaf:

All at once, as if in play.
Mademoiselle, she who moots
A wish to hear how it sounds today
The wood of my several flutes

If seems to me that his foray
Tried out here in a country place
Was better when I put them away
To look more closely at your face

Yet this vain whistling I suppress
In so far asw I can create
Given my fingers pure distress
Lacking the means to imitate.

Also see Poems: The Bells

pyrrhic - A metrical foot consisting of two unaccented syllables also called dibrach. The word comes from a step in an ancient Greeek war dance created by Pyrrhichus. A good example is found in Tennyson's In Memoriam:

Be near me when my light is low,
      When the blood creeps, and the nerves prick
      And tingle; and the heart is sick,
And all the wheels of Being slow.

Be near me when the sensuous frame
      Is rack'd with pangs that conquer trust;
      And Time, a maniac scattering dust,
And Life, a Fury slinging flame.

Be near me when my faith is dry,
      And men the flies of latter spring,
      That lay their eggs, and sting and sing
And weave their petty cells and die.

Be near me when I fade away,
      To point the term of human strife,
      And on the low dark verge of life
The twilight of eternal day.

The second phrase in each stanza is a pyrrhic or dibrach: "when my light is low", "when the sensuous frame", "when my faith is dry", "when I fade away".

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