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Title: Pastoral Poetry & Pastoral Drama

Author: W. W. Greg

Release date: April 1, 2004 [eBook #12218]
Most recently updated: December 14, 2020

Language: English

Credits: Produced by Distributed Proofreaders


[Transcriber's Note: Footnotes have been renumbered and moved to the end.]

[Note on characters: There are several Masculine Ordinal Indicators (º - U+00BA) used in this book. These should not be confused with the Degree Sign (° - U+00B0).]

Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama

Far, far from here...
The sunshine in the happy glens is fair,
And by the sea, and in the brakes
The grass is cool, the sea-side air
Buoyant and fresh.

Matthew Arnold.

Pastoral Poetry & Pastoral Drama

A Literary Inquiry, with Special
Reference to the Pre-Restoration
Stage in England.

By Walter W. Greg, M.A.


Oxford: Horace Hart
Printer to the University



Some ten years ago, it may be, Mr. St. Loe Strachey suggested that I should write an article on 'English Pastoral Drama' for a magazine of which he was then editor. The article was in the course of time written, and in the further course of time appeared. I learnt two things from writing it: first, that to understand the English pastoral drama it was necessary to have some more or less extensive knowledge of the history of European pastoralism in general; secondly, that there was no critical work from which such knowledge could be obtained. I set about the revision and expansion of my crude and superficial essay, proposing to prefix to it such an account of pastoral literature generally as should make the special form it assumed on the English stage appear in its true light as the reasonable and rational outcome of artistic and historical conditions. Unfortunately perhaps, but at least inevitably, this preliminary inquiry grew to ever greater and more alarming proportions as I proceeded, till at last it swelled to something over half of the whole work. Part of this bulk was claimed by foreign pastoral poetry, the origins of the kind; part by English pastoral poetry, and the introduction of the fashion into this country; part by the pastoral drama of Italy, the immediate parent of that of England. The original title proved too narrow to cover the subject with which I dealt. Hence the rather vague and perhaps ambitions title of the present volume. I make no pretence of offering the reader a general history of pastoral literature, nor even of pastoral drama. The real subject of my work remains the pastoral drama in Elizabethan literature--understanding that term in the wide sense in which, quite reasonably, we have learnt to use it--and even though I may have been sometimes carried away by the interest of the immediate subject of investigation, I have done my best to keep the main object of my inquiry at all times in view. The downward limit of my work is a little vague. The old stage traditions, upon which all the dramatic production of the time was at least in some measure, and in different cases more or less consciously, based, were killed by the act of 1642: the new traditions, created or imported by a company of gentlemen who had come under the influence of the French genius during the eleven years of their exile, first announced themselves authoritatively in 1660. During the intervening eighteen years a number of works were produced, some of which continued the earlier traditions, while some anticipated the later. My treatment has been eclectic. Where a work appeared to me to belong to or to illustrate the older school I have included it, where not, I have refrained from doing so. Fanshawe's Pastor fido (1647) will be found mentioned in the following pages, T. R.'s Berger extravagant (1654) will not.

Some explanation may be advisable with regard to my method of quotation. Where a satisfactory modern edition of the work under discussion was available I have taken my quotations from it, whether the spelling of the text was modernized or not. Where none such existed I have had recourse to the original. This explains the perhaps alarming mixture of old and modern orthographies which appear in my pages. Such inconsistency seemed to me a lesser evil than making nonce texts to suit my immediate purpose. I have, however, exercised the right of following my own fancy in the matter of punctuation throughout, and also in that of capitalization, though I have been chary of alterations in the case of old-spelling texts. This applies to English works. I have found it necessary myself to modernize to some extent the spelling of the quotations from early Italian in order to render it less bewildering to readers who may possibly, like myself, have no very profound knowledge of the antiquities of that tongue. I have been as sparing as possible, however, and trust I may have committed no enormities to shock Romance scholars. Lastly, the italics and contractions which are of more or less frequent occurrence in the original editions have been disregarded, and certain typographical details made to conform to modern practice.

My indebtedness is not small to a number of friends who, during the progress of my work, have helped me more or less directly in a variety of ways. A few have received specific mention in the notes. Alike to those who have, and to the far greater number, I fear me, who have not, I desire hereby to confess my debt, and humbly to beg them to claim their share in the dedication of this volume. More specifically I should mention Mr. R. B. McKerrow, who was the first to read the following pages in manuscript, and to make many useful suggestions, and Mr. Frank Sidgwick, to whose careful revision alike of manuscript and proof and to whose kind and candid criticism I am indebted perhaps more than an author's vanity may readily allow me to acknowledge. Lastly, it would argue worse than ingratitude to pass over my obligation to the admirable readers of the Clarendon Press, whose marvellous accuracy in the most diverse fields and whose almost infallible vigilance form a real asset of English scholarship.

W. W. G.
Park Lodge, Wimbledon.
December, 1905.


Chapter I. Foreign Pastoral Poetry


Chapter II. Pastoral Poetry in England

Chapter III. Italian Pastoral Drama

Chapter IV. Dramatic Origins of the English Pastoral Drama

Chapter V. The Three Masterpieces

Chapter VI. The English Pastoral Drama

Chapter VII. Masques and General Influence

Appendix I. On the origin and development of the Italian pastoral drama
Appendix II. Bibliography


Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama

Chapter I.

Foreign Pastoral Poetry

In approaching a subject of literary inquiry we are often able to fix upon some essential feature or condition which may serve as an Ariadne's thread through the maze of historical and aesthetic development, or to distinguish some cardinal point affording a fixed centre from which to survey or in reference to which to order and dispose the phenomena that present themselves to us. It is the disadvantage of such an artificial form of literature as that which bears the name of pastoral that no such a priori guidance is available. To lay down at starting that the essential quality of pastoral is the realistic or at least recognizably 'natural' presentation of actual shepherd life would be to rule out of court nine tenths of the work that comes traditionally under that head. Yet the great majority of critics, though they would not, of course, subscribe to the above definition, have yet constantly betrayed an inclination to censure individual works for not conforming to some such arbitrary canon. It is characteristic of the artificiality of pastoral as a literary form that the impulse which gave the first creative touch at seeding loses itself later and finds no place among the forces at work at blossom time; the methods adopted by the greatest masters of the form are inconsistent with the motives that impelled them to its use, and where these motives were followed to their logical conclusion, the resuit, both in literature and in life, became a byword for absurd unreality. To live at all the ideal appeared to require an atmosphere of paradox and incongruity: in its essence the most 'natural' of all poetic forms, pastoralism came to its fairest flower amid the artificiality of a decadent court or as the plaything of the leisure hours of a college of learning, and its insipid convention having become 'a literary plague in every European capital,' it finally disappeared from view amid the fopperies of the Roman Arcadia and the puerile conceits of the Petit Trianon.

Wherein then, it may be wondered, does the pastoral's title to consideration lie. It does not lie primarily, or chiefly, in the fact that it is associated with names of the first rank in literature, with Theocritus and Vergil, with Petrarch, Politian, and Tasso, with Cervantes and Lope de Vega, with Ronsard and Marot, with Spenser, Ben Jonson, and Milton; nor yet that works such as the Idyls, the Aminta, the Faithful Shepherdess, and Lycidas contain some of the most graceful and perfect verse to be found in any language. Rather is its importance to be sought in the fact that the form is the expression of instincts and impulses deep-rooted in the nature of humanity, which, while affecting the whole course of literature, at times evince themselves most clearly and articulately here; that it plays a distinct and distinctive part in the history of human thought and the history of artistic expression. Moreover, it may be argued that, from this point of view, the very contradictions and inconsistencies to which I have alluded make it all the more important to discover wherein lay the strange vitality of the form and its power of influencing the current of European letters.

From what has already been said it will be apparent that little would be gained by attempting beforehand to give any strict account of what is meant by 'pastoral' in literature. Any definition sufficiently elastic to include the protean forms assumed by what we call the 'pastoral ideal' could hardly have sufficient intension to be of any real value. If after considering a number of literary phenomena which appear to be related among themselves in form, spirit, and aim we come at the end of our inquiry to any clearer appreciation of the term I shall so far have attained my object. I notice that I have used the expression 'pastoral ideal,' and the phrase, which comes naturally to the mind in connexion with this form of literature, may supply us with a useful hint. It reminds us, namely, that the quality of pastoralism is not determined by the fortuitous occurrence of certain characters, but by the fact of the pieces in question being based more or less evidently upon a philosophical conception, which no doubt underwent modification through the ages, but yet bears evidence of organic continuity. Thus the shepherds of pastoral are primarily and distinctively shepherds; they are not mere rustics engaged in sheepcraft as one out of many of the employments of mankind. As soon as the natural shepherd-life had found an objective setting in conscious artistic literature, it was felt that there was after all a difference between hoeing turnips and pasturing sheep; that the one was capable of a particular literary treatment which the other was not. The Maid of Orleans might equally well have dug potatoes as tended a flock, and her place is not in pastoral song. Thus pastoral literature must not be confounded with that which has for its subject the lives, the ideas, and the emotions of simple and unsophisticated mankind, far from the centres of our complex civilization. The two may be in their origin related, and they occasionally, as it were, stretch out feelers towards one another, but the pastoral of tradition lies in its essence as far from the human document of humble life as from a scientific treatise on agriculture or a volume of pastoral theology. Thus the tract which lies before us to explore is equally remote from the idyllic imagination of George Sand, the gross actuality of Zola, and the combination of simple charm with minute and essential realism of Mr. Hardy's sketches in Wessex. Nor does the adoption of the pastoral label suffice to bring within the fold the fanciful animalism of Mr. Hewlett. By far the most remarkable work of recent years to assume the title is Signor d'Annunzio's play La Figlia di Iorio, a work in which the author's powerful and delicate imagination and wealth of pure and expressive language appear in matchless perfection. It is perhaps scarcely necessary to add that there is nothing in common between the 'pastoral ideal' and the rugged strength and suppressed fire of the great modern Italian's portrait of his native land of the Abruzzi.


Some confusion of thought appears to have prevailed among writers as to the origin of pastoral. We are, for instance, often told that it is the earliest of all forms of poetry, that it characterizes primitive peoples and permeates ancient literatures. Song is, indeed, as old as human language, and in a sense no doubt the poetry of the pastoral age may be said to have been pastoral. It does not, however, follow that it bears any essential resemblance to that which subsequent ages have designated by the name. All that we know concerning the songs of pastoral nations leads us to suppose that they bear a close resemblance to the type of popular verse current wherever poetry exists, folk-songs of broad humanity in which little stress is laid on the peculiar circumstances of shepherd life. An insistence upon the objective pastoral setting is of prime importance in understanding the real nature of pastoral poetry; it not only serves to distinguish the pastoral proper from the more vaguely idyllic forms of lyric verse, but helps us further to understand how it was that the outward features of the kind came to be preserved, even after the various necessities of sophisticated society had metamorphosed the content almost beyond recognition. No common feature of a kind to form the basis of a scientific classification can be traced in the spontaneous shepherd-songs and their literary counterpart. What does appear to be a constant element in the pastoral as known to literature is the recognition of a contrast, implicit or expressed, between pastoral life and some more complex type of civilization. At no stage in its development does literature, or at any rate poetry, concern itself with the obvious, with the bare scaffolding of life: whenever we find an author interested in the circle of prime necessity we may be sure that he himself stands outside it. Thus the shepherd when he sang did not insist upon the conditions amid which his uneventful life was passed. It was left to a later, perhaps a wiser and a sadder, generation to gaze with fruitless and often only half sincere longing at the shepherd-boy asleep under the shadow of the thorn, lulled by the low monotonous rustle of the grazing flock. Only when the shepherd-songs ceased to be the outcome of unalloyed pastoral conditions did they become distinctively pastoral. It is therefore significant that the earliest pastoral poetry with which we are acquainted, whatever half articulate experiments may have preceded it, was itself directly born of the contrast between the recollections of a childhood spent among the Sicilian uplands and the crowded social and intellectual city-life of Alexandria[1].

As the result of this contrast there arises an idea which comes perhaps as near being universal in pastoral as any--the idea, namely, of the 'golden age.' This embraces, indeed, a field not wholly coincident with that of pastoral, but the two are connected alike by a common spring in human emotion and constant literary association. The fiction of an age of simplicity and innocence found birth among the Augustan writers in the midst of the complex and luxurious civilization of Rome, as an illustration of the principle enunciated by Professer Raleigh, that 'literature has constantly the double tendency to negative the life around it, as well as to reproduce it.' Having inspired Ovid and Vergil, and been recognized by Lucretius, it passed as a literary legacy to Boethius, Dante, and Jean de Meung; it was incorporated by Frezzi in his strange allegorical composition the Quadriregio, and was thrice handled by Chaucer; it was dealt with humorously by Cervantes in Don Quixote, and became the prey of the satirist in the hands of Juvenal, Bertini, and Hall. The association of this ideal world with the simplicity of pastoral life was effected by Vergil, and in this form it was treated with loving minuteness by Tasso in his Aminta and by Browne in his Britannia's Pastorals[2]. The fiction no doubt answered to some need in human nature, but in literature it soon came to be no more than a polite convention.

The conception of a golden age of rustic simplicity does not, indeed, involve the whole of pastoral literature. It does not account either for the allegorical pastoral, in which actual personages are introduced, in the guise of shepherds, to discuss contemporary affairs, or for the so-called realistic pastoral, in which the town looks on with amused envy at the rustic freedom of the country. What it does comprehend is that outburst of pastoral song which sprang from the yearning of the tired soul to escape, if it were but in imagination and for a moment, to a life of simplicity and innocence from the bitter luxury of the court and the menial bread of princes[3].

And this, the reaction against the world that is too much with us, is, after all, the keynote of what is most intimately associated with the name of pastoral in literature--the note that is struck with idyllic sweetness in Theocritus, and, rising to its fullest pitch of lyrical intensity, lends a poignant charm to the work of Tasso and Guarini. For everywhere in these soft melodies of luscious beauty, even in the studied sketches of primitive innocence itself, there is an undercurrent of tender melancholy and pathos:

        Il mondo invecchia
E invecchiando intristisce.

I have said that a sense of the contrast between town and country was essential to the development of a distinctively pastoral literature. It would be an interesting task to trace how far this contrast is the source of the various subsidiary types--of the ideal where it breeds desire for a return to simplicity, of the realistic where the humour of it touches the imagination, and of the allegorical where it suggests satire on the corruption of an artificial civilization.

When the kind first makes its appearance in a world already old, it arises purely as a solace and relief from the fervid life of actuality, and comes as a fresh and cooling draught to lips burning with the fever of the city. In passing from Alexandria to Rome it lost much of its limpid purity; the clear crystal of the drink was mixed with flavours and perfumes to fit the palate of a patron or an emperor. The example of adulteration being once set, the implied contrast of civilization and rusticity was replaced by direct satire on the former, and later by the discussion under the pastoral mask of questions of religious and political controversy. Proving itself but a left-handed weapon in such debate, it became a court plaything, in which princes and great ladies, poets and wits, loved to see themselves figured and complimented, and the practice of assuming pastoral names becoming almost universal in polite circles, the convention, which had passed from the eclogue on to the stage, passed from the stage into actual existence, and court life became one continual pageant of pastoral conceit. From the court it passed into circles of learning, and grave jurists and administrators, poets and scholars, set about the refining of language and literature decked out in all the fopperies of the fashionable craze. One is tempted to wonder whether anything more serious than light loves and fantastic amours can have flourished amid eighteenth-century pastoralism. When the ladies of the court began to talk dairy-farming with the scholars and statesmen of the day, the pretence of pastoral simplicity could hardly be long kept up. Nor was there any attempt to do so. In the introduction to his famous romance d'Urfé wrote in answer to objectors: 'Responds leur, ma Bergere, que pour peu qu'ils ayent connoissance de toy, ils sçauront que tu n'es pas, ny celles aussi qui te suivent, de ces Bergeres necessiteuses, qui pour gaigner leur vie conduisent les troupeaux aux pasturages; mais que vous n'avez toutes pris cette condition que pour vivre plus doucement et sans contrainte.' No wonder that to Fontenelle Theocritus' shepherds 'sentent trop la campagne[4].' But the hour of pastoralism had come, and while the ladies and gallants of the court were playing the parts of Watteau swains and shepherdesses amid the trim hedges and smooth lawns of Versailles, the gates were already bursting before the flood, which was to sweep in devastation over the land, and to purge the old order of social life.


The Alexandria of the Ptolemies was not the nurse of a great literature, though the age was undoubtedly one of considerable literary activity. Scholastic learning and poetic imitation were rife; the rehandling of Greek masterpieces was a fashionable pastime. For serious and original composition, however, the conditions were not favourable. That the age produced no great epic was less due to the disparagement of the form indulged in by Callimachus, chief librarian and literary dictator, than to the inherent temper of society. The prevailing taste was for an arrogant display of rare and costly pageantry. At the coronation of Ptolemy Philadelphus the brilliant city surfeited on a long-drawn golden pomp, decked out in all the physical beauty the inheritance of Greek thought and memories of Greek mythology could suggest, together with a wealth of gorgeous mysticism and rapture of sensuous intoxication, which was the fruit of its intercourse with the oriental world. The writers of Alexandria lacked the 'high seriousness' of purpose to produce an Aeneid, the imaginative enthusiasm needed for a Faery Queen. What they possessed was delicacy, refinement, and wit; what they created, while perfecting the epigram and stereotyping the hymn, was a form intermediate between epic and lyric, namely the idyl as we find it in the works of Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus.

It is interesting to note that the literary milieu in which Theocritus moved at Alexandria must have abounded in all those temptations which proved the bane of pastoral poetry at Rome, Florence, and Ferrara. There were princes and patrons to be flattered, there were panegyrics to be sung and ancestral feats of arms to be recorded; nor does Theocritus appear to have stood aloof from the throng of court poetasters. In spite of the doubtful authenticity of some of the pieces connected with his name, there appears no sufficient reason to deprive him of the rather conventional hymns and other poems composed with a view to court-favour. These have little interest for us to-day: his fame rests on works which probably gained him little advantage at the time. It was for his own solace, forgetful for a moment of the intrigues of court life and the uncertain sunshine of princes, that he wrote his Sicilian idyls. For him, as at a magic touch, the walls of the heated city melted like a mirage into the sands of the salt lagoon, and he wandered once more amid the green woods and pastures of Trinacria, the noonday sun tempered by the shade of the chestnuts and the babbling of the brook, and by the cool airs that glide down from the white cliffs of Aetna. There once more he saw the shepherds tend their flocks, singing or wrangling with one another, dreamily piping on their wax-stopped reeds or plotting to annex their neighbours' gear; or else there sounded in his ears the love-song or the dirge, or the incantation of the forsaken girl rose amid the silence to the silver moon. Once again he stood upon the shore and watched the fishers cast their nets, while around him the goats browsed on the close herbage of the cliff, and the crystal stream leapt down, and the waves broke upon the rocks below, till he saw the breasts of the nymphs shine in the whiteness of the foam and their hair spread wide in the weed, and the fair Galatea, the enticing and the fickle, mocked the clumsy suit of the Cyclops, as she tossed upward the bitter spray from off her shining limbs. All these memories he recorded with a loving faithfulness of detail that it is even now possible to verify from the folk-songs of the south. To this day in the Isles of Greece ruined girls seek to lure back their lovers with charms differing but little from that sung by the Syracusan to Lady Selene, and the popular poetry alike of Italy and Greece is full of those delicate touches of refined sentiment that in Theocritus appear so incongruous with the rough coats and rougher banter of the shepherds. For though the poet raised the pastoral life of Sicily into the realms of ideal poetry, he was careful not to dissociate his version from reality, and he allowed no imaginary conceptions to overmaster his art. He depicted no age of innocence; his poetry reflects no philosophical illusion of primitive simplicity; he elaborated no imaginary cult of mystical worship. His art, however little it may tempt us to the use of the term realism, is nevertheless based on an almost passionate sympathy with actual human nature. This is the fount of his inspiration, the central theme of his song. The literary genius of Greece showed little aptitude for landscape, and seldom treated inanimate nature except as a background for human action and emotion, or it may be in the guise of mythological allegory. Nevertheless, it is hard to believe that Theocritus, so tenderly concerned with the homely aspects of human life, was not likewise sensitive to the beauties of nature. At least it is impossible to doubt his attachment to the land of his childhood, and it is at worst a welcome dream when we imagine him, as the evening of life drew on, leaving the formal gardens and painted landscapes of Alexandria and returning to Syracuse and his beloved Sicily once more.[5]

The verse of Theocritus was echoed by his younger contemporaries, Bion and Moschus.[6] The former is best known through the oriental passion of his 'Woe, woe for Adonis,' probably written to be sung at the annual festival of Syrian origin commemorated by Theocritus in his fifteenth idyl.[7] The most important extant work of Moschus is the 'Lament for Bion,' characterized by a certain delicate sentimentality alien to the spirit of either of his predecessors. It is perhaps significant that Theocritus appears to have been of Syracusan, Bion of Smyrnian, and Moschus of Ausonian origin.[8] With the exception of this poem, which is modelled on Theocritus' 'Lament for Daphnis,' there is little in the work of either of the younger poets of a pastoral nature. Certain fragments, however, if genuine, suggest that poems of the kind may have perished. Among the remains of Moschus occurs the following:

Would that my father had taught me the craft of a keeper of sheep,
For so in the shade of the elm-tree, or under the rocks on the steep,
Piping on reeds I had sat, and had lulled my sorrow to sleep;[9]

lines in which we already take leave of the genuine love of the pastoral life, springing from an intimate knowledge of and delight in nature, and see world-weariness arraying itself in the sentimental garb of the imaginary swain.

Once again, five centuries later,[10] the spirit of Greece shone for one brief moment in a work of pastoral elegance that has survived the changing tastes of succeeding generations. The 'romance of Daphnis and Chloe is the last word of a world of sensuous enervation toying with the idea of vernal freshness and virginity. It is a genuine picture of the purity of awakening love, wrought with every delicacy of sentiment and expression, and yet in such manner as by its very naïveté and innocence to serve as a goad to satiated appetite. It has been suggested that the work should properly be styled the Lesbiaca, a name which recalls the Aethiopica and Babylonica, and reminds us that the author, though a student of Alexandrian literature, belonged to the school of the erotic romanciers and traditional bishops, Heliodorus and Achilles Tatius. Of his life we know nothing, and even his name--Longus--has been called in question. The story, unlike those of most later pastoral romances, is of the simplest. The author, however, was no longer satisfied with the natural refinement of popular love poetry; the central characters are represented as foundlings nurtured by the shepherds of Lesbos, and are ultimately identified, on much the same conventional evidence as Ion and others had been before, as the children of certain rich and aristocratie families.[11] The interest of the story lies in the growth of their unconscious love, which constitutes the central theme of the work, though relieved here and there by wholly colourless adventure.

A Latin translation made the book popular after the introduction of printing, and the renaissance saw the French version by Amyot, a work of European reputation. This was translated into English under Elizabeth; an Italian translation followed in the seventeenth century,[12] and a Spanish is also extant. There is no doubt that it was widely read throughout the sixteenth and following centuries, but it exercised little influence on the development of pastoral literature. By the time it became generally known the main features of renaissance pastoral were already fixed, and in motive and treatment alike it was alien to the spirit that animated the fashionable masterpieces. The modern pastoral romance had already evolved itself from a blending of the eclogue with the mythological tale. The drama was developing on independent lines. Thus although, like the other romances of the late Greek school, it supplied many incidents and descriptions to be found in later works, it played no vital part in the history of pastoral, and left no mark either on the general form or on the spirit that animated the kind. Longus' romance finds its true descendant, as well as its closest imitation, in a work that achieved celebrity on the eve of the French revolution, that masterpiece of unreal and sentimental simplicity, Saint-Pierre's Paul et Virginie.


A faithful reproduction of the main conditions of actual life was the characteristic of Theocritus' poetry. It was subject to this ever-present limitation that his graceful fancy exercised its power of idealization. He took the singing match, the dirge, and the love-song or complaint as he found them among the shepherd-folk of Sicily, and gave them that objective setting which is as necessary to pastoral as to every other merely accidental form of poetry; for the true subjective lyric is independent of circumstances. The first of his great successors made the bucolic eclogue what, with trifling variation, it was to remain for eighteen centuries, a form based upon artificiality and convention. I have already pointed out that the literary conditions at Alexandria did not differ materially from those of Rome; it follows that the change must have been due to the character of Vergil himself. That intense love of beauty for its own sake which characterized the Greek mind had little hold over the Roman. Nor did the latter understand the charm of untaught simplicity. It is true that to the Roman poets of the Augustan period we owe the conception of the golden age, but it remained with them rather a philosophical mythus than the dream of an idyllic poet. To writers of the stamp of Ovid, Lucretius, and Vergil the Idyls of the Syracusan poet can have possessed but little meaning, and in his own Bucolics the last named seems never to have regarded the pastoral form as anything but a cloak for matters of more pith and moment. Although he followed Theocritus in his use of the several types of song and stamped them to all future ages in pastoral convention, though he may have begun with fairly close imitation of his model and only gradually diverged into a more independant style, he at no time showed himself content with the earlier poet's simplicity of motive.[13] The eclogue in which he followed Theocritus most closely, the eighth, is equally, perhaps, the most pleasing of the series. It combines the motives of the love-lament and incantation, and the closeness with which it follows while playing variations on its models is striking. One instance will suffice. Take the passage in the second Idyl thus rendered by Symonds:[14]

Hail, Hecatë, dread dame! to the end be thou my assistant,
Making my medicines work no less than the philtre of Circë,
Or Medea's charms, or yellow-haired Perimedë's.
Wheel of the magic spells, draw thou that man to my dwelling.

Corresponding to this we find the following passage in the Latin poem:

Song hath power to draw from heaven the wandering huntress,
Song was the witch's spell transformed the mates of Ulysses....
Home from the city to me, my song, lead home to me Daphnis.

Vergil was the first to begin the dissociation of pastoral from the conditions of actual life, and just as his shepherds cease to present the features and characters of the homely keepers of the flock, so his landscape becomes imaginary and undefined. This peculiarity has been noticed by Professor Herford in some very suggestive remarks prefixed to his edition of the Shepherd's Calender. 'The profiles of the Sicilian uplands,' he writes, 'waver uncertainly amid traits drawn from the Mantuan plain. In this confusion lay, perhaps, the germ of those debates between highland and lowland shepherds which reverberate through the later pastoral, and are still loud in Spenser.' The gulf that separated Vergil from his predecessor, in so far as their treatment of shepherd-life is concerned, may be measured by the manner in which they respectively deal with the supernatural. In the Greek Idyls we find the simple faith or superstition as it lived among the shepherd-folk; no Pan appears to sow dismay in the breasts of the maidens, nor do we find aught of the mystical worship that later gathered round him in the imaginary Arcadia. He is mentioned only as the rugged patron of herds and song, the wild indweller of the savage woods as he appeared to the minds of the simple swains, who hushed their midday piping fearful lest they should disturb the sleep of the god. It is true that Theocritus introduces mythological characters in the tale of Galatea, but it should be noticed that this merely forms the theme of a song or the subject of a poetical epistle to a friend. Moreover, it is open to more than one rationalistic interpretation. Symonds treats it as an allegory in harmony with the mythopoeic genius of Greek poetry. It is equally possible to regard the Cyclops as emblematic merely of the rough neatherd flouted by the more delicate shepherd-maiden--the contrast is of constant occurrence in later works--for, alike in one of his own fragments and in Moschus' lament, Bion is represented as courting this same Galatea after she has rid herself of the suit of Polyphemus. Vergil was content with no such simple mythology as this. He must needs shake Silenus from a drunken sleep and bid him tell of Chaos and old Time, of the infancy of the world and the birth of the gods. This mixture of obsolescent theology and Epicurean philosophy probably possessed little reality for Vergil himself, and would have conveyed no meaning whatever to the Sicilian shepherds. Its introduction stamps his eclogues with that unreality which has been the reproach of the pastoral from his day to ours. The didactic homily was one fresh convention introduced. Far more important was the tendency to make every form subserve some ulterior purpose of allegory and panegyric.[15] For the Roman its own beauty was no sufficient end of art. That the Aeneid was written for the glorification of Rome cannot be made a reproach to the poet; the greatness of the end lent dignity to the means. That the pastoral was forced to serve the menial part of a vehicle of sycophantic praise is less easily pardoned. In Vergil's hands a conversation between shepherds becomes an expression of gratitude to the emperor for the restitution of his villa, a lament for Daphnis is interwoven with an apotheosis of Julius Caesar, and in the complaint of the forsaken shepherd, whom Apollo and Pan seek in vain to comfort, we may trace the wounded vanity of his patron deserted by his mistress for the love of a soldier. The fourth eclogue was written after the peace of Brundisium, and describes the golden age to which Vergil looked forward as consequent upon the birth of a marvellous infant, perhaps some offspring of the marriages of Antonius and Octavianus, celebrated in solemnization of the treaty. The poem achieved considerable fame, which lasted as late as the time of Dryden, owing to the belief that it contained a prophecy of the birth of Christ drawn from the Sibylline books, and won for Vergil throughout the middle ages the title of prophet and magician. Whether this belief was well founded or not may be left to those whom it may interest to inquire; it is sufficient for our purpose to note that in the poem in question Vergil first introduced the convention of the golden age into pastoral verse.

The first of the long line of imitators of whom we have any notice was a certain Calpurnius. His diction is correct and his verse smooth, but the suggestion that he belonged to the age of Augustus has not met with much favour among those competent to judge. He followed Vergil closely, chiefly developing the panegyric. His poems, however, include all the usual conventions, singing matches, invocations, cosmologies, and the rest, in the treatment of which originality never appears to have been his aim. Some of his pieces deal with husbandry, and belong more strictly to the school of the Georgics and didactic poetry. The most interesting of his eclogues is one in which he contrasts the life of the town with that of the country, the direct comparison of which he appears to have been the first to treat. The poem likewise possesses some antiquarian interest, owing to a description of a wild-beast show in an amphitheatre in which the animals were brought up in lifts through the floor of the arena. Calpurnius is sometimes supposed, on account of a dedication to Nemesianus found in some manuscripts, to have lived at the end of the third century, but even supposing the dedication to be genuine, which is more than doubtful, it does not follow that the person referred to is that Nemesianus who contested the poetic crown with Prince Numerianus about the year 283[16]. This Nemesianus was probably the author of some eclogues which have been frequently ascribed to Calpurnius (numbers 8 to 11 in most editions), but which must be discarded from the list of his authentic works on a technical question of the employment of elision[17]. The editio princeps of these eclogues is not dated, but probably appeared in 1471, so that they were at any rate accessible to writers of the cinquecento. It is not easy to trace any direct influence, unless, as perhaps we should, we credit to Calpurnius the suggestion of those poems in which a 'wise' shepherd describes to his less-travelled hearers the manners of the town.

A few pieces from the Idyllia of Ausonius appear in some of the bucolic collections, but they cannot strictly be regarded as coming within the range of pastoral poetry.


Events conspired to make Vergil the model for later writers of eclogues. The fame of the poet was a potent cause among many. Another reason why Theocritus found no direct imitators may be sought in the respective methods of the two poets. Work of the nature of the Idyls has to depend for its value and interest upon the artistic qualities of the poetry alone. Such work may spring up spontaneously under almost any conditions; it is seldom produced through imitation. On the other hand, any scholar with a gift for easy versification could achieve a certain distinction as a follower of Vergil. His verse depended for its interest not on its poetic qualities but upon the importance of the themes it treated. Accidental conditions, too, told in favour of the Roman poet. During the middle ages Latin was a universal language among the lettered classes, while the knowledge of Greek, though at no time so completely lost as is sometimes supposed, was a far rarer accomplishment, and was restricted for the most part to a few linguistic scholars. Thus before the revival of learning had made Greek a possible source of literary inspiration, the Vergilian tradition, through the instrumentality of Petrarch and Boccaccio, had already made itself supreme in pastoral[18].

During the middle ages the stream of pastoral production, though it nowhere actually disappears, is reduced to the merest trickle. Notices of such isolated poems as survive have been carefully collected by Macrì-Leone in the introduction to his elaborate but as yet unfinished work on the Latin eclogue in the Italian literature of the fourteenth century. As early as the end of the fourth or beginning of the fifth century we find a poem by Severus Sanctus Endelechius, variously entitled 'Carmen bucolicum de virtute signi crucis domini' or 'de mortibus boum.' It is a hymn to the saint cross, and in it for the first time the pastoral suffered violence from the tyranny of the religious idea. The 'Ecloga Theoduli' alluded to by Chaucer in the House of Fame[19] appears to be the work of an Athenian writer, and is ascribed to various dates ranging from the fifth to the eighth centuries. While preserving as its main characteristic a close subservience to its Vergilian model, the eclogue participated in the general rise of allegory which marked the later middle ages. Pastoral colouring of no very definite order had shown itself in the elegies of Alcuin in the eighth century, as also in the 'Conflictus veris et hiemis,' traditionally ascribed to the Venerable Bede, but more probably the work of one Dodus, a disciple of Alcuin. Of the tenth century we possess an allegorical religious lament entitled 'Ecloga duarum sanctimonialium.' About 1160 a Benedictine monk named Metellus composed twelve poems under the title of Bucolica Quirinalium, in honour of St. Quirinus and in obvious imitation of Vergil. Reminiscences and paraphrases of the Roman poet are scattered throughout the monk's own barbarous hexameters, as in the opening verses:

Tityre tu magni recubans in margine stagni
Silvestri tenuique fide pete iura peculi!

It would hardly be worth recording these medieval clerks, the undistinguished writers, 'de quibus,' Boccaccio said, 'nil curandum est,' were it not that they show how the memory at least of the classical pastoral survived amid the ruins of ancient learning, and so serve to lead up to one last spasmodic manifestation of the kind in certain poems which else appear to stand in a curiously isolated position.

It was in 1319, during the bitter years of his exile at Ravenna, that Dante received from one John of Bologna, known, on account of his fame as a writer of Latin verse, as Giovanni del Virgilio, a poetical epistle inviting him to visit the author in his native city. His correspondent, while doing homage to his poetic genius, incidentally censured him for composing his great work in the base tongue of the vulgar[20]. Dante replied in a Vergilian eclogue, courteously declining Giovanni's invitation to Bologna, on the ground that it was a place scarcely safe for his person. As regarded the strictures of his correspondent, his triumphant answer in the shape of the Paradiso lay yet unfinished, so the author of the De Vulgari Eloquio trifled with the charge and purported to compose the present poem in earnest of reform. There is a tone of not unkindly irony about the whole. Was it an elaborate jest at the expense of Giovanni, the writer of Vergilian verse? The Bolognese replied, this time also in bucolic form, repeating his invitation and holding out the special attraction of a meeting with Mussato, the most regarded poet of his day in Europe. Dante's second eclogue, if indeed it is correctly ascribed to his pen, introduces several historical characters. It is said not to have reached Bologna till after his death. These poems were not included in any of the early bucolic collections, and first appeared in print in the eighteenth century. They seem, from their purely occasional nature, their inconspicuous bulk, and lack of any striking characteristics, to have attracted little notice in their own day, and to have been ignored by later writers on pastoral as forming no link in the chain of historical development. Given, indeed, the Bucolics of Vergil, they are imitations such as might at any moment have appeared, irrespective of date and surroundings, and independent of any living literary tradition[21]. It is therefore impossible to regard them as in any way belonging to, or foreshadowing, the great body of renaissance pastoral, a division of literature endowed with remarkable vitality and evolutionary force, which must in its growth and decay alike be studied in close connexion with the ideas and temperament of the age, and in relation to the general development of the history of letters[22].

The grandeur of the Roman Empire, the background against which in historical retrospect we see the bucolic eclogues of Vergil and his immediate followers, had vanished when Italian literature once more rose out of chaos. The political organism had resolved itself into its constituent elements, and fresh combinations had arisen. Nevertheless, though the Empire was hardly now the shadow of its pristine greatness, men still looked to Rome as the centre of the civilized world. As the seat of the Church, it stood for the one force capable of supplying a permanent element among the warring interests of European politics. Nothing was more natural than that the poetic form that had reflected the glories of imperial Rome should bow to the fascination of Rome, the visible emblem on earth of the spiritual empire of Christ. To the medieval mind, so far from there being any antagonism between the two ideas, the one seemed almost to involve and necessitate the other. It saw in the splendeur of the Empire the herald of a glory not of this world, a preparation as it were, a decking of the chamber against the advent of the bride; and thus the pastoral which sang of the greatness of pagan Rome appeared at the same time a hymn prophetic of the glory of the Church[23].

Moreover, during the centuries that had elapsed since the days of Vergil the term 'pastoral' had gained a new meaning and new associations. In the days of Augustus Pan was a boorish anachronism; it was left to medieval Christianity to create a god who was in fact a shepherd of men[24] and so to render possible a pastoral allegory that should embody the dearest hopes and aspirations of the human heart. That Christian pastoralists availed themselves successfully of the possibilities of the theme it would be difficult to maintain. It is a singular fact that, at a time when allegory was the characteristic literary form, it was yet so impossible even for the finer spirits to follow a train of thought clearly and consistently, that it was only when a mind passed beyond the limitations of its own age, and assumed a position sub specie aeternitatis, that it was able to free itself from the prevalent confusion of the imaginary and the real, the word and the idea, and to perceive that success in allegory depends, not on the chaotic intermingling of the attributes of the type and the thing typified, but on so representing the one as to suggest and illuminate the other.

In the early days of renascent humanism, the first to renew the pastoral tradition, broken for some ten centuries, was Francesco Petrarca. It is not without significance that the first modern eclogues were from the same pen as the sonnet 'Fontana di dolore, albergo d'ira,' expressive of the shame with which earnest sons of the Church contemplated the captivity of the holy father at Avignon; for thus on the very threshold of Arcadia we are met with those bitter denunciations of ecclesiastical corruption which strike so characteristic a note in the works of the satirical Mantuan, and seem so out of place in the songs of Spenser and Milton. In one eclogue the poet mourns over the ruin and desolation of Rome, as a mother deserted of her children; another is a dialogue between two shepherds, in which St. Peter, under the pastoral disguise of Pamphilus, upbraids the licentious Clement VI with the ignoble servitude in which he is content to abide; a third shows us Clement wantoning with the shameless mistress of a line of pontifical shepherds, a figure allegorical of the corruption of the Church[25]; in yet a fourth Petrarch laments his estrangement from his patron Giovanni Colonna, a cardinal in favour at the papal court, whom it would appear his outspoken censures had offended. Petrarch's was not the only voice that was raised urging the Pope to return from the 'Babylonian captivity,' but the protest had peculiar significance from the mouth of one who stood forth as the embodiment of the new age still struggling in the throes of birth. When 'the first Italian' accepted the laurel crown at the Capitol, he dreamed of Rome as once more the heart of the world, the city which should embody that early Italian idea of nationality, the ideal of the humanistic commonwealth. The course urged alike by Petrarch and by St. Catherine was in the end followed, but the years of exile were yet to bear their bitterest fruit of mortification and disgrace. In 1377 Gregory XI transferred the seat of the papacy from Avignon to Rome, with the resuit that the world was treated to the edifying spectacle of three prelates each claiming to be the vicar of Christ and sole father of the Church.

These ecclesiastical eclogues form the most important contribution made by Italy's greatest lyric poet to pastoral. Others, one in honour of Robert of Sicily, another recording the defeat of Pan by Articus on the field of Poitiers, follow already existing pastoral convention. Some few, again, of less importance in literary history, are of greater personal or poetic interest. In one we see Francesco and his brother Gherardo wandering in the realm of shepherds, and there exchanging their views concerning religious verse. A group of three, standing apart from the rest, connect themselves with the subject of the Canzoniere. The first describes the ravages of the plague at Avignon; the second mourns over the death of poetry in the person of Laura, who fell a victim on April 6, 1348; the third is a dirge sung by the shepherdesses over her grave. One, lastly, a neo-classic companion to Theocritus' tale of Galatea, recounts the poet's unrequited homage to Daphne of the Laurels, thus again suggesting the idealized source of Petrarch's inspiration. This poem is not only the gem of the series, but embodies the mythopoeic spirit of classical imagination in a manner unknown in the later days of the renaissance.

The, eclogues, twelve in number, appear to have been mostly composed about the middle of the fourteenth century. In the days of Petrarch the art of Latin verse was yet far from the perfection it attained in those of Poliziano and Vida; it was a clumsy vehicle in comparison with the vulgar tongue, which he affected to despise while setting therein the standard for future ages. Nevertheless, Petrarch's Latin poems bear witness to the natural genius for composition and expression to which we owe the Canzoniere. The editio princeps of the pastorals appeared in the form of a beautifully printed folio at Cologne in 1473, ninety-nine years after the poet's death. They were entitled Eglogae[26] (i.e. aeglogae), by which, as Dr. Johnson remarked, Petrarch, finding no appropriate meaning in the form eclogae, 'meant to express the talk of goatherds, though it will only mean the talk of goats.'

No two men ever won for themselves more diverse literary reputations than Petrarch and his friend Boccaccio. The Latin eclogue is one of their few points of literary contact. The bucolic collections contain no less than sixteen such poems from the pen of the younger writer[27], which, though not devoid of merit as poetical exercises, show that as a metrist Boccaccio fell almost as far short of his friend in the learned as in the vulgar tongue. They were composed at various dates, mostly, it would appear, after 1360, though some are certainly earlier; and it would be difficult to say whether to him or to Petrarch belonged the honour of reviving the form, were it not that, both in the poems themselves and in his correspondance, he explicitly mentions Petrarch as his master in the kind[28]. In any case the dates of composition must cover a wide period, for the poems reflect varions phases of his life. 'Le Egloghe del Boccaccio,' says an Italian critic, 'rappresentano tutta la vita psicologica del poeta, dalle febbri d'amore alle febbri ascetiche.' The amorous eclogues, to which in later life Boccaccio attached little importance, are early; several are historical in subject and are probably of later date, though one may be as early as 1348; there are others of a religions nature which belong to the author's later years. The allusions in these poems are so obscure that it would in most cases be hopeless to seek to unravel the meaning had not the author left us a key in a letter to Martino da Signa, prior of the Augustinians. Many of the subjects are purely conventional, such as those of the early poems on the loves of the shepherds, the historical panegyrics and laments, and the satire on rich misers. The same may be said of a dispute on the respective merits of poetry and commerce, and of a poem in praise of poetry; although the former has an obvious relation to the author's own circumstances, and the latter appears to be inspired by genuine enthusiasm and love of art. The forces of confusion that have dogged the pastoral in all ages show themselves where the poet tells a Christian fable in pagan guise; the antithesis of human and divine love, while suggesting Petrarch's influence over his life, is a theme that runs throughout medieval philosophy and was later embodied by Spenser in his Hymns. One poem stands out from the rest somewhat after the manner of Petrarch's Daphne. In it Boccaccio tells us, under the thinnest veil of pastoral, how his daughter Violante, dead in childhood many years before, appeared to him bearing tidings of the land beyond the grave. The theme is the same as that of the almost contemporary Pearl; and in treating it Boccaccio achieves something of the sweetness and pathos of the English poem. One eclogue, finally, the Valle tenebrosa (Vallis Opaca), which appears to owe something to Dante's description of hell, is probably historical in its intention, but the gloss explains obscurum per obscurius, and we can only suppose that the author intended that the inner sense should remain a mystery.

When Boccaccio wrote, the eclogue had not yet degenerated into the literary convention it became in the following century; and, though he was no doubt tempted to the use of the form by Vergilian tradition and the example of Petrarch, he must also have followed therein a natural inclination and no mere dictate of fashion. Even in these poems the humanity of the writer's personality makes itself felt. While Laura tends to fade into a personification of poetry, and Petrarch's strongest convictions find expression through the mouth of St. Peter, we feel that behind Boccaccio's humanistic exercise lies his own amorous passion, his own religious enthusiasm, his own fatherly tenderness and love. His eclogues, however, never attained the same reputation as Petrarch's, and remained in manuscript till the appearance of Giunta's bucolic collection of 1504.

As humanism advanced and the golden age of the renaissance approached, Latin bucolic writers sprang up and multiplied. The fullest collection--that printed by Oporinus at Basel in March, 1546--contains the poems of thirty-eight authors, and even this makes no pretence of giving those of the middle ages. The collection, however, ranges from Calpurnius to Castalio (i.e. the French theologian Sébastien Châteillon), and includes the work of Petrarca, Boccaccio, Spagnuoli, Urceo, Pontano, Sannazzaro, Erasmus, Vida, and others. There is a strong family likeness in the pastoral verse of these authors, and the majority are devoid of individual interest. A few, however, merit separate notice.

It was in the latter half of the fifteenth century that the renaissance eclogue, abandoning its last claims to poetic inspiration, assumed its definitive form in the works of Battista Spagnuoli, more commonly known from the place of his birth by the name of Mantuanus. His eclogues, ten in number, were accepted by the sixteenth century as models of pastoral composition, inferior to those of Vergil alone, were indeed any inferiority allowed. Starting with the simple theme of love, the author proceeds to depict its excess in the love-lunes of the distraught Amyntas. Thence he passes to one of those satires on women in which the fifteenth century delighted, so bitter, that when Thomas Harvey came to translate it in 1656 he felt constrained, for his credit's sake, to add the note, 'What the author meant of all, the translater intends only of ill women[29].' There follows the old complaint of the niggardliness of rich patrons towards poor poets, and a satire on the luxury of city life. The remaining poems are ecclesiastical. One is in praise of the religious life, another describes the simple faith of the country folk and the joys of conversion; finally, we have a satire on the abuses of Rome, and a discussion on points of theological controversy. None of these subjects possess the least novelty; the author's merit, if merit it can be called, lies in having stamped them with their definitive form for the use of subsequent ages. Combined with this lack of originality, however, it is easy to trace a strong personal element in the bitterness of the satire that pervades many of the themes, the orthodox eclogue on conversion standing in curious contrast with that on ecclesiastical abuses.

It is not easy to account for Spagnuoli's popularity, but the curiously representative quality of his work was no doubt in part the cause. His poems were what, through the changing fashions of centuries, men had come to expect of bucolic verse. They crystallized into a standard mould whatever in pastoral, whether classical or renaissance, was most obviously and easily reducible to a type, and so attained the position of models beyond which it was needless to go. They were first printed in 1498, and went through a number of editions during the author's lifetime. As a young man--and it is to his earlier years that the bulk of the eclogues must be attributed--Spagnuoli was noted for the elegance of his Latin verse; but his facility led him into over-production, and Tiraboschi reports his later writings as absolutely unreadable. He was of Spanish extraction, as his name implies, became a Carmelite, and rose to be general of the order, but retired in 1515, the year before his death.

Three eclogues are extant from the pen of Pontano, a distinguished humanist at the court of Ferdinand I and his successors at Naples, and a Latin poet of considerable grace and feeling. His poems were first published by Aldus in 1505, two years after his death. In one characteristic composition he laments the loss of his wife, to whom he was deeply attached; another introduces under a pastoral name his greater disciple Sannazzaro[30].

Jacopo Sannazzaro, known to humanism as Actius Sincerus, disciple of the 'Accademia Pontana,' and editor of his master's works, the greatest explorer, if not the greatest exponent, of the mysteries of Arcadia, was born of parents of Spanish origin at Naples in 1458. His boyhood was spent at San Cipriano, but he soon returned to Naples, where he fell in love with Carmosina Bonifacia. His passion does not appear to have been reciprocated, but the lady has her place in literature as the Phillis of the eclogues. He attached himself to the court of Frederick of Aragon, whom he followed into exile in France. Returning to Naples after his patron's death in 1503, he again fell in love, this time with a certain Cassandra Marchesa, to whom he continued to pay court, more Platonico, till his death in 1530. He is said to have died at her house.

To his Italian work I shall have to return later; here it is his five Latin piscatory eclogues that demand notice. There is nothing in the subject-matter to arrest attention--they consist of a lament for Carmosina, a lover's complaint, a singing match, a panegyric, and a poem in honour of Cassandra--but the form is interesting. Of course the claim sometimes put forward for Sannazzaro, as the inventor of the piscatory eclogue, ignores various passages in Theocritus, notably the twenty-first Idyl, whence he presumably borrowed the idea. But it is certainly refreshing, after wandering in an unreal Sicily and an imaginary Arcadia, and listening to shepherds discourse of the abuses of the Roman Curia, to dive into the waters of the bay of Naples, or wanton in fancy along its sunlit shore from the low rocks of Baiae to the sheer cliffs of Sorrento, and to feel that, even though Jacopo was no Neapolitan fisher-boy, and Carmosina no nymph of Posilipo, yet the poet had at least before him the blue water and the dark rocks, and in his heart the love that formed the theme of his song[31].

Sannazzaro also wrote a mythological poem entitled Salices, in which certain nymphs pursued by satyrs are changed by Diana into willows. The tale was evidently suggested by Ovid, and cannot strictly be classed as pastoral, though it may have helped to fix in pastoral convention the character of the satyr; who, however, at no time enjoyed a very savoury reputation. The Latin works were first published at Naples in 1536, and though far from rivalling the popularity of the Arcadia, went through several editions.

The Latin eclogues of the renaissance are distinguished from all other forms of allegory by the obscure and recondite allusions that they affected. There were few among their authors for whom the narration of simple loves and sorrows or the graces of untutored nature possessed any attraction; we find them either making their shepherds openly discuss contemporary affairs, or more often clothing their references to actual events in a sort of pastoral allegory, fatuous as regards its form and obscure as regards its content. Tityrus and Mopsus are alternately lovers, courtiers and spiritual pastors; Pan, when he does not conceal under his shaggy outside the costly robes of a prince, is a strange abortive monster, drawing his attributes in part from pagan superstition, in part from Christian piety; a libel upon both. The seed sown by Petrarch and Boccaccio bore fruit only too freely. The writers of eclogues, either debarred from or incapable of originality, sought distinction by ever more and more elaborate and involved allusions; and their works, in their own day held the more sublime the more incomprehensible they were, are now the despair of those who would wring from them any semblance of meaning.

The absurdities of the conventional pastoral did not, indeed, pass altogether unnoticed in their own day, for early in the sixteenth century Teofilo Folengo composed his Zanitonella in macaronic verse. It consists of eclogues and poems in hexameter and elegiac metre ridiculing polite pastoralism through contrast with the crudities of actual rusticity. In the same manner Berni travestied the courtly pastoral of vernacular writers in his realistic pictures of village love. But though the satirist might find ample scope for his wit in anatomizing the foible of the day, fashionable society continued none the less to encourage the exquisite inanity, and to be flattered by the elegant obscurity, of the allegorical pastoral.


In 1481 appeared an Italian translation of the Bucolics of Vergil from the pen of Bernardo Pulci. The same volume also contained a collection of eclogues in the vernacular by various authors, none of which have any particular interest beyond what attaches to them as practically heading the list of Italian pastorals[32]. It will be noticed that these poems correspond in date with the later school of Latin bucolic writers, represented by Mantuan; and the vernacular compositions developed approximately parallel to, though usually in imitation of, those in the learned tongue. But the fourteenth-century school of Petrarch had not been entirely without its representative in Italian. At least one poem included by Boccaccio in his Ameto is a strict eclogue, composed throughout in terza rima, which was destined to become the standard verse-form for 'pastoral,' as ottava rima for 'rustic,' composition. The poem is a contention between an upland and a lowland shepherd, and begins in genuine pastoral fashion:

Come Titan del seno dell' aurora
Esce, così con le mie pecorelle
I monti cerco sema far dimora.

It is chiefly differentiated from many similar compositions in Latin--and the distinction is of some importance--in that the interest is purely pastoral; no political or religious allusions being discernible under the arguments of the somewhat quarrelsome swains[33]. This peculiarity is on the whole characteristic of the later vernacular pastoral likewise, which, after the appearance of the collection of 1481, soon became extremely common, Siena and Urbino, Ferrara, Bologna and Padua, Florence and Naples, all alike bearing practical witness to the popularity of the kind[34].

In 1506 Castiglione[35] and Cesare Gonzaga, in the disguise of shepherds, recited an eclogue interspersed with songs before the court of Duke Guidubaldo at Urbino. The Duchess Elizabeth was among the spectators. The Tirsi, as it is called, begins with the simple themes of pastoral complaint, whence by swift transition it passes to a panegyric of the court and the circle of the Cortegiano. It was not the first attempt at bringing the pastoral upon the boards, since Poliziano's Orfeo with its purely bucolic opening had been performed as early as 1471; but Castiglione's ecloga rappresentativa was the first of any note to depend purely on the pastoral form and to introduce on the stage the convention of the allegorical pastoral. Some years later a further step was taken in the dramatization of the eclogue by Luigi Tansillo in his Due pelegrini, performed at Messina in 1538, though composed and probably originally acted some ten years before. It is through these and similar poems that we shall have to trace the gradual evolution of the pastoral drama in a later section of this work. Tansillo was likewise the author, both of a poem called Il Vendemmiatore, one of those obscene debauches of fancy which throw a lurid light on the luxurious imagination of the age, and of a didactic work, Il Podere, in which, as his editor somewhat naïvely remarks, 'ci rende amabile la campagna e l'agricoltura[36].'

The practice of eclogue-writing soon became no less general in the vernacular than in Latin, and the band of pastoral poets included men so different in temperament as Machiavelli, who left a 'Capitolo pastorale' among his miscellaneous works, and Ariosto, whose eclogue on the conspiracy contrived in 1506 against Alfonso d'Este was published from manuscript in 1835. The fashion of the piscatory eclogue, set by Sannazzaro in Latin, was followed in Italian by his fellow-citizen Bernardino Rota, and later by Bernardino Baldi of Urbino, Abbot of Guastalla, in whose poems we are able at times to detect a ring of simple and refreshing sincerity.

Though, as will be understood even from the brief summary given above, the allusive element is not wholly absent from these poems, it is nevertheless true, as already said, that it appears less persistently than in the Latin works, the weighty matters of religion and politics being as a rule avoided. The reason is perhaps not far to seek, since, being in the vulgar tongue, they appealed to a wider and less learned audience, before whom it might have been injudicious to utter too strong an opinion on questions of church and state.

So far the pastoral poetry of Italy had been composed exclusively in the literary Tuscan of the day. To Florence and to Lorenzo de' Medici in particular is due the honour of having first introduced the rustic speech of the people. His two poems written in the language of the peasants about Florence, La Nencia da Barberino and a canzonet In morte della Nencia, possess a grace to which the quaintness of the diction adds point and flavour. A short extract must suffice to illustrate the style.

Ben si potrà tener avventurato
Chi sia marito di sì bella moglie;
Ben si potrà tener in buon dì nato
Chi arà quel fioraliso senza foglie;
Ben si potrà tenersi consolato
Che si contenti tutte le sue voglie
D' aver la Nencia, e tenersela in braccio
Morbida e bianca, che pare un sugnaccio.

Nenciozza mia, vuo' tu un poco fare
Meco a la neve per quel salicale?--
Sì, volentier, ma non me la sodare
Troppo, chè tu non mi facessi male.--
Nenciozza mia, deh non ti dubitare,
Chè l' amor ch' io ti porto sì è tale,
Che quando avessi mal, Nenciozza mia,
Con la mia lingua te lo leveria.

This form of composition at once became fashionable. Luigi Pulci[37] composed his Beca di Dicomano, which attained almost equal success and passed for the work of Lorenzo. It is, however, a far inferior production, in which the quaintness of the model is replaced by coarse caricature and its delicate rusticity by a cruder realism. Other imitations followed, but none bear comparison with Lorenzo's poem[38]. It is in thought and expression rather than in actual language that these poems distinguish themselves from the literary pastoral. More noticeably dialectal is an anonymous Pescatoria amorosa printed about 1550. It is a Venetian serenade sung in the persons of fishermen, and possesses a certain grace of language:

Cortese donne, belle innamorae,
Donzelle, vedovette, e maridae,
Ascholte ste parole, che le no se cortelae,
Che intendere la causa del vegnir in ste contrae[39].

Symonds and D'Ancona alike remark, with perfect truth, that Lorenzo's rustic style, in spite of its sympathetic grace, is not altogether dissociated from burlesque. While free from the artificiality of court pastoral, it is equally distinct from the natural simplicity of the Theocritean idyl. Its flavour depends upon the half cynical, half kindly, amusement afforded by the contrast between the naïveté of the country and the familiar and conventional polish of town life. This theme had already caught the fancy of the song-writers of the fourteenth century, who produced some of the most delightful examples of native and unconventional pastoral anywhere to be found[40]. Franco Sacchetti the novelist, for example, gives us a series of charming vignettes of country life and scenery, but always from the point of view of the town observer. One poem of his in particular gained wide popularity, and a modernized and somewhat altered version was iater printed among the works of Poliziano. It was originally a ballata, but I prefer to quote some stanzas from the traditional version:

Vaghe le montanine e pastorelle,
Donde venite sì leggiadre e belle?-- Vegnam dall' alpe, presso ad un boschetto;
Picciola capannella è il nostro sito;
Col padre e colla madre in picciol tetto,
Dove natura ci ha sempre nutrito,
Torniam la sera dal prato fiorito
Ch' abbiam pasciute nostre pecorelle.-- Ben si posson doler vostre bellezze,
Poichè tra valli e monti le mostrate,
Chè non è terra di sì grandi altezze
Che voi non foste degne ed onorate.
Ora mi dite, se vi contentate
Di star nell' alpe così poverelle?-- Più si contenta ciascuna di noi
Gire alla mandria, dietro alla pastura,
Più che non fate ciascuna di voi
Gire a danzare dentro a vostre mura;
Ricchezza non cerchiam, nè più ventura,
Se non be' fiori, e facciam ghirlandelle[41].

Other writers besides Sacchetti produced songs of the sort, but in all alike the strictly pastoral element was accidental, and merged insensibly into the more delicately romantic of the novelle themes. The following lines touch on a situation familiar in later pastoral and also found in English ballad poetry. They are by Alesso Donati, a contemporary of Sacchetti's. A nun sings:

La dura corda e 'l vel bruno e la tonica
Gittar voglio e lo scapolo
Che mi tien qui rinchiusa e fammi monica;
Poi teco a guisa d'assetato giovane,
Non già che si sobbarcoli,
Venir me n' voglio ove fortuna piovane:

E son contenta star per serva e cuoca,
Chè men mi cocerò ch' ora mi cuoca[42].

But if pastoralism made its appearance in the lyric, the lyric equally influenced pastoral, for it is in the songs of the fifteenth century that we first meet with that spirit of graceful melancholy sighing over the transitoriness of earthly things, the germ of the voluttà idillica of the Aminta and the Pastor fido. This vein is strong in Lorenzo's charming carnival songs, which at once recall Villon's burden, 'Où sont les neiges d'antan?' and anticipate Tasso's warning:

Cangia, cangia consiglio,
Pazzerella che sei;
Che il pentirsi dassezzo nulla giova.

The 'triumph' of Bacchus and Ariadne, introduced with amorous nymphs and satyrs, has the refrain:

Quant' è bella giovinezza,
Che si fugge tuttavia!
Chi vuol esser lieto, sia:
Di doman non c' è certezza.

The flower of lyric melancholy is already full blown. So, too, in another carnival song of his:

Or che val nostra bellezza?
Se si perde, poco vale.
Viva amore e gentilezza!

Gentilezza, morbidezza--the yielding fancy in the disguise of pity, the nerveless languor that passes for beauty--such is the dominant note of the song upon men's lips in the troublous times of the renaissance[43].

Another of the outlying realms of pastoral is the mythological tale, more or less directly imitated from Ovid. The first to introduce it in vernacular literature was Boccaccio, who in his Ninfale fiesolano uses a pagan allegory to convey a favourite novella theme. The shepherd Affrico loves a nymph of Diana, and the tale ends by the goddess changing her faithless votary into a fountain. It is written in somewhat cumbrous ottava rima, and seldom shows any conspicuous power of narrative. Belonging to the same class of composition, though of a very different order of poetic merit, is Lorenzo's wonderfully graceful tale of Ambra. The grace lies in the telling, for the plot was probably already stale when Phoebus and Daphne were protagonists. The poem recounts how the wood-nymph Ambra, beloved of Lauro, is pursued by the river-god Ombrone, one of Arno's tributary divinities, and praying to Diana in her hour of need, is by her transformed into a rock[44]. Lorenzo's Selva d'amore and Caccia col falcone might also be mentioned in the same connexion.

Less pastoral in motive and less connected in narrative, but of even greater importance in the formation of pastoral taste, is the famous Giostra written in honour of the young Giuliano de' Medici. I have already more than once had occasion to mention its author, Angelo Ambrogini, better known from the place of his birth as Poliziano or Politian[45], the contemporary, dependent, and fellow-littérateur of Lorenzo il Magnifico, and the greatest scholar and learned writer of the Italian renaissance. As the author of the Orfeo he will occupy our attention when we come to trace the evolution of the pastoral drama. Though he left no poems belonging to the recognized forms of pastoral composition, his work constantly borders upon the kind, and evinces a genuine sympathy with rustic life which makes the ascription to him of the already quoted modernization of Sacchetti not inappropriate. He left several other pieces of a similar nature, some of which at least are known to be adaptations of popular songs[46]. Such, for instance, is the irregular canzone beginning:

La pastorella si leva per tempo
Menando le caprette a pascer fuora,
Di fuora, fuora: la traditora
Co' suoi begli occhi la m' innamora,
E fa di mezza notte apparir giorno.

The Giostra is composed, like its predecessors, in the octave stanza, and presents a series of pictures drawn from classical mythology or from the poet's own imagination, adorned with all the physical beauty the study of antiquity could supply and a rich and refined taste crystallize into chastest jewellery of verse[47]. This blending of luxuriance and delicacy is the characteristic quality of Poliziano's and Lorenzo's poetry. It is admirably expressed in the phrase of a recent critic, 'the decorum of things exquisite.' After the lapse of another half-century, during which the renaissance advanced from its graceful youth to the full bloom of its maturity, appeared the Ninfa tiberina of Francesco Maria Molza. 'The voluttà idillica[48],' writes Symonds, 'which opened like a rosebud in the Giostra, expands full petals in the Ninfa tiberina; we dare not shake them, lest they fall.' Like the earlier poem it possesses little narrative unity--the taie of Eurydice introduced by way of illustration occupies more than a third of the whole--but every point is made the occasion of minute decoration of the richest beauty. It was written for Faustina Mancina, a celebrated courtesan, whose empire lay till the day of her death over the papal city. The wealth of sensuality and wit that made a fatal seduction of Rome for Molza, scholar and libertine, is reflected as it were in the rich cadences and overwrought adornment of his verse. Such compositions as these had a powerful influence over the tone of idyllic poetry. I have mentioned only a few out of a considerable list. The Driadeo d'amore earlier--a mythological medley variously ascribed in different editions to Luca and to Luigi Pulci--and Marino's Adone later, were likewise among the works that went to form the courtly taste to which the pastoral drama appealed. The detailed criticism, however, of such compositions lies beyond the scope of this work.


We must now return to an earlier period in order to follow the development of the pastoral romance. When dealing with Daphnis and Chloe I pointed out that the Greek work could claim no part in the formation of the later prose pastoral. Between it and the work of Boccaccio and Sannazzaro there exists no such continuity of tradition as between the bucolics of the classical Mantuan and those of his renaissance follower. The Italian pastoral romance, in spite of its almost pedantic endeavour after classical and mythological colouring, was as essentially a product of its age as the pastoral drama itself. So far as any influence on the evolution of the subsequent Arcadia was concerned, Longus might as well never have written of the pastures of Lesbos. Indeed, were we here concerned in assigning to its historical source each particular trait in individual works, rather than in tracing the general development of an idea, it would be casier to distinguish a faint and slightly cynical reminiscence of Daphnis and Chloe in the Aminta and Pastor fido than in the Ameto or the Arcadia.

In his pastoral romance, 'Ameto, ovvero Commedia delie ninfe fiorentine,' Boccaccio set a fashion in literature, namely the intermingling for purposes of narration of prose and verse[49], in which he was followed a century and a half later by Pietro Bembo, the Socrates of Castiglione's renaissance Symposium, in his dialogue on love entitled Gli Asolani, and by Jacopo Sannazzaro in his still more famous Arcadia. The Ameto is one of Boccaccio's early compositions, written about 1341, after his return from Naples, but before he had gained his later mastery of language. It is not unfairly characterized by Symonds as 'a tissue of pastoral tales, descriptions, and versified interludes, prolix in style and affected with pedantic erudition.' It is, however, possible to underrate its merits, and it would be easy to overlook its historical importance. Ameto is a rude hunter of the neighbourhood of Florence. One day, while in the woods, he discovers a company of nymphs resting by a stream, and overhears the song of the beautiful Lia. His rough nature is touched by the sweetness of the music and he falls in love with the singer. Their meetings are interrupted by the advent of winter, but he finds her again at the feast of Venus, when shepherds, fauns, and nymphs forgather at the temple of the goddess. In this company Lia proposes that each of the nymphs present, seven in number, shall narrate the story of her love. This they in turn do, each ending with a song of praise to the gods; and Ameto feels his love burn for each in turn as he listens to their tales. When the last has ended a sudden brightness shines around and 'there descended with wondrous noise a column of pure flame, even such as by night went before the Israelitish people in the desert places,' Out of the brightness cornes the voice of Venus:

Io son luce del cielo unica e trina,
Principio e fine di ciascuna cosa,
Del quai men fù, nè fia nulla vicina.

Ameto, though half blinded by the heavenly effulgence, sees a new joy and beauty shine upon the faces of the nymphs, and understands that the flame-shrouded presence is that, not of the wanton mater cupidinum, but of the goddess of divine fire who comes to reveal to him the mysteries of love. Cleansed of his grosser nature by a baptismal rite, in which each of the nymphs performs some symbolic ceremonial, he feels heavenly love replacing human in his heart, and is able to bear undazzled the radiance of the divine purity. He salutes the goddess with a song:

O diva luce, quale in tre persone
Ed una essenza il ciel governi e 'l mondo
Con giusto amore ed eterna ragione,
Dando legge alle stelle, ed al ritondo
Moto del sole, principe di quelle,
Siccome discerniamo in questo fondo[50].

Various interpretations have been suggested for this work, with its preposterous mixture of pagan and Christian motives. This peculiarity, which we have already met with in Boccaccio's eclogues, and in his Ninfale fiesolano, was indeed one of the most persistent as it was one of the least admirable characteristics of pastoral composition. Francesco Sansovino, who edited the Ameto in 1545, discovered real personages underlying the characters of the romance. Fiammetta is introduced by name, and her lover Caleone can hardly be other than Boccaccio. More recent commentators are probably right in detecting an allegorical intention. The seven nymphs, according to them, represent the four cardinal and three theological virtues, and their stories are to be interpreted symbolically. This view derives support from the baptismal ceremony, in which after the public lustration one of the nymphs removes the scales from Ameto's eyes, while another, 'breathing between his lips, kindled within him a flame such as he had never felt before.' In these ministrants it is not difficult to recognize the virtues respectively of faith and love. Ameto may be taken as typical of humanity, tamed of its savage nature by love, and through the service of the virtues led to the knowledge of the divine essence. The conception of love as a civilizing and humanizing power already underlay the sensuous stanzas of the Ninfale fiesolano, while the later part of the romance was not uninfluenced by recollections of the Divine Comedy[51]. It is true that a modern mind will with difficulty be able to reconcile the amorous confessions of the nymphs with the characteristics of the virtues, but in Boccaccio's day the tradition of the Gesta Romanorum was still strong, and the age that mysticized Vergil, and moralized Ovid, was capable of much in the way of allegorical interpretation[52].

The point to which this allegorical interpretation can legitimately be carried need not trouble us here. Having set himself to characterize the virtues, it is moreover likely enough that Boccaccio sought at the same time to connect his figures more or less definitely with actual persons. It is sufficient for our present purpose if we recognize in the Ameto something of the same triple intention which, not to put too fine a metaphysical point upon the parallel, we meet with in Dante and in the Faery Queen. Having fashioned in accordance with these motives the framework of his book, Boccaccio further concerned himself but little with this philosophical intention, and the allegorical setting having served its artistic purpose of linking them together into one connected whole, it was upon the detail of the narratives themselves that the author's attention was concentrated. It is, however, just in this artistic purpose of the setting that one of the chief interests of the Ameto lies; for if in the mingling of verse and prose it is the forerunner of the Arcadia, in the linking together of a series of isolated stories it anticipates Boccaccio's own Decameron.

While there is little that is distinctly bucolic about the Ameto, the atmosphere is eminently pastoral in the wider sense. Nymphs and shepherds, foresters and fauns meet at the temple of Venus; the limpid fountains and shady laurels belong essentially to the conventional landscape, whether of Sicily, of Arcadia, or of the hills overlooking the valley of the Arno. The Italian imagination was not careful to differentiate between field and forest: favola boschereccia was used synonymously with commedia pastorale; drammi dei boschi is a term which covers the whole of the pastoral drama. But what really gives the Ameto its importance in the history of pastoral literature is the manner in which, undisturbed by its religions and allegorical machinery, it introduces us to a purely sensual and pagan paradise, in which love with all its pains and raptures reigns supreme.

The narratives of the nymphs, and indeed the whole of the prose portions of the work, are composed in a style of surcharged and voluptuous beauty, congested with lengthy periods, and accumulated superlatives and relative clauses, which, in its endeavour to maintain itself and its subject at the highest possible pitch, only succeeds in being intensely and almost uniformly monotonous and dull. It is perfectly true that the work possesses some at least of the qualities of its defects. There are passages which argue a feeling for beauty, none the less real for being of a somewhat conventional order, while we not seldom detect a certain rich luxuriance about the descriptions; but it must be admitted that on the whole the style exhibits most of Boccaccio's faults and few of his merits. The verse interspersed throughout is in terza rima, and offers small attraction to the ordinary reader: 'meschinissima cosa' is a verdict which, if somewhat severe, will probably find few to contradict it.

In a certain passage, speaking of Poliziano's Orfeo, Symonds remarks that 'while Arcady became the local dreamland of the new ideal, Orpheus took the place of its hero.' Without inquiring too closely how far the writers of the renaissance actually connected the hero of music, as a power of civilization, with their newly discovered country, it is interesting to note that the earliest work in the Italian language containing in however amoebean a state the pastoral ideal opens with an allusion to Orpheus.

Quella vertù, che già l'ardito Orfeo
Mosse a cercar le case di Plutone,
Allor che forse lieta gli rendeo
La cercata Euridice a condizione,
E dal suon vinto dell' arguto legno,
E dalla nota della sua canzone,
Per forza tira il mio debile ingegno
A cantar le tue Iode, o Citerea,
Insieme con le forze del tuo regno[53].

Orpheus, however, does not stand alone. Venus, Phoebus, Mars, Cupid, and finally Jove, are each in turn invoked, to say nothing of the incidental mention of Aeneas, Mirra, and Europa. This love of mythology in and out of season is one of the most prominent features of the work. One of the nymphs describes her youth in the following words:

il padre mio .... visse eccellentissimo ne' beni pubblici tra' reggenti, e de' beni degli iddii copioso: me a lui donata da loro, nominò Mopsa, e vedentemi nella giovanetta età mostrante già bella forma, ai servigi dispose di Pallade, la quale me benivola ricevente nelle sante grotte del cavallo Gorgoneo, tra le sapientissime Muse commise, là dov' io gustai l'acque Castalie, e l'altezza di Cirra tentante, le stelle cercai con ferma mano; e i pallidi visi, quelli luoghi colenti, sempre con riverenza seguii; e molte volte sonando Apollo la cetera sua, lui nel mezzo delle nove Muse ascoltai[54].

She continues for pages in the same strain with illustrative allusions to Caius Julius, Claudius, and Britannicus.

At the risk of devoting to the Ameto an altogether disproportionate amount of the space at my disposai I must before passing on attempt to give some notion of the kind of narrative contained in the romance, all the more so as it is little known except to students. With this object I have translated a characteristic passage from the tale of Agape[55].

I came from my home nigh unto the temple, before whose altars, with due devotion, I began thus to pray: 'O Venus, full of pity, sacred goddess whose altars I am joyful to approach, lend thou thy merciful ears unto my prayer; for I come to thee a young girl, though fairly fashioned yet ill-starred in love, fearful lest my empty years lead comfortless to a chill old age; therefore, if my beauty merit that I be counted among thy followers, enter thou into my breast who so desire thee, and grant that in the love of a youth not unworthy of my beauty, and through whom my wasted hours may be with delight made good, I may feel those fires of thine which many times and endlessly I have heard praised.' I know not whether while I was thus engrossed in prayer I fell on sleep, and sleeping saw those things whereof I am about to tell, or whether, indeed, I was rapt thence in bodily form to see them; all I can tell is that suddenly I found myself borne through the heavens in a gleaming chariot drawn by white doves, and that inclining my eyes to things below I beheld the fruitful earth shrunk to a narrow room, and the rivers thereof after the fashion of serpents; and after that I had left behind the pleasant lands of Italy and the rugged mountains of Emathia, I beheld the waters of the Dircean fount and the ancient walls raised by the sound of Amphion's lyre, and soon there appeared to me the pleasant Cytherean mount, and on it resting the holy chariots drawn by the spotless birds. Whereon having alighted I went straying, alike uncertain of the way and of the fortune that might await me, when, as to Aeneas upon the Afric shore, so to me there amid the myrtles there appeared the goddess I had invoked, and I was filled with wonder such as I had never known before. She was disrobed except for the thinnest purple veil, which hid but little of her form, falling in double curve with many artful foldings over her left side; her face shone even as the sun, and her head was adorned with great length of golden hair rippling down over white shoulders; her eyes flashed with light never seen till then. Why should I labour to tell the loveliness of her mouth and of her snowy neck, of her marble breast and of her every part, since to do so lies so far beyond my powers, and even where I able, hardly should my words gain credence? But whereas she was now at hand I bowed my knees before her godhead, and with such voice as I could command, repeated my petition in her presence. She listened thereto, and approaching bade me rise, saying, 'Follow me; thy prayer is heard, thy desire granted,' and thereupon withdrew me to a somewhat loftier spot. There hidden amidst the dense foliage she discovered to me her only son, upon whom gazing in admiration, I found his beauty such that in all things did he appear fashioned like unto her, except in so far as being he a god and she a goddess. O how oft, remembering Psyche, I counted her happy and unhappy; happy in the possession of such a husband, unhappy in his loss, most happy in receiving him again from Jove. But even as I gazed, he, beating the air with his sacred wings that gleamed with clearest gold, departed with his load of newly fashioned arrows from those parts, and at the bidding of the goddess I turned to the spring wherein he used to temper his golden darts fresh forged with fiercest fire. Its silver waters, gushing of themselves from the earth and shaded along the margin by a growth of myrtle and dogwood, were neither violated in their purity by the approach of bird or beast, nor suffered aught from the sun's distemperature, and as I leaned forward to catch the reflection of my own figure I could discern the clear bottom free from every trace of mud[56]. The goddess, for that the hour was already hot, had doffed her transparent veil and plunged her into the cool water, and now commanded me that having stripped I too should enter the spring. We were yet disporting ourselves in the lovely fountain, when, raising my head and gazing with longing eyes around, I saw amid the leaves a youth, pale and shy of appearance, who with slow steps was advancing towards the sacred water. As I looked on him he was pleasant in my eyes, but that he should behold me naked filled me with shame, and I turned away to hide my unwonted blushes. And in like manner at the sight of me he too changed colour and was troubled; he stayed his steps and advanced no further. Then at the pleasure of the goddess leaving the water we resumed our apparel, and crowned with myrtle sought a neighbouring glade, full of finest grass and diapered with many flowers, where in the freshness we stretched our limbs to rest. Thereupon the goddess, having called the youth to us, began to speak in these words: 'Agape, most dear to me, this youth, Apyros by name, whom thou seest thus shy amid our glades, shall satisfy thy longing; but see that with care thou preserve inviolate our fires, which in thy heart thou shalt bear with thee hence.' I was about to make answer when my tender breast was of a sudden pierced by the flying arrow loosed by the strong hand of the son of her who added these unto her former words: 'We give him thee as thy first and only servant; he lacks nought but our fires, which, kindled even now by thee in him, be it thy care to nourish, that the frost that bound him like to Aglauros being driven from his heart, he may burn with the divine fire no less than father Jove himself.' She ceased; and I, trembling yet with fear, no sooner opened my lips to assent to her command, than I found myself once more in prayer before her altars; whereat marvelling not a little, and casting my eyes around in search of Apyros, I became aware of the golden arrow in my breast, and near me the pale youth, his intent gaze fixed upon me, and like me wounded by the god; and so seeing him inflamed with a passion no other than that which burned in me, I laughed, and filled with contentment and desire, made sign to him to be of hopeful cheer.

The advance in style that marks the transition from the Ameto to the Arcadia must be largely accredited to Boccaccio himself. The language of the Decameron became the model of cinquecento prose. Sannazzaro, however, wrote in evident imitation not of the structural method only, but of the actual style of the Ameto. Something, it is true, he added beyond the greater mastery of literary form due to training. Even in his most luxuriant descriptions and most sensuous images we find that grace and clearness of vision which characterize the early poetry of the Renaissance proper, and combine in literature the luminous purity of Botticelli and the gem-like detail of Pinturicchio. The mythological affectation of the elder work appears in the younger modified, refined, subordinated; there is the same delight in detailed description, but relieved by greater variety of imagination; while, even in the most laboured passages, there is a poetical feeling as well as a more subjective manner, which, combined with a remarkable power of visualization, saves them from the danger of the catalogue. Again, there is everywhere visible the same artificiality of style which characterizes the Ameto, but purged of its more extravagant elements and less affected and conceited than it became in the works of Lyly and Sidney. Like the Ameto, lastly, but unlike its Spanish and English successors, the Arcadia is purely pastoral, free from any chivalric admixture.

The narrative interest in the Arcadia is of the slightest. It opens with a description of the 'dilettevole piano, di ampiezza non molto spazioso,' lying at the summit of Parthenium, 'non umile monte della pastorale Arcadia,' which was henceforth to be the abode sacred to the shepherd-folk. There, as in Vergil's Italy and in Browne's Devon, in Chaucer's dreamland, and in the realm of the Faery Queen, 'son forse dodici o quindici alberi di tanto strana ed eccessiva bellezza, che chiunque li vedesse, giudicherebbe che la maestra natura vi si fosse con sommo diletto studiata in formarli.'[57] The shepherds, who are assembled with their flocks, are about to seek their homes at the approach of night, when they meet Montano playing upon his pipe, and a musical contest ensues between him and Uranio. Next day is celebrated the feast of Pales, an account of which is given at length, and is followed by a song in which Galicio sings the praises of his mistress Amaranta, of whom the narrator proceeds to give a minute description. After another singing-match between Logisto and Elpino the company betake themselves to the tomb of Androgeo, whose praises are set forth in prose and rime. There follows a song by the old shepherd Opico, on the superiority of the 'former age'; after which Carino asks the narrator, Sincero--the pseudonym under which Sannazzaro travelled in the realm of shepherds--to recount his history, which he does at length, ending with a lament in sestina form. By way of consoling him in his exile Carino, in return, tells the tale of his own amorous adventures. Next the reverend Opico is induced to discourse of the powers of magic as the shepherds proceed to the sacred grove of Pan, who shares with Pales the honours of Arcadian worship, and to the games held at the tomb of sibyllic Massilia--a name under which Sannazzaro is said to have commemorated his own mother. At this point the narrator is troubled by a dream portending death to the lady of his love. As, tormented by this thought, he wanders lonely in the chill dawn he meets a nymph, who leads him through a marvellous cavern into the depths of the earth, where he beholds the springs of many famous rivers, and finally, following the course of the Sabeto, arrives at his native city of Naples, where he learns the truth of his sorrowful forebodings.

The form has been systematized since Boccaccio wrote, the whole being divided into twelve Prose, alternating with as many Ecloghe, preceded by a Proemio and followed by an address Alla sampogna, both in prose. The verse is mediocre, and several of the eclogues are composed in the unattractive sestina form, while others affect the wearisome rime sdrucciole.[58] The most pleasing is Ergasto's lament at Androgeo's tomb, beginning:

Alma beata e bella,
Che da' legami sciolta
Nuda salisti ne' superni chiostri,
Ove con la tua stella
Ti godi insieme accolta;
E lieta ivi schernendo i pensier' nostri,
Quasi un bel sol ti mostri
Tra li più chiari spirti;
E coi vestigi santi
Calchi le stelle erranti;
E tra pure fontane e sacri mirti
Pasci celesti greggi;
E i tuoi cari pastori indi correggi. (Ecloga V.)

One would hardly turn to the artificiality of the Arcadia for representations of nature, and yet there is in the romance a genuine love of the woods and the fields, and of the rustic sports of the season. 'Sogliono il più delle volte gli alti e spaziosi alberi negli orridi monti dalla natura prodotti, più che le coltivate piante, da dotte mani espurgate negli adorni giardini, a' riguardanti aggradare,' remarks Sannazzaro at the outset. Elsewhere he furnishes us with an entertaining description of the various ways in which birds may be trapped, introduced possibly in pursuance of a hint from Longus.[59] Yet, in spite of his professed love of savage scenery and his knowledge of pastoral sports, it is after all in a very artificial and straitened form that nature filters to us through Sannazzaro's pages. Rather do we turn to them for the sake of the paintings on the temple walls, of Amaranta's lips, 'fresh as the morning rose,' of her wild lapful of flowers, and of a hundred other incidental pictures, one of the most charming of which, interesting on another score also, I make no apology for here transcribing.

Subito ordinò i premi a coloro, che lottare volessero, offrendo di dare al vincitore un bel vaso di legno di acero, ove per mano del Padoano Mantegna, artefice sovra tutti gli altri accorto ed ingegnosissimo, eran dipinte molte cose: ma tra l' altre una ninfa ignuda, con tutti i membri bellissimi, dai piedi in fuori, che erano come quelli delle capre; la quale, sovra un gonfiato otre sedendo, lattava un picciolo satirello, e con tanta tenerezza il mirava, che parea che di amore e di carità tutta si struggesse: e 'l fanciullo nell' una mammella poppava, nell' altra tenea distesa la tenera mano, e con l' occhio la si guardava, quasi temendo che tolta non gli fosse. Poco discosto da costoro si vedean due fanciulli pur nudi, i quali avendosi posti due volti orribili di maschere cacciavano per le bocche di quelli le picciole mani, per porre spavento a duo altri, che davanti loro stavano; de' quali l' uno fuggendo si volgea in dietro, e per paura gridava; l' altro caduto già in terra piangeva, e non possendosi altrimenti aitare, stendeva la mano per graffiarlo. (Prosa XI.)

I shall make no attempt at translation. Some versions, really wonderful in the success with which they reproduce the style of the original, will be found in Symonds' Italian Literature[60]. It is probably unnecessary to put in a warning that the Arcadia is a work of which extracts are apt to give a somewhat too favourable impression. In its long complaints, speeches, and descriptions it is at whiles intolerably prolix and dull, but it caught the taste of the age and went through a large number of editions, many with learned annotations, between the appearance of the first authorized edition and the end of the sixteenth century[61], There were several imitations later, such as the Accademia tusculana of Benedetto Menzini; Firenzuola imitated the third Prosa in his Sacrifizio pastorale; while collections of tales and facetiae such as the Arcadia in Brenta of Giovanni Sagredo equally sought the prestige of the name. A French translation published in 1544 went through three editions, and another appeared in 1737, while it was translated into Spanish in 1547, and again in 1578. It may have been due to the existence of Sidney's more ambitious work of the same name that no translation ever appeared in English.

Our survey of Italian pastoralism, in spite of the fact that its most important manifestation has been reserved for separate treatment later, has of necessity been lengthy. It was at Italian breasts that the infant ideal, reborn into a tumultuous world, was nursed. The other countries of continental Europe borrowed that ideal from Italy, though each in turn contributed characteristics of its own. It was to Italy that England too was directly indebted, while at the same time it absorbed elements peculiar to France and Spain. It will therefore be necessary briefly to review the forms that flourished in those countries respectively, though they need detain us but a brief space in comparison with the Italian fountain-head.

Before proceeding, however, it may be worth while to pause for a moment in order to take a general survey of the nature of the ideal, we might almost say the religion, of pastoralism, which reached its maturity in the work of Sannazzaro. Its location in the uplands of Arcadia may be traced to Vergil, who had the worship of Pan in mind, but the selection of the barren mountain district of central Peloponnesus as the seat of pastoral luxuriance and primitive culture is not without significance in respect of the severance of the pastoral ideal from actuality.[62] In it the world-weary age of the later renaissance sought escape from the materialism that bound it. Italy had turned its back upon mysticism in religion, and upon chivalry in love; its literature was the negation of what the northern peoples understand by romance. Yet it needed some relief from the very saneness of its rationalism, and it found the antidote to its vicious court life in the crystal springs of Castaly. What the pietism of Perugino's saints is to the feuds of the Baglioni, such is the Arcadian dream to the intellectual cynicism of Italian politics.

When children weave fancies of wonderland they use the resources of the imagination with economy; uninterrupted sunshine soon cloys. So too with these other children of the renaissance. Their wonderland is a place whither they may escape from the pressure of the world that is too much with them; they seek in it at least the virtue that its evils shall be the opposite of those from which they fly. They could not, it is true, believe in an Arcadia in which all the cares of this world should end--the golden age is always a time to be sung and remembered, or else to be dreamed of, in the years to come, it is never the present--but if they cannot escape from the changes and chances of this mortal life, if death and unfaith are still realities in their dreamland as on earth, they will at least utter their grief melodiously, and water fair pastures with their tears. Like the garden of the Rose which satisfied the middle age before it, the Arcadian ideal of the renaissance degenerated, as every ideal must. The decay of pastoral, however, was in this unique, that it tended less to exaggerate than to negative the spirit that gave it birth. Theocritus turned from polite society and sought solace in his no doubt idealized recollections of actual shepherd life. On the other hand, to the allegorical pastoralists from Vergil to Spagnuoli, the shepherd-realm either reflects, or is made directly to contrast with, the interests and vices of the actual world; in their work the note of longing for escape to an ideal life is heard but faintly or not at all. In the songs of the late fifteenth century and in Sannazzaro there is a genuine pastoral revival; the desire of freedom from reality is strong upon men in that age of strenuous living. It has been happily said that Mantuan's shepherds meet to discuss society, Sannazzaro's to forget it. And yet, after all, these men are too strongly bound by the affections of this world to be able wholly to sacrifice themselves to the joys of the ideal. Fiammetta must have her place in Boccaccio's strange apotheosis of love; the foreboding of Carmosina's death has power to draw her lover from his newly discovered kingdom along the untrodden paths of the waters of the earth. And so when Arcadia ceased to be a necessity of sentiment and became one of fashion, where poets were no longer content to wander with their mistresses in the land of fancy, alone, 'at rest from their labour with the world gone by,' there appeared a tendency to return to the allegorical style, and to make Arcadia what Sicily had already become--the mirror of the polite society of the Italian courts. Thus it is that in the crowning jewels of Italian pastoralism, in the Aminta and the Pastor fido, we trace a yearning towards a simpler, freer, and more genuine life, side by side with such incompatible and antagonistic elements as the reproduction in pastoral guise of the personages and surroundings of the circle of Ferrara. Not content with the pure ideal, the poets endeavoured, like Faust at the sight of Helena, to find in it a place for the earthly affections that bound them, and at the touch of reality the vision dissolved in mist.


When we turn to the literature of the western peninsula during the early years of the sixteenth century, we find it characterized by a temporary but very complete subjection to Italian models. This phenomenon, which is particularly marked in pastoral, is readily explained by the fact that the similarity of the dialects made the transference of poetic forms from Italian to Spanish an easy matter. Thus when among the nations of Europe Italy awoke to her great task of recovering an old and discovering a new world of arts and letters, it was upon Spanish verse that she was able to exercise the most immediate and overpowering influence. Under these circumstances it was impossible but that she should drag the literature of that country, for a while at least, in her train, away from its own proper genius and natural course of development. Other countries were saved from servitude by the very failure of their attempts to imitate the new Italian style; and Spain herself, it must be remembered, was not long in recovering her individuality and in endowing Europe with one of the richest national literatures of the world.

It is important, however, to distinguish from the pastoral work produced under this dominating Italian influence certain other work in the kind, which, while to some extent dependent for its form upon foreign models, bears at the same time strong marks of native inspiration. In this earlier and more popular tradition the tendencies of the national literature, the pastoral possibilites of which appear at times in the ballads, mingle more or less with elements of convention and allegory drawn from Vergil or his humanistic followers. Little influence of this popular tradition can as a rule be traced in the later pastoral work, but it acquires a certain incidental interest in connexion with another branch of literature. It is, namely, the remarkable part it played in the evolution of the national drama that makes it worth while mentioning a few of its more important examples in this place.[63]

An isolated composition, in which lay not so much the germ of the future drama as the index of its possibility, is the Coplas de Mingo Revulgo, the composition of an unknown author. It is an eclogue in which two shepherds, representing respectively the upper and lower orders of Spanish society, discourse together on the causes of national discontent and political corruption prevalent about 1472, at the latter end of the weak reign of Enrique IV. In this poem we find the king's infatuation for his Portuguese mistress treated much as Petrarch had treated the relations of Clement VI with the allegorical Epi, except for the striking difference that the Latin of the Italian poet is replaced by straightforward and vigorous vernacular. Of far greater importance in the history of literature are certain poems--Éclogas they are for the most part styled--of Juan del Encina, which belong roughly to the closing years of the fifteenth and opening years of the sixteenth century. Numbering about a dozen, and composed with one exception in the short measures of popular poetry, these dramatic eclogues, or amoebean plays, supply the connecting link between the early popular and religious shows and the regular drama. About half are religious in character; of the rest, three treat some romantic episode, one is a study of unrequited passion ending in suicide, and one is a market-day farce, the personae being in each case rude herdsmen. Contemporary with, though a disciple of, Encina, is the Portuguese Gil Vicente, who wrote in both dialects, and whose Auto pastoril castelhano may be cited as carrying on the tradition between his master and Lope de Vega.

With Lope's dramatic production as a whole we are not, of course, concerned. He lies indeed somewhat off our track; the pastoral influence in his work is capricious. It will be sufficient to note that the influence, where it exists, is external; it is nowhere the outcome of Christian allegory, nor does it arise out of the nature of the subject as such titles as the Pastores de Belén might suggest. It is found equally in the religious or quasi-religious plays--such as the Vuelta de Egypto with its shepherds and gypsies, and the Pastor lobo, an allegorical satire on the church Lope afterwards entered--and in such purely secular, amorous, and on the whole less dramatic pieces as the Arcadia--not to be confused with his romance of the same name--and the Selva sin amor, a regular Italian pastoral in miniature, both of which were acted, besides many others intended primarly for reading, though they may possibly have been recited after the manner of Castiglione's Tirsi.

While on the subject of the drama I may mention translations of the Aminta and Pastor fido. Tasso's piece was rendered into Castilian by Juan de Jauregui, and first printed at Rome in 1607, a revised edition appearing among the author's poems in 1618. The Pastor fido was translated by Cristóbal Suárez de Figueroa, the best version being that printed at Valentia in 1609, from which Ticknor quotes a passage as typical as it is successful. It was to these two versions of the masterpieces of Italian pastoral that Cervantes accorded the highest meed of praise, declaring that 'they haply leave it doubtful which is the translation or original.'[64] There likewise exists a poor adaptation of Guarini's play, said to be the work of Solis, Coello, and Calderon[65]. The pastoral appears, however, never to have gained a very firm footing upon the mature Spanish stage, no doubt for the same reason that led to a similar result in England, namely, that the vigorous national drama about it overpowered and choked its delicate and exotic growth[66].

Apart from the dramatic or semi-dramatic work we have been reviewing, the pastoral verse which possesses the most natural and national character, though it may not be the earliest in date, is to be found in the poems of Francisco de Sâ de Miranda[67]. He appears to have begun writing independently of the Italian school, and, even after he came under the influence of Garcilaso, to have preserved much of his natural simplicity and genuineness of feeling. He probably had some direct knowledge of the Italians, for he writes:

.... os pastores italianos
Do bom velho Sanazarro.

He may also have been influenced by Encina, most of whose work had already appeared.

The first and foremost of those who deliberately based their style on the Italian was Garcilaso de la Vega, whose pastoral work dates from about 1526. To him, in conjunction with Boscán and Mendoza, the vogue was due. At his best, when he really assimilates the foreign elements borrowed from his models and makes their style his own, he writes with the true genius of his nation. The first of his three eclogues, which was probably composed at Naples and is regarded as his best work, introduces the shepherds Salico and Nemoroso, of whom the first stands for the author, while in the other it is not hard to recognize his friend Boscán. This poem, a portion of which is translated by Ticknor, should of itself suffice to place Garcilaso in the front rank of pastoral writers. Yet he does not appear to occupy any isolated eminence among his fellows, and Ticknor may be right in thinking that, throughout, the regular pastoral showed fewer of its defects in Spain than elsewhere. It is also true that it appears to have been endowed with less vital power of development.

Garcilaso's followers were numerous. Among them mention may be made of Francisco de Figueroa, the Tirsi of Cervantes' Galatea; Pedro de Encinas, who attempted religious eclogues; Lope de Vega; Alonso de Ulloa, the Venetian printer, who is credited with having foisted the Rodrigo episode into Montemayor's Diana; Gaspar Gil Polo, one of the continuators of that work; and Bernardo de Balbuenas, one of its many imitators, who incorporated in his Siglo de Oro a number of eclogues which in their simple and rustic nature appear to be studied from Theocritus rather than Vergil.

In spite of the fashion of writing in Castilian which prevailed among Portuguese poets, we are not without specimens of pastoral verse composed in the less important dialect. Sâ de Miranda has been mentioned above. Ribeiro too, better known for his romance, left a series of five autobiographical eclogues[68] dating from about 1516-24, and consequently earlier than Garcilaso's. They are composed, like some of Sâ de Miranda's, in the short measures more natural to the language than the terza rima and intricate stanzas of the Italianizing poets. Later on Camoens wrote fifteen eclogues, four of which are piscatorial, and in one, a dialogue between a shepherd and a fisherman, refers in the following terms to Sannazzaro:

  O pescador Sincero, que amansado
Tém o pégo de Prochyta co' o canto
Por as sonoras ondas compassado.
D'este seguindo o som, que póde tanto,
E misturando o antigo Mantuano,
Façamos novo estylo, novo espanto.

Whereas in the case of the verse pastoral the Italian fashion passed from Spain into Portugal, exactly the reverse process took place with regard to the prose romance more or less directly founded upon Sannazzaro. The first to imitate the Arcadia was the Portuguese Bernardim Ribeiro, who during a two-years' residence in Italy composed the 'beautiful fragment,' as Ticknor styles it, entitled from the first words of the text Menina e moça. This unfinished romance first appeared, in the form of an octavo charmingly printed in gothic type, at Ferrara in 1554, though it must have been written at least thirty years earlier. It differs considerably from its model, the verse being purely incidental, and the intricacy of the story anticipating later examples, as does likewise the admixture of chivalric adventure. It is, indeed, to a large extent what might have arisen spontaneously through the elaboration of the pastoral element occasionally to be met with in the old chivalric romances themselves. On the other hand it resembles the Italian pastoral in the introduction of real characters, which, though their identity was concealed under anagrams and all manner of obscurity, appear to have been traceable by the keen eye of authority, for the book was placed on the Index. Such knowledge of Sannazzaro's writings as Ribeiro possessed was of course direct, but before his fragment saw the light there appeared, in 1547, a Spanish translation of the Arcadia. It must be remembered that Sannazzaro was himself of Spanish extraction, and that he may have had relations with the land of his fathers of a nature to facilitate the diffusion of his works.

The next and by far the most important contribution made by the peninsula to pastoral literature was the work of an hispaniolized Portuguese, who composed in Castilian dialect the famous Diana. 'Los siete libres de la Diana de Jorge de Montemayor'--the Spanish form of Montemôr's name and that by which he became familiar to subsequent ages--appeared at Valencia, without date, but about 1560.[69] As in the case of its Italian and Portuguese predecessors, some at least of the characters of the romance represent real persons. Sireno the hero, who stands for the author, is in love with the nymph Diana, of whose identity Lope de Vega claimed to be cognizant, though he withheld her name. The scene is laid in Spain, and actual and ideal geography are intermixed in a bewildering fashion. Sireno is obliged, for reasons not stated, to leave the country for a while, and on his return finds his lady-love married by her parents to his rival Delio. In his despair he seeks aid from the priestess of a certain temple, and receives from her a magic potion which drives from him all remembrance of his passion. This very simple and somewhat unsatisfactory story is interwoven with a multitude of episodes and incidental narratives, pastoral and chivalric, and the whole ends with the promise of a second part, which however never came to be written, the author, as it appears, being either murdered or killed in duel at Turin in 1561.

Thanks probably to the combination in its pages of the popular chivalric tradition with the fashionable Italian pastoral, and also to certain graces of style which it possesses, the Diana held the field until the picaresque romance developed into a recognized genre, and exercised a very considerable influence on pastoral writers even beyond the frontiers of Spain. Googe imitated passages from it in his eclogues; Sidney translated some of its songs, and took it as the model of his own romance; Shakespeare borrowed from it the plot of the Two Gentlemen of Verona. In the land of its birth its popularity was shown by the number of continuations and imitations to which it gave rise. Irresponsible publishers swelled the bulk of their editions with matter purloined from less popular authors. The year 1564 saw the appearance of two second parts. One in eight books, by the physician Alonzo Pérez, only got so far as disposing of Delio, and appears to exaggerate all the faults of the original in compensation for the lack of its merits. The other, from the pen of Gaspar Gil Polo, is in five books, and narrates, in a style scarcely inferior to its model, the faithlessness and death of Delio, and Sireno's marriage with Diana. Both alike promise continuations which never appeared. A third part was, however, published so late as 1627, as the work of Jerónimo de Texeda, but it is nothing more than a rifacimento of Gil Polo's continuation, altered apparently with a view to its forming a sequel to Pérez' work. Furthermore, in 1599 there appeared a religions parody by Fra Bartolomé Ponce, and there are said to be no less than six French, two English, and two German translations, not to mention a Latin one of Gil Polo's portion at least.

Besides continuations, there are extant nearly a score of imitations of varying interest and merit. In 1584 appeared the Galatea of Cervantes, imitated from Ribeiro and Montemayor; which in its turn is supposed to have suggested the Arcadia, written a few years later at the instigation of the Duke of Alva by Lope de Vega, and published in 1598. Each is more or less autobiographic or else historical in outline: 'many of its shepherds and shepherdesses are such in dress alone,' Cervantes confesses of his romance, while Lope announces that 'the Arcadia is a true history.' Lastly may be mentioned the Portuguese Primavera of Francisco Rodrígues de Lobo, which appeared in three long parts between 1601 and 1614, and is pronounced by Ticknor to be 'among the best full-length pastoral romances extant.'

All these works resemble one another in their general features. The characteristics of the genre as found in Spain, in spite of a real feeling for rural life traceable in the national character, are the elements it borrows from the older chivalric tradition, combined with an adherence to the circumstances of actual existence even closer than was the case in Italy. Sannazzaro was content to transfer certain personages from real life into his imaginary Arcadia, while in the Spanish romances the whole mise en scène consists of the actual surroundings of the author disguised but little under the veil of pastoralism. Thus the ideal element, the desire to escape from the world, is no less absent from these works than from the Latin eclogues of the renaissance, and the chivalric pastoral in Spain advances far along the road towards the fashionable pastoral of France. Not only are knightly adventures freely introduced, and the devices of disguise and recognition employed, but the hint of magic in Sannazzaro is developed and made to play a prominent part in the tales, while the nymphs and shepherds display throughout an alarming knowledge of literature, metaphysics, and theology. The absurdities of the style were patent, and did not escape uncomplimentary notice from the writers of the day, for both Cervantes and Lope de Vega, in spite of their own excursions into this kind, pilloried the fashion in their more serious and enduring works.


In France the interest of pastoralism, from our present point of view, is summed up in the work of one man--Clément Marot. It is he who forms the central figure on the stage of French poetry between the final collapse of the medieval tradition and the ceasing of Villon's song earlier, and later the full burst of the renaissance in the work of the Pléiade. While belonging ostensibly to the literary circle of Margaret of Navarre, Marot appears to have combined in his own person a strange number of conflicting tendencies. His patroness followed the pastoral tradition in her imitation of Sannazzaro's Salices and her lament on the death of her brother François I, and rehandled an already favourite theme in her comédie of human and divine love. Marot, on the other hand, while equally interested in pastoral, betrayed in his verse little direct influence of the Italians, and invariably impressed his own individuality upon his subject. In his early work he continued the tradition of the Romance of the Rose; later he voiced, somewhat crudely may be, the ideals of the renaissance. By nature an easy-going bon vivant, his only real affection appears to have been for the faithless mistress of his early years, whom a not very probable tradition identifies with Diane de Poitiers. He had no higher ambition than to retain unmolested a comfortable post at the court of Francis. Yet he was destined by a strange irony of fate to pass his days as a wanderer on the face of the earth, the homeless pilgrim of a cause he no wise had at heart. He was accused by the Sorbonne, and ultimately driven into the profession, of the heresy of Calvinism. Expelled from the bosom of the church, he sought an uncongenial refuge among the apostles of the new faith, only to be thrust forth from the city, for no more heinous offence apparently than that playing back-gammon with the Prisoner of Chillon. He died at Turin in 1544.

But, however fascinating Marot may be as an historical figure, he was in no sense a great poet. His chief merit in literature, apart from his often delicate epigrams, his élégant badinage and his graceful if at times facile verse, lies in the power he possesses, in common with Garcilaso and Spenser, of treating the allegorical pastoral without entirely losing the charm of naïve simplicity and genuine feeling. In his Éclogue au Roi he addresses Francis under the name of Pan, while in the Pastoureau chrestien he applies the same name to the Deity; yet in either case there is a justness of sentiment underlying the convention which saves the verse from degenerating into mere sycophancy or blasphemy. His chief claim to notice as a pastoral writer is his authorship of an eclogue on the death of Loyse de Savoye, the mother of Francis; a poem through which, more than any other, he influenced his greater English disciple, and thereby acquired the importance he possesses for our present inquiry.

Marot, however, whose inspiration, in so far as it was not born of his own genius, appears to be chiefly derived from Vergil, whose first eclogue he translated in his youth, was far from being the only poet who wrote bucolic verse or bore other witness to pastoral influence. France was not behind other nations in embracing the Italian models. Margaret, as I have said, imitated Sannazzaro in her Histoire des satyres et nymphes de Diane. The Arcadia was translated in 1544. Du Bellay was familiar with the original and honoured its author with imitation, translation, and even a respectful mention of it in his famous Défense. Elsewhere he asks:

Qui fera taire la musette
Du pasteur néapolitain?

The first part of Belleau's Bergerie appeared in 1565, the complete work, including a piscatory poem, in 1572. On the stage Nicolas Filleul anticipated the regular Italian drama in a dramatized eclogue entitled Les Ombres in 1566. Later Nicolas de Montreux, better known under the name of Ollenix du Mont-Sacré, a writer of a religious cast, and author of a romantic comedy on the story of Potiphar's wife, composed three pastoral plays, Athlette, Diane, and Arimène, which appeared in 1585, 1592, and 1597 respectively. They are conventional pastorals on the Italian model, futile in plot and commonplace in style. He was also the author of the Bergerie de Juliette, a romance published in 1592, which Robert Tofte is credited with having translated in his Honour's Academy,' or the Famous Pastoral of the Fair Shepherdess Julietta,' which appeared at London in 1610. Tofte's work, however, while purporting to be 'done into English,' makes no mention of the original author, and though indebted for its form and title to Nicholas' romance does not appear to bear much further resemblance to it. A far more important work in itself, but one which does not much concern us here, is Honoré d'Urfé's Astrée, an autobiographic compilation in which the fashionable pastoral romance found its most consummate example. The work was translated into English as early as 1620, but the history of its influence in this country belongs almost exclusively to the French vogue, which began about the middle of the century, and formed such an important element in the literature of the restoration.

The comparatively small influence exerted by the French pastoral of the renaissance on that of England must excuse the scanty summary given in the preceding paragraphs. It remains to be said that there had existed at an earlier period in France another and very different tradition, which supplied one of the regular forms of composition in vogue among trouvères and troubadours alike. The pastourelle has sometimes been described as a popular form, but it would be difficult to determine wherein its 'popularity,' in the sense intended, consists, for it is easily recognized as the offspring of a knightly minstrelsy, and indeed is scarcely less artificial or conventional than the Italian eclogue. Although the situation is frequently developed with resource and invention on the part of the individual poet, the general type is rigidly fixed. The narrator, who is a minstrel and usually a knight, while riding along meets a shepherd-girl, to whom he pays his court with varying success. This is the simple framework on which the majority are composed. A few, on the other hand, depart from the type and depict purely rustic scenes. Others--and the fact is at least significant--serve to convey allusions, political, personal or didactic: a variety found as early as the twelfth century in Provençal, and about the fourteenth in northern French. Wandering scholars adopted the form from the knightly singers and produced a plentiful crop of Latin pastoralia, usually of a somewhat burlesque nature. An idea of the general style of these may be gathered from such lines as the following, which contain the reply of a country girl hesitating before the advances of a merry student:

Si senserit meus pater
uel Martinus maior frater,
erit mihi dies ater;
uel si sciret mea mater,
cum sit angue peior quater:
uirgis sum tributa.[70]

Appropriated, lastly, and refashioned by the hand of an original genius, the pastourelle gave to German poetry the crowning jewel of its Minnesang in Walther's 'Under der linden,' with its irrepressibly roguish refrain:

Kuster mich? wol tûsentstunt:
seht wie rôt mir ist der munt!

Connected with the pastourelles of the langue d'oïl is an isolated dramatic effort, of a primitive and naïve sort, but of singular grace and charm. Li jus Robins et Marion, the work of Adan le Bochu or de le Hale, is in fact a dramatized pastourelle of some eight hundred lines beginning with the rejection by a shepherdess of the advances of a knight and ending with the rustic sports of the shepherds on the green. Unsophisticated nature and playful cunning unite in no ordinary degree to lend delicacy and savour to the work, while the literary quality of Adan's verse is evident in such incidental songs as Marion's often quoted:

Robins m'aime, Robins m'a, Robins m'a demandee, si m'ara.

In spite, however, of the genuine naïveté and natural realism of the piece, it is easy to recognize in it something of the same spirit of gentle raillery that sparkles in the graceful octaves of Lorenzo's Nencia.

A real and lively love of the country, rather than any idealization of the actual shepherd class, is reflected in a poem written about 1460 by René of Anjou, ex-king of Naples, describing in pastoral guise the rustic retreat which he enjoyed in company with his wife, Jeanne de Laval, on the banks of the Durance. The conventional pastoralism that veils the identity of the shepherd and shepherdess is scarcely more than a pretence, for at the end of the manuscript we find blazoned the arms of the royal pair, with the inscription:

Icy sont les armes, dessoubz ceste couronne, Du bergier dessus dit et de la bergeronne.

We have now completed the first section of our introductory survey of pastoral literature. We have passed in review, in a necessarily rapid and superficial, but, it is to be hoped, not altogether inadequate, manner, the varions manifestations of the kind in the non-dramatic literature of continental Europe. The Italian pastoral drama has been reserved for separate and more detailed consideration in close connexion with that of this country. It must, however, be borne in mind that in such a survey as the present many of the byways and more or less obscure and devious channels by which pastoral permeated the wide fields of literature have of necessity been left unexplored. Nothing, for instance, has been said about the pastoral interludes which occupy a not inconspicuous place in the martial cantos both of the Orlando and the Gerusalemme. Before passing on, however, I should like to say a few words concerning one particular department of renaissance literature, and that chiefly by way of illustrating the limitations of the tradition of literary pastoral. I refer to the novelle or nouvelles, in which, although pastoral subjects are occasionally introduced, the treatment is entirely independent of conventional tradition. Without making any pretence at covering the whole field of the novellieri, I may instance a tale of Giraldi's, not lacking in the homely charm which belongs to that author, of a child exposed in a wood and brought up by the shepherds. These are represented as simple unpretending Lombard peasants, who look to their own business and are credited with none of the arts and graces of their literary fellows. More exclusively rustic in setting is an anecdote concerning the amours of a shepherd and shepherdess, told with broad humour in the Cent Nouvelles nouvelles and elaborated with characteristic gusto and extraordinarily graphic art by Pietro Fortini. The crude obscenity of the subject alone serves to show how free the writer was from any influence of the pastoral of polite literature.[71] Numerous other stories concerning shepherds or villani might be cited, from Boccaccio to Bandello, the point of which, whether openly licentious or ostensibly moral, is brought home with a brutal and physical directness utterly foreign to the spirit of the regular pastoral. This is, on the whole, what one would expect. The coarse realism that gave life and vitality to the novel, that characteristic product of middle-class cynicism and humour, finds no place in the pastoral of literary tradition. The conventional grace of the pastoral could offer no material to the novel. It is true that when we speak of the bourgeois spirit of the novella on the one hand, and the 'ideal' pastoral on the other, it is well to remember that the author of the Decameron also wrote the first modern pastoral romance; that the century and country which saw the publication of the Arcadia, the Aminta, and the Pastor fido, also welcomed the work of Fortini, Giraldi, and Bandello; and that to Margaret of Navarre, the imitator of Sannazzaro and patroness of Marot, we are likewise indebted for the Heptameron. Nevertheless the tendencies, though sometimes united in the person of a single author, yet keep distinct. Both alike had become a fashion, both alike followed a more or less conventional type. The novel remained coarse and realistic; the pastoral, whatever may be said of its morality, remained refined and at a conscious remove from real life. To examine thoroughly the cause of this disseverance from actuality which haunted the pastoral throughout its many transformations would lead us beyond all possible bounds of this inquiry. One important point may, however, here be noted. The pastoral, whatever its form, always needed and assumed some external circumstance to give point to its actual content. The interest seldom arises directly from the narrative itself. In Theocritus and Sannazzaro this objective point is supplied by the delight of escape from the over-civilization of the city; in Petrarch and Mantuan, by their allegorical intention; in Sacchetti and Lorenzo, by the contrast of town and country, with all its delicate humour; in Boccaccio and Poliziano, by the opening it gave for golden dreams of exquisite beauty or sensuous delight; in Tasso, by the desire of that freedom in love and life which sentimental philosophers have always associated with a return to nature. In all these cases the content per se may be said to be matter of indifference; it only receives meaning in relation to some ulterior intention of the author. Realism under these circumstances was impossible. Nor could satire call it forth, for no one would be at pains to satirize actual rusticity. The only loophole left by which a realistic treatment could find its way into pastoral was when, as in Folengo's macaronics, it was not the actual rustic life but the conventional representation of it that was the object of satire. But this case was naturally a rare one.

Chapter II.

Pastoral Poetry in England


We have seen how there arose in the Italian songs of the fourteenth century a spontaneous form of pastoral independent of the regular tradition, and somewhat similar examples are furnished by the dramatic eclogues of Spain. In the former case, however, pastoral was never more than a passing note; while in the latter, the impulse, though possessing some vitality, was early overwhelmed by the rising tide of Italian influence. In England it was otherwise. On the one hand the spontaneous and popular impulse towards a form of pastoralism appears to have been stronger and more consistent than elsewhere; on the other the foreign and literary influence never acquired the same supreme importance. As a resuit the earlier native fashion affected in a noticeable degree later pastoral work, colouring and blending with instead of being overpowered by the regular tradition. Thus it is possible to trace two distinct though mutually reacting tendencies far down the stream of English literature, and to this double origin must be referred many of the peculiar phenomena of English pastoral work. There was furthermore a constant struggle for supremacy between the two traditions, in which now one now the other appeared likely to go under. The greatest poets of their day, Spenser and Milton, threw the weight of their authority on to the side of pastoral orthodoxy. Spenser, however, was himself too much influenced by the popular impulse for his example to be decisive in favour of the regular tradition, while, by the time Milton wrote, a hybrid form had established itself on a more or less secure basis and a modus vivendi had already been achieved. Meanwhile the bulk of pastofal poets affected a less weighty and more spontaneous song, whether they wrote in the light fanciful mood of Drayton or the more passionate and romantic spirit of Browne.

To this double origin may be ascribed a certain noticeable vitality that characterizes English pastoral composition. Since this quality has been habitually overlooked by literary historians, I may be excused for dwelling on it somewhat in this place. The stigma which, not altogether undeservedly, attaches to pastoral as a whole has tempted critics to confine their attention to the more notable examples of the kind, and to treat these as more or less sporadic manifestations. Thus they have failed, on the whole, to appreciate the relation in which these works stand to the general pastoral tradition, which was mainly carried on in works of little individual interest. It is no blame to them if they considered that these undistinguished productions were of small importance in the general history of literature: any one who goes through them with care will probably arrive at a not very dissimilar conclusion. Nevertheless the fact remains that the neglect of them has obscured both the relative positions of the greater and more enduring works, and also the general nature of the pastoral tradition in this country. That tradition I believe to have been of a far more noteworthy character than has hitherto been realized. I am not, of course, prepared to maintain that pastoral composition in England ever attained, as a whole, to the rank of great literature, or that it formed such a remarkable body of work as we find, for example, in the Arcadian drama of Italy. But when we come to regard the pastoral production of this country in the light of a more or less connected tradition, it is impossible not be struck by the originality and diversity of the various forms which it assumed. Though as a literary kind it never rivalled its Italian model in fertility, it evinced an individual and versatile quality which we seek in vain in other countries. To substantiate this claim and to show how far the vitality of the English pastoral was due to its hybrid origin will be my chief aim in this chapter. When I come to deal with the main subject of this inquiry it will be necessary to determine how far similar considerations apply in the case of the pastoral drama.

In the first place we have to consider what was produced on the one hand by the purely native impulse, and on the other under the sole inspiration of foreign tradition, at a period when these two influences had not yet begun to interact. As an argument in favour of the spontaneous and genuine nature of the earlier fashion may be noticed its appearance in that miscellaneous body of anonymous literature which, whatever may be its origin--and it is impossible to enter on so controversial a subject in this place--is at least 'popular' in the sense of having been long handed down from generation to generation in the mouths of the people. The acceptance of pastoral ballads into this great mass of traditional literature is at least as good evidence of their popular character as that of authorship could be. In such a body of literature it would indeed be surprising had the pastourelle motive not found entrance; but it is noteworthy that whereas the French and Latin poems are habitually written from the point of view of the lover, the English ballads adopt that of the peasant maiden to whom the high-born suitor pays his court. At once the simplest and most poetical of the ballads on this model is that printed by Scott as The Broom of Cowdenknows, a title to which in all probability it has little claim. It is a delightful example of the minor ballad literature, and I am by no means inclined to regard it as a mere amplification of the much shorter and rather abrupt Bonny May of Herd's collection, though the latter, so far as it goes, probably offers a less sophisticated text. In either case a gentleman riding along meets a girl milking, obtains her love, and ultimately returns and marries her. A similar incident, in which, however, the seducer marries the girl under compulsion and then discovers her to be of noble parentage, is told in a ballad, of which a number of versions have been collected in Scotland under the title of Earl Richard or Earl Lithgow, and of which an English version was current in the seventeenth century and was quoted more than once by Beaumont and Fletcher.[72] This was printed by Percy in the Reliques, and two broadsides of it dating from the restoration are preserved in the Roxburghe collection. It is inferior to the northern versions, but both are probably late, and contain stanzas belonging to or copied from other ballads, notably the Bonny Hynd of the Herd manuscript and Burd Helen (the Scotch version of Child Waters). The title of the broadsides is interesting as betraying the influence of the regular pastoral tradition: 'The beautifull Shepherdesse of Arcadia. A new pastarell Song of a courteous young Knight, and a supposed Shepheards Daughter.'[73] Again, apparently from the Aberdeen district, comes a ballad on the marriage of a shepherd's daughter to the Laird of Drum. On the other hand we find three somewhat similar ballads, Lizie Lindsay or Donald of the Isles, Lizie Baillie, and Glasgow Peggie, recording the elopement of a town girl with a highland gentleman in the disguise of a shepherd. These are obviously late, though a certain resemblance in style with Johnie Faa makes it possible that they are as old as the middle of the seventeenth century. None of the pastoral ballads, indeed, can show any credentials which would suggest an earlier date than the second half of the sixteenth century, nor can any of them lay claim to first-rate poetic merit.[74]

Another example of native pastoral, earlier and far more genuine in character, is to be found in the religious drama. The romantic possibilities of peasant life were to some extent reflected in the ballads; it is the burlesque aspect that is preserved to us in the 'shepherd' plays of the mystery cycles. We possess the plays on the adoration of the shepherds belonging to the four extant series, a duplicate in the Towneley plays, and one odd specimen, making six in all. The rustic element varies in each case, but it assumed the form of burlesque comedy in all except the purely didactic 'Coventry' cycle of the Cotton manuscript. Here, indeed, the treatment of the situation is decorously dull, but in the others we can trace a gradual advance in humorous treatment leading up to the genuine comedy of the alternative Towneley plays. Thus, like Noah and his wife, the shepherds of the adoration early became recognized comic characters, and there can be little doubt of the influence exercised by these scenes upon the later interludes. With the general evolution of the drama we are of course in no wise here concerned: what it imports us to notice is that just as it was the picture of the young gallant riding along on the mirk evening by the fail dyke of the 'bought i' the lirk o' the hill' that caught the imagination of the north-country milkmaids, so it was the rough representation of rustic manners, with which they must have been familiar in actual life, that appealed to the villagers flocking to York, Leicester, Beverley, or Wakefield to witness the annual representation of the guild cycle.[75]

It will be worth while to give some account of the form taken by this genuine pastoral comedy, as we find it in its highest development in the two Towneley plays. These belong to the latest additions to the cycle, and were probably first incorporated when the repertory underwent revision in the early years of the fifteenth century.[76] Each play falls into three portions: first, a rustic farce; secondly, the apparition and announcement of the angels; and thirdly, the adoration. The two latter do not particularly concern us. Though in the Chester cycle the shepherds show themselves amusingly ignorant of the meaning of the Gloria, in the Towneley plays they are apt to fall out of character, and certainly display a singular knowledge of the prophets,[77] for

Abacuc and ely prophesyde so,
Elezabeth and zachare and many other mo,
And david as veraly is witnes thereto,
Iohn Bapyste sewrly and daniel also.

More remarkable still is one shepherd's familiarity with the classics:

Virgill in his poetre sayde in his verse,
Even thus by gramere as I shall reherse;
'Iam nova progenies celo demittitur alto,
Iam rediet virgo, redeunt saturnia regna.'[78]

It is perhaps no matter for surprise that one of his less learned fellows should break out with more force than delicacy:

Weme! tord! what speke ye here in myn eeres?
Tell us no clerge I hold you of the freres.

It is one of the little ironies of literature that in the earliest picture of pastoral life in England the greatest pastoral writer of Rome should be quoted, not as a pastoralist, but as a magician.

Before the appearance of the angels, however, there is nothing to lead one to expect this strange display of learning. A rougher, simpler set of countrymen it would have been hard to find in the England of Chaucer and Langland. In the shepherd-play known as prima pastorum the comic element consists mostly in quarrels and feasting among the shepherds, but in the secunda pastorum it constitutes a regular little three-scene farce, which at its date was absolutely unique in literature. It is thence only a step, and a very short one, to John Heywood's interludes--though it is a step that took more than a century to accomplish.

The first shepherd comes in complaining of the hard weather; his fingers are chapped, the storms blow from every quarter in turn. 'Sely shepardes,' moreover, are put upon by any rich upstart and have no redress. A second shepherd appears with another grumble: 'We sely wedmen dre mekyll wo.' Some men, indeed, have been known to desire two wives or even three, but most would sooner have none at all. Whereupon enters Daw, a third shepherd, complaining of portents 'With mervels mo and mo.' 'Was never syn noe floode sich floodys seyn'; even 'I se shrewys pepe'--apparently a portentous omen. At this point Mak comes on the scene. He is a notorious bad character of the neighbourhood, who boasts himself 'a yoman, I tell you, of the king,' and complains that his wife eats him out of house and home. The shepherds suspect him of designs upon their flocks, so when they lie down to rest they place him the middle man of three. As soon, however, as the shepherds are asleep--'that may ye all here'--Mak borrows a sheep and makes off. Arrived at home he would like to eat the sheep at once, but he is afraid of being followed, so the animal is put in the cradle and wrapped up to resemble a baby, and Mak goes back to take his place among the shepherds. Before long these awake and rouse Mak, who, pretending he has dreamt that Gill his wife has been brought to bed of another child, goes off home. The shepherds miss one of their sheep and, following him, find Gill on the bed while Mak sings a lullaby at the cradle. They proceed to search the house, Gill the while praying she may eat the child in the cradle if ever she deceived them. They find nothing, and are about to depart when Daw insists on kissing the new baby. Gill vows she saw the child changed by an elf as the clock struck midnight, but Mak pleads guilty and gets off with a blanketing.

So far, intentionally in the case of the drama, and if not intentionally at least practically in that of the ballads, the appeal of the native pastoral impulse--tradition it could hardly yet be called--was to an audience little if at all removed from the actual condition of life depicted. This ensured at least essential reality, for though in the one case there may be idealization in a romantic and in the other in a burlesque direction, either implies that familiarity with the actual world which appears to underlie all vital art.[79] It was not long, however, before the pastoral began to address itself to a more cultivated society, and in so doing sacrificed that wholesome corrective of a genuinely critical audience which is needed in the long run to keep any literary form from degeneration. The impulse is still, however, found in all its freshness and genuineness in such a poem as the following fifteenth-century nativity carol, which, in its blending of piety and humorous rusticity, is strongly reminiscent of the dramatic productions we have just been reviewing:

The shepherd upon a hill he sat,
He had on him his tabard and his hat,
His tar-box, his pipe, and his flagat,
His name was called Jolly, Jolly Wat!
For he was a good herds-boy,
        Ut hoy!
For in his pipe he made so much joy.
   Can I not sing but hoy.

The shepherd on a hill he stood,
Round about him his sheep they yode,
He put his hand under his hood,
He saw a star as red as blood.
        Ut hoy! &c.

Now must I go there Christ was born,
Farewell! I come again to-morn,
Dog, keep well my sheep fro the corn!
And warn well Warroke when I blow my horn!
        Ut hoy! &c.[80]

So, again, in the delightful poem that has won for Robert Henryson the title of the first English pastoralist the warm blood of natural feeling yet runs full. Robene and Makyne stands on the threshold of the sixteenth century, a modest and pastoral counterpart of the Nut-Brown Maid, as evidence that there were poets of purely native inspiration capable of writing verses every whit as perfect in form as anything produced by the Italianizers of the next generation, and commonly far more genuine in feeling. Even in the work of Surrey and Wyatt themselves we find poems which, were it not for the general tradition to which they belong, one would have no difficulty in regarding as a natural development and conventionalization of the native tendency. Such is the Harpelus' Complaint of 'Tottel's Miscellany.' This was originally printed among the poems of uncertain authors, but when it re-appeared in England's Helicon, in 1600, it was subscribed with Surrey's name. The ascription does not carry with it much authority, but is in no way inherently improbable.[81] The opening stanzas may be quoted as conveying a fair idea of the whole, which sustains its character of sprightly elegance for over a hundred lines, ending with the luckless Harpelus' epitaph:

Phylida was a fayer mayde,
And fresh as any flowre:
Whom Harpalus the herdman prayed
To be his paramour.

Harpalus and eke Corin
Were herdmen both yfere:
And Phillida could twist and spin
And therto sing full clere.

But Phillida was all to coy
For Harpelus to winne.
For Corin was her onely joye,
Who forst her not a pynne.[82]

The relation of the early Italianizers to pastoral is rather strange. Pastoral names, imagery and conventions are freely scattered throughout their works, yet with the exception of the above there is scarcely a poem to which the term pastoral can be properly applied. They borrowed from their models a kind of pastoral diction merely, not their partiality for the form: 'shepherd' is with them merely another word for lover or poet, while almost any act of such may be described as 'folding his sheep' or the like. Allegory has reduced itself to a few stock phrases. In this fashion Surrey complains to his fair Geraldine, and a whole company of unknown lovers celebrate the cruelty and beauty of their ladies. It is rarely that we catch a note of fresher reminiscence or more spontaneous song as in Wyatt's:

  Ah, Robin!
Joly Robin!
Tell me how thy leman doth!

Happily the seed of Phillida's coyness bore fruit, and the amorous pastoral ballad or picture, a true idyllion, became a recognized type in English verse. It certainly owed something to foreign pastoral models, and, like the bulk of Elizabethan lyrics, a good deal to Italian poetry in general; but in its freshness and variety, as in its tendency to narrative form, it asserts its independence of any rigid tradition, and justifies us in regarding it as an outcome of that native impulse which we have already noticed. Such a poem is Nicholas Breton's ever charming Phyllida and Corydon, printed above his signature in England's Helicon.[83] Although we are thereby anticipating, it may be quoted as a representative specimen of its kind:

In the merry month of May, In a morn by break of day,
Forth I walk'd by a wood-side,
When as May was in his pride:
There I spièd all alone,
Phyllida and Corydone.
Much ado there was, God wot!
He would love and she would not.
She said, never man was true;
He said, none was false to you.
He said, he had loved her long;
She said, Love should have no wrong.
Corydon would kiss her then;
She said, maids must kiss no men,
Till they did for good and all;
Then she made the shepherd call
All the heavens to witness truth
Never loved a truer youth.
Thus with many a pretty oath,
Yea and nay, and faith and troth,
Such as silly shepherds use
When they will not Love abuse,
Love which had been long deluded
Was with kisses sweet concluded;
And Phyllida, with garlands gay,
Was made the lady of the May.

We must now turn to the beginnings of regular pastoral tradition in this country, springing up under direct foreign influence and in conscious and avowed imitation of specific foreign models. Passing over the Latin eclogues of Buchanan and John Barclay, as belonging properly to the sphere of humanistic rather than of English letters, we come to the pretty thoroughly Latinized pastorals of Alexander Barclay and Barnabe Googe. Their preoccupation with the humanistic poets is, in Barclay's case at any rate, no less dominant a factor than in that of the regular translators, from whom it is neither very easy nor clearly desirable to distinguish them. Of the professed translators themselves it may be well to say a few words in this place and allow them at once to resume their veil of well-deserved oblivion. Their influence may be taken as non-existent, and their only interest lies in the indication they afford of the trend of literary fashion. The earliest was George Turberville, who in 1567 translated the first nine of Mantuan's eclogues into English fourteeners. The verse is fairly creditable, but the exaggeration of style, endeavouring by sheer brutality of phrase to force the moral judgement it lacks the art of more subtly stimulating, produces neither a very pleasing nor a very edifying effect. This translation went through three editions before the end of the century. The whole ten eclogues did not find a translator till 1656, when Thomas Harvey published a version in decasyllabic couplets. The next poet to appear in English dress was Theocritus, of whose works 'Six Idillia, that is, Six Small, or Petty, Poems, or Aeglogues,' were translated by an anonymous hand and dedicated to E. D.--probably or possibly Sir Edward Dyer--in 1588. As before, the verse, mostly fourteeners, is far from bad, but the selection is not very much to our purpose. Three of the pieces, a singing match, a love complaint, and one of the Galatea poems, are more or less pastoral; but the rest--among which is the dainty conceit of Venus and the boar well rendered in a three-footed measure--do not belong to bucolic verse at all. Incidental mention may be also made of a 'dialogue betwixt two sea nymphs, Doris and Galatea, concerning Polyphemus, briefly translated out of Lucian,' by Giles Fletcher the elder, in his Licia of 1593; and a version of 'The First Eidillion of Moschus describing Love,' in Barnabe Barnes' Parthenophil and Parthenophe, which probably appeared the same year. Lastly we have the Bucolics and Georgics of Vergil, translated in 1589 by Abraham Fleming into rimeless fourteeners.[84] Besides these there are a few odd translations from Vergil among the experiments of the classical versifiers. Webbe, in his Discourse of English Poetry (1586), gives hexametrical translations of the first and second eclogues, while another version of the second in the same metre appears first in Fraunce's Lawyer's Logic (1588), and again with corrections in his Ivychurch (1591).[85] Several further translations followed in the seventeenth century.

But one step, and that a short one, removed from these writers is Alexander Barclay, translater of Brandt's Stultifera Navis, priest and monk successively of Ottery St. Mary, Ely, and Canterbury. It seems to have been about 1514, when at the second of these houses, that he composed at least the earlier and larger portion of his eclogues. They appeared at various dates, the first complete edition being appended, long after the writer's death, to the Ship of Fools of 1570.[86] They are there headed 'Certayne Egloges of Alexander Barclay Priest, Whereof the first three conteyne the misereyes of Courtiers and Courtes of all princes in generall, Gathered out of a booke named in Latin, Miseriae Curialium, compiled by Eneas Silvius[87] Poet and Oratour.' This sufficiently indicates what we are to expect of Barclay as of the Latin eclogists of the previous century. The interlocutors in these three poems are Coridon, a young shepherd anxious to seek his fortune at court, and the old Cornix, for whom the great world has long lost its glamour. The fourth eclogue, 'treating of the behavour of Rich men against Poets,' is similarly 'taken out of' Mantuan. In it Barclay is supposed to have directed a not very individual but pretty lusty satire against Skelton.[88] He also introduces, as recited by one of the characters, 'The description of the Towre of vertue and honour, into which the noble Howarde contended to enter by worthy actes of chivalry,' a stanzaic composition in honour of Sir Edward Howard, who died in 1513. The fifth eclogue, 'of the disputation of Citizens and men of the Countrey,' or the Cytezen and Uplondyshman, as it was originally styled, again presents us with a familiar theme treated in the conventional manner, and closes the series. These poems are written in what would be decasyllabic couplets were they reducible to metre--in other words, in the barbarous caesural jangle in which many poets of the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries imagined that they reproduced the music of Chaucer, and which, refashioned however almost beyond recognition by a born metrist, we shall meet again in the Shepherd's Calender. The following lines from the fifth eclogue may serve to illustrate Barclay's style:

I shall not deny our payne and servitude,
I knowe that plowmen for the most part be rude,
Nowe shall I tell thee high matters true and olde,
Which curteous Candidus unto me once tolde,
Nought shall I forge nor of no leasing bable,
This is true history and no surmised fable.

It is in justice due to Barclay to say that the fact of his composing this eclogue in the vernacular should possibly be counted to him as an original step. The step had, indeed, been taken in Italy before he was born, but of this he may, in spite of his travels, have been ignorant. Such credit as attaches to the innovation should be allowed him.

A somewhat more independent writer is Barnabe Googe--writer, indeed, as original, may be, as the lesser Latin pastoralists of the renaissance. The fact of his altering the conventional forms to fit the mood of a sturdy protestantism, of a protestantism still bitter from the Marian persecutions, is scarcely to be regarded so much as evidence of his invention as of the stability of literary tradition under the varying forms imposed by external circumstances. The collection of his poems, 'imprinted at London' in 1563,[89] includes eight eclogues written in fourteeners, the majority of which may fairly be said to represent Mantuan adjusted to the conditions of contemporary life in reformation England. Others show the influence of the author's visit to Spain in 1561-3. The best that can be said for the verse and style is that they pursue their 'middle flight' on the whole modestly, and that the diction is at times not without a touch of simple dignity. There are, moreover, moments of genuine feeling when the author recalls the fires of Smithfield, and of generous if naïve appreciation when he speaks of his predecessors in English song. A brief summary of contents will give some idea of the nature of these poems. The first recounts the pains of love; in the second Dametas rails on the blind boy and ends his song by dying. The third treats of the vices of the city, not the least of them being religious persecution. In the next Melibeus relates how Dametas, having as we now learn killed himself for love, appeared to him amid hell-fire. Eclogue V contains the pitiful tale of Faustus who courted Claudia through the agency of Valerius. Claudia unfortunately fell in love with the messenger, and finding him faithful to his master slew herself. This is imitated, in part closely, from the tale of the shepherdess Felismena in the second book of Montemayor's Diana, the identical story upon which Shakespeare is supposed ultimately to have founded his Two Gentlemen of Verona, though it is difficult at first sight to trace much resemblance between the play and Googe's poem. In the sixth eclogue Faustus--the Don Felix of the Spanish and the Proteus of Shakespeare--himself appears, for no better reason it would seem than to give his interlocutor an opportunity of enlarging on the delights of country life and introducing the remarks on fowling borrowed from Sannazzaro by way of Garcilaso's second eclogue. The next is a discussion somewhat after the manner of the Nut-Brown Maid, again paraphrased from the Diana (Book I); while the eighth, lastly, is a homily on the superiority of Christianity over Roman polytheism, in which under obsolete forms the author no doubt intended an allusion to contemporary controversies. Thus it will be seen that Googe follows Latin and Spanish traditions almost exclusively: the only point in which it is possible to see any native inspiration is in his partiality for some sort of narrative ballad motive as the subject of his poems.

So far the literary quality to be registered has not been high among those owing allegiance to the regular pastoral tradition. The next step to be taken is a long one. The pastoral writings of Spenser not only themselves belong to a very different order of work, but likewise brings us face to face with literary problems of a most complex and interesting kind.


In the Shepherd's Calender we have the one pastoral composition in English literature which can boast first-rate historical importance. There are not a few later productions in the kind which may be reasonably held to surpass it in poetic merit, but all alike sink into insignificance by the side of Spenser's eclogues when the influence they exercised on the history of English verse is taken into account. The present is not of course the place to discuss this wider influence of Spenser's work: it is with its relation to pastoral tradition and its influence upon subsequent pastoral work that we are immediately concerned. This is an aspect of the Shepherd's Calender to which literary historians have naturally devoted less attention. These two reasons--namely, the intrinsic importance of the work and the neglect of its pastoral bearing--must excuse a somewhat lengthy treatment of a theme that may possibly be regarded as already sufficiently familiar.

The Shepherd's Calender[90], which first appeared in 1579, was published without author's name, but with an envoy signed 'Immerito.' It was dedicated to Sir Philip Sidney, and contained a commentary by one E. K., who also signed an epistle to Master Gabriel Harvey, fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge. 'Immerito' was a name used by Spenser in his familiar correspondence with Harvey, and can in any case have presented no mystery to his Cambridge friends. Among these must clearly be reckoned the commentator E. K., who may be identified with one Edward Kirke with all but absolute certainty.[91] Within certain well defined limits we may also accept E. K. as a competent exponent of his friend's work, and his identity, together with that of Rosalind and Menalcas, being matters of but indirect literary interest, may be left to Spenser's editors and biographers to fight over. It will be sufficient to add in this place that however 'literary' may have been Spenser's attachment to Rosalind there is no reason to suppose that she was not a real person, while however little response his advances may have met with there is reason to suppose that his sorrow at their rejection was not wholly conventional.

Spenser's design in turning his attention to the pastoral form would not seem hard to apprehend. Less readily may we suppose that any deep philosophical impulse directed his mind towards certain modes of expression, than that in an age of catholic experiment he turned from the penning of impossible iambic trimeters, 'minding,' as E. K. directly informs us, 'to furnish our tongue with this kind, wherein it faulteth.' He was qualified for the task by a wide knowledge of previous pastoral writers from Theocritus and Bion down to Marot, and deliberately ranged himself in line with the previous poets of the regular pastoral tradition. Yet we find side by side in his work two distinct and apparently antagonistic though equally conscious tendencies; the one towards authority, leading him to borrow motives freely and even to resort to direct paraphrase; the other towards individuality, nationality, freedom, informing his general scheme and regulating the language of his imaginary swains. It is this double nature of his pastoral work that justifies us as regarding him, in spite of his alleged orthodoxy, as in reality the first of a series of English writers who combined the traditions of regular pastoral with the wayward graces of native inspiration. It is true that in Spenser the natural pastoral impulse has lost the spontaneity of the earlier examples, and has passed into the realm of conscious and deliberate art; but it is none the less there, modifying the conventional form. The individual debts owed by Spenser to earlier writers have been collected with admirable learning and industry by scholars such as Kluge and Reissert[92], but the investigation of his originality presents at once a more interesting and more important field of inquiry. So, indeed, Spenser himself appears to have thought, for the only direct acknowledgement he makes in the work is to Chaucer, although, as a writer to whom the humours of criticism are ever present has remarked, 'it might almost seem that Spenser borrowed from Chaucer nothing but his sly way of acknowledging indebtedness chiefly where it was not due.'

The chief point of originality in the Calender is the attempt at linking the separate eclogues into a connected series. We have already seen how with Googe the same characters recur in a sort of shadowy story; but what was in his case vague and almost unintentional becomes with Spenser a central artistic motive of the piece. The eclogues are arranged with no small skill and care on somewhat of an architectural design, or perhaps we should rather say with somewhat of the symmetry of a geometrical pattern. This will best be seen in a brief analysis of the several eclogues, 'proportionable,' as the title is careful to inform us, 'to the twelve monethes.'

In the 'January,' a monologue, Spenser, under the disguise of Colin Clout, laments the ill-success of his love for Rosalind, who meets his advances with scorn. He also alludes to his friendship with Harvey, who is introduced throughout under the name of Hobbinol. The 'February' is a disputation between youth and age in the persons of Cuddie and Thenot. It introduces the fable of the oak and the briar, in which, since he ascribes it to Tityrus, a name he transferred from Vergil to Chaucer, Spenser presumably imagined he was imitating that poet, though it is really no more in the style of Chaucer than is the roughly accentual measure in which the eclogue is composed. For the 'March' Spenser recasts in English surroundings Bion's fantasy of the fight with Cupid, without however achieving any conspicuous success. In the April eclogue Hobbinol recites to the admiring Thenot Colin's lay

  Of fayre Eliza, Queene of shepheardes all,
Which once he made as by a spring he laye,

And tuned it unto the Waters fall.

This lay is in an intricate lyrical stanza which Spenser shows considerable skill in handling. The following lines, for instance, already show the musical modulation characteristic of much of his best work:

See, where she sits upon the grassie greene,
(O seemely sight!)
Yclad in Scarlot, like a mayden Queene,
And ermines white:
Upon her head a Cremosin coronet,
With Damaske roses and Daffadillies set:
Bay leaves betweene,
And primroses greene,
Embellish the sweete Violet.

In the 'May' we return to the four-beat accentual measure, this time applied to a discussion by the herdsmen Palinode and Piers of the lawfulness of Sunday sports and the corruption of the clergy. Here we have a common theme treated from an individual point of view. The eclogue is interesting as showing that the author, whose opinions are placed in the mouth of the precise Piers; belonged to what Ben Jonson later styled 'the sourer sort of shepherds.' A fable is again introduced which is of a pronounced Aesopic cast. In the 'June' we return to the love-motive of Rosalind, which, though alluded to in the April eclogue, has played no prominent part since January. It is a dialogue between Colin and Hobbinol, in which the former recounts his final defeat and the winning of Rosalind by Menalcas. This eclogue contains Spenser's chief tribute to Chaucer:

The God of shepheards, Tityrus, is dead,
Who taught me homely, as I can, to make;
He, whilst he lived, was the soveraigne head
Of shepheards all that bene with love ytake:
Well couth he wayle his Woes, and lightly slake
The flames which love within his heart had bredd,
And tell us mery tales to keepe us wake
The while our sheepe about us safely fedde.

The July eclogue again leads us into the realm of ecclesiastical politics. It is a disputation between upland and lowland shepherds, the descendant therefore of Mantuan and Barclay, though the use of 'high places' as typifying prelatical pride appears to be original. The confusion of things Christian and things pagan, of classical mythology with homely English scenery, nowhere reaches a more extravagant pitch than here. Morrell, the advocate of the old religion, defends the hills with the ingeniously wrong-headed argument:

And wonned not the great God Pan
Upon mount Olivet,
Feeding the blessed flocke of Dan,
Which dyd himselfe beget?

or else, gazing over the Kentish downs, he announces that

Here han the holy Faunes recourse,
And Sylvanes haunten rathe;
Here has the salt Medway his source,
Wherein the Nymphes doe bathe.

In the 'August' Spenser again handles a familiar theme with more or less attempt at novelty. Willie and Peregot meeting on the green lay wagers in orthodox fashion, and, appointing Cuddie judge, begin their singing match. The 'roundel' that follows, a song inserted in the midst of decasyllabic stanzas, is composed of alternate lines sung by the two competitors. The verse is of the homeliest; indeed it is only a rollicking indifference to its own inanity that saves it from sheer puerility and gives it a careless and as it were impromptu charm of its own. Even in an age of experiment it must have needed some self-confidence to write the dialect of the Calender; it must have required nothing less than assurance to put forth such verses as the following:

It fell upon a holy eve,
Hey, ho, hollidaye!
When holy fathers wont to shrieve;
Now gynneth this roundelay.
Sitting upon a hill so hye,
Hey, ho, the high hyll!
The while my flocke did feede thereby;
The while the shepheard selfe did spill.
I saw the bouncing Bellibone,
Hey, ho, Bonibell!
Tripping over the dale alone,
She can trippe it very well.

Many a reader of the anonymous quarto of 1579 must have joined in Cuddie's exclamation:

Sicker, sike a roundel never heard I none!

Sidney, we know, was not altogether pleased with the homeliness of the verses dedicated to him; and there must have been not a few among Spenser's academic friends to feel a certain incongruity between the polished tradition of the Theocritean singing match and the present poem. Moreover, as if to force the incongruity upon the notice of the least sensitive of his readers, Spenser followed up the ballad with a poem which is not only practically free from obsolete or dialectal phrasing, but which is composed in the wearisomely pedantic sestina form. This song is attributed to Colin, whose love for Rosalind is again mentioned.

Passing to the 'September' we find an eclogue of the 'wise shepherd' type. It is composed in the rough accentual metre, and opens with a couplet which roused the ire of Dr. Johnson:

Diggon Davie! I bidde her god day;
Or Diggon her is, or I missaye.

Diggon is a shepherd, who, in hope of gain, drove his flock into a far country, and coming home the poorer, relates to Hobbinol the evil ways of foreign shepherds among whom,

   playnely to speake of shepheards most what,
Badde is the best.

The 'October' eclogue belongs to the stanzaic group, and consists of a dialogue on the subject of poetry between the shepherds Piers and Cuddie. It is one of the most imaginative of the series, and in it Spenser has refashioned time-honoured themes with more conspicuous taste than elsewhere. The old complaint for the neglect of poetry acquires new life through the dramatic contrast of the two characters in which opposite sides of the poetic temperament are revealed. In Cuddie we have a poet for whom the prize is more than the praise[93], whose inspiration is cramped because of the indifference of a worldly court and society. Things were not always so--

But ah! Mecaenas is yclad in claye,
And great Augustus long ygoe is dead,
And all the worthies liggen wrapt in leade,
That matter made for Poets on to play.

And in the same strain he laments over what might have been his song:

Thou kenst not, Percie, howe the ryme should rage,
O! if my temples were distaind with wine,
And girt with girlonds of wild Yvie twine,
How I could reare the Muse on stately stage,
And teache her tread aloft in buskin fine,
With queint Bellona in her equipage!

Reading these words to-day they may well seem to us the charter of the new age of England's song; and the effect is rendered all the more striking by the rhythm of the last line with its prophecy of Marlowe and mighty music to come. Piers, on the other hand, though with less poetic rage, is a truer idealist, and approaches the high things of poetry more reverentially than his Bacchic comrade. When Cuddie, acknowledging his own unworthiness, adds:

For Colin fittes such famous flight to scanne;
He, were he not with love so ill bedight,
Would mount as high, and sing as soote as Swanne;

Piers breaks out in words fitting the poet of the Hymnes:

Ah, fon! for love doth teach him climbe so hie,
And lyftes him up out of the loathsome myre.

And throughout this high discourse the homely names of Piers and Cuddie seem somehow more appropriate, or at least touch us more nearly, than Mantuan's Sylvanus and Candidus, as if, in spite of all Spenser owes to foreign models, he were yet conscious of a latent power of simple native inspiration, capable, when once fully awakened, of standing up naked and unshamed in the presence of Italy and Greece. One might well question whether there is not more of the true spirit of prophecy in this poem of Spenser's than ever went to the composition of Vergil's Pollio.

The 'November,' like the 'April,' consists for the most part of a lay composed in an elaborate stanza--there a panegyric, here an elegy. This time it is sung by Colin himself, and we again find reference to the Rosalind motive. The subject of the threnody is a nymph of the name of Dido, whose identity can only be vaguely conjectured. The chief point of external form in which Spenser has departed from his model, namely Marot's dirge for Loyse de Savoye, and from other pastoral elegies, is in the use of a different form of verse in the actual lament from that in which the setting of the poem is composed. Otherwise he has followed tradition none the less closely for having infused the conventional form with a poetry of his own. The change by which the lament passes into the song of rejoicing is traditional--and though borrowed by Spenser from Marot, is as old as Vergil. Both Browne and Milton later made use of the same device. Spenser writes:

Why wayle we then? why weary we the Gods with playnts,
As if some evill were to her betight?
She raignes a goddesse now emong the saintes,
That whilome was the saynt of shepheards light,
And is enstalled nowe in heavens hight.
I see thee, blessed soule, I see
Walke in Elisian fieldes so free.
O happy herse!
Might I once come to thee, (O that I might!)
O joyfull verse!

Although some critics, looking too exclusively to the poetic merit of the Calender as the cause of its importance, have perhaps overestimated the beauty of this and the April lyrics, the skill with which the intricate stanzas are handled must be apparent to any careful reader. As the Calender in poetry generally, so even more decidedly in their own department, do these songs mark a distinct advance in formal evolution. Just as they were themselves foreshadowed in the recurrent melody of Wyatt's farewell to his lute--

My lute, awake! perform the last Labour that thou and I shall waste,
And end that I have now begun;
For when this song is sung and past,
My lute, be still, for I have done--

so they in their turn heralded the full strophic sonority of the Epithalamium.

Lastly, in the 'December' we have the counterpart of the January eclogue, a monologue in which Colin laments his wasted life and joyless, for

  Winter is come, that blowes the balefull breath,
And after Winter commeth timely death.

Adieu, delightes, that lulled me asleepe;
Adieu, my deare, whose love I bought so deare;
Adieu, my little Lambes and loved sheepe;
Adieu, ye Woodes, that oft my witnesse were:
Adieu, good Hobbinoll, that was so true,
Tell Rosalind, her Colin bids her adieu.[94]

It will be seen from the above analysis that the architectonic basis of Spenser's design consists of the three Colin eclogues standing respectively at the beginning, in the middle, and at the close of the year. These are symmetrically arranged: the 'January' and 'December' are both alike monologues and agree in the stanza used, while the 'June' is a dialogue and likewise differs in metrical form. This latter is supported as it were by two subsidiary eclogues, those of April and August, in both of which another shepherd sings one of Colin's lays and refers incidentally to his passion for Rosalind. It is upon this framework that are woven the various moral, polemical, and idyllic themes which Spenser introduces. The attempt at uniting a series of poems into a single fabric is Spenser's chief contribution to the formal side of pastoral composition. The method by which he sought to correlate the various parts so as to produce the singleness of impression necessary to a work of art, and the measure of success which he achieved, though they belong more strictly to the general history of poetry, must also detain us for a moment. The chief and most obvious device is that suggested by the title--The Shepherd's Calender--'Conteyning twelve Aeglogues proportionable to the twelve monethes.' This might, indeed, have been no more than a fanciful name for any series of twelve poems;[95] with Spenser it indicates a conscious principle of artistic construction. It suggests, what is moreover apparent from the eclogues themselves, that the author intended to represent the spring and fall of the year as typical of the life of man. The moods of the various poems were to be made to correspond with the seasons represented; or, conversely, outward nature in its cycle through the year was to reflect and thereby unify the emotions, thoughts, and passions of the shepherds. This was a perfectly legitimate artistic device, and one based on a fundamental principle of our nature, since the appearance of objective phenomena is ever largely modified and coloured by subjective feeling. Nor can it reasonably be objected against the device that in the hands of inferior craftsmen it degenerates but too readily into the absurdities of the 'pathetic fallacy,' or that Spenser himself is not wholly guiltless of the charge.

Winter is come, that blowes the balefull breath,
And after Winter commeth timely death.

These lines bear witness to Spenser's intention. But the conceit is not fully or consistently carried out. In several of the eclogues not only does the subject in no way reflect the mood of the season--the very nature of the theme at times made this impossible--but the time of year is not so much as mentioned. This is more especially the case in the summer months; there is no joy of the 'hygh seysoun,' and when it is mentioned it is rather by way of contrast than of sympathy. Thus in June Colin mourns for other days:

Tho couth I sing of love, and tune my pype
Unto my plaintive pleas in verses made:
Tho would I seeke for Queene-apples unrype,
To give my Rosalind; and in Sommer shade
Dight gaudy Girlonds was my common trade,
To crowne her golden locks: but yeeres more rype,
And losse of her, whose love as lyfe I wayd,
Those weary wanton toyes away dyd wype.

In the same eclogue we may trace a deliberate contrast between various descriptive passages. Thus Hobbinol feels the magie of the summer woods--

Colin, to heare thy rymes and roundelayes,
Which thou were wont on wastfull hylls to singe,
I more delight then larke in Sommer dayes:
Whose Echo made the neyghbour groves to ring,
And taught the byrds, which in the lower spring
Did shroude in shady leaves from sonny rayes,
Frame to thy songe their chereful cheriping,
Or hold theyr peace, for shame of thy swete layes.

Closely following upon this stanza we have Colin's lament, 'The God of shepheards, Tityrus, is dead,' containing the lines:

But, if on me some little drops would flowe
Of that the spring was in his learned hedde,
I soone would learne these woods to wayle my woe,
And teache the trees their trickling teares to shedde.

We have here a specifie inversion of the 'pathetic fallacy.' The moods of nature are no longer represented as varying in sympathy with the passions of man, but are deliberately used to heighten an effect by contrast. Even this inverted correspondence, however, is for the most part lacking in the subsequent eclogues, and it must be admitted that in so far as Spenser depended on a cyclic correlation for the unifying of his design, he achieved at best but partial effect. Another means by which he sought, consciously or unconsciously, to produce unity of impression was by consistently pitching his song in the minor key. This accounts for the inverted correspondence just noted, and for the fact that even the polemics have an undercurrent of regret in them. In this case the poet has undoubtedly succeeded in carrying out the prevailing mood of the central motive--the Rosalind drama--in the subsidiary scenes. Or should we not rather say that he has extracted the general mood of the whole composition, and infused it, in a kind of typical form, into the three connected poems placed at critical points of the complex structure? The unity, however, thus aimed at, and achieved, is very different from the cyclic or architectonic unity described above, and of a much less definite character.

It remains to say a few words concerning the language of the Calender and the rough accentual metre in which parts of it are composed, since both have a particular bearing upon Spenser's attitude towards pastoral in general.

Ben Jonson, in one of those utterances which have won for him the reputation of churlishness, but which are often marked by acute critical sense, asserted that Spenser 'in affecting the Ancients writ no Language.'[96] The remark applies first and foremost, of course, to the Calender, and opens up the whole question of archaism and provincialism in literature. This is far too wide a question to receive adequate treatment here, and yet it appears forced upon us by the nature of the case. For Spenser's archaism, in his pastoral work at least, is no unmeaning affectation as Jonson implies. He perceived that the language of Chaucer bore a closer resemblance to actual rustic speech than did the literary language of his own day, and he adopted it for his imaginary shepherds as a fitting substitute for the actual folk-tongue with which he had grown familiar, whether in the form of rugged Lancashire or full-mouthed Kentish. And the homely dialect does undoubtedly naturalize the characters of his eclogues, and disguise the time-honoured platitudes that they repeat from their learned predecessors. With our wider appreciation of literary effect, and our more historical and less authoritative manner of judging works of art, we can no longer endorse Sidney's famous criticism:[97] 'That same framing of his stile, to an old rustick language, I dare not alowe, sith neyther Theocritus in Greeke, Virgill in Latine, nor Sanazar in Italian, did affect it.'[98] If a writer finds an effective and picturesque word in an old author or in a homely dialect it is but pedantry that opposes its use, and it matters little moreover from what quarter of the land it may hail, as Stevenson knew when he claimed the right of mingling Ayrshire with his Lothian verse. Even such archaisms as 'deemen' and 'thinken,' such colloquialisms as the pronominal possessive, need not be too severely criticized. What goes far towards justifying Jonson's acrimony is the wanton confusion of different dialectal forms; the indiscriminate use for the mere sake of archaism of such variants as 'gate' beside the usual 'goat,' of 'sike' and 'sich' beside 'such'; the coining of words like 'stanck,' apparently from the Italian stanco; and lastly, the introduction of forms which owe their origin to mere etymological ignorance, for instance, 'yede' as an infinitive, 'behight' in the same sense as the simple verb, 'betight,' 'gride,' and many others--all of which do not tend to produce the homely effect of mother English, but reek of all that is pedantic and unnatural.[99]

The influence of Chaucer was not confined to the language: from him Spenser borrowed the metre of a considerable portion of the Calender. It may at first sight appear strange to attribute to imitation of Chaucer's smooth, carefully ordered verse the rather rugged measure of, say, the February eclogue, but a little consideration will, I fancy, leave no doubt upon the subject. This measure is roughly reducible to four beats with a varying number of syllables in the theses, being thus purely accentual as distinguished from the more strictly syllabic measures of Chaucer himself on the one hand and the English Petrarchists on the other. Take the following example:

The soveraigne of seas he blames in vaine,
That, once sea-beate, will to sea againe:
So loytring live you little heardgroomes,
Keeping you 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 scorne,
And, crowing in pypes made of greene corn,
You thinken to be Lords of the yeare;
But eft, when ye count you freed from feare,
Cornes 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 careful heards with cold bene annoied:
Then paye you the price of your surquedrie,
With weeping, and wailing, and misery.[100]

The syllabic value of the final e, already weakening in the London of Chaucer's later days, was more or less of an archaism even with his most immediate followers, none of whom use it with his unvarying correctness, and it soon became literally a dead letter. The change was a momentous one for English prosody, and none of the fifteenth-century writers possessed sufficient poetic genius to adapt their verse to the altered conditions of the language. They lived from hand to mouth, as it were, without arriving at any systematic tradition. Thus it was that at the beginning of the sixteenth century Hawes could write such verse as:

Of dame Astronomy I dyd take my lycence
For to travayle to the toure of Chyvalry;
For al my minde, wyth percyng influence,
Was sette upon the most fayre lady
La Bell Pucell, so muche ententyfly,
That every daye I dyd thinke fyftene,
Tyl I agayne had her swete person sene.[101]

It is this prosody, dependent usually upon a strong caesural pause to differentiate it from prose, which may account for the harshness of some of Wyatt's verse, and which rendered possible the barbarous metre of Barclay. It was obviously impossible for a poet with an ear like Spenser to accept such a metrical scheme as this; but his own study of Chaucer produced a somewhat strange result. The one point which the late Chaucerians preserved of their master's metric was the five-stress character of his decasyllabic line; but in Spenser's day all memory of the syllabic e had long since vanished, and the only rhythm to be extracted from Chaucer's verse was of a four-stress type. Professor Herford quotes a passage from the Prologue of the Canterbury Tales as it appears in Thynne's second edition (1542), which Spenser would inevitably have read as follows:

When zéphirus éke wyth hýs sote bréth
Enspýred hath évery hólte and héth,
The téndre cróppes, and the yóng sónne
Háth in the Rám halfe hys cóurse yrónne,
And smále foules máken mélodýe
That slépen al nýght with ópen éye, &c.

This certainly bears on the face of it a close resemblance to Spenser's measure. There are, moreover, occasional difficulties in this method of scansion, some lines refusing to accommodate themselves to the Procrustean methods of sixteenth-century editors, and exactly similar anomalies are to be found in Spenser. Such, for instance, are the lines in the May eclogue:

Tho opened he the dore, and in came
The false Foxe, as he were starke lame.

Now these lines may be written in strict Chaucerian English thus:

Tho openëd he the dore, and innë came
The falsë fox, as he were starkë lamë,

and they at once become perfectly metrical. Under these circumstances there can, I think, be little doubt as to the literary parentage of Spenser's accentual measure.[102]

Like the archaic dialect, this homely measure tends to bring Spenser's shepherds closer to their actual English brethren. And hereby, it should be frankly acknowledged, the incongruity of the speakers and their discourse is emphasized and increased. That discourse, it is true, runs on pastoral themes, but the disguise and allegory have worn thin with centuries of use. We can no longer separate the words from the allusions, and consequently we can no longer accept the speakers in their unsophisticated shepherd's rôle. Yet it was precisely the desire to give reality to these transparent phantasms that led Spenser to endow them with a rustic speech. Whether he failed or succeeded the paradox of the form remains about equal.[103]

The importance of the Shepherd's Calender was early recognized, not only by friendly critics, but by the general public likewise, and six editions were called for in less than twenty years. Not long after its appearance John Dove, a Christ Church man, who appears to have been ignorant of the authorship, turned the whole into Latin verse, dedicating the manuscript to the Dean.[104] Another Latin version is found in manuscript in the British Museum copy of the edition of 1597, and after undergoing careful revision finally appeared in print in 1653. This was the work of one Bathurst, a fellow of Spenser's own college of Pembroke at Cambridge.[105]

The Shepherd's Calender was Spenser's chief contribution to pastoral; indeed it was by so much his most important contribution that it would hardly be worth while examining the others did they not bear witness to a certain change in his attitude towards the pastoral ideal.

The first of these later works is the isolated but monumental eclogue entitled Colin Clouts come Home again, of which the dedication to Raleigh is dated 1591, though it was not published till four years later. This, perhaps the longest and most elaborate eclogue ever written, describes how the Shepherd of the Ocean, that is Raleigh, induced Colin Clout, who as before represents Spenser, to leave his rustic retreat in

                    the cooly shade
Of the greene alders by the Mallaes shore,

and try his fortune at the court of the great shepherdess Cynthia, and how he ultimately returned to Ireland. The verse marks, as might be expected, a considerable advance in smoothness and command of rhythm over the non-lyrical portions of the Calender, and the dialect, too, is much less harsh, being far advanced towards that peculiar poetic diction which Spenser adopted in his more ambitions work. On the other hand, in spite of a certain allegrezza in the handling, and in spite of the Rosalind wound being at least partially healed, the same minor key prevails as in the earlier poems. In the spring of the great age of English song Spenser's note is like the voice of autumn, not the fruitful autumn of cornfield and orchard, but a premature barrenness of wet and fallen leaves--

The woods decay, the woods decay and fall.

Thus though time has purged the bitterness of his sorrow, the regret remains; his early love is still the mistress of his thoughts, but years have softened his reproaches, and he admits:

  who with blame can justly her upbrayd,
For loving not; for who can love compell?--

a petard, it may be incidentally remarked, which, sprung within the bounds of pastoral, is of power to pulverize in an instant the whole artificial system of amatory ethics.

The most notable points in the poem are the loves of the rivers Bregog and Mulla, the famous list of contemporary poets, and the presentation of the seamy side of court life, recalling the more direct satire of the probably contemporary Mother Hubberd's Tale. The first of these belongs to the class of Ovidian myths already noticed in such works as Lorenzo's Ambra. The subject, however, is treated in a more subtly allegorical manner than by Ovid's direct imitators, and this mode of presentment likewise characterizes Spenser's tale of Molanna in the fragment on Mutability.[106] Browne returned to a more crudely metamorphical tradition in the loves of Walla and Tavy, while a similarly mythological Naturanschauung may be traced in Drayton's chorographical epic.

Of the miscellaneous Astrophel, edited and in part composed by Spenser, which was appended to Colin Clout, and of the Daphnaïda published in 1596, though, like the former volume, containing a dedication dated 1591, a passing mention must suffice. The former is chiefly remarkable as illustrating the uniformly commonplace character of the verse called forth by the death of one who, while he lived, was held the glory of Elizabethan chivalry. It contains, beside other verse, pastoral elegies from the pens, certainly of Spenser, and probably of the Countess of Pembroke, Matthew Roydon, and Lodowick Bryskett. The last-named, or at any rate a contributor with the same initiais, also supplied a 'Pastorall Aeglogue' on the same theme. Daphnaïda is a long lament in pastoral form on the death of Douglas Howard, daughter of the Earl of Northampton.

Of far greater importance for our present purpose is the pastoral interlude in the quest of Sir Calidore, which occupies the last four cantos of the sixth book of the Faery Queen.[107] Here is told how Sir Calidore, the knight of courtesy, in his quest of the Blatant Beast came among the shepherd-folk and fell in love with the fair Pastorella, reputed daughter of old Meliboee; how he won her love in return through his valour and courtesy; how while he was away hunting she was carried off by a band of robbers; how he followed and rescued her; and finally, how she was discovered to be the daughter of the lord of Belgard--at which point the poem breaks off abruptly. The story has points of resemblance with the Dorastus and Fawnia, or Florizel and Perdita, legend; but it also has another and more important claim upon our attention. For as Shakespeare in As You Like It, so Spenser in this episode has, as it were, passed judgement upon the pastoral ideal as a whole. He is acutely sensitive to the charm of that ideal and the seductions it offers to his hero--

Ne, certes, mote he greatly blamed be,

says the poet of the Faery Queen recalling the days when he was plain Colin Clout--but the

                perfect pleasures, which do grow
Amongst poore hyndes, in hils, in woods, in dales,

are not allowed to afford more than a temporary solace to the knight; the robbers break in upon the rustic quietude, rapine and murder succeed the peaceful occupations of the shepherds, and Sir Calidore is driven once again to resume his arduous quest. The same idea may be traced in the knight's visit to the heaven-haunted hill where he meets Colin Clout. In the

     hundred naked maidens lilly white All raunged in a ring and dauncing in delight

to the sound of Colin's bagpipe, and who, together with the Graces and their sovereign lady, vanish at the knight's approach, it is surely not fanciful to see the gracious shadows of the idyllic poet's vision trooping reluctantly away at the call of a more lofty theme. With this sense of regret at the vanishing of an ideal long cherished, but at last deliberately abandoned for matters of deeper and more real import, we may turn from the work of the most important figure in English pastoral poetry to his less famous contemporaries.


Besides its wider influence on English verse, and the stimulus it gave to pastoral composition as a whole, the Shepherd's Calender called forth a series of direct imitations. Of these the majority are but of accidental and ephemeral interest and of inconspicuous merit; and it is probable that Spenser himself lived to see the end of this over-direct school of discipleship. Several examples appeared in Francis Davison's famous miscellany known as the Poetical Rhapsody, the first edition of which, though it only appeared in 1602, contained the gleanings of the entire sixteenth century.[108] Of these imitations, four in number, the first, the work of the editor himself, is a very poor production. It is a love lament, and the insertion of a song in a complicated lyrical measure in a plain stanzaic setting is evidently copied from the Calender. The other three poems are ascribed, either in the Rhapsody itself or in Davison's manuscript list, to a certain A. W., who so far remains unidentified, if, indeed, the letters conceal any individuality and do not merely stand for 'Anonymous Writer,' as has been sometimes thought. The three eclogues at any rate bear evidence of coming from the same pen, and the following lines show that the writer was no incompetent imitator, and at the same time argue some genuine feeling:

Thou 'ginst as erst forget thy former state,
And range amid the busks thyself to feed:
Fair fall thee, little flock! both rathe and late;
Was never lover's sheep that well did speed.
  Thou free, I bound; thou glad, I pine in pain;
  I strive to die, and thou to live full fain.

The first of these poems is a monologue 'entitled Cuddy,' modelled on the January eclogue. The second is a lament 'made long since upon the death of Sir Philip Sidney,' in which the writer wonders at Colin's silence, and which consequently must, at least, date from before the appearance of Astrophel in 1595, and is probably some years earlier. It is in the form of a dialogue between two shepherds, one of whom sings Cuddy's lament in lyrical stanzas, thus recalling Spenser's 'November.' These stanzas do not reveal any great metrical gift. The last poem is a fragment 'concerning old age,' which connects itself by its theme with the February eclogue, though the form is stanzaic.[109] Again we find mention of Cuddy, a name evidently assumed by the author, though whether he can be identified with the Cuddie of the Calender it is impossible to say. Whoever he was, he shows more disposition than most of his fellow imitators to preserve Spenser's archaisms.

But undoubtedly the greatest poet who was content to follow immediately in Spenser's footsteps was Michael Drayton, who in 1593 published a volume entitled 'Idea The Shepheards Garland, Fashioned in nine Eglogs. Rowlands Sacrifice to the nine Muses.' This connexion between the number of the eclogues and the muses is purely fanciful; Rowland is Drayton's pastoral name, and Idea, which re-appeared as the title of the 1594 volume of sonnets, is that of his poetic mistress.[110] It can hardly be said that the verse of these poems attains any very high order of merit, but the imitation of Spenser is evident throughout. In the first eclogue Rowland bewails, in the midst of spring, 'the winter of his grief.' In this and the corresponding monologue at the end he clearly follows Spenser's arrangement and likewise adopts his minor key--

Fayre Philomel, night-musicke of the spring,
Sweetly recordes her tunefull harmony,
And with deepe sobbes, and dolefull sorrowing,
Before fayre Cinthya actes her Tragedy.

In Eclogue II a 'wise' shepherd warns a youth against love, and draws a somewhat gruesome picture of human fate--

And when the bell is readie to be tol'd
To call the wormes to thine Anatomie,
Remember then, my boy, what once I said to thee!

Even this, however, fails to shake the lover's faith in the gentle passion, and his enthusiasm finds vent in an apostrophe borrowed from Spenser:

Oh divine love, which so aloft canst raise,
And lift the minde out of this earthly mire.

The next eclogue, containing a panegyric on Elizabeth under the name of Beta, is closely modelled on the 'April,' and abounds with such reminiscences as the following:

Make her a goodly Chapilet of azur'd Colombine,
And wreath about her Coronet with sweetest Eglantine:
Bedeck our Beta all with Lillies,
And the dayntie Daffadillies,
With Roses damask, white, and red, and fairest flower delice,
With Cowslips of Jerusalem, and cloves of Paradice.

Here, however, Drayton shows himself more skilful in dealing with a lyrical stanza than most of his fellow imitators. In the fourth eclogue two shepherds sing a dirge made by Rowland on the death of Elphin, that is Sidney. In the next Rowland himself sings the praises of Idea; and in the sixth Perkin those of Pandora, doubtless the Countess of Pembroke. The seventh is a singularly unentertaining dispute, in which typical representatives of age and youth abuse one another by turns; the eighth is a description of the golden age, a theme Spenser had omitted; and lastly, in the ninth we return to the opening love-motive, this time, as in the Calender, amid the frosts of winter.

These eclogues were reprinted in a different order in the 'Poems Lyric and Pastoral' (c. 1606) with one additional poem there numbered the ninth. This describes a rustic gathering of shepherds and nymphs, and contains several songs. The verse exhibits no small advance on the earlier work, and one song at least is in the author's daintiest manner. He seldom surpassed the graceful conceit of the lines:

Through yonder vale as I did passe,
Descending from the hill,
I met a smerking bony lasse;
They call her Daffadill:

Whose presence as along she went,
The prety flowers did greet,
As though their heads they downward bent
With homage to her feete.

Spenser, in spite of the warning he addressed to his book--

Dare not to match thy pype with Tityrus his style,
Nor with the Pilgrim that the Ploughman playde awhyle--

could nevertheless assert in semi-burlesque rime:

It shall continewe till the worlds dissolution;

and his disciple is not to be outdone. Never was truer lover or sweeter singer--

Oenon never upon Ida hill
So oft hath cald on Alexanders name,
As hath poore Rowland with an Angels quill
Erected trophies of Ideas fame:
Yet that false shepheard, Oenon, fled from thee;
I follow her that ever flies from me.

Thus Drayton endeavoured to follow in the footsteps of a greater than he, and small success befell him in his uncongenial task. He knew little and cared less about the moral and philosophical rags that clung yet about the pastoral tradition. He sang, in his lighter vein at least, for the mere pleasure that his song could afford to himself and others: the Spenserian and traditional garb fits him ill. His golden age is rather amorous than philosophical; he is more concerned that love should be free and true than that the earth should yield her fruits unwounded of the plough; and even so he hastens away from that colourless age to troll the delightful ballad of Dowsabel. The inspiration for this he found, not in Spenser and his learned predecessors, but in the popular romances, and in it we hear for the first time the voice of the real Michael Drayton, the accredited bard to the court of Faery. So again in the barren dispute of the seventh eclogue, he turns aside from his theme as the shadow of the winged god flits across his path--

That pretie Cupid, little god of love,
Whose imped winges with speckled plumes been dight,
Who striketh men below and Gods above,
Roving at randon with his feathered flight,
When lovely Venus sits and gives the ayme,
And smiles to see her little Bantlings game.

If these eclogues formed Drayton's only claim upon our attention as a pastoral poet there would be no excuse for lingering over him. He left other work, however, which, if but slightly pastoral in subject, is at least thoroughly so in form and spirit. The Muses Elizium did not appear till 1630, and it is consequently not a little premature to speak of it in this place. It is, however, so important as illustrating the freer and more spontaneous vein traceable in many English pastoralists from Henryson onwards, that it is worth while to place it for comparison side by side with the more orthodox tradition as exemplified, in spite of his originality, in the work of Spenser.

The Muses Elizium is in truth the culmination of a long sequence of pastoral work. Of this I have already discussed the beginnings when dealing with the native pastoral impulse; and however much it was influenced at a later date by foreign models it never submitted to the yoke of orthodox tradition, and to the end retained much of its freshness. The early anthologies are full of this sort of verse, the song-books are full of it, and so are the romances and the plays. To this lyrical tradition belong Breton's songs, of which one has already been quoted; there was hardly a poet of note at the end of the sixteenth century who did not contribute his quota. We find it once more, intermingling with a certain formal strain, in Drayton's Shepherds' Sirena containing the delightful song, with its subtle interchange of dactylic and iambic rhythms, so admirably characteristic of the author of the Agincourt ballad:

Neare to the Silver Trent
Sirena dwelleth,
Shee to whom Nature lent
All that excelleth;
By which the Muses late
And the neate Graces,
Have for their greater state
Taken their places:
Twisting an Anadem
Wherewith to Crowne her,
As it belong'd to them
Most to renowne her.
  On thy Bancke,
    In a Rancke
      Let thy Swanes sing her
  And with their Musick
      along let them bring her.

In this pervading impulse of pure and spontaneous pastoral the soul of what is sweet and winning in things common and familiar as our household fairies blends with the fresh glamour of early love and the dainty delights of an ideal world, where despair is only less sweet than fruition, and love only less divine than chastity, where, as Drayton frankly tells us,

The winter here a Summer is,
No waste is made by time,
Nor doth the Autumne ever misse
The blossomes of the Prime;

The flower that July forth doth bring,
In Aprill here is seene,
The Primrose, that puts on the Spring,
In July decks each Greene,

a world, in short, in which the nymphs may strew the laureate hearse, not only with all the flowers and fruits of earth, but with the Amaranth of paradise and the stars of heaven if the fancy takes them. Of a spirit compounded of these elements and of its quintessence are the 'Nymphals' of the Muses Elizium. There are portions of the work, it is true, in which the more vulgar strains of the conventional pastoral make themselves heard, as in the satires of the fourth and tenth Nymphals; but for the most part we are allowed to wander undisturbed among the woods and pastures of an earthly paradise, and revel in the fairy laureate's most imaginative work. There we meet Lirope, of whom

Some said a God did her beget,
But much deceiv'd were they,
Her Father was a Rivelet,
Her Mother was a Fay.
Her Lineaments so fine that were
She from the Fayrie tooke,
Her Beauties and Complection cleere
By nature from the Brooke.

There Naiis sings, roguishly enough, in the martial metre of Agincourt:

'Cloe, I scorne my Rime Should observe feet or time,
Now I fall, then I clime,
What is't I dare not?'

'Give thy Invention wing,
And let her flert and fling,
Till downe the Rocks she ding,
For that I care not';

the song then breaking off into gamesome anapaests:

The gentle winds sally Upon every Valley,
And many times dally
And wantonly sport,
About the fields tracing,
Each other in chasing,
And often imbracing,
In amorous sort.

There, again, we listen to the litany of the Muses, with the response:

Sweet Muse, perswade our Phoebus to inspire Us for his Altars with his holiest fire,
And let his glorious, ever-shining Rayes
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes;

or else hear the fairy prothalamium, most irrepressible and inimitable of bridal songs--

For our Tita is this day
Married to a noble Fay.

There, lastly, we behold the flutter of tender breasts half veiled when Venus and her wayward archer are abroad, and listen as fair Lelipa reads the decree:

To all th' Elizian Nimphish Nation,
Thus we make our Proclamation
Against Venus and her Sonne,
For the mischeefe they have done:
After the next last of May,
The fixt and peremptory day,
If she or Cupid shall be found
Upon our Elizian ground,
Our Edict mere Rogues shall make them,
And as such, who ere shall take them,
Them shall into prison put;
Cupids wings shall then be cut,
His Bow broken, and his Arrowes
Given to Boyes to shoot at Sparrowes;
And this Vagabond be sent,
Having had due punishment,
To mount Cytheron, which first fed him,
Where his wanton Mother bred him,
And there, out of her protection,
Dayly to receive correction.
Then her Pasport shall be made,
And to Cyprus Isle convayd,
And at Paphos, in her Shryne,
Where she hath beene held divine,
For her offences found contrite,
There to live an Anchorite.

We have here the very essence of whatever most delicately and quaintly exquisite the half sincere and half playful ideal of pastoral had generated since the days of Moschus.

How is it then, we may pause a moment to inquire, that in spite of its crudities of language and even of metre, in spite of its threadbare themes but half repatched with homelier cloth, in spite of its tedious theological controversies, its more or less conventional loves and more or less exaggerated panegyrics--how is it that in spite of all this we still regard the Shepherd's Calender as serious literature; while with all its exquisite justness, as of ivory carved and tinted by the hand of a master and encrusted with the sparkle of a thousand gems, the Muses' Elizium remains a toy? It is not merely the prestige of the author's name: it is not merely that we tend to accept the work of each at his own valuation. We have to seek the explanation of the phenomenon in the fact that not only has the Shepherd's Calender behind it a vast tradition, reverend if somewhat otiose--the devotion of men counts for something--but also that, however stiffly laced in an unsuitable garb, it sought to deal with matters of real import to man, or at any rate with what man has held as such. It treated questions of religious policy which touched the majority of men more nearly then than now; with moral problems calculated to interest the mind of an age still tinged with medievalism; with philosophical theories of human and divine love. In other words, the Shepherd's Calender lay in the main stream of literature, and reflected the mind of the age, while the Muses' Elizium, in common with so much pastoral work, did not. These considerations open up an interesting field of speculation. Are we to suppose that there is indeed a line of demarcation between great art and little art wholly independent of that which divides good art from bad art? Are we to go further, and assume that these two lines of division intersect, so that a work may be akin to great art though it be not good art, while, however perfect a work of art may be, it may remain little art for some wholly non-aesthetic reason? But we digress.


It will be convenient, in dealing with the considerable volume of English pastoral verse which has come down to us from the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, to divide it into two portions, according as it tends to attach itself to orthodox foreign tradition on the one hand, or to the more spontaneous native type on the other. To the former division belong in the main the more ambitious set pieces and eclogue-cycles, to the latter the lighter and more occasional verse, the pastoral ballads and the lyrics. The division is necessarily somewhat arbitrary, for the two traditions act and react on one another incessantly, and the types merge almost imperceptibly the one into the other; but that does not prevent the spirit that manifests itself in Drayton's eclogues being essentially different from that which produced Breton's songs. I shall not, however, try to draw any hard and fast line between the two, but shall rather deal first with those writers whose most important work inclines to the more formal tradition, and shall then endeavour to give some account of the lighter pastoral verse of the time.

After the appearance of the Shepherd's Calender some years elapsed before English poetry again ventured upon the domain of pastoral, at least in any serious composition. In 1589, however, appeared a small quarto volume, with the title: 'An Eglogue. Gratulatorie. Entituled: To the right honorable, and renowmed Shepheard of Albions Arcadia: Robert Earle of Essex and Ewe, for his welcome into England from Portugall. Done by George Peele. Maister of arts in Oxon.' Like the 'A. W.' of the Rhapsody, Peele followed Spenser more closely than most of his fellow imitators in the use of dialect, but his eclogue on the not particularly glorious return of Essex has little interest. His importance as a pastoralist lies elsewhere.

The following year the poet of the Hecatompathia, Thomas Watson, a pastoralist of note according to the critics of his own age, but whose work in this line is chiefly Latin, published his 'Ecloga in Obitum Honoratissimi Viri, Domini Francisci Walsinghami, Equitis aurati, Divae Elizabethae a secretis, & sanctioribus consiliis,' entitled Meliboeus, and also in the same year a translation of the piece into English. The latter is considerably shorter than the original, but still of tedious length. The usual transition from the dirge to the paean is managed with more than the usual lack of effect. The eclogue contains a good deal beyond its immediate subject; for instance, a lament for Astrophel, a passage in praise of Spenser, and a panegyric on

Diana, matchless Queene of Arcadie--

all subjects hardly possible for a poet to escape, writing more pastorali in 1590. Watson also left several other pastoral compositions in the learned tongue, which, from their eponymous hero, won for him the shepherd-name of Amyntas. Thus in 1585 he published a work in Latin hexameter verse with the title 'Amyntas Thomae Watsoni Londinensis I. V. studiosi,' divided into eleven 'Querelae,' which was 'paraphrastically translated' by Abraham Fraunce into English hexameters, and published under the title 'The Lamentations of Amyntas for the death of Phillis' in 1587. This translation, 'somewhat altered' to serve as a sequel to an English hexametrical version of Tasso's Aminta, was republished in 'The Countesse of Pembrokes Ivychurch' of 1591. Again in 1592 Watson produced another work entitled Amintae Gaudia, part of which was translated under the title An Old-fashioned Love, and published as by I. T. in 1594.[111]

Next in order--passing over Drayton, with whom we have been already sufficiently concerned--is a writer who, without the advantage of original genius or brilliant imagination, succeeded by mere charm of poetic style and love of natural beauty, in lifting his work above the barren level of contemporary pastoral verse. Richard Barnfield's Affectionate Shepherd, imitated, as he frankly confesses, from Vergil's Alexis, appeared in 1594. Appended to it was a poem similar in tone and spirit, entitled The Shepherd's Content, containing a description of country life and scenery, together with a lamentation for Sidney, a hymn to love, a praise of the poets, and other similar matters. The easy if somewhat monotonous grace which pervades both these pieces is seen to better advantage in the delightful Shepherd's Ode, which appeared in his Cynthia of 1595, and begins:

Nights were short and days were long,
Blossoms on the hawthorn hong,
Philomel, night-music's king,
Told the coming of the spring;

or in the yet more perfect song:

As it fell upon a day
In the merry month of May,
Sitting in a pleasant shade
Which a group of myrtles made,
Beasts did leap and birds did sing,
Trees did grow and plants did spring,
Everything did banish moan,
Save the nightingale alone;
She, poor bird, as all forlorn,
Lean'd her breast against a thorn,
And there sung the dolefull'st ditty,
That to hear it was great pity....
Ah, thought I, thou mourn'st in vain,
None takes pity on thy pain.
Senseless trees, they cannot hear thee;
Ruthless beasts, they will not cheer thee;
King Pandion he is dead,
All thy friends are lapp'd in lead[112];
All thy fellow birds do sing,
Careless of thy sorrowing;
Even so, poor bird, like thee,
None alive will pity me[113].

No particular interest attaches to the four eclogues included in Thomas Lodge's Fig for Momus, published in 1595, but they serve to throw light on a kind of pastoral freemasonry that was springing up at this period. Spenser and Sidney, under the names of Colin and Astrophel, or more rarely Philisides, were firmly fixed in poetic tradition; Barnfield, by coupling them with these, made Watson and Drayton free of the craft in his complaint to Love in the Shepherd's Content:

By thee great Collin lost his libertie,
By thee sweet Astrophel forwent his joy,
By thee Amyntas wept incessantly,
By thee good Rowland liv'd in great annoy.

Now we find Lodge dedicating his four eclogues respectively to Colin, Menalcus, Rowland, and Daniel. Who Menalcus was is uncertain; not, it would seem, a poet. The themes are serious, even weighty according to the estimation of the author, and befit the mood of the poet who first sought to acclimatize the classical satire[114]. These eclogues do not, however, testify to any high poetic gift, any more than do the couple in a lighter vein found in the Phillis of 1593. Lodge was happier in the lyric verses with which he strewed his romances--such for instance as the lines to Phoebe in Rosalynde, though these did certainly lay themselves open to parody[115]. In the same romance Lodge rose for once to a perfection of delicate conceit unsurpassed from his day to ours:

Love in my bosom like a bee
Doth suck his sweet;
Now with his wings he plays with me,
Now with his feet.

Within mine eyes he makes his nest,
His bed amidst my tender breast;
My kisses are his daily feast,
And yet he robs me of my rest.
Ah, wanton, will ye?

The year 1595 also saw the publication of Francis Sabie's Pan's Pipe, which contains, according to the not wholly accurate title-page, 'Three Pastorall Eglogues, in English Hexameter.' These constituted the first attempt in English at writing original eclogues in Vergilian metre, and the injudicious experiment has not, I believe, been repeated. The subjects present little novelty of theme, but the treatment illustrates the natural tendency of English pastoral writers towards narrative and the influence of the romantic ballad motives. The same volume contains another work of Sabie's, namely, the Fishermaris Tale, a blank-verse rendering of Greene's Pandosto[116].

The three pastoral elegies of William Basse, published in 1602, the last work of the kind to appear in Elizabeth's reign, form in reality a short pastoral romance. The court-bred Anander falls in love with the shepherdess Muridella, and charges the sheep-boy Anetor to convey to her the knowledge of his passion. His love proving unkind he turns shepherd, and resolves to remain so until his suit obtains better grace. More than half a century later, namely in 1653, Basse prepared for press a manuscript containing a series of pastorals headed 'Clio, or The first Muse in 9 Eglogues in honor of 9 vertues,' and arranged according to the days of the week. The whole composition is singularly lacking alike in interest and merit.[117]

It is not surprising to find the eclogues of the early years of James' reign reflecting current events. In 1603 appeared a curious compilation, the work of Henry Chettle, bearing the title: 'Englandes Mourning Garment: Worne here by plaine Shepheardes; in memorie of their sacred Mistresse, Elizabeth, Queene of Vertue while shee lived, and Theame of Sorrow, being dead. To which is added the true manner of her Emperiall Funerall. After which foloweth the Shepheards Spring-Song, for entertainement of King James our most potent Soveraigne. Dedicated to all that loved the deceased Queene, and honor the living King.' The book is a strange medley of verse and prose, elegies on Elizabeth in the form of eclogues, and political lectures written in the style of the pastoral romance. The most interesting passage is an address to contemporary poets reproaching them for their neglect of the praises of the late queen. The pastoral names under which they are introduced appear to be merely nonce appellations, but are worth recording as they refer to a set outside the usual pastoral circle. Thus Corin is Chapman; Musaeus, of course Marlowe; English Horace, no doubt Jonson; Melicert, Shakespeare; Coridon, Drayton; Anti-Horace, most likely Dekker, and Moelibee, mentioned with him, possibly Marston. To Musidore, 'Hewres last Musaeus' (no doubt corrupt), and the 'infant muse,' it is more difficult to assign an identity.[118] Throughout Chettle assumes to himself Spenser's pastoral title.

To the same or the following year belong the twelve eclogues by Edward Fairfax, the translater of Tasso's Gerusalemme, which are now for the most part lost. One, the fourth, was printed in 1737 from the original manuscript, another in 1883 from a later transcript in the Bodleian, while a third is preserved in a fragmentary state in the British Museum.[119] All three deal chiefly with contemporary affairs, the two former being concerned with the abuses of the church, while the last is a panegyric of the 'present age,' and especially of English maritime adventure. This is certainly the most pleasing of the three, though the style is at times pretentious and over-charged with far-fetched allusions. There are, however, fine passages, as for instance the lines on Drake:

And yet some say that from the Ocean maine,
He will returne when Arthur comes againe.

More directly concerned with the political events of the day is the curious eclogue Δάφνις Πολυστέφανος by Sir George Buc, published in 1605, in praise of the Genest crown, the royal right by Apollo's divine decree of a long line of English kings, who are passed in review by way of introduction to the praises of their latest representative. The work was revised by an unknown hand for the accession of Charles, and republished under the title of The Great Plantagenet in 1635, as by 'Geo. Buck, Gent.' Sir George held the post of Master of the Revels from 1608 to 1622, and died the following year.

In 1607 appeared a poem 'Mirrha the Mother of Adonis,' by William Barksted, to which were appended three eclogues by Lewes Machin.[120] Of these, one describes the love of a shepherd and his nymph, while the other two treat the theme of Apollo and Hyacinth. Composed in easy verse of no particular distinction these poems belong to that borderland between the idyllic and the salacious on which certain shepherd-poets loved to dally.

The years 1614 and 1615 saw the appearance of works of considerably greater interest from every point of view, among others from that of what I have described as pastoral freemasonry. In the former year there appeared a small octavo volume entitled The Shepherd's Pipe. The chief contributor was William Browne of Tavistock, the first book of whose pastoral epic, Britannia's Pastorals, had appeared the previous year. Besides seven eclogues from his pen, the volume contained one by Christopher Brooke, one by Sir John Davies, and two by George Wither. These last two were republished in 1615, with three additional pieces, in Wither's collection entitled The Shepherd's Hunting. With the exception of one or two of Browne's, these fourteen eclogues all deal with the personal relation of the friends who disguise themselves respectively, Browne as Willy, Wither as Roget (a name later exchanged for that of Philarete), Brooke as Cuddie, and Davies as Wernock. Wither's were written, as we learn from the title-page of the 1615 volume, while the author was in prison in the Marshalsea for hunting vice with a pack of satires in full cry, that is, the Abuses Stript and Whipt of 1611. The verse seldom rises above an amiable mediocrity, the best that can be said for it being that it carries on, in a not wholly unworthy manner, the dainty tradition of the octosyllabic couplet between the Faithful Shepherdess and Milton's early poems. Browne's eclogues are chiefly remarkable for the introduction into the first of a long and rather tedious tale derived from a manuscript of Thomas Occleve's. The last of the series, an elegy on the death of Thomas, son of Sir Peter Manwood, has been quoted as the model of Lycidas, but the resemblance begins and ends with the fact that in either case the subject of the poem met his death by drowning--a resemblance which will scarcely support a charge of plagiarism[121].

In 1621 appeared six eclogues under the title of The Shepherd's Tales by the prolific miscellaneous writer Richard Brathwaite. Each in its turn recounts the amorous misfortunes of some swain, which usually arise out of the inconstancy of his sweetheart, and the prize of infelicity having been adjudged, the author, not perhaps without a touch of malice, sends the whole company off to a wedding. The Tales are noteworthy for the very pronounced dramatic gift they reveal, being in this respect quite unique in their kind. The same year saw the publication of the not very successful expansion of one of these eclogues into the pastoral narrative in verse, entitled 'Omphale or the Inconstant Shepherdesse.' Brathwaite had already in 1614 published the Poet's Willow, containing a 'Pastorall' which recounts the unsuccessful love of Berillus, an Arcadian shepherd, for the nymph Eliza[122].

Pursuing the chronological order we come next to Phineas Fletcher's 'Piscatorie Eclogs' appended to his Purple Island in 1633. Except that the scene is laid on the banks of a river instead of in the pastures, and that the characters spend their time looking after boats and nets instead of tending flocks, they differ in nought from the strictly pastoral compositions. They are seven in number, and deal either with personal subjects or with conventional themes. As an imitation of the Shepherd's Calender, without its uncouthness whether of subject or language, and equally without its originality or higher poetic value, the work is not wanting in merit, but it is most decidedly wanting in all power to arrest the reader's attention.

The last collection that will claim our notice is that of Francis Quarles, which appeared posthumously in 1646 under the title of 'The Shepheards Oracles: Delivered in Certain Eglogues[123]. The interest of the volume lies not so much in its poetic merit, which however is considerable, as in the fact that it deals with almost every form of religious controversy at a critical point in English history. Quarles was a stanch Anglican, and he lashes Romanists and Precisians with impartial severity. One of the eclogues opens with a panegyric on Gustavus Adolphus, in the midst of which a messenger enters bearing the news of his death, thus fixing the date of the poem in all probability in the winter of 1632-3. In the eleventh and last the Puritan party is mercilessly satirized in the person of Anarchus, in allusion to the supposed socialistic tendency of its teaching. He is thus described in a dialogue between Philarchus and Philorthus (the lovers of order and justice presumably):

Philor. How like a Meteor made of zeal and flame
The man appears!

Philar.    Or like a blazing Star
Portending change of State, or some sad War,
Or death of some good Prince.

Philor.         He is the trouble
Of three sad Kingdoms.

Philar.       Even the very Bubble, The froth of troubled waters.

Philor.       Hee's a Page
Fill'd with Errata's of the present Age.

Philar. The Churches Scourge--

Philor.           The devils Enchiridion--

Philar. The Squib, the Ignis fatuus of Religion.

To their address Anarchus replies in a song which it would be easy to illustrate from the dramatic literature of the time, and which well indicates the estimation in which the faction was popularly held. Here is one verse:

Wee'l down with all the Varsities,
Where Learning 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.

The whole song for sheer rollicking hypocrisy is without parallel in the language. The date of the poem is doubtful, but Quarles lived till 1644, and after two years of civil strife the terms which the interlocutors in the above passage apply to the Puritan party can hardly be regarded as prophetic.

Besides the works we have examined above, several others are known to have existed, though they are not now traceable. Thus 'The sweete sobbes, and amorous Complaintes of Shepardes and Nymphes in a fancye confusde by An Munday' was entered on the books of the Stationers' Company on August 19, 1583. Two years earlier, on August 3, 1581, had been entered 'A Shadowe of Sannazar.' Again we know, alike from Wood's Athenae and Meres' Palladis Tamia, that Stephen Gosson left works of the kind of which we have now no trace; while Puttenham in his Art of English Poesy mentions an eclogue of his own, addressed to Edward VI, and entitled Elpine. Puttenham and Meres in dealing with pastoral writers also mention one Challener, no doubt the Thomas Chaloner who contributed to the Mirror for Magistrates, and Nashe in his preface to Menaphon adds Thomas Atchelow, who may be plausibly identified with the Thomas Achelly who contributed verses to Watson's Hecatompathia and various sententious fragments to England's Parnassus, among them a not very happy rendering of those lines of Catullus which might almost be taken as a motto to pastoral poetry as a whole:

The sun doth set, and brings again the day,
But when our light is gone, we sleep for aye.


It is not easy to arrange the mass of occasional lyric verse of a pastoral nature in a manner to facilitate a general survey. We may perhaps divide it roughly into general groups which possess certain points in common and can be treated more or less independently. Little would be gained by following a strictly chronological order, even were it possible to do so.

We occasionally meet with translations, though from the nature of the case these, as well as evidences of direct foreign influence, are less prominent here than in the more formal type of pastoral verse. We have already seen that Googe, besides borrowing from Garcilaso's version of a portion of the Arcadia, himself paraphrased passages of the Diana in his eclogues, and the latter work also supplied material for the pen of Sir Philip Sidney. His debt consists in translations of two songs from Montemayor's romance, printed among his miscellaneous poems[124]. About a dozen translations from the same source appeared in England's Helicon, the work of Bartholomew Yong. They are for the most part very inferior to the general average of the collection, but the opening of one at least is worth quoting:

'Guardami las vaccas,
Carillo, por tu fé.--
Besami primero,
Yo te las guardaré.'

I prithee keep my kine for me,
Carillo, wilt thou? tell.--
First let me have a kiss of thee,
And I will keep them well.

Another translation is the poem headed 'A Pastorall' in Daniel's Delia of 1592, a rendering of the famous chorus to the first act of Tasso's Aminta.

When we turn to original verse, the first group of poets to arrest our attention is the court circle which gathered round Sir Philip Sidney. There is a poem by his sister, the Countess of Pembroke, preserved in Davison's Poetical Rhapsody, and there headed 'A Dialogue between two Shepherds, Thenot and Piers, in Praise of Astrea.' It was composed for the entertainment of the queen, and was no doubt sung or recited in character. Such was likewise the mode of production of Sir Philip's 'Dialogue between two Shepherds, uttered in a pastoral show at Wilton,'[125] which is more rustic in character. Astrophel and Stella supplies a graceful 'complaint to his flock' against the cruelty of

Stella, fiercest shepherdess,
Fiercest, but yet fairest ever;
Stella, whom the heavens still bless,
Though against me she persever.
Though I bliss inherit never.

The Poetical Rhapsody again preserves two others, the outcome of Sidney's friendship with Greville and Dyer. The first is a song of welcome; the second, headed 'Dispraise of a Courtly Life,' ends with the prayer:

Only for my two loves' sake, In whose love I pleasure take;
Only two do me delight
With the ever-pleasing sight;
Of all men to thee retaining,
Grant me with these two remaining.

Of Fulke Greville, Lord Brooke, the loyal admirer and biographer of Sidney, who desired on his tomb no better passport to posterity than that he had been Sir Philip's friend, we have among other works published in 1633 a series of so-called sonnets recording his love for the fair Caelica. There is a thin veil of pastoralism over the whole, with here and there a more definite note as in 'Sonnet' 75, a poem of over two hundred lines lamenting his lady's cruelty--

Shepheardesses, yet marke well
The Martyrdome of Philocell.

Of Sir Edward Dyer's works no early edition was published. Such isolated poems as have survived were collected by Grosart in 1872 from a variety of sources. If the piece entitled Cynthia is authentic, it gives him a respectable place beside Greville among the minor pastoralists of his day. Lastly, in connexion with Sidney we may note a curious poem which appeared in the first edition of the Arcadia only.[126] It is a 'bantering' eclogue, in which the shepherds Nico and Pas first abuse one another and then fall to a comic singing match. It is evidently suggested by the fifth Idyl of Theocritus, and is a fair specimen of a very uncommon class in English. Akin to this is the burlesque variety, of which we have already met with examples in Lorenzo's Nencia and Pulci's Beca, and which is almost equally rare with us. A specimen will be found in the not very successful eclogue in Greene's Menaphon. The following is as near as the author was able to approach to Lorenzo's delicately playful tone:

Carmela deare, even as the golden ball
That Venus got, such are thy goodly eyes:
When cherries juice is jumbled therewithall,
Thy breath is like the steeme of apple pies.

It would, of course, be grossly unfair to judge Robert Greene, the ever-sinning and ever-repentant, by the above injudicious experiment. His lyrical powers appear in a very different light, for instance, in the 'Palmer's Ode' in Never Too Late (1590), one of the most charming of his many confessions:

As I lay and kept my sheepe,
Came the God that hateth sleepe,
Clad in armour all of fire,
Hand in hand with Queene Desire,
And with a dart that wounded nie,
Pearst my heart as I did lie,
That, when I wooke, I gan sweare
Phillis beautie palme did beare.

From the same romance I must do Greene the justice of quoting the delightful, though but remotely pastoral, song of every loving nymph to her bashful swain:

Sweet Adon, darest not glance thine eye--
N'oserez-vous, mon bel ami?--
Upon thy Venus that must die?
Je vous en prie, pity me:
N'oserez-vous, mon bel, mon bel--
N'oserez-vous, mon bel ami?

See how sad thy Venus lies--
N'oserez-vous, mon bel ami?--
Love in heart and tears in eyes;
Je vous en prie, pity me:
N'oserez-vous, mon bel, mon bel--
N'oserez-vous, mon bel ami?

It is hard to refrain from quoting half a dozen other pieces. There is the courting of Phillis in Perimedes the Blacksmith (1588), with its purely idyllic close; or again the famous 'Shepherd's Wife's Song' from the Mourning Garment (1590):

Ah, what is love? It is a pretty thing,
As sweet unto a shepherd as a king;
 And sweeter too,
For kings have cares that wait upon a crown,
And cares can make the sweetest love to frown:
 Ah then, ah then,
If country loves such sweet desires do gain,
What lady would not love a shepherd swain?

No one not utterly callous to the pathos of human life, or warped by some ethical twist beyond the semblance of a man, has ever been able to pass unmoved by the figure of Robert Greene. We see him, the poet of all that is truest and tenderest in human affection, abandoning his young wife and child, drawn by the power of some fatal fascination into the whirlpool of low life in London, and then, as if inspired by a sudden revelation of objective vision, penning the throbbing lines of the forsaken mother's song:

Weep not, my wanton, smile upon my knee,
When thou art old there's grief enough for thee.

We see him again amid the despair and squalor of his death-bed, warning his friends against his own example, and addressing to the wife he had not seen for years those words endorsed on a bill for ten pounds, words ever memorable in the history of English letters: 'Doll, I charge thee by the love of our youth, and by my soul's rest, that thou wilt see this man paid; for if he and his wife had not succoured me I had died in the streets.' Such are the scenes of sordid misery which underlie some of the choicest of English songs. It is best to return to the surface.

The lyric 'sequences' published towards the close of the sixteenth century frequently contain more or less pastoral matter. Barnabe Barnes appended some poems of this sort to his Parthenophil and Parthenophe (c. 1593), among others a version of Moschus' idyl of runaway love, a theme which had long been a favourite one with pastoral writers. Poliziano's Latin translation of Moschus[127] was commended by E. K. in his notes to the Shepherd's Calender, and the same original supplied Tasso with the subject of his Amore fuggitivo, which served as epilogue to the Aminta. William Smith's Chloris (1596), except for plentiful swearing by pastoral deities, is less bucolic in spite of its dedication to Colin Clout. The most important of the sequences from our present point of view is Nicholas Breton's Passionate Shepherd, which was not published till 1604. It contains five pastorals in praise of Aglaia:

Had I got a kingly grace,
I would leave my kingly place
And in heart be truly glad
To become a country lad,
Hard to lie and go full bare,
And to feed on hungry fare,
So I might but live to be
Where I might but sit to see,
Once a day, or all day long,
The sweet subject of my song;
In Aglaia's only eyes
All my worldly paradise.

This is a fair specimen of Breton's dainty muse, but his choicest work appeared in that wonderful anthology published in 1600 under the title of England's Helicon. To this collection Breton contributed such verses as the following:

On a hill there grows a flower--
Fair befall the dainty sweet!--
By that flower there is a bower,
Where the heavenly muses meet.

In that bower there is a chair,
Fringèd all about with gold;
Where doth sit the fairest fair,
That ever eye did yet behold.

It is Phyllis fair and bright,
She that is the shepherd's joy;
She that Venus did despite,
And did bind her little boy.

Or again:

Good Muse, rock me asleep
With some sweet harmony;
The weary eye is not to keep
Thy wary company.

Sweet Love, begone awhile,
Thou knowest my heaviness;
Beauty is born but to beguile
My heart of happiness.

Another poem no less perfect has been already quoted at length. In its own line, the delicate carving of fair images as in crystal or some precious stone, Breton's work is unsurpassed. We cannot do better than take, as examples of a very large class, some of the poems printed, in most cases for the first time, in England's Helicon. Of Henry Constable, the poet indicated doubtless by the initiais H. C., we have a charming song between Phillis and Amaryllis, the counterpart and imitation of Spenser's 'Bonibell' ballad:

P. Fie on the sleights that men devise--
(Heigho, silly sleights!)
When simple maids they would entice.
(Maids are young men's chief delights.)
A. Nay, women they witch with their eyes--
(Eyes like beams of burning sun!)
And men once caught they do despise;
So are shepherds oft undone.

P. If every maid were like to me--
(Heigho, hard of heart!)
Both love and lovers scorn'd should be.
(Scorners shall be sure of smart.)
A. If every maid were of my mind--
(Heigho, heigho, lovely sweet!)
They to their lovers should prove kind;
Kindness is for maidens meet[128].

Of Sir John Wotton, the short-lived half-brother of the more famous Sir Henry, there is a spirited song, betraying unusual command over a complicated rhythm:

Jolly shepherd, shepherd on a hill,
  On a hill so merrily,
  On a hill so cheerily,
Fear not, shepherd, there to pipe thy fill;
Fill every dale, fill every plain;
Both sing and say, 'Love feels no pain.'

Another graceful poet of England's Helicon is the 'Shepherd Tony,' whose identity with Anthony Munday was finally established by Mr. Bullen. He contributed, among other verses, a not very interesting reply to Harpelus' complaint in 'Tottel's Miscellany,' and the well-known and exquisite:

Beauty sat bathing by a spring
Where fairest shades did hide her,

which reappears in his translation of the Castilian romance Primelion.

In Marlowe's 'Passionate Shepherd to his Love,' of which England's Helicon supplies one of three texts[129], we come to what is, with the possible exception of Lycidas alone, the most subtly modulated specimen of pastoral verse in English. So far as internal evidence is concerned the poem has absolutely nothing but its own perfection to connect it with the name of Marlowe; it is utterly unlike all other verse, dramatic, narrative, or lyric, ascribed to him. An admirable eclectic text, which exhibits to the full the delicacy of the rhythm, has been prepared by Mr. Bullen in his edition of Marlowe's works. It would be impossible not to quote the piece in full:

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and vallies, dales and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined[130] slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy-buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherd-swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

The popularity of this poem was testified by its widespread influence on the poets of the day. England's Helicon contains 'the Nymphs reply,' commonly attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh, and also a long imitation; Donne wrote a piscatory version, and Herrick paid it the sincerest form of flattery, while less distinct reminiscences are common in the poetry of the time. Yet Kit Marlowe's verses stand unrivalled.

The pastoral influence in Shakespeare's verse, both lyric and dramatic, is too obvious to need more than passing notice. Every reader will recall 'Who is Sylvia,' from the Two Gentlemen, and 'It was a lover and his lass,' the song of which, in Touchstone's opinion, 'though there was no great matter in the ditty, yet the tune was very untuneable,' or again the famous speech of the chidden king:

O God! methinks it were a happy life,
To be no better than a homely swain;
    (3 Henry VI, II. v. 21.)

and Arthur's exclamation:

  By my christendom
So I were out of prison and kept sheep,
I should be as merry as the day is long.
    (K. John, IV. i. 16.)

One poem, bearing a certain resemblance to verses of Barnfield's already discussed, may be quoted here. It was originally printed in the fourth act of Love's Labour's Lost in 1598, reappeared in the Passionate Pilgrim in 1599, and again in England's Helicon in 1600.

On a day--alack the day!--
Love, whose month was ever May,
Spied a blossom passing fair
Playing in the wanton air.
Through the velvet leaves the wind
All unseen gan passage find,
That the shepherd, sick to death,
Wish'd himself the heaven's breath.
Air, quoth he, thy cheeks may blow;
Air, would I might triumph so!
But, alas, my hand hath sworn
Ne'er to pluck thee from thy thorn;
Vow, alack, for youth unmeet,
Youth is apt to pluck a sweet.
[Do not call it sin in me
That I am forsworn for thee;]
Thou for whom Jove would swear
Juno but an Ethiope were,
And deny himself for Jove,
Turning mortal for thy love.[131]

Lastly, England's Helicon preserves two otherwise unknown poems of Drayton's, one probably an early work, having little to recommend it beyond the pretty though not original conceit:

See where little Cupid lies
Looking babies in her eyes!

the other similar in style to the eclogue first published in the collection of c. 1606. About contemporary possibly is the anonymous ballad 'Phillida flouts me,' which in command alike of rhythm and language is remarkably reminiscent of some, and that some of the best, of Drayton's work.

Oh, what a plague is love!
How shall I bear it?
She will unconstant prove,
I greatly fear it.

It so torments my mind
That my strength faileth;
She wavers with the wind,
As the ship saileth.
Please her the best you may,
She looks another way;
Alas and well-a-day!
Phillida flouts me[132].

I have already had occasion to mention the mysterious A. W. in Davison's Poetical Rhapsody, but I cannot refrain from calling attention to one other poem of his. It is headed 'A fiction, how Cupid made a nymph wound herself with his arrows,' and is perhaps the nearest thing in English to a Greek idyllion, though in the manner of Moschus rather than of Theocritus. The opening scene will give an idea of the style:

It chanced of late a shepherd's swain,
That went to seek a strayèd sheep,
Within a thicket on the plain,
Espied a dainty nymph asleep.

Her golden hair o'erspread her face,
Her careless arms abroad were cast, Her quiver had her pillow's place,
Her breast lay bare to every blast.

The shepherd stood, and gazed his fill;
Nought durst he do, nought durst he say;
When chance, or else perhaps his will,
Did guide the god of love that way.

And so the long pageant troops by, not without its passages of dullness, its moments of pedestrian gait, for it must be borne in mind that the poems quoted above are for the most part the choice of what has survived in a few volumes, and that this in its turn represents the gleanings from a far larger body of verse that once existed. In spite of its perennial freshness the charge of want of originality has not unreasonably been brought even against the best compositions of the kind. It could hardly be otherwise. Except in the rarest cases originality was impossible. The impulse was to write a certain kind of amatory verse, for which the fashionable medium was pastoral; not to write pastoral for its own sake. The demand was for convention, the familiar, the expected; never for originality or truth. The fault was in the poetic requirements of the age, and must not be laid to the charge of those admirable craftsmen who gave the age what it wanted; especially when in so doing they enriched English poetry with some of its choicest gems.

The pastoral lyric of the next two reigns is far too wide a subject to be entered upon here. Grave or gay, satirical or idyllic, coy or wanton, there is scarcely a poet of note or obscurity who did not contribute his share. Nowhere is a rarer note of pastoral to be found than in L'Allegro, with its

   every shepherd tells his tale
Under the hawthorn in the vale.

Before, however, saying farewell to this, the lighter side of English pastoral verse, I would call attention to a poem which perhaps more than any other illustrates the spirit of voluttà idillica, characteristic of so much that possesses abiding value in pastoral. Unfortunately Carew's Rapture is almost throughout of a nature that forbids reproduction except in a scientific edition, or an admittedly erotic collection. Though its licence is coterminous with the bounds of natural desire, the candour of its appeal to unvitiated nature saves it from reproach, and the perfection of its form makes it an object of never-failing beauty. The idea with which the poem opens, the escape to a land where all conventional restrictions cease to have a meaning, was of course suggested by the first chorus of the Aminta:

          quel vano
Nome senza soggetto,
Quell' idolo d' errori, idol d' inganno;
Quel che dal volgo insano
Onor poscia fu detto--
Che di nostra natura 'l feo tiranno.

I can only extract one short passage out of Tom Carew's poem, that which describes how

Daphne hath broke her bark, and that swift foot
Which th' angry Gods had fast'ned with a root
To the fix'd earth, doth now unfetter'd run
To meet th' embraces of the youthful Sun.
She hangs upon him, like his Delphic Lyre;
Her kisses blow the old, and breath new, fire;
Full of her God, she sings inspired lays,
Sweet odes of love, such as deserve the Bays,
Which she herself was. Next her, Laura lies
In Petrarch's learned arms, drying those eyes
That did in such sweet smooth-paced numbers flow,
As made the world enamoured of his woe.

This is not itself pastoral, but it belongs to that idyllic borderland which we previously noticed in dealing with Italian verse. And again, as in Italy, so in England, we find the same spirit infusing the mythological tales. Did time and space allow it would be an interesting diversion to trace how the pastoral spirit evinced itself in such works as Peele's Tale of Troy, Lodge's Scilla's Metamorphosis, Drayton's Man in the Moon, Brathwaite's Narcissus Change (in the Golden Fleece), and found articulate utterance in the voluptuous cadences of Venus and Adonis.


There are two specimens of English pastoral verse which I have reserved for separate discussion in this place, namely, Lycidas and Britannia's Pastorals. The one is probably the most perfect example of the allegorical pastoral produced since first the form was invented by Vergil, the other the longest and most ambitious poem ever composed on a pastoral theme.[133]

Milton's poem was written on the occasion of the death of Edward King, fellow of Christ's College, who was drowned on his way to Ireland during the long vacation of 1637, and first appeared in a collection of memorial verses by his Cambridge friends published in 1638. It gathers together within its narrow compass as it were whole centuries of pastoral tradition, fusing them into an organic whole, and inspiring the form with a poetic life of its own.

Yet once more, O ye Laurels, and once more
Ye Myrtles brown, with Ivy never sear,
I com to pluck your Berries harsh and crude,
And with forc'd fingers rude,
Shatter your leaves before the mellowing year.

For Lycidas is dead and claims his meed of song.

Begin then, Sisters of the sacred well,
That from beneath the seat of Jove doth spring;
Begin, and somwhat loudly sweep the string.

Sing first their friendship, nursed upon the self-same hill, their youth spent together. But oh! the heavy change; now the very caves and woods mourn his loss. Where then were the Muses, that their loved poet should die? And yet what could they do for Lycidas, who had no power to shield Orpheus himself,

When by the rout that made the hideous roar,
His goary visage down the stream was sent,
Down the swift Hebrus to the Lesbian shore.

What then avails the poet's toil? Were it not better to taste the sweets of love as they offer themselves since none can count on reward in this life? The prize, however, lies elsewhere--

Fame is no plant that grows on mortal soil.

But such thoughts are too lofty for the swains of Arethusa and Mincius. Listen rather as the herald of the sea questions the god of winds about the fatal wreck. It was no storm drove the ill-starred boat to destruction:

The Ayr was calm, and on the level brine,
Sleek Panope with all her sisters play'd,

sounds the reply. Next, footing slow, comes the tutelary deity of Alma Mater, and in one sad cry mourns the promise of a life so soon cut short. Lastly, 'The Pilot of the Galilean lake,' with denunciation of the corrupt hirelings of a venal age, laments the loss of the church in the death of Lycidas. As his solemn figure passes by, the gracious fantasies of pastoral landscape shrink away: now

Return Alpheus, the dread voice is past,
That shrunk thy streams,

bid the nymphs bring flowers of every hue,

To strew the Laureat Herse where Lycid lies--

and yet indeed even this comfort is denied, we dally with false imaginings,

  Whilst thee the shores, and sounding Seas
Wash far away, where ere thy bones are hurld,
Whether beyond the stormy Hebrides,
Where thou perhaps under the whelming tide
Visit'st the bottom of the monstrous world,

or on the Cornish coast,

Where the great vision of the guarded Mount
Looks toward Namancos and Bayona's hold.

But enough!

Weep no more, woful Shepherds weep no more,
For Lycidas your sorrow is not dead,
Sunk though he be beneath the watry floar,
So sinks the day-star in the Ocean bed,
And yet anon repairs his drooping head,
And tricks his beams, and with new spangled Ore,
Flames in the forehead of the morning sky.

On this note the elegy ends, and there follow eight lines in which the poet glances at his own pastoral self that has been singing, and realizes that the world will go on even though Lycidas be no more, and that there are other calls in life than that of piping on an oaten reed. These lines correspond to the plain stanzaic frames in which Spenser set his lyrics in the Shepherd's Calender:

Thus sang the uncouth Swain to th' Okes and rills,
While the still morn went out with Sandals gray,
He touch'd the tender stops of various Quills,
With eager thought warbling his Dorick lay:
And now the Sun had stretch'd out all the hills,
And now was dropt into the Western bay;
At last he rose, and twitch'd his Mantle blew:
To morrow to fresh Woods, and Pastures new.

The poem, in common with the whole class of allegorical pastorals, is undoubtedly open to the charge of artificiality, since, in truth, the pastoral garb can never illustrate, but only distort and obscure subjects drawn from other orders of civilization. Yet none but a great master could, to produce a desired effect, have utilized every association which tradition afforded with the consummate skill observable in Milton's poem. He has been blamed for the introduction of St. Peter, on the ground of incongruity; but he has tradition on his side. St. Peter, as we have already seen, figures, under the name of Pamphilus, in the eclogues of Petrarch, and his introduction by Milton is in nicest keeping with the spirit of the kind. The whole poem, and indeed a great deal more, must stand or fall with the Pilot of the Galilean Lake, for to censure his introduction here is to condemn the whole pastoral tradition of three centuries, a judgement which may or may not be just, but which is not a criticism on Milton's poem. So again with the flowers that are to be strewn on the laureate hearse. Three kinds of berries and eleven kinds of flowers are mentioned, and it has been pointed out with painful accuracy that nine of the latter would have been over, and none of the former ripe on August 11, when King was drowned; while all the flowers, with the exception of the amaranth, if it were of the true breed, would have been dead and rotten in November, when the poem was presumably written. It would be foolish to quarrel with Milton on this point, since where all is imaginary such licence is as natural as the strictest botany; yet it must not be forgotten that it is just this disseverance from actuality that has made the eclogue the type of all that is frigid and artificial in literature. The dissatisfaction felt by many with Lycidas was voiced by Dr. Johnson, when he wrote: 'It is not to be considered the effusion of real passion, for passion runs not after remote allusions and obscure opinions.... Where there is leisure for fiction there is little grief[134].' This is so absolutely true, with regard to the present poem at all events, that it would appear hardly worth saying were it not that there have always been found persons to maintain the contrary. There is no reason whatever to suppose that Milton felt any keen personal grief at the death of Edward King. There is nothing spontaneous, nothing, one might almost say, genuine in the lament. This is indeed strictly irrelevant to the question of its artistic merit, but it must nevertheless be admitted that there is thus much justice in the censure, that the poem purports to be the expression of an intimate sorrow, of the reality of which the reader is never wholly convinced. In so far as it lacks this 'soul-compelling power,' it may be said, not unfairly, to fail of its own artistic purpose.

One further question, however, inevitably presents itself when we have to consider such a work as Lycidas, a work, that is, in which art has attained the highest perfection in one particular kind. Although the objections urged against the individual poem may be shown to miss their mark as criticisms on that poem, may they not have force as criticisms on the class? The allegorical pastoral, though in one sense, as I have said, created by Vergil, was yet, in another, a plant of slow growth, and represents a tradition gradually evolved to meet the needs of a long line of poets. Petrarch, Mantuan, Marot, Spenser were more than mere imitators of Vergil or of one another; they wrote in a particular form because it answered to particular requirements, and they fashioned it in the using. Nevertheless it may be urged with undoubted force, that the requirements were not primarily of an artistic nature, being ever governed by some alien purpose, and that consequently the form which evolved itself in answer to those requirements and to fulfil that purpose, was not by nature calculated to yield the highest artistic results. And thus, though any attempt to question the perfection of the art which Milton brought to the composition of his elegy must needs be foredoomed to failure, the question of the propriety of the form as an artistic medium remains open; and in so far as critical opinion tends to give an unfavourable answer, in so far does the form of pastoral instituted by Vergil and handed down without break from the fourteenth century to Milton's own time stand condemned in its most perfect flower.

Few things could be less like Lycidas than the work which next claims our attention. Unique of its kind, and, in spite of its shortcomings, possessed of no small poetic interest, William Browne's Britannia's Pastorals may be regarded at pleasure either as a pastoral epic or as a versified romance. It resembles the prose romances in being by nature discursive, episodic and inconsequent, and like not a few it remained unfinished. Little would be gained by giving any detailed analysis of the plot developed through the leisurely amplitude of its 10,000 lines, while any attempt to deal, however slightly, with the sources and literary analogues of the work would lead us far beyond the scope of the present chapter[135]. With regard to the latter, it must suffice to note that among the works to which incidents can be directly traced are Tasso's Gerusalemme, Montemayor's Diana, and Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, while a more general indebtedness may in particular be observed to Chaucer, Piers Plowman, and the Faery Queen. The plot involves two more or less connected threads of action, the one dealing with the adventures of the swains and shepherdesses, the other concerned with the progress of Thetis and her court. This latter recalls the poetic geography of Drayton's Polyolbion. The principal episodes in the former are the loves of Celandine and Marina, and the allegorical story of Fida and Aletheia, each of which leads to numerous ramifications. Indeed, so far as the pastoral action is concerned, the whole is one string of barely connected episodes.

Celandine loves the shepherdess Marina, who is readily brought to return his affection. To the love thus easily won he soon becomes indifferent, and Marina in despair seeks to end her sorrows in a stream. Saved by the god of the fountain, she is carried off to Mona, and there imprisoned in a cave by the monster Limos (hunger). With her loss, Celandine's love revives, and in his search for her he is led to visit the faery realm, where he finds Spenser lying asleep. The poem ends abruptly in the midst of his adventures. The story of Fida centres round the slaughter of her pet hind by the monster Riot. From the mangled remains of the animal rises the beautiful form of Aletheia (truth). The new-transformed nymph is the daughter of Chronos (time), born, Pallas-like, without a mother. The narrative of her rejection by the world gives occasion for some biting satire on the ill-living of the religious orders, the vanity of the court, and the dishonesty of the crafts. Meanwhile Riot, who from this point ceases to be an embodiment of cruelty, and comes to typify fallen humanity--the Humanum Genus of the moralities--passing successively by Remembrance, Remorse, and Repentance, is purged of his foul shape, and appears as the shepherd Amyntas, finally to be united in marriage with Aletheia. With these adventures is interwoven the progress of Thetis, who comes to view her dominions. From the Euxine and the Hellespont her train sweeps on by Adriatic and Atlantic shores, past lands which call up the names of a long line of poets--Vergil, Ovid, Ariosto, Petrarch, Tasso, Du Bartas, Marot, Ronsard--till ultimately she arrives off the coast of Devon--the Devon of Browne and Drake. Here the shepherds assemble to do her honour, from Colin Clout down to Browne's immediate circle, Brooke, Davies, and Wither, and here the poet entertains her with the tale of Walla and Tavy, which forms a charming incidental piece. The nymph Walla loved the river-god Tavy, and while gathering flowers to weave a garland for him was surprised by a satyr, who pursued her into a wood. She sought refuge in a cave, where, being overtaken by her pursuer, she prayed to Diana, and in the last resort to Ina, by whom she was transformed into a spring, which, after drowning the venturesome satyr, ran on to join its waters with those of her beloved Tavy. Thus Browne wove the common names of his familiar home into a romance of pastoral invention. The metamorphosis of Arethusa pursued by Alpheus, of Ambra by Ombrone, of the nymphs by the satyrs of the Salices, or as frescoed on the temple of Pales in the Arcadia, the loves of Mulla and Mollana in Spenser, and the mythological impersonations of the Polyolbion, find, as it were, a meeting-place in Browne's lay of Walla.

The three parts of Britannia's Pastorals did not appear together. Book I was published during the winter of 1613-14, Book II in 1616, each containing five songs; while the fragment of Book III, containing two songs only, remained in manuscript till 1853, when it was discovered in the Cathedral Library at Salisbury, and printed for the Percy Society[136].

The narrative, as may have been inferred from what has already been said, is sufficiently fantastic. In the introduction of allegorical characters Browne was probably influenced by Spenser, and in a lesser degree by the masque literature of his day and by the study of Langland. Since the work is unfinished, we may in charity suppose that had Browne completed his design the whole would have presented a somewhat less incongruous appearance; there is, however, a marked tendency towards the accumulation of unexplained incidents, which may most plausibly be referred to the influence of the Spanish romances, especially of the Diana, which was already accessible in Yong's translation, and one incident of which Browne did undoubtedly borrow.

In style and poetic merit Browne's work is most astonishingly unequal, though the general level of Britannia's Pastorals is distinctly higher than that of the Shepherd's Pipe. The author passes at times abruptly from careful and loving realism to the most stilted conventionality, and from passages of impassioned eloquence to others grotesquely banal. In some of his peculiarities, as in the perpetuai use of elaborate similes and in the indulgence in inflated paraphrases, he anticipates some of the worst faults of style cultivated by writers of the next century. There are portions of the poem where the narrative is literally carried on through a succession of highly wrought comparisons, each paragraph beginning with an 'As' followed by a correlative 'So' half a page further on. No such series of pictures, however fairly wrought--and Browne's too often end in bathos--can possibly convey the impression of continuons action. It is the same with periphrasis. Used with discretion it may be one of the subtlest ornaments of style, and even when fulfilling no particular purpose is capable of imparting a luxuriant and somewhat rococo richness to the verse. The effect, however, is frequently one of unrelieved frigidity, as in the lines:

And now Hyperion from his glitt'ring throne
Sev'n times his quick'ning rays had bravely shown
Unto the other world, since Walla last
Had on her Tavy's head the garland plac'd;
And this day, as of right, she wends abroad
To ease the meadows of their willing load.
                           (II. iii. 855.)

At times it was Browne's moral preoccupation that curbed his muse, as in his description of the golden age where, for the sensuous glow of Tasso and for Carew's pagan paradise, he substitutes the insipid convention of a philosophical age of innocence[137]. In his genuine mood as a loving observer of country life he is a very different poet. His feeling is delicate in tone and his observation keen; he was familiar with every tree that grew in the woods, every fish that swam in the waters of his beloved Devon; he entered tenderly into the homely life of the farm--

By this had chanticleer, the village clock,
Bidden the goodwife for her maids to knock,
And the swart ploughman for his breakfast stay'd,
That he might till those lands were fallow laid;
The hills and vailles here and there resound
With the re-echoes of the deep-mouth'd hound;
Each shepherd's daughter, with her cleanly peal,[138]
Was come afield to milk the morning's meal.
                          (I. iv. 483.)

When, however, naturalism of this kind is introduced into pastoral it is already on the high road toward ceasing to be pastoral at all. Nor are touches of higher poetic imagination wanting, as when Time is described as

          a lusty aged swain,
That cuts the green tufts off th' enamell'd plain,
And with his scythe hath many a summer shorn
The plough'd-lands lab'ring with a crop of corn.
                           (I. iv. 307.)

The love of his country is, however, the altar at which Browne's poetic genius takes fire:

Hail, thou my native soil! thou blessed plot,
Whose equal all the world affordeth not!
Show me who can so many crystal rills,
Such sweet-cloth'd valleys or aspiring hills,....
And if the earth can show the like again,
Yet will she fail in her sea-ruling men.
Time never can produce men to o'ertake
The fames of Grenville, Davies, Gilbert, Drake,
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 quit cost
By winning this, though all the rest were lost.
                                  (II. iii. 601.)

It is after all in such a passage as this that we see the true William Browne, with all his high-handedness and worthy enthusiasm, the poet who not only loves his country with a lover's passion and cannot tolerate that any should be compared to her in fairness of feature, in stateliness of stature, or in virtue of mind; but who, first perhaps among English poets, has that more local patriotism, narrower and more intimate, for his own home, for its moors, its streams, its associations, all the actual or imagined surroundings of his beloved Tavistock, and carries in his heart for ever the cry of the wild west--

Devon, O Devon, in wind and rain!


Approaching the romance, as we do, from the point of view rather of the development of the pastoral ideal than of the history of prose narrative or of the novel, we may spare ourselves any detailed consideration of the famous work of John Lyly. Although in the novel which has made 'Euphuism' a word and a bye-word in the language he supplied the literary medium for the work of subsequent pastoral writers such as Greene and Lodge, his own compositions in this kind are confined entirely to the drama.

The translations in this department are for the most part negligible. There is, however, one notable exception, namely, the rendering by Bartholomew Yong or Young of Montemayor's Diana, together with the continuations of Ferez and Gil Polo. Completed as early as May, 1583, the work remained in manuscript until 1598, when it was published in the form of a handsome folio. Although, as we have already had occasion to notice, the verse portions were not for the most part of a nature to add lustre to an anthology such as England's Helicon, the whole forms a not unworthy Tudor translation. We learn from Yong's preface that portions of the romance had already been Englished by Edward Paston, a descendant of the famous Norfolk letter-writers, who had family relations with Spain and possessed an intimate knowledge of the language. Of this work nothing further is known. Some two years, however, before Yong's version issued from the press, the first book of Montemayor's portion was again translated by Thomas Wilson, and of this a manuscript yet survives[139]. Passing mention may also be made of Angel Day's translation of Daphnis and Chloe containing the original insertion of the Shepherd's Holiday with the praises of Elizabeth in verse, and of Robert Tofte's Honours Academy (1610), distantly following Ollenix du Mont-Sacré's Bergerie de Juliette, but which, as also John Pyper's version of d'Urfé's Astrée (1620), have received sufficient notice in being recorded in connexion with their originals.

Earlier in date of publication and belonging to an elder tradition than the Arcadia, though later in date of composition, and it may be at times betraying a familiarity with Sidney's manuscript, the romances of the Bohemian Robert Greene, and the buccaneer-physician Thomas Lodge, are naturally the first to claim our attention.

With the exception of Menaphon, Greene's romances offer little that is important in pastoral, apart from the more notable works which they inspired. And even Menaphon, in so far as the general conception is concerned, can hardly be said necessarily to involve the existence of any antecedent pastoral tradition. Greene's novel is, indeed, far from being purely pastoral; no more than in Sidney's, to use Professor Herford's happy phrase, are we allowed to forget that Arcadia bordered on Sparta. In this it undoubtedly resembles the Spanish romances, but the resemblance does not appear to go much further; it is on the whole warlike without being chivalric, the tone Greek, or what Greene considered such, rather than medieval--indeed it might be argued that in its martial incidents it rather recalls Daphnis and Chloe than the Diana. There is certainly nothing chivalric about King Democles, who, when some ten score shepherds are besieging a castle, sends to the 'General of his Forces,' and not only has ten thousand men brought secretly and by night at three days' notice--in itself a notable piece of strategy--but when they arrive on the scene places furthermore the whole force in ambush! No wonder that when the soldiers are let loose out of their necessarily cramped quarters, they kill many of the shepherds, and putting the rest to flight remain masters of the situation.

The plot might perhaps be considered improbable as well as intricate for anything but a pastoral or chivalric romance: judged by the standards prevailing in these species it is neither. Democles, king of Arcadia, has a daughter Sephistia, who contrary to his wishes has contracted a secret marriage with Maximus. When the birth of a son leads to discovery, Democles has them placed in an oarless boat and so cast adrift. A storm arising they are not unnaturally wrecked, and ultimately husband and wife are cast upon different points of the Arcadian coast(!), where, either supposing the other to have perished, they adopt the pastoral life, assuming the names respectively of Melicertus and Samela. The young mother has with her child Pleusidippus, but while still in early boyhood he is carried off by pirates and presented as a gift to the King of Thessaly. In the meantime Menaphon, 'the king's shepherd of Arcadia,' has fallen in love with Samela, but while accepting his hospitality she meets her husband in his shepherd's guise, and without recognizing one another husband and wife again fall in love. Years pass on and Pleusidippus, who has risen to fame at court, hears of the beauty of the shepherdess of Arcadia, and must needs go to test the truth of the report himself. He does so, and promptly falls in love with his own mother. Nor is this all, for Democles equally hears of Samela's fame, and disguising himself as a shepherd falls in love with his own daughter. He endeavours to command Samela's affection by revealing to her his own identity, but Pleusidippus is beforehand with more drastic measures, and with the help of a few associates carries Samela off to a neighbouring castle, to which Democles and the shepherds, headed by Melicertus, proceed to lay siege. A duel between father and son is unceremoniously interrupted by the inroad of Democles' soldiery. Upon this the identity of Samela is revealed by a convenient prophetess, and all ends happily.

In the relation of verse and prose Greene's work differs from that of Sannazzaro and Sidney, the former being of considerably greater merit than the latter. The style adopted exhibits a very marked Euphuism, and the whole form of narrative is characterized by that fondness for petty conceit which not seldom gives an air of puerility to the lighter Elizabethan prose. Puerile in a sense it had every right to be, for modern prose narration was then in its very infancy in this country. No artistic form destined to contribute to the main current of literature is born perfect into the world; the early efforts appear not only tentative, uncouth, at times rugged, but often childish and futile, unworthy the consideration of serions men. The substance of the Gesta Romanorum and the style of the Novellino appear so, considered in relation to the Decameron; the mystery plays are an obvious instance, not to be explained by any general immaturity of medieval ideas. Traces of the tendency may even be noticed where revival or acclimatization, rather than original invention, is the aim; we find it in the Shepherd's Calender, nor was it absent in the days of the romantic revival, either from the German Lenores or the English Otrantos. And so it is with the novelists of the Elizabethan age. Renouncing the traditions of the older romance, which was adult and perfect a hundred years before in Malory, but had now fallen into a second childhood, and determined on the creation of a new and genuine form of literary expression, they paid the price of originality in the vein of childishness that runs through their writings.

If, however, Greene was content in the main to adopt the style of the new novel, he, as indeed Lyly too, could at times snatch a straightforward thought or a vigorous phrase from current speech or controversial literature, and invest it with all the greater effectiveness by contrasting it with its surroundings. Here, as an example of euphuistic composition, is Democles' address to the champions about to engage in single combat:

Worthy mirrors of resolved magnanimitie, whose thoughts are above your fortunes, and your valour more than your revenewes, know that Bitches that puppie in hast bring forth blind whelpes; that there is no herbe sooner sprung up than the Spattarmia nor sooner fadeth; the fruits too soone ripe are quickly rotten; that deedes done in hast are repented at leisure: then, brave men in so weightie a cause,... deferre it some three daies, and then in solemn manner end the combat[140].

With this we may contrast the closing sentence of the work:

And lest there should be left any thing imperfect in this pastorall accident, Doron smudged himselfe up, and jumped a marriage with his old friend Carmela.

This is, of course, intentionally cast in a homely style in contrast to the courtliness of the main plot; but Greene, as some of his later works attest, knew the value of strong racy English no less than his friend Nashe, who, in the preface he prefixed to this very work, pushed colloquialism and idiom to the verge of affectation and beyond.

The incidental verse, on the other hand, though very unequal, is of decidedly higher merit. Sephistia's famous song should alone suffice to save any book from oblivion, while there are other verses which are not unworthy of a place beside it. I may instance the opening of the 'roundelay' sung by Menaphon, the only character strictly belonging to pastoral tradition, with its picture of approaching night:

When tender ewes brought home with evening Sunne
Wend to their foldes,
And to their holdes
The shepheards trudge when light of day is done.

Such as it was, Menaphon appealed in no small degree to the taste of the moment. We know how great was Greene's reputation as an author, how publishers were ready to outbid one another for the very dregs of his wit. Thomas Brabine was but voicing the general opinion when, in some verses prefixed to Menaphon, he wrote, condescending to an inevitable pun, but also to a less excusable mixed metaphor:

Be thou still Greene, whiles others glorie waine.

Of his other romances it is sufficient in this place to mention that Pandosto, which contains the pastoral loves of Dorastus and Fawnia, and supplied Shakespeare with the outlines of the Winter's Tale, appeared the year before Menaphon, while the year after saw his Never Too Late, which is likewise of a generally pastoral character, but does not appear to have suggested or influenced any subsequent work.

The remarks that have been made concerning Greene apply in a large measure also to his fellow euphuist Thomas Lodge. His earliest romance, Forbonius and Prisceria, published in 1584, is partly pastoral in plot, a faithful lover being driven by the opposition of his lady's father into assuming the pastoral habit; but it is chiefly the connexion of his Rosalynde of 1590 with Shakespeare's As You Like It that gives him a claim upon our attention. Rosalynde is not only on this account the best-known, but is also intrinsically the most interesting of his romances. The story is too familiar to need detailing. Its origin, as is also well known, is the Tale of Gamelyn, the story which Chaucer intended putting into the mouth either of the cook, or more probably of the yeoman, and the hero of which apparently belongs to the Robin Hood cycle. The interest centres round the three sons of Sir John of Bordeaux, who retains his name with Lodge and is Shakespeare's Sir Roland de Bois, and whose youngest son, Lodge's Rosader and Shakespeare's Orlando, is named Gamelyn, and the outlaw king, Lodge's king of France and Shakespeare's Duke senior[141]. The entire pastoral element, as well as the courtly scenes of the earlier portion of the novel, are Lodge's own invention. His shepherds, whether genuine, as Coridon and Phoebe, or assumed, as Rosalynde and Rosader, are all alike Italian Arcadians, equally polished and poetical. Montanus, a shepherd corresponding to Shakespeare's Silvius, is a dainty rimester, and is not only well posted in the loves of Polyphemus and Galatea, but can rail on blind boy Cupid in good French, and on his mistress too--

Son cuer ne doit estre de glace, Bien que elle ait de Neige le sein.

Thus Lodge added to the original story the figures of the usurper, Rosalynde, Alinda (Celia), and the shepherds Montanus (Silvius), Coridon (Corin) and Phoebe, while to Shakespeare we owe Amiens, Jacques, Touchstone, Audre, and a few minor characters; whence it appears that Lodge's contribution forms the mainstay of the plot as familiar to modern readers. Moreover, in spite of the stiltedness of the style where the author yet remembers to be euphuistic, in spite of the long 'orations,' 'passions,' 'meditations' and the like, each carefully labelled and giving to the whole the air of a series of rhetorical exercises, in spite of the mediocre quality of most of the verses, if we except its one perfect gem, the romance yet retains not a little of its silvan and idyllic sweetness.

Before leaving the school of Lyly, which included a number of more or less famous writers, I may take the opportunity of mentioning two authors usually reckoned among them. One, John Dickenson, left two works of a pastoral nature. His short romance entitled Arisbas appeared in 1594, and may have supplied Daniel with a hint for the kidnapping of Silvia in Hymen's Triumph. Another yet shorter work, entitled the Shepherd's Complaint, which is undated, but was probably printed in the same year, is remarkable for being composed more than half in verse, largely hexameters. In it the author falls asleep and is transported in his dreams to Arcady, where he listens to the lament of a shepherd for the love of Amaryllis. The cruel nymph is, however, soon punished, for, challenging Diana in beauty, she falls a victim to the shafts of the angry goddess, and is buried with full bucolic honours, whereupon the author awakes. The other writer is William Warner, well known from his Albion's England, published in 1586, who left a work entitled Pan his Syrinx, which appeared in 1584; but in this pastoralism does not penetrate beyond the title-page.

Of the books which everybody knows and nobody reads, The Countess of Pembroke's Arcadia is perhaps the most famous[142]. Yet though an account of the romance may be found in the pages of every literary textbook, the history of how the work came to be printed has never been fully cleared up[143]. The Arcadia, as it remained at Sidney's death, was fragmentary. Two books and a portion of a third were all that had undergone revision, and possibly represented the portion which Sidney compiled while living with his sister at Wilton, after his retirement from court in 1581--the portion for the most part actually written in his sister's presence. Even of this trustworthy manuscripts were rare, most of those that circulated being copies of the unrevised text. Sidney died on October 17, 1586, and even before the end of the year we find his friend Fulke Greville, afterwards Lord Brooke, writing to Sidney's father-in-law, Sir Francis Walsingham, to the effect that the bookseller, William Ponsonby, had informed him that some one was about to print the Arcadia, and that if they were acting without authority a notification of the fact should be lodged with the archbishop. Greville proceeds to say that he had sent to Walsingham's daughter, that is, Lady Sidney, the corrected manuscript of the work 'don 4 or 5 years sinse, which he left in trust with me; wherof there is no more copies, and fitter to be reprinted then the first, which is so common[144].' A complaint was evidently lodged, and the publication stayed, and we may assume that Ponsonby was rewarded for his notification by being entrusted with the publication of the revised manuscript mentioned by Greville, for it was from his house that issued the quarto edition of 1590. Evidence that it was Greville who was responsible for the publication of the Arcadia is found in the dedication of Thomas Wilson's manuscript translation from the Diana, where, addressing Greville, the translater speaks of Sir Philip's Arcadia, 'wch by yor noble vertue the world so hapily enjoyes.' In this edition, containing the first two and a half books only, the division into chapters and the arrangement of the incidental verse were the work of the 'over-seer of the print.' The text, however, was not considered satisfactory, and when the romance was reprinted in 1593 the division into chapters was discarded, certain alterations were made in the arrangement of the verse, and there was added another portion of the third book, together with a fourth and fifth, compiled by the Countess of Pembroke from the loose sheets sent her from time to time by her brother. This edition has been commonly regarded as the first published with due authority, and the term 'surreptitious' has been quite unjustly applied to the original quarto. The charge, indeed, receives colour from the preface, signed H. S., to the second edition; but, whoever H. S. may have been, there is nothing to make one suppose that he was speaking with authority. The quarto of 1590 having been duly licensed on August 23, 1588, the rights of the work were in Ponsonby's hands, and to him the publication of the revised edition had to be entrusted. In 1598 a third edition, to which other remains of the author were for the first time added, was also published by Ponsonby. There still remained, however, a lacuna in Book III, which was not remedied till 1621, when a supplement was added from the pen of Sir William Alexander. In the edition of 1627 a sixth book was appended, the work of one Richard Beling, whose initials alone, however, appear. The early editors seem to have assumed that the unfinished state of the work, or rather the unrevised state of the later portions, was due to the author's early death, but most of it must have been written between the years 1581 and 1583, and it may well be questioned whether in any case Sidney would have bestowed any further attention upon it. Jonson, indeed, has preserved the tradition that it had been Sir Philip's intention 'to have transform'd all his Arcadia to the stories of King Arthure[145],' though how the transformation was to be accomplished he forbore to hint; but the more familiar tradition of Sidney's having expressed on his death-bed a desire that the romance should be destroyed assorts better with what else we know of his regard for his 'idle worke.'

For the name of his romance Sidney was no doubt indebted to Sannazzaro, whom he twice mentions as an authority in his Defence of Poesy, but there in all probability his direct obligation ends, since even the rime sdrucciole, which he occasionally affected, may with equal probability be referred to the influence of the Diana. It was, undoubtedly, Montemayor's romance which served as a model for, or rather suggested the character of, Sidney's work[146]. Thus the chivalric element, unknown to Sannazzaro, is with Sidney even more prominent than with Montemayor and his followers. It is, however, true that, like Greene's, his heroes are rather of a classical than a medieval stamp, and he also chose to lay the scene of the action in Greece rather than in his native land, as was the habit of Spanish writers. The source upon which Sidney chiefly drew for incidents was the once famous Amadis of Gaul, but a diligent reading of the other French and Spanish romances of chivalry would probably lengthen the list of recorded creditors. Heliodorus supplies several episodes, and an acquaintance at least can be traced with both Achilles Tatius and Chariton.

The intricate plot, with its innumerable digressions, episodes, and interruptions, need not here be followed in detail, especially as we shall have ample opportunity of becoming familiar with its general features when we come to discuss the plays founded upon it. Here it will be sufficient to note one or two points. In the first place the romance contains no really pastoral characters, the personae being all either shepherds in their disguise only, or else, like Greene's Doron and Carmela, burlesque characters of the rustic tradition. Secondly, it may be observed that the amorous confusion is even greater than in Menaphon, Pyrocles disguising himself as an Amazon in order to enjoy the company of his beloved Philoclea, which leads to her father Basilius falling in love with him in his disguise, and endeavouring to use his daughter to forward his suit, while her mother Gynecia likewise falls in love with him, having detected his disguise, and becomes jealous of her daughter, who on her part innocently accepts her lover as bosom companion[147].

In general the Arcadia is no more than it purports to be, the 'many fancies' of Sidney's fertile imagination poured forth in courtly guise for the entertainment of his sister, though his own more serious thoughts occasionally find expression in its pages, and he even introduces himself under the imperfect anagram of Philisides, and shadows forth his friendship with the French humanist Languet. More than this it would be rash to assert, and Greville did his friend an equivocal service when he sought to find a deep philosophy underlying the rather formal characters of the romance[148]. These characters, as we have seen, are for the most part essentially courtly; the pastoral guise is a mere veil shielding them from the crude uncompromising light of actuality, with its prejudice in favour of the probable; while the few rustic personages merely supply a not very successful comic antimasque.

To the popularity of the Arcadia it is hardly necessary to advert. It has been repeatedly printed, added to, imitated, abbreviated, modernized, popularized; four editions appeared during the last decade of the sixteenth century, nine between the beginning of the seventeenth and the outbreak of the civil wars[149]. It was first published at a moment when the public was beginning to tire of Euphuism, and when the heroic death of the author had recently set a seal upon the brilliance of his fame. Looking back in after years, writers who, like Drayton, had lived through the movement from its very birth, could speak of Sidney as of the author who

                    did first reduce
Our tongue from Lyly's writing then in use,

and could praise his style as a model of pure English. In spite of the generous, if misguided, efforts of occasional critics, posterity has not seen fit to endorse this view. While finding in Sidney's style the same historical importance as in Lyly's, we cannot but recognize that in itself Arcadianism was little if at all better than Euphuism. It is just as formal, just as much a trick, just as stilted and unpliable, just as painful an illustration of the fact that a figure of rhetoric may be an occasional ornament, but cannot by any degree of ingenuity be made to serve as a basis of composition. In the same way as Euphuism is founded upon a balance of the sentence obtained by antithetical clauses, and the use of intricate alliteration, together with the abuse of simile and metaphor drawn from what has been aptly termed Lyly's 'un-natural history'; so Sidney's style in the Arcadia is based on a balance usually obtained by a repetition of the same word or a jingle of similar ones, together with the abuse of periphrasis, and, it may be added, of the pathetic fallacy. These last have been dangers in all periods of stylistic experiment; the former, figures duly noted as ornaments by contemporary rhetoricians, Sidney no doubt borrowed from Spain. There in one famous example they were shortly to excite the enthusiasm of the knight of La Mancha--'The reason of the unreason which is done to my reason in such manner enfeebles my reason that with reason I lament your beauty'--a sentence which one is sometimes tempted to imagine Sidney must have set before him as a model. Thus it would appear that, for their essential elements, Euphuism and Arcadianism, though distinct, alike sought their models, direct or indirect, in the Spanish literature of the day. Almost any passage, chosen at random, will illustrate Sidney's style. Observe the balance of clauses in the following sentence from Kalander's speech, which inclines perhaps towards Euphuism:

I am no herald to enquire of mens pedegrees, it sufficeth me if I know their vertues, which, if this young mans face be not a false witnes, doe better apparrell his minde, then you have done his body. (1590, fol. 8v.)

Or again, as an instance of the jingle of words, take the following from the steward's narration:

I thinke you thinke, that these perfections meeting, could not choose but find one another, and delight in that they found, for likenes of manners is likely in reason to drawe liking with affection; mens actions doo not alwaies crosse with reason: to be short, it did so in deed. (ib. fol. 20.)

Of Sidney's power of description the stock example is his account of the Arcadian landscape (fol. 7), and it is perhaps the best and at the same time the most characteristic that could be found; the author's peculiar tricks are at once obvious. There are 'the humble valleis, whose base estate semed comforted with refreshing of silver rivers,' and the 'thickets, which being lined with most pleasant shade, were witnessed so to by the chereful deposition of many wel-tuned birds'; there are the pastures where 'the prety lambs with bleting oratory craved the dams comfort,' where sat the young shepherdess knitting, whose 'voice comforted her hands to work, and her hands kept time to her voices musick,' a country where the scattered houses made 'a shew, as it were, of an accompanable solitarines, and of a civil wildnes,' where lastly--si sic omnia!--was the 'shepheards boy piping, as though he should never be old.' It must not be supposed that these are occasional embroideries; they are the very cloth of which the whole pastoral habit is made. The above examples all occur within a few pages, and might even have been gathered from a yet smaller plot. It is, however, on the prose, such as it is, that the reputation of the Arcadia rests; a good deal of occasional verse is introduced, but it has often been subject of remark how wholly unworthy of its author most of it is.

Given the widespread popularity of the work, the influence exercised by the story on English letters is hardly a matter for wonder. Of its general influence on the drama it will be my business to speak later; at present we may note that while yet in manuscript it probably supplied Lodge with certain hints for his Rosalynde, and so indirectly influenced As You Like It. One of the best-known episodes, again, that of Argalus and Parthenia, was versified by Quarles in 1632, and, adorned with a series of cuts, went through a large number of editions before the end of the century, besides being dramatized by Glapthorne. The incident of Pyrocles heading the Zelots has been thought to have suggested the scene in the Two Gentlemen of Verona in which Valentine consents to lead the robber band, while to Sidney Shakespeare was likewise indebted, not only for the cowards' fight in Twelfth Night, but in the 'story of the Paphlagonian unkinde king,' for the original of the Gloster episode in King Lear. A certain prayer out of the later portion of the romance was, as is well known, a favourite with Charles I in the days of his misfortune, but the controversial use made of the fact by Milton it is happily possible to pass over in silence.

Finally, it is worth mentioning as illustrating the vogue of Sidney's romance, that it not only had the very singular honour of being translated into French in the first half of the seventeenth century, but that two translations actually appeared, the rivalry between which gave rise to a literary controversy of some asperity[150].

Thus we take leave of the pastoral novel or romance, a kind which never attained to the weighty tradition of the eclogue, or the grace of the lyric, nor was subjected to the rigorous artistic form of the drama[151]. It remained throughout nerveless and diffuse, and, in spite of much incidental beauty, was habitually wanting in interest, except in so far as it renounced its pastoral nature. As Professor Raleigh has put it: 'To devise a set of artificial conditions that shall leave the author to work out the sentimental inter-relations of his characters undisturbed by the intrusion of probability or accident is the problem; love in vacuo is the beginning and end of the pastoral romance proper.' A similar attempt is noticeable in the drama, but the conditions soon came to be recognized as impossible for artistic use. The operation of human affection under utterly imaginary and impossible conditions is not a matter of human interest; the resuit was a purely fictitious amatory code, as absurd as it was unhealthy, and, when sustained by no extrinsic interest of allegory or the like, the kind soon disappeared. As it is, in the pastoral novel, it is only when the enchanted circle is broken by the rough and tumble of vulgar earthly existence that on the featureless surface of the waters something of the light and shade of true romance replaces the steady pitiless glare ot a philosophical or sentimental ideal.

Chapter III.

Italian Pastoral Drama


We have now passed in review the main classes of non-dramatic pastoral both abroad and in this country. Such preliminary survey was necessary in order to obtain an idea of the history and nature of pastoral composition in general. It was further rendered imperative by more particular considerations which will appear in the course of the present chapter, for we shall find that the pastoral drama comes into being, not through the infusion of the Arcadian ideal into pre-existing dramatic forms, but through the actual evolution of a new dramatic form from the pre-existing non-dramatic pastoral.

It is time to retrace our steps and to pick up the thread which we dropped in a former chapter, the development, namely, of the vernacular eclogue in Italy. If in so doing we are forced to enter at greater length upon the discussion of individual works, we shall find ample excuse, not only in their intrinsic merit, but likewise in their more direct bearing upon what is after all the main subject of this volume. The pastoral drama of Italy is the immediate progenitor of that of England. Further, it might be pleaded that special interest attaches to the Arcadian pastoral as the only dramatic form of conspicuous vitality for which Italy is the crediter of European letters.

The history of the rise of the pastoral drama in Italy is a complicated subject, and one not altogether free from obscurity. Many forces were at work determining the development of the form, and these it is difficult so to present as at once to leave a clear impression and yet not to allow any one element to usurp an importance it does not in reality possess. Any account which gives a specious appearance of simplicity to the case should be mistrusted. That I have been altogether successful in my treatment I can hardly hope, but at least the method followed has not been hastily adopted. I propose to consider, first of all and apart from the rest, the early mythological drama, which while exercising a marked influence over the spirit of the later pastoral can in no way be regarded as its origin. Next, I shall trace the evolution of the pastoral drama proper from its germ in the non-dramatic eclogue, by way of the ecloghe rappresentative, and treat incidentally the allied rustic shows, which form a class apart from the main line of development. Lastly, I shall have to say a few words concerning the early pastoral plays by Beccari and others before turning to the masterpieces of Tasso and Guarini, the consideration of which will occupy the chief part of this chapter[152].

The class of productions known as mythological plays, which powerfully influenced the character of the pastoral drama, sprang from the union of classical tradition with the machinery of native religious representations, in Poliziano's Favola d' Orfeo. This was the first non-religious play in the vernacular, and its dependence on the earlier religious drama is striking. Indeed, the blending of medieval and classical forms and conventions may be traced throughout the early secular drama of Italy. Boiardo's Timone, a play written at some unknown date previous to 1494, preserves, in spite of its classical models, much of the allegorical character of the morality, and was undoubtedly acted on a stage comprising two levels, the upper representing heaven in which Jove sat enthroned on the seat of Adonai. The same scenic arrangement may well have been used in the Orfeo, the lower stage representing Hades[153]; while Niccolò da Correggio's Cefalo was evidently acted on a polyscenic stage, the actors passing in view of the audience from one part to another[154]. At a yet earlier period Italian writers in the learned tongue had taken as the subjects of their plays stories from classical legend and myth, and among these we find not only recognized tragedy themes such as the rape of Polyxena dramatized by Lionardo Bruni, but tales such as that of Progne put on the stage by Gregorio Corrado, both of which preceded by many years the work of Politian and Correggio.

The earliest secular play in Italian is, then, nothing but a sacra rappresentazione on a pagan theme, a fact which was probably clearly recognized when, in the early editions from 1494 onwards, the piece was described as the 'festa di Orpheo[155].' It was written in 1471, when Poliziano was about seventeen, and we learn from the author's epistle prefixed to the printed edition that ît was composed in the short space of two days for representation before Cardinal Francesco Gonzaga at Mantua. From the same epistle we learn that the author desired, or at least assumed the attitude of desiring, that his composition should share the fate of the ill-fashioned Lacedaemonian children; 'Cognoscendo questa mia figliuola essere di qualità da fare più tosto al suo padre vergogna che onore; e più tosto atta a dargli malinconia che allegrezza.' The favola as originally put forth continued to be reprinted without alteration, till 1776, when Ireneo Affò published the Orphei Tragoedia from a collation of two manuscripts. This differs in various respects from the printed version, among others in being divided, short as it is, into five acts, headed respectively 'Pastorale,' 'Ninfale,' 'Eroico,' 'Negromantico,' and 'Baccanale.' It is now known to represent a revision of the piece made, probably by Antonio Tebaldeo, for representation at Ferrara, and in it much of the popular and topical element has been eliminated. The action of the piece is based in a general manner upon the story given by Ovid in the tenth book of the Metamorphoses.

The performance begins with a prologue by Mercury which is nothing but a short argument of the whole plot. 'Mercurio annunzia la festa' is the superscription in the original, evidently suggested by the appearance of 'un messo di Dio' with which the religious rappresentazioni usually open. At the end of this prologue a shepherd appears and finishes the second octave with the couplet:

State attenti, brigata; buono augurio;
Poi che di cielo in terra vien Mercurio.

In the Ferrarese revision these stanzas appear as 'Argomento' without mention of Mercury, while for the above lines are substituted the astonishing doggerel:

Or stia ciascuno a tutti gli atti intento,
Che cinque sono; e questo è l' argomento.

Thereupon (beginning Act I of the revision) enters Mopso, an old shepherd, meeting Aristeo, a youthful one, with his herdsman Tirsi. Mopso asks whether his white calf has been seen, and Aristeo, who fancies he has heard a lowing from beyond the hill, sends his boy to see. In the meanwhile he detains Mopso with an account of his love for a nymph he met the day before, and sings a canzona:

Ch' i' so che la mia ninfa il canto agogna[156].

It runs on the familiar themes of love: 'Di doman non c' è certezza.'

Digli, zampogna mia, come via fugge
Con gli anni insieme la bellezza snella;
E digli come il tempo ne distrugge,
Ne l' età persa mai si rinovella;
Digli che sappi usar sua forma bella,
Che sempre mai non son rose e viole...
Udite, selve, mie dolci parole,
Poi che la ninfa mia udir non vole.

The boy Tirsi now returns, having with much trouble driven the strayed calf back to the herd, and narrates how he saw an unknown nymph of wondrous beauty gathering flowers about the hill. Aristeo recognizes from this description the object of his love, and, leaving Mopso and Tirsi to shake their heads over his midsummer madness, goes off to find her.

So far we might be reading one of the ecloghe rappresentative which we shall have to consider shortly, but of which the earliest known examples cannot well be less than ten or twelve years later than Poliziano's play. With the exception, indeed, of one or two in Boccaccio's Ameto, it is doubtful whether any vernacular eclogues had appeared at the time. The character of Tirsi belongs to rustic tradition, and must be an experiment contemporary with, if not prior to, Lorenzo's Nencia. The portion before the canzone is in terza rima; that after it, like the prologue, in octaves.

The original proceeds without break to the song of Aristeo as he pursues the flying Euridice (Act II in the revision):

Poi che 'l pregar non vale,
E tu via ti dilegui,
El convien ch' io ti segui.
Porgimi, Amor, porgimi or le tue ale.

While Aristeo is following Euridice, Orfeo enters upon the scene with a Latin ode in Sapphic metre in honour of Cardinal Gonzaga. A note informs us that this was originally sung by 'Messer Braccio Ugolino, attore di detta persona d' Orfeo.' In place of this ode the revised text contains a long 'Coro delle Driadi,' with two speeches in terza rima by the choragus, announcing and lamenting the death of Euridice, who as she fled from Aristeo has been stung in the foot by a serpent. After this the news of her death is reported to Orfeo--by a shepherd in the original, by a dryad in the revised version. That the substitution of the chorus for the Sapphic ode is an improvement from the poetic point of view will hardly be denied, yet this improvement has been attained at the cost of some dramatic sacrifice. In the original Orfeo is introduced naturally enough in his character of supreme poet and musician to do honour to the occasion, and it is only after he has been on the stage some time that the news of Euridice's death is brought. In the revision he is merely introduced for the purpose of being informed of his wife's death--he has hardly been so much as mentioned before. He thus loses the slight opportunity previously afforded him of presenting a dramatic individuality apart from the very essence of his tragedy.

The announcement to Orfeo of Euridice's death begins the third act of the revised text, which is amplified at this point by the introduction of a satyr Mnesillo, who acts as chorus to Orfeo's lament. The character of a friendly satyr is interesting in view of the role commonly assigned to his species in pastoral.

After this we have in the original the direction 'Orfeo cantando giugne all' Inferno,' while in the revision there is again a new act, the fourth. Symonds pointed out that the merits of the piece are less dramatic than lyrical, and that fortunately the central scene was one in which the situation was capable of lyrical expression. The pleading of Orfeo before the gates of Hades and at the throne of Pluto forms the lyrical kernel of the play, and gives it its poetic value. The bard appears before the iron-bound portals of the nether world, and the pains of hell surcease. 'Who is he?' asks Pluto--

Chi è costui che con sì dolce nota
Muove l' abisso, e con l' ornata cetra?
Io veggo ferma d' Ission la rota,...
Nè più P acqua di Tantalo s' arretra;
E veggo Cerber con tre bocche intente,
E le furie acquietar il suo lamento.

At length he stands before Pluto's throne, the seat of the God of the sacre rappresentazioni, the rugged rock-seat surrounded by the monstrous demons of Signorelli's tondo[157]. Here in presence of the grim ravisher and of his pale consort, in whom the passionate pleading of the Thracian bard stirs long-forgotten memories of spring and of the plains of Enna, Orfeo's song receives adequate expression. It is closely imitated from the corresponding passage in Ovid, but the lyrical perfection and passionate crescendo of the stanzas are Poliziano's own. Addressing Pluto, Orfeo discovers the object of his quest:

Non per Cerber legar fo questa via,
Ma solamente per la donna mia.

May not love penetrate even the forbidden bounds of hell?--

  se memoria alcuna in voi si serba
Del vostro celebrato antico amore,
Se la vecchia rapina a mente avete,
Euridice mia bella mi rendete.

Why should death grudge the few years at most which complete the span of human life?--

Ogni cosa nel fine a voi ritorna;
Ogni vita mortal quaggiù ricade:
Quanto cerchia la luna con sue corna
Convien che arrivi alle vostre contrade--

or why reap amid the unmellowed corn?--

Così la ninfa mia per voi si serba,
Quando sua morte gli darà natura.
Or la tenera vite e l' uva acerba
Tagliata avete con la falce dura.

Chi è che mieta la sementa in erba
E non aspetti ch' ella sia matura?
Dunque rendete a me la mia speranza:
Io non vel chieggio in don, questa è prestanza.

Next he invokes the pity of the stern god by the name of Chaos whence the world had birth, and by the dread rivers of the nether world, by Styx and Acheron: 'E pel sonante ardor di Flegetonte'; and lastly, turning to 'the faery-queen Proserpina,'

Pel pome che a te già, Regina, piacque,
Quando lasciasti pria nostro orizzonte.
E se pur me la niega iniqua sorte,
Io no vo' su tornar, ma chieggio morte![158]

Hell itself relents, and, as Boccaccio had written,

     forse lieta gli rendeo
La cercata Euridice a condizione--

the condition being that he shall not turn to behold her before attaining once again to the land of the living. The condition, of course, is not fulfilled. Orfeo seeks to clasp 'his half regain'd Eurydice,' with the triumphant cry of Ovid holding the conquered Corinna in his arms:

Ite triumphales circum mea tempora lauri.
Vicimus: Eurydice reddita vita mihi est.
Haec est praecipuo Victoria digna triumpho.
Hue ades, o cura parte triumphe mea[159].

He turns, and his unsubstantial love sinks back into the realm of shadows with the cry:

Oimè che 'I troppo amore
Ci ha disfatti ambe dua.
Ecco ch' io ti son tolta a gran furore,
Nè sono ormai più tua.

Ben tendo a te le braccia; ma non vale, Che indietro son tirata. Orfeo mio, vale.

As he would follow her once more a fury bars the road.

Desperate of his love, the bard now forswears for ever the company of women (Act V of the revised text).

Da qui innanzi vo corre i fior novelli ...
Ouesto è più dolce e più soave amore;
Non sia chi mai di donna mi favelli,
Poi che morta è colei ch' ebbe il mio core.

Now that she is dead, what faith abides in woman?--

Quanto è misero l' uom che cangia voglia
Per donna, o mai per lei s' allegra, o duole!...
Che sempre è più leggier ch' al vento foglia,
E mille volte il di vuole e disvuole.
Segue chi fugge; a chi la vuol, s' asconde,
E vanne e vien come alla riva l' onde.

The cry wrung from him by his grief anticipates the cynical philosophy of later pastorals. Upon this the scene is invaded by 'The riot of the tipsy Bacchanals,' eager to avenge the insult offered to their sex[160]. They drive the poet out, and presently returning in triumph with his 'gory visage,' break out into the celebrated chorus 'full of the swift fierce spirit of the god.' This gained considerably by revision, and in the later text runs as follows:

Ciascun segua, o Bacco, te;
Bacco, Bacco, oè oè.
Di corimbi e di verd' edere
Cinto il capo abbiam così
Per servirti a tuo richiedere
Festeggiando notte e dì.
Ognun beva: Bacco è quì;
E lasciate here a me.
    Ciascun segua, ec.

Io ho vuoto già il mio corno:
Porgi quel cantaro in qua.
Questo monte gira intorno,
O 'l cervello a cerchio va:
Ognun corra in qua o in là,
Come vede fare a me.
   Ciascun segua, ec.

Io mi moro già di sonno:
Sono io ebra o sì o no?
Più star dritti i piè non ponno.
Voi siet' ebri, ch' io lo so;
Ognun faccia com' io fo;
Ognun succe come me.
  Ciascun segua, ec.

Ognun gridi Bacco, Bacco,
E poi cacci del vin giù;
Poi col sonno farem fiacco,
Bevi tu e tu e tu.
Io non posso ballar più;
Ognun gridi Evoè.[161]
  Ciascun segua, o Bacco, te;
  Bacco, Bacco, oè oè.

Lyrical beauty rather than dramatic power was, it has already been remarked, Poliziano's aim and achievement. The want of characterization in the hero, the insignificance of the part allotted to Euridice, the total inadequacy of the tragic climax, measure the author's power as a dramatist. It is the lyrical passages--Aristeo's song, Orfeo's impassioned pleading, the bacchanalian dance chorus--that supply the firm supports of art upon which rests the slight fabric of the play.

The same simplicity of construction, a simplicity in nature rather narrative than dramatic, characterizes Niccolò da Correggio's Cefalo. The play was represented in state in the great courtyard of the ducal palace at Ferrara, on the occasion of the marriage of Lucrezia d' Este with Annibale Bentivogli, on January 21, 1487[162]. Like the Orfeo, the piece exhibits traces of its origin in the religious shows, though, unlike the original draft of Poliziano's play, it is divided into five acts each of some length, and is provided with regular choruses on the classical model. In spite of its inferiority to the Orfeo in lyric power and its possibly even greater deficiency from a dramatic point of view, it will be worth while giving some account of the piece in order to get as clear an idea as possible of the nature and limitations of the mythological drama, and also because it has never, I believe, been reprinted in modern times, and is in consequence practically unknown to English readers.

The author, a descendant of the princely house of Correggio, was born about 1450, and married the daughter of the famous condottiere Bartolommeo Colleoni. He lived for some years at Milan at the court of Lodovico Sforza; later he migrated to that of the Estensi. In 1493 he sent an allegorical eclogue to Isabella Gonzaga at Mantua, which may possibly have been represented, though we have no note of the fact, and the poem itself has perished[163]. He died in 1508.

After a prologue which resembles that of the Orfeo in giving an argument of the whole piece, the first act opens with a scene in which Aurora seeks the love of Cefalo. Offended at finding her advances repulsed, the goddess hints that the wife to whom Cefalo is so careful of his faith is, for her part, more free of her favours; and upon Cefalo indignantly refusing credence to the slander, suggests that he should himself in disguise make trial of her fidelity. This the unfortunate youth resolves to do. He approaches Procri in the habit of a merchant, with goods for sale, and takes the opportunity thus afforded of declaring his love. She turns to fly, but the pretended passion of his suit stays her, and she is brought to lend an ear to his cunning. He retails the commonplaces of the despairing lover:

Deh, non fuggire, e non si altiera in vista;
Odime alquanto, e scolta i preghi mei.
Che fama mai per crudeltà se acquista?
Bellissima sei pur, cruda non dei.
Non sai che Amor non vol che se resista
A colpi soi? così vinto mi dei
Subito ch' io ti viddi; eh, non fuggire,
Forza non ti farò; deh, stammi audire.

Not Jove or Phoebus he to assume strange shapes for her love; he is but her slave, and can but offer his pedlar's pack; but he knows of hidden treasure in the earth, and hers, too, shall be vesture of the fairest. After gold and soft raiment comes the trump card of the seducer--secrecy:

Cosa secreta mai non se riprende;
El tempo che si perde mai non torna;
Qui non serai veduta, or che se attende
Quel se ha a dolere, che al suo ben sogiorna.
Secreto è il loco, el sol pur non vi splende;
Bella sei tu, sol manca che sii adorna
Di veste come io intendo ultra il tesoro.
Deh, non mi tener più; vedi ch' io moro.

She is almost won; one last assault, and her defences fall. Why, indeed, should she hesitate--

Poi ch' Amor dice, ogni secreta è casta?

This stroke of cynicism is put forward as it were but half intentionally, and with no appreciation of its intense irony in the mouth of the husband. Throughout the scene indeed he appears merely as a common seducer, and the author seems wholly to have failed to grasp the real dramatic value of the situation. On the other hand, the lesser art of the stage has been mastered with some success, and there is an adaptation of language to action which at least argues that the author had a vivid picture of the staging of his play in his mind when he wrote.

The moment Procri has consented to barter her honour, Cefalo discovers himself, and the unhappy girl flies in terror. Seeing now, too late, the resuit of his foolish mistrust, Cefalo follows with prayers and self-reproaches--

                  Son ben certo
Che tu mi cognoscesti ancor coperto--

but in vain. The act ends with a song in which Aurora glories in the success of her revenge--

Festegiam con tutto il core;
Biastemate hor meco Amore!

In the second act Procri, having recovered from her fright, is bent on avenging herself for the deceit practised by Cefalo, upon whose supposed love for Aurora she throws the blame in the matter. She seeks the grove of Diana, where she is enrolled among the followers of the goddess. Cefalo, who has followed her flight, rejoins her in the wood, and there renews his prayers. She refuses to recognize him, denies being his wife, and is about to renew her flight, when an old shepherd, attracted by Cefalo's lamentation, stays her and forces her to hear her husband's pleading. Other shepherds appear on the scene, and the act ends with an eclogue. In the next we find her reconciled to Cefalo, to whom she gives the wind-swift dog and the unerring spear which she had received as a nymph of Diana. Cefalo at once sets the hound upon the traces of a boar, and goes off in pursuit, while his wife returns home. He shortly reappears, having lost boar and hound alike, and, tired with the chase, falls asleep. Meanwhile a faun, finding Procri alone, tells her that he had seen Cefalo meeting with his love Aurora in the wood--a piece of news in return for which he seeks her love. She, however, resolves to go and surprise the supposed lovers, and setting fire to the wood, herself to perish with them in the flames. On Cefalo's return he is met with bitter reproaches, and the act ends with a chorus of fauns and satyrs. The fourth contains the catastrophe. Procri hides in the wood in hope of surprising her husband with his paramour. Cefalo enters ready for the chase, and, seeing what he takes to be a wild beast among bushes, throws the fatal spear, which pierces Procri's breast. A reconciliation precedes her death, and the close of the act is rendered effective by the successive summoning of the Muses and nymphs in some graceful stanzas. With a little polishing, such as Poliziano's bacchanalian chorus received in revision, the scene would not be unworthy of the time and place of its production.

Oimè sorelle, o Galatea, presto!
Donate al cervo ormai un poco pace;
Soccorrete al pianger quel caso mesto.
Oimè sorelle, Procri morta giace,
L' alma spirata, e il ciel guardando tace.

At Cefalo's desire Calliope summons her sister Muses, Phillis the nymphs, after which all join in a choral ode calling upon the divinities of mountain, wood, and stream to join in a universal lament:

Weep, spirits of the woods and of the hills,
Weep, each pure nymph beside her fountain-head,
And weep, ye mountains, in a thousand rills,
For the fair child who here below lies dead:
Mourn, all ye gods, the last of human ills,
Your sacred foreheads all ungarlanded.

Here the traditional story of Cephalus and Procris, as founded on the rather inferior version in the seventh book of the Metamorphoses, ends. There remains, however, a fifth act, in which Diana appears, raises Procri, and restores her to her husband.

The play, composed for the most part in octaves with choruses in terza rima, is, from the dramatic point of view, open to obvious and fatal objections. The preposterous dea ex machina of the last act; the inconsequence of motive and inconsistency of character, partly, it is true, inherent in the original story, but by no means made less obvious by the dramatist; the insufficiency of the action to fill the necessary space, and the inability of the author to make the most of his materials, are all alike patent. On the other hand, we have already noticed a certain theatrical ability displayed in the writing of the first act, and we may further attribute the alteration by which Procri is represented as jealous of Cefalo's original lover, Aurora, instead of the wholly imaginary Aura, as in Ovid, to a desire for dramatic unity of motive.

The extent to which either the Orfeo or Cefalo can be regarded as pastoral will now be clear, and it must be confessed that they do not carry us very far. The two fifteenth-century plays constitute a distinct species which has attained to a high degree of differentiation if not of dramatic evolution, and critics who would see in them the origin of the later pastoral drama have to explain the strange phenomenon of the species lying dormant for nearly three-quarters of a century, and then suddenly developing into an equally individualized but very dissimilar form[164]. It should, moreover, be borne in mind that contemporary critics never regarded the Arcadian pastoral as in any way connected with the mythological drama, and that the writers of pastoral themselves claimed no kinship with Poliziano or Correggio, but always ranked themselves as the followers of Beccari alone in the line of dramatic development. On the other hand, there can be no reasonable doubt that such performances went to accustom spectators to that mixture of mythology and idealism which forms the atmosphere, so to speak, of the Aminta and the Pastor fido. This must be my excuse for lingering over these early works.


When dealing with the Italian eclogue we saw how, at a certain point, it began to assume a distinctly dramatic character, and in so doing took the first step towards the possible evolution of a real pastoral drama. It will be my task in the ensuing pages to follow up this clue, and to show how the pastoral drama arose through a process of natural development from the recited eclogue.

The dramatic tendency was indeed inherent in the eclogue from the very first. Throughout there is a steady growth in the use of dialogue: of the Idyls of Theocritus only about a third contain more than one character; of Vergil's Bucolics at least half; of Calpurnius' all but one; of the eclogues of Petrarch and Boccaccio all without exception. This tendency did not escape Guarini, who, when not led into puerilities by his love of self-laudation, often shows considerable insight. 'The eclogue,' he says, 'is nothing but a short discussion between shepherds, differing in no other manner from that sort of scene which the Latins call dialogue, except in so far as being whole and independent, possessing within itself both beginning and end[165].'

Having thus gradually altered the literary form of the eclogue, this tendency towards dramatic expression next showed itself in the manner in which the poem was presented to the world. For circulation in print or manuscript, or for informal reading, came to be substituted recitation in character. The dialogue was divided between two persons who spoke alternately, and it is evident from the somewhat meagre texts that survive that, in the earliest examples, these ecloghe rappresentative, or dramatic eclogues as I shall call them, differed in no way from the purely literary productions which we considered in an earlier section. Evidence of actual representation is often wanting, and the exact date in most cases is uncertain; but, since there is no doubt that such performances actually did take place, we are not only justified in assuming that several poems of the period belong to this class, but we can also, on internai evidence, arrange them more or less in a natural sequence of dramatic development. One such eclogue has come down to us from the pen of Baldassare Taccone, a Genoese who also wrote mythological plays on the subjects of Danaë and Actaeon. Another, interesting as dealing with the corruption of the Curia at a moment when its scandalous traffic was carried on in the light of day with more than usually cynical indifference, was actually presented at Rome under the patronage of Cardinal Giovanni Colonna at the carnival of 1490, during the pontificate of Innocent VIII. Gradually a more complex form was evolved, the number of speakers was increased, and some of these made their entrance during the progress of the recitation. So too in the matter of metrical form, the strict terza rima of the earlier examples came to be diversified with rime sdrucciole, and by being intermingled with verses with internal rime, with ottava rima, settenarî couplets, and lyrical measures. Castiglione's representation at Urbino has been noticed previously. Among similar productions may be mentioned two poems by a certain Caperano of Faenza, printed in 1508, while others are found at Siena in 1517 and 1523. Besides the texts that are extant we also have record of a good many which have perished. In 1493 the representation of eclogues formed part of the revels prepared by Alexander VI for the marriage of Lucrezia Borgia with Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, and this was again the case when, having been divorced from Giovanni, and her second husband having perished by the assassin's dagger, she finally in 1502 became the wife of Alfonso d'Este, heir to the duchy of Ferrara. Eclogues were again represented at Ferrara in 1508, and received specific mention among the dramatic performances dealt with by the laws of Venice.

We thus see that the eclogue had every opportunity of developing into a regular dramatic form. At this point a variety of external influences made themselves felt, which facilitated or modified its growth. Perhaps foremost among these should be reckoned that of the 'regular' drama--that is of the drama based upon an imitation of the classics, chiefly of the Latin authors. The conception of dramatic art which was in men's minds at the time naturally and inevitably influenced the development of a form of poem which was daily becoming more sensibly dramatic. Next there was the influence of the mythological drama embodying the romantic and ideal elements of classical myth, but in form representing the tradition of the old religious plays. This led to the occasional introduction of supernatural characters, counteracted the rationalizing influence of the Roman dramatists, and supplied the pastoral with its peculiar imaginative atmosphere. Lastly, there was the 'rustic' influence, which was at no time very strong, and left no mark upon the form as finally evolved, but which has nevertheless to be taken into account in tracing the process of development. The influence exercised by burlesque and realistic scenes from real life cannot have been brought to bear on the eclogue until it had already attained to a dramatic character of some complexity. The earliest text of the kind we possess dates from 1508, and it is doubtful whether or not it was acted. In 1513 we have record of a rustic performance at the Capitol, and a satyrical and allegorical piece of like nature, and belonging to the same year, is actually preserved, as is also one in Bellunese dialect. These shows became the special characteristic of the Rozzi society at Siena, in whose hands they soon developed into short realistic farces of low life, composed in dialectal verse and acted by members of the society at many of the courts of Italy. The fashion, though never widely spread, survived for many years, the most famous author of such pieces being Michelangelo Buonarroti the younger at the beginning of the next century.

These drammi rusticali, as they were called, may not improbably have owed their origin to the fashion of rustic composition set by Lorenzo de' Medici in his Nencia, and may thus in their origin have been related to the courtly eclogue; but the subsequent development of the kind is at most parallel to that of the pastoral drama, and should not be regarded either as the origin or as a subdivision of this latter. Nor did the rustic compositions exercise any permanent influence on the pastoral drama; the most that can be said is that an occasional text shows signs of being affected by the low vulgarity of the kind.

Returning to the polite eclogues, we soon find an increase in the dramatic complexity of the form. Tansillo's Due pellegrini, which cannot be later than 1528, contains the rudiments of a plot, two lovers bent on suicide being persuaded by a miraculous voice to become reconciled with the world and life. Poetic justice befalls the two nymphs in an eclogue by Luca di Lorenzo, printed in 1530, the disdainful Diversa being condemned to love the boor Fantasia, while Euridice's loving disposition is rewarded by the devotion of Orindio.

We now come to what may almost be regarded as the first conscious attempt to write a pastoral play--an attempt, however, which met with but partial success. This is the Amaranta, a 'Comedia nuova pastorale' by Giambattista Casalio of Faenza, which most probably belongs to a date somewhat before 1538. In it the mutual love of Partenio and Amaranta is thwarted by the girl's mother Celia, who destines her for a goatherd. Partenio is led to believe that his love has played him false, while in her turn Amaranta supposes herself forsaken. The two meet, however, at the hut of a wise nymph Lucina, through whose intervention they are reconciled and their union effected. The piece, which attains to some proportions, is divided into five acts, and, while owing a certain debt to the Orfeo, is itself pastoral in character with occasional coarse touches borrowed from the rustic shows. It is in the Amaranta that we first meet with an attempt to introduce a real plot of some human interest into a purely pastoral composition; we are no longer dealing with a merely occasional piece written in celebration of some special person or festivity, no longer with a mythological masque or pageant, nor with an amorous allegory, but with a piece the interest of which, slight as it is, lies in the fate of the characters involved.

The fifteen years or so which separate the work of Casalio from that of Beccari saw the production of a succession of more or less pastoral works which serve, to some extent at least, to bridge over the gap which separates even the most elaborate of the above compositions from the recognized appearance of the fully-developed pastoral drama in the Sacrifizio. The chief characteristic which marks the work of these years is a tendency to deliberate experiment. The writers appear to have been conscious that their work was striving towards a form which had not yet been achieved, though they were themselves vague as to what that form might be. Epicuro's Mirzia tends towards the mythological drama; the Silvia written by one Fileno, which, like the Amaranta, turns on the temporary estrangement of two lovers, introduces considerable elements from the rustic performances; in Cazza's Erbusto the amorous skein is cut by the discovery of consanguinity and an ἀναγνώρισις after the manner of the Latin comedy. Similar in plot to this last is a fragmentary pastoral of Giraldi Cintio's published from manuscript by Signor Carducci. Another curious but isolated experiment is Cintio's Egle, in intent a revival of the 'satyric' drama of the Greeks, in substance a dramatization of the motive of Sannazzaro's Salices. In one sense these experiments ended in failure; it was not through the elaboration of mythological or superhuman elements, nor through the humour of burlesque or realistic rusticity, nor yet through the violence of unexpected discoveries, that the destined form of the pastoral drama was to be attained. On the other hand, they undoubtedly served to introduce an elaboration of plot and complexity of dramatic structure which is altogether lacking in the earlier eclogues and masques, but without which the work of Tasso and Guarini could never have occupied the commanding position that it does in the history of literature. They carry us forward to the point at which the pastoral drama took its shape and being.

Of the elements compounded of pastoral idealism and the graceful purity of classical myth, and combining the scenic attractions of the masque with the reasoned action and human interest of the regular drama, the Arcadian pastoral first achieved definite form in the work of Agostino Beccari. His Sacrifizio, styled 'favola pastorale' on the title-page of the first impression, was acted at the palace of Francesco d' Este at Ferrara in the presence of Ercole II and his son Luigi, and of the Duchess Renata and her daughters Lucrezia and Leonora, on two occasions in February and March 1554. The piece was revived more than thirty years later, namely in 1587, when the courtly world was already familiar with Tasso's masterpiece, and was ringing with the prospective fame of the Pastor fido, and represented both at Sassuolo and Ferrara.

The action involves three pairs of lovers. Turico loves Stellinia in spite of the fact that she has transferred her affections to Erasto. Erasto in his turn pays his homage to Callinome, the type of the 'careless' shepherdess, a nymph vowed to the service of Diana. There remains Carpalio, whose love for Melidia is secretly returned; its consummation being prevented by the girl's brother Pimonio, who refuses to countenance the match, and keeps dragon guard over his sister. In the meanwhile shepherds and shepherdesses assemble to honour the festival and sacrifice of Pan, which proves the occasion for the unravelling of the amorous tangle. Stellinia, wishing to rid herself of her rival in Erasto's love, induces Callinome so far to break her vestal vow as to be present at the forbidden feast. Here she is promptly detected by the offended goddess and sentenced to do battle against one of the fiercest of the Erymanthian boars. Erasto comes to her aid with a magic ointment, which has the power of rendering the user invisible, and with the help of which she achieves her task unharmed. Out of gratitude she rewards her preserver with her love. Not only is Stellinia thus condemned to witness the failure of her plot, but she is herself carried off by a satyr, who endeavours to deceive each of the nymphs in turn. Being rescued from his power by the faithful Turico, she too capitulates to love. Lastly, in the absence of Pimonio, who has gone to be present at the games held at the festival, Carpalio and Melidia pluck the fruit of love, and are saved from the anger of the brother through his conveniently falling into an enchanted lake whence he emerges in the shape of a boar.

In the prologue the author boldly announces the novelty of his work--

Una favola nova pastorale
............nova in tanto
Ch' altra non fu giammai forse più udita
Di questa sorte recitarsi in scena.

Guarini, who is said to have supplied a prologue for the revival of the piece, bore out Beccari's claim when he wrote in his essay on tragi-comedy: 'First among the moderns to possess the happy boldness to make in this kind, namely the pastoral dramatic tale, of which there is no trace among the ancients, was Agostin de' Beccari, a worthy citizen of Ferrara, to whom alone does the world owe the fair creation of this sort of poem[166].'

Several pieces of no great interest or importance serve to fill the decade or so following on the production of Beccari's play. Groto, known as the Cieco d' Adria, combined the mythological motive with much of the vulgar obscenity of the Latin comedy. Lollio also produced a hybrid of an earlier type in his Aretusa. In 1567 a return was made to the pastoral tradition of Beccari in Agostino Argenti's play Lo Sfortunato. Among the spectators who witnessed the first performance of this piece before Duke Alfonso and his court at Ferrara was a youth of twenty-two, lately attached to the household of the Cardinal Luigi d' Este. In all probability this was Tasso's first introduction to a style of composition which not many years later he was to make famous throughout Europe. The play he witnessed on that occasion, however, was no work of surpassing genius. It cannot, indeed, be said to mark any decided advance on Beccari's work except in so far, perhaps, as it at times foreshadows the somewhat sickly sentiment of later pastorals, including Tasso's own. The shepherd Sfortunato loves Dafne, Dafne loves Iacinto, who in his turn pursues Flaminia, while she loves only Silvio, who loves himself. Nothing particular happens till the fourth scene of Act III. Then Silvio, tired of being the last link in the chain of love, devises a plan for placing Flaminia and Dafne in the power of their respective lovers. Flaminia, assailed by Iacinto, makes up her mind to bow to fate, and accepts with a good grace the love it is no longer in her power to fly. Sfortunato, on the other hand, rather than offend his mistress, allows her to depart unharmed, and since he thereby forgoes his only chance of enjoying the object of his passion, determines to die. His vow is overheard by Dafne, who, seeing that her love for Iacinto may no more avail, at last relents. A third nymph, introduced to make the numbers even, takes the veil among the followers of Diana, and so lives the object of Silvio's chaste regard. It will be readily seen how in the character of Sfortunato we have the forerunner of Tasso's Aminta; but it will also appear what poor use has been made of the situation. The truth is that we have up to now been dealing merely with origins, with productions which are of interest only in the reflected light of later work; whatever there is of real beauty and of permanent value in the pastoral drama of Italy is due to the breath of life inspired into the phantasms of earlier writers by the genius of Tasso and Guarini.


We have now followed the dramatic pastoral from its obscure origin in the eclogue to the eve of its assuming a recognized and abiding position in the literature of Europe[167]. But if it is in a measure easy thus to trace back the Arcadian drama to its historical sources, and to show how the Aminta came to be possible, it is not so easy to show how it came to be actual. All creative work is the outcome of three fashioning forces, the historical position, the personal circumstances of the artist, and his individual genius. The pastoral drama had reached what I may perhaps be allowed to call the 'psychological point' in its development. At the same moment it happened that Tasso, having returned from a fruitless and uncongenial mission to the Valois court, enjoyed a brief period of calm and prosperity in the congenial society of Leonora d' Este, before the critical bickerings to which he exposed himself in connexion with the Gerusalemme wrought havoc with an already over-sensitive and overstrained temperament. Furthermore it happened that he brought to the spontaneous composition of his courtly toy just that touch of languorous beauty, that soft vein of sentiment, which formed perhaps his most characteristic contribution to the artistic tone of his age, veiling a novel mood in his favourite phrase, un non so che[168]. Had all this not been, had not the fortune of a suitable genius and the chance of personal surroundings jumped with the historical possibility, we might indeed have had any number of lifeless 'Sacrifices' and 'Unhappy Ones,' but Italy would have added no new kind to the forms of dramatic art. Had it not been for the Aminta, the pastoral drama must almost necessarily have been stillborn, for Guarini was too much of a pedant to do more than to imitate and enlarge, while other writers belong to the decline.

The Aminta, while possessing a delicate dramatic structure of its own, yet retains not a little of the simplicity of the ecloga rappresentativa. Indeed, it is worth noting, alike on account of this quality in the poem itself as also of its literary ancestry, that, in a letter written within a year of its original production, Tiburio Almerici speaks of it by the old name of eclogue[169]. Referring to its representation at Urbino, he writes: 'Il terzo spettacolo, che si è goduto questo carnovale, è stato un' egloga del Tasso, che fu recitata questo giovedì passato da alcuni gioveni d' Urbino nella sala, che fu fatta per la venuta delia Principessa.' The princess in question was none other than Lucrezia d' Este, who had lately become the wife of Tasso's former companion Francesco Maria della Rovere, now Duke of Urbino, and who with her sister Leonora, the heroine of the Tasso legend, had, it will be remembered, stood sponsor to Beccari's play nearly twenty years before. The representation at Urbino to which Almerici alludes was not of course the first. Written in the winter of 1572-3 during the absence of Duke Alfonso, the piece was acted after his return from Rome in the summer of the latter year. Ferrara, as we have seen, had become and was long destined to remain the special home of the pastoral drama in Italy. Here on July 31, in the palace of Belvedere, built on an island in the Po, the court of the Estensi assembled to witness the production of Tasso's play[170]. The staging, both on this and on subsequent occasions, was no doubt answerable to the nature of the piece, and added the splendour of the masque to the classic grace of the fable. Almerici remarks on the special attractions for spectators and auditors alike of what he calls 'la novità del coro fra ciascuno atto,' by which he clearly meant the spectacular interludes known as intermedî, the verses for which are commonly printed at the end of the play[171]. But the representation which struck the imagination of contemporaries was that before the Grand Duke Ferdinand at Florence. This took place in 1590[172]. Guarini's play had in its turn won renown far beyond the frontiers of Italy, while the author of the Aminta, a yet attractive but impossible madman, was destined for the few remaining years of his life to drag his tale of woes and but too often his rags from one Italian court to another, ere he sank at last exhausted where S. Onofrio overlooks St. Peter's dome.

The structure of the play is not free from a good deal of stiffness and artificiality, which it bequeathed to its successors. It borrowed from the classical drama a chorus, on the whole less Greek than Latin, the use of confidants, and the introduction of messengers and descriptive passages. These last, it may be noted, are deliberately and wantonly classical, not merely necessitated by the exigencies of the action, difficult of representation as in the attempted suicide of Aminta, impossible as in the rescue of Silvia from the satyr, but resorted to in order to veil the dramatic weakness of the author's imagination, as is plain from the description of the final meeting of the lovers. Yet it may be freely admitted that to this device, the substitution namely of narrative for action, we owe most of the finest poetic passages of the play: the description of the youthful loves of Aminta and Silvia and the former's ruse to win a kiss, the picture of Silvia bound to the tree by the pool, Tirsi's account of the court, the description of Silvia at the spring--one of the most elaborate in the piece--the account of her escape from the wolves, last but not least that description of Silvia finding the unconscious Aminta, so full of subtle and effeminate seduction, prophetic of a later age of morals and of taste:

Ma come Silvia il riconobbe, e vide
Le belle guance tenere d' Aminta
Iscolorite in sì leggiadri modi,
Che viola non è che impallidisca
Si dolcemente, e lui languir sì fatto,
Che parea già negli ultimi sospiri
Esalar l'alma; in guisa di Baccante
Gridando, e percotendosi il bel petto,
Lasciò cadersi in sul giacente corpo,
E giunse viso a viso, e bocca a bocca. (V. i.)

So too the chorus, though awkward enough from a dramatic point of view and in so far as it fulfils any dramatic purpose, offers a sufficient justification for its existence in the magnificent ode on 'honour,' that rapturous song of the golden age of love, the poetic supremacy of which has never been questioned, whatever may have been thought of its ethical significance. To that aspect we shall return later. At present it will be well to give some more or less detailed account of the action of the piece itself.

The shepherd Aminta loves Silvia, formerly as a child his playmate and companion, now a huntress devoted to the service of Diana, proud in her virginity and unfettered state. The play opens in a sufficiently conventional manner, but wrought with sparkling verse, with two companion scenes. In the first of these Silvia brushes aside the importunities of her confidant Dafne who seeks to allure her to the blandishments of love with sententious natural examples and modern instances.

Cangia, cangia consiglio,
Pazzerella che sei,
Che il pentirsi dassezzo nulla giova;

such is the burden of her song, or yet again, recalling the golden days of love she too of yore had wasted:

Il mondo invecchia
E invecchiando intristisce.

Words of profound melancholy these, uttered in the days of the burnt-out fires of the renaissance. But all this moves not Silvia, nymph of the woods and of the chase, and, if she is indeed as fancy-free as she would have us believe, her lover may even console himself with the reflection that

If of herself she will not love,
Nothing will make her--
The devil take her!

She has, after all, every right to the position. The next scene introduces Aminta and his friend Tirsi, to whom he reveals the object and the history of his love. Translated into bald prose, his confession has no very great interest, but it opens with one of those exquisitely pencilled sketches that lie scattered throughout the play.

All' ombra d' un bel faggio Silvia e Filli
Sedean un giorno, ed io con loro insieme;
Quando un' ape ingegnosa, che cogliendo
Sen giva il mel per que' prati fioriti,
Alle guance di Fillide volando,
Alle guance vermiglie come rosa,
Le morse e le rimorse avidamente;
Ch' alla similitudine ingannata
Forse un fior le credette.

Silvia heals the hurt by whispering over it a charm; and the whole description is instinct with that delicate, soft sentiment of Tasso's which almost, though never quite, sinks into sentimentality. Aminta feigns to have been stung on the lip, and begs Silvia to heal the hurt.

La semplicetta Silvia,
Pietosa del mio male,
S' offrì di dar aita
Alla finta ferita, ahi lasso! e fece
Più cupa e più mortale
La mia piaga verace,
Quando le labbra sue
Giunse alle labbra mie.

It is easy to argue that this is childish, that it mattered no whit though they kissed from now to doomsday. But only the reader who cannot feel its beauty is safe from the enervating narcotic of Tasso's style.

The first scene of the second act introduces a new character, the satyr, type of brute nature in the artificially polished Arcadia of courtly shepherds. He inherits no savoury character from his literary predecessors, and he is content to play to the rôle. His monologue may be passed over; it and still more the next scene serve to measure the cynical indelicacy of feeling which was tolerated in the Italian courts. It is a quality wholly different from the mere coarseness exhibited in the English drama under Elizabeth and James, but it is one which will astonish no one who has looked on the dramatic reflection of Italian society in the scenes of the Mandragola. The satyr is succeeded on the stage by the confidants Dafne and Tirsi in consultation as to the means of bringing about an understanding between Aminta and Silvia. The scene is characterized by those caustic reflections on women which serve to balance the extravagant iciness of the 'careless' nymphs and became a commonplace of the pastoral drama.

Or, non sai tu com' è fatta la donna?
Fugge, e fuggendo vuol ch' altri la giunga;
Niega, e negando vuol ch' altri si toglia;
Pugna, e pugnando vuol ch' altri la vinca.

Listening to the deliberations of these two, it cannot but strike us that in spite of their polished speech the straightforward London stage would have hesitated but little to bestow on them the names they deserve, and which it were yet scarce honest to have here set down. We pass on, and, whatever may be said regarding the moral atmosphere of the rest of the play, we shall not again have to make complaint of the corruption of manners assumed in the situation. In the following scene Tirsi undertakes the difficult task of inducing Aminta to intrude upon Silvia, where she is said to be alone at the spring preparing for the chase. It is only by hinting that Silvia has secretly instructed Dafne to arrange the tryst that he in the end succeeds in persuading the bashful lover to risk the displeasure of his mistress.

At the opening of Act III Tirsi enters lamenting in bitter terms the cruelty of Silvia. Interrogated by the chorus, he relates how, as he and Aminta approached the spring where Silvia was bathing, they heard a cry and, hastening to the spot, found the nymph bound hand and foot to a tree, and confronting her the satyr. At their approach the monster fled, and Aminta released the nymph, who ignuda come nacque at once took flight, leaving her lover in despair. In the meanwhile Aminta has sought to kill himself with his own spear, but has been prevented by Dafne, and the two now enter. At this moment too comes Nerina, one of the 'messengers' of the piece, with the news that Silvia has been slain while pursuing a wolf in the forest. Thereupon Aminta, with a last reproach to Dafne for having prevented him from putting an end to his miserable life before being the recipient of such direful news, rushes off the scene at a pace to mock pursuit. In the next act, however, Silvia reappears and narrates her escape. Here we arrive at the dramatic climax of the play. Dafne expresses her fear that the false report of Silvia's death may indeed prove the death of Aminta. The nymph at first shows herself incredulous, but on learning that he had already once sought death on her account she wavers and owns to pity if not to love--

          Oh potess' io
Con l' amor mio comprar la vita sua,
Anzi pur con la mia la vita sua,
S' egli è pur morto!

Hereupon Ergasto enters with the news that Aminta has thrown himself from a cliff, and Silvia, now completely overcome, goes off with the intention of dying on the body of her dead lover.

The shortness, as well as the dramatic weakness, of the fifth act is conspicuous even in proportion to the modest limits of the whole. It runs to less than one hundred and fifty lines, and merely relates how Aminta's fall was broken, how Silvia's love awoke, and all ended happily. The most significant passage, that namely which describes Aminta being called back to life in Silvia's arms, has been already quoted. He revives unharmed, and the lovers,

Alike in age, in generous birth alike
And mutual desires,

gather in love the fruits which they have sown in weeping.

It is worth while quoting the final chorus in witness of the spirit of half bantering humour in which the whole was conceived even by the serious Tasso, a spirit we unfortunately too often seek in vain among his followers.

Non so se il molto amaro
Che provato ha costui servendo, amando,
Piangendo e disperando,
Raddolcito esser puote pienamente
D' alcun dolce presente:
Ma, se più caro viene
E più si gusta dopo 'l male il bene,
Io non ti chieggio, Amore,
Questa beatitudine maggiore:
Bea pur gli altri in tal guisa;
Me la mia ninfa accoglia
Dopo brevi preghiere e servir breve:
E siano i condimenti
Delle nostre dolcezze
Non sì gravi tormenti,
Ma soavi disdegni,
E soavi ripulse,
Risse e guerre a cui segua,
Reintegrando i cori, o pace o tregua.

It is with these words that the author leaves his graceful fantasy; and such, we have perhaps the right to assume, was the spirit in which the whole was composed. Were any one to object to our seeking to analyse the quality of the piece, arguing that to do so were to break a butterfly upon the wheel, much might reasonably be said in support of his view. Nevertheless, when a work of art, however delicate and slender, has received the homage of generations, and influenced cultivated taste for centuries, and in widely different countries, we have a right to inquire whereon its supremacy is based, and what the nature of its influence has been.

With the sources from which Tasso drew the various elements of his plot we need have little to do. The child-love of Silvia and Aminta is of the stuff of Daphnis and Chloe; the ruse by which the kiss is obtained is borrowed from Achilles Tatius; the compliment to the court of the Estensi is after the manner of Vergil, or of Castiglione, or of Ariosto, or of any other of the allegorical eclogists of whom Vergil was the first; the germ of the golden-age chorus is to be found in the elegies of Tibullus (II. iii); the character of the satyr belongs to tradition; the rent veil of Silvia reminds us of that of Ovid's Thisbe (Met. IV. 55). The language too is reminiscent. The finest lines in the play--

Amiam: che 'l sol si muore, e poi rinasce;
A noi sua breve luce
S' asconde, e 'l sonno eterna notte adduce--(Coro I.)

belong to Catullus:

Viuamus, mea Lesbia, atque amemus;...
soles occidere et redire possunt;
nobis cum semel occidit breuis lux,
nox est perpetua una dormienda. (Carm. V.)

The words in which Amore describes himself in the prologue--

          non mica un dio
Selvaggio, o della plebe degli dei,
Ma tra' grandi celesti il più possente--

recall Ovid's lines:

nec de plebe deo, sed qui caelestia magna
sceptra manu teneo. (Met. I. 595.)

Again, the line:

Dove la costa face di sè grembo;

which occurs alike in the play (V. i.) and in the Purgatorio (VII. 68), supplies evidence, as do similar borrowings in the Gerusalemme, of Tasso's study of Dante.

The prologue introduces Amore in pastoral disguise, escaped from the care of his mother, who would confine his activity to the Courts, and intent on loosing his shafts among the nymphs and shepherds of Arcadia. In the form of this prologue, which became the model for subsequent pastoral writers in Italy[173], and in the heavenly descent of the principal characters, we may see the influence of the mythological play; while the substance both of the prologue and of the epilogue, or Amore fuggitivo, in which Venus comes to seek her runaway among the ladies and gallants of the court, is of course borrowed from the famous first idyl of Moschus. Again the topical element is not absent, though it is less prominent than some of the earlier work might lead us to expect. In the poet Tirsi--

          allor ch' ardendo
Forsennato egli errò per le foreste
Sì, ch' insieme movea pietate e riso
Nelle vezzose ninfe e ne' pastori;
Nè già cose scrivea digne di riso,
Sebben cose facea digne di riso--(I. i.)

we may, of course, see the poet himself. In Batto too, mentioned together with Tirsi, it is not unreasonable to recognize Battisto Guarini, whom at that time Tasso might still regard as his friend. Again, it is usual to identify Elpino with Giovanbattista Pigna, secretary of state at the Estense court, and one with whom, though no friend of the poet's, it was yet to his advantage to stand well. The flattery bestowed is not a little fulsome:

          Or non rammenti
Ciò che l' altrieri Elpino raccontava,
Il saggio Elpino a la bella Licori,
Licori che in Elpin puote cogli occhi
Quel ch' ei potere in lei dovria col canto,
Se 'l dovere in amor si ritrovasse;
E 'l raccontava udendo Batto e Tirsi,
Gran maestri d' amore; e 'l raccontava
Nell' antro dell' Aurora, ove sull' uscio
È scritto: Lungi, ah lungi ite, profani?
Diceva egli, e diceva che gliel disse
Quel grande che cantò l' armi e gli amori,
Ch' a lui lasciò la fistola morendo;
Che laggiù nello 'nferno è un nero speco,
Là dove esala un fumo pien di puzza
Dalle tristi fornaci d' Acheronte;
E che quivi punite eternamente
In tormenti di tenebre e di pianto
Son le femmine ingrate e sconoscenti. (I. i.)

He who sang of arms and love is of course Ariosto--

Le donne, i cavalier, l' arme, gli amori,
Le cortesie, l' audaci imprese io canto--

from whom Tasso borrows the above description of the reward awaiting ungrateful women, as also the fiction of the tell-tale walls and chairs in Mopso's account of the court (I. ii). And this Elpino, whose pipe elsewhere

  correr fa di puro latte i fiumi
E stillar melle dalle dure scorze, (III. i.)

later becomes the Alete of the Gerusalemme,

Gran fabbro di calunnie adorne in modi
Novi che sono accuse e paion lodi. (II. 58.)

His flattery had not shielded the unhappy poet against the ill-will of the minister[174].

Again, the picture drawn by Tirsi of the ideal court (I. ii.) is a glowing compliment to that of the Estensi and to Duke Alfonso himself. It is contrasted with the usual pastoral denunciation of court and city put into the mouth of the pretended augur Mopso. In this character it has been customary to see Sperone Speroni, who later accused Tasso of plagiarizing him in the Gerusalemme, and was the first to apply the ominous word 'madman' to the unfortunate poet. To Speroni's play Canace Tasso may have been indebted for the free measures with which he diversified his blank verse, as likewise for the line:

Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede;[175]

though it must not be supposed that there is any resemblance in style between the Aminta and Speroni's revolting and frigid declamation of butchery and lust. Nor did the debt pass unnoticed. In 1585 Guarini, who had long since parted with the sinking ship of the younger poet's friendship, was ready to flatter Speroni with the declaration 'che tanto di leggiadria è sempre paruto a me, che abbia nell' Aminta suo conseguito Torquato Tasso, quant' egli fù imitatore della Canace[176].'

Lastly, in the hopeless suit of Aminta to Silvia, criticism has not failed to see a reference to the supposed relation between Tasso and Leonora d' Este. That Tasso, who in his overwrought imagination no doubt harboured a sentimental regard for the princess, was conscious of the parallel is in some degree probable; that he should have identified his creation with himself is, in view of the solution of the dramatic situation, utterly impossible. Indeed, it would perhaps not be extravagant to suppose that his care to identify himself with Aminta's confidant may have been an unusual but not untimely piece of caution on his part, to prevent poisoned gossip connecting him too closely with his hero.

The question of the influence of the Aminta on later works and on European thought generally opens up large and difficult issues. It is one of those works which we are not justified in treating from the purely literary point of view. If we wish to see it in its relation to contemporary society, and to estimate its influence upon subsequent literature, we cannot afford to neglect its ethical bearings. This inquiry must necessarily lead us beyond the sphere of literary criticism proper, but it is a task which one who has undertaken to give an account of pastoral literature has no right to shirk.

The central motive of the piece is the struggle between the feverish passion of Aminta and the virginal coldness of Silvia. Of this motive and of the manner in which it is treated it is not altogether easy to speak, and this less from any inherent element in the subject or from the difficulty of accurately apprehending the peculiarities of sentiment proper to former ages, than from the readiness of all ages alike to accept in such matters the counterfeit coin of conventional protestation for the sterling reticence of natural delicacy. No doubt this tendency has been aided by the fact that the secrets of a girl's heart, whatever may be their true dramatic value, form an unsuitable and ineffective subject for declamation. The difficulties must not, however, be allowed to weigh against the importance of coming to a clear understanding as to the true nature of this non so che of false sentiment, of which it would hardly be too much to affirm that it made the fortune of the pastoral in aristocratic Italy on the one hand, and proved its ruin in middle-class London on the other.

To Tasso is due that assumption of extravagant and conventional pudor which forms one of the most abiding features of the pastoral drama. To censure an exaggeration of the charm of modesty on the threshold of the seicento, or to object a strained sense of chastity against the author of the golden-age chorus, may indeed seem strange; but, as with Fletcher at a later date, the very extravagance of the paradox may supply us with the key to its solution.

The falsity of Tasso's position is evinced partly in the main action of the drama, partly in the commentary supplied by the minor personages. The character of Aminta himself is unimportant in this respect; when we have described him as effeminate, sickly, and over-refined, we have said all that is necessary in view of the position he occupies with regard to Silvia. She, we are given to understand, is the type of the 'careless' shepherdess, the unspotted nymph of Diana[177], rejoicing in the chase alone, and importuned by the love of Aminta, which she neither reciprocates nor understands, and of the genuineness of which she shows herself, indeed, not a little sceptical. If, however, she is as careless as she appears, her conversion is certainly most sudden. The picture, moreover, drawn by Dafne of Silvia coquetting with her shadow in the pool, though possibly coloured by malice, supplies a sufficient hint of the true state of the girl's fancy. She is in truth such a Chloe of innocence as might spring up in the rank soil of a petty Italian court infected with post-Tridentine morality. Were she indeed careless of Aminta's devotion we could easily sympathize with her when she brushes aside Dafne's importunity with the words:

Faccia Aminta di sè e de' suoi amori
Quel ch' a lui piace; a me nulla ne cale. (I. i.)

It is altogether different with her attitude of arrogant pudicity when she announces:

          Odio il suo amore
Ch' odia la mia onestate; (Ib.)

and again:

In questa guisa gradirei ciascuno
Insidiator di mia virginitate,
Che tu dimandi amante, ed io nemico. (Ib.)

Silvia here conjoins the unwholesome medieval ideal of virginity with the corrupt spectre of renaissance 'honour'--

          quel vano
Nome senza soggetto,
Quell' idolo d' errori, idol d' inganno[178], (Coro I.)

as Tasso himself styled it--that conventional mask so bitterly contrasted with the natural goodness of the age of gold[179].

The general conception of love and its attendant emotions that permeates the work and vitiates so many of its descendants appears yet more glaringly characterized in some of the minor personages. On these it is not my intention to dwell. Of Dafne and Tirsi, that is, be it remembered, Tasso's self, I have spoken, however briefly, yet at sufficient length already. Suffice it to add here that Dafne's suggestion, that modesty is commonly but a veil for lust, is nothing more than the cynical expression of the attitude adopted throughout the play. Love is no ideal and idealizing emotion, but a mere gratification of the senses--a luxuria scarcely distinguishable from gula. Ignorance can alone explain an attitude of indifference towards its pleasures. The girl who does not care to embrace opportunity is no better than a child--'Fanciulla tanto sciocca, quanto bella,' as Dafne says. So, again, there is nothing ennobling in the devotion of the hero, nothing elevating in his fidelity. All the mysticism, all the ideality, of the early days of the renaissance have long since disappeared, and chivalrous feeling, that last lingering glory of the middle age, is dead.

We are, indeed, justified in regarding what I may term the degeneration of sexual feeling in the Aminta as to a great extent the negation of chivalrous love, for, even apart from the allegorizing mysticism of Dante, that love contained its ennobling elements. And yet, strangely enough, not a little of the convention at least of chivalrous love survives in the debased Arcadian love of the sentimental pastoral. Both alike are primarily of an animal nature, and this in a sense other than that in which physical love may be said to form an element in all natural relation between man and woman. Again, in both we find the rational machinery by which love shall be rewarded. The lover serves his apprenticeship, either with deeds of arms or with sighs and sonnets, and the credit of the mistress is light who refuses to reward him for his service. The System assumes neither choice, nor passion, nor pleasure on her part. Her act is regarded in the cold light of a calculated payment, undisguised by any joy of passionate surrender. But whereas in the outgrowth of feudalism, in the chivalry of the middle ages, this system formed the great incentive to martial daring, whereas when idealized in Beatrice it became almost undistinguishable from the ferveurs of religion, we find it with Tasso sinking into a weak and mawkish sensuality. More than any other sentimentalist Tasso justified his title by 'fiddling harmonics on the strings of sensualism,' and it may be added that the ear is constantly catching the fundamental note.

The foregoing remarks appeared necessary in order to understand the subsequent history of the dramatic pastoral as well as the conditions under which it took form and being, but they have led us far beyond the limits of literary criticism proper. The next characteristic of the play to be considered is one which, while possessing an important ethical bearing, is also closely connected with the aesthetic composition. I refer to the peculiar, not sensual but sensuous, nature of the beauty. The effect produced by the descriptions, by the suggestions, by the general tone, by the subtle modulations of the verse in adaptation to its theme, is less one of literary and intellectual than of direct emotional perception, producing the immediate physical impression of an actual presence. The beauty has a subtle enervating charm, languid and voluptuous, at the same time as clear and limpid in tone. The effect produced is one and whole, that of a perfect work of art, and the same impression remains with us afterwards. Smooth limbs, soft and white, that shine through the waters of the spring and amid the jewelled spray, or half revealed among the thickets of lustrous green, a slant ray of sunlight athwart the loosened gold of the hair--the vision floats before us as if conjured up by the strains of music rather than by actual words. This kinship with another art did not escape so acute a critic as Symonds as a characteristic of Tasso's style. But the kinship on another side with the art of painting is equally close; a thousand pictures rise before us as we follow the perfect melody of the irregular lyric measures. The white veil fluttering and the swift feet flashing amid the brambles and the trailing creepers of the wood, bright crimson staining the spotless purity of the flying skirts as the huntress bursts through the clinging tangles that seek to hold her as if jealous of a human love, the lusty strength of the bronzed and hairy satyr in contrast with the tender limbs of the captive nymph, the dark cliff, and the still mirror of the lake reflecting the rosebuds pressed artfully against the girl's soft neck as she crouches by its brink,

Backed by the forest, circled by the flowers,
Bathed in the sunshine of the golden hours,

the armed huntress, the grey-coated wolves, and the white-robed chorus--here are a series of pictures of seductive beauty for the brush of a painter to realize upon the walls of some palace of pleasure.

The Aminta attained a wide popularity even before the appearance of the first edition from the Aldine house at Venice early in 1581--the epistle is dated 1580. The printer of the Ferrarese edition of the same year remarks: 'Tosto che la Fama ... mi rapportò, che in Venetia si stampava l' Aminta, ... così subito pensai, che quella sola Impressione dovesse essere ben poca per sodisfattione di tanti virtuosi, che sono desiderosi di vederla alla luce.' A critical edition was prepared at Paris in the middle of the following century by Egidio Menagio of the Accademia della Crusca, and dedicated to Maria della Vergna, better known, under her married name of Madame de la Fayette, as the author of the Princesse de Clèves[180]. In 1693 the play was attacked by Bartolomeo Ceva Grimaldi, Duke of Telese, in an address read before the Accademia degli Uniti at Naples[181]. He was answered before the same society by Francesco Baldassare Paglia, and in 1700 appeared Giusto Fontanini's elaborate defence[182]. To each chapter of this work is prefixed a passage from Grimaldi's address, which is then laboriously refuted. The Duke's attack is puerile cavil, and in spite of the reputed ability of its author the defence must be admitted to be much on the same level.


The attention which we have bestowed upon the Aminta will allow us to pass more rapidly than would otherwise have been possible over its successor and rival, the Pastor fido. This is due to the fact that the moral and artistic environment of the two pieces is much the same, and further, that it is this environment which to a great extent determined, not only the individual character of the poems, but likewise the nature of their subsequent influence.

Recent research has had the effect of dispelling not a few of the traditional ideas respecting Guarini's play. Among them is the fable that it took twenty years to write, which would carry back its inception to days before the composition of the Aminta. It is now recognized that nine years is the utmost that can be assigned, letters being extant which fix the genesis of the play in 1581, or at the earliest in 1580 a year or so previous to Guarini's departure from Ferrara[183]. Again, it has been usual to assume that the play was performed as early as 1585, whereas there is in truth no evidence of any representation previous to the appearance of the first edition dated 1590[184]. The early fortunes of the play are indeed typical of the ill-success that dogged the author throughout life. Though untouched by the tragic misfortunes which lend interest to Tasso's career, his lot was at times a hard one and we may excuse him if, at the last, he was no less embittered than his younger rival. He was not cursed, it is true, with Tasso's incurable idealism; but, if in consequence he exposed himself less to the buffets of disillusionment, he likewise lacked its sustaining and ennobling power. Tasso used the pastoral machinery to idealize the court; Guarini accepted the pastoral convention of the superiority of the 'natural' life of the country, and used it as a means of pouring out his bitterness of soul. The Aminta, it should be remembered, was written during a few weeks, months at most, at a time when Tasso was comparatively fortunate and happy; the Pastor fido was the ten years' labour of a retired and disappointed courtier, whose later days were further embittered by domestic misfortunes. In the same way as it was characteristic of Tasso's rosy view that no law should be allowed to curb the purity of natural love in his dream of the ideal age, so it was characteristic of the spirit of his imitator to seek the ideal in the prudent love that strives towards no distant star beyond the bounds of law. And the fact that Guarini saw fit seriously to oppose a scholastic's moral figment to the poet's age of gold may serve as a sufficient measure of the soul of the pedant.

When Battista Guarini[185] entered the service of the Duke of Ferrara in 1567 he was already married and had attained the age of thirty, being seven years older than Tasso. His duties at court were political, and he was employed on several missions of a diplomatic character. There was no reason whatever, beyond his own perverse ambition, why he should have come into rivalry with Tasso, yet he did so both as a writer of verses and as a hanger-on of court beauties. It is impossible to acquit him of bad taste in the manner in which he and some at least of his fellow courtiers treated the unfortunate poet, and there was certainly bad blood between the two soon after the production of the Aminta, owing, probably, to the ungenerous remarks passed by Guarini upon the author's indebtedness to previous writers. After Tasso's confinement to S. Anna in 1579, Guarini became court poet, and the luckless prisoner was condemned to see his own poems entrusted to the editorial care of his rival.

Guarini, however, was not satisfied with the court of Ferrara. His estate was reduced by the expenses entailed by his missions as ambassador, for which, like Machiavelli, he appears never to have received adequate supplies, and by the continuous litigation in which he involved himself. His political imagination, too, had been fired during a stay at Turin with the possibilities inherent for Italy in the house of Savoy--an enthusiasm which possibly did not tend to smooth his relations with his own master. In 1582 he left Ferrara and the service of Alfonso and retired to his ancestral estates of S. Bellino. Here he devoted himself to the composition of the play he had lately taken in hand, which, in spite of spasmodic returns to political life not only at the court of the Estensi but also at Turin and Florence, forms thenceforward with its many vicissitudes the central interest of his biography. He survived till 1612, dying at the age of seventy-four.

To do justice to the Pastor fido it would be best to give the story in the form of a continuous narrative rather than an analysis of the actual scenes, since the author's constructive power lay almost wholly in the invention of an intricate plot and his weakness in the scenic rendering of it. His dramatic methods, however, so far elaborated from the simplicity of Tasso's, had a vast influence over subsequent work, and it is highly important to obtain a clear idea of their nature. We shall, therefore, be condemned to follow Guarini, part-way at least, through the stiff artificiality of his interminable scenes.

A complicated story which is narrated at length in the course of the play explains the peculiar laws of Arcadia on which the plot hinges[186]. These comprise an edict of Diana to the effect that any nymph found guilty of a breach of faith shall suffer death at the altar unless some one offers to die in her place; likewise a custom whereby a nymph between fifteen and twenty years of age is annually sacrificed to the goddess. When besought to release the land from this tribute Diana through her oracle replies:

Non avrà prima fin quel che v' offende,
Che duo semi del ciel congiunga amore;
E di donna infedel l' antico errore
L' alta pietà d' un pastor fido ammende.

The only two in Arcadia who fulfil the conditions of the oracle are Silvio, the son of the high priest Montano, and Amarilli, daughter of Titiro, who have in their veins the blood of Hercules and Pan. These two have consequently been betrothed and, being now arrived at marriageable age, their final union is imminent.

At this point the play opens. Silvio cares for nothing but the chase, regardless alike of his destined bride and of the love borne him by the nymph Dorinda; Amarilli is seemingly heart-whole, but secretly loves her suitor Mirtillo, a stranger in Arcadia, whom, however, she persists in treating with coldness in view of the penalty involved by a breach of faith. Mirtillo in his turn is loved by Corisca, a wanton nymph who has learned the arts of the city, and who is pursued both by Coridone, to whom she is formally engaged, but whom she neglects, and by a satyr. Almost every character is provided with a confidant: Silvio has Linco; Mirtillo, Ergasto; Dorinda, Lupino; Carino[187], the supposed father of Mirtillo, has Uranio; Montano and Titiro act as confidants to one another. The only case arguing any dramatic feeling is that in which Amarilli makes a confidant of her rival Corisca; while Corisca and the satyr alone among the more important characters are left to address the audience directly. Even the confidants sometimes need confidants in their turn, these being supplied by a conveniently ubiquitous chorus.

In the first scene of Act I, after the prologue, in which Alfeo rises to pay compliments to Carlo Emanuele and his bride, we are introduced to Silvio and Linco, who are about to start in pursuit of a savage boar which has been devastating the country. Linco taxes his companion with his neglect of the softer joys of love, to which Silvio replies with long-drawn praise of the free life of the woods. The scene is parallel to the first of the Aminta, and the author has sought here and elsewhere to point the contrast. Thus where Tasso wrote:

Cangia, cangia consiglio,
Pazzerella che sei;
Che il pentirsi dassezzo nulla giova;

Guarini has:

Lascia, lascia le selve,
Folle garzon, lascia le fere, ed ama.

In the next scene, again modelled on the corresponding one in Tasso's play, we find Ergasto comforting Mirtillo in his despair at Amarilli's 'cruelty.' Mirtillo has but recently arrived in Arcadia, and is ignorant of its history and customs, which Ergasto explains at length. The third scene is devoted to a long monologue by Corisca; the fourth to a conversation between Montano and Titiro, who discuss the oracles concerning the approaching marriage and recount portentous dreams. A monologue by the satyr relating his ill-usage at the hands of Corisca, followed by a chorus, ends the first act. The next scene contains the history of Mirtillo's passion as narrated to his confidant. Ergasto has enlisted the services of Corisca, and the whole paraphernalia of love lead in the next act to an interview between Mirtillo and Amarilli. The author's dramatic method whereby he presents us with alternate scenes from the various threads of the plot will by now be evident to the reader, and the remainder may for clearness' sake be thrown into narrative form.

Corisca, well knowing that it is impossible for Amarilli to show favour to Mirtillo, and hoping to ingratiate herself with him, prevails upon the nymph to grant her lover a hearing, provided the interview be secret and short. During a game of blind man's buff the players suddenly retire, leaving Mirtillo and Amarilli alone. The interview of course comes to nothing, but as soon as Mirtillo has left her Amarilli relieves her feelings in a monologue confessing her love, which is overheard by Corisca[188]. Charged with her weakness, she confesses her dislike of the marriage with Silvio. Hereupon Corisca conceives a plan for ridding herself at once of her rival in Mirtillo's affections and of her own affianced lover. She leads Amarilli to suppose that Silvio is faithless to his betrothal vow. If Amarilli can prove Silvio guilty she will herself be free, and she agrees to hide in a recess in a cave where Corisca alleges that Silvio has an assignation. Next Corisca makes an appointment to meet her lover Coridone in the same cave, intending that he and Amarilli shall be surprised together. Finally, in order to obtain a witness, she accuses Amarilli to Mirtillo of being faithless, and bids him watch the mouth of the cave in which she alleges the nymph has an assignation with Coridone. This ingenious plan would have succeeded to perfection but for Mirtillo's precipitancy, for, seeing Amarilli enter the cave, he at once concludes her guilt and follows her forthwith to wreak revenge. At that moment the satyr appears and, misunderstanding some words of Mirtillo's, proceeds to bar the entrance to the cave with a huge rock, thinking he is imprisoning Mirtillo and Corisca. He then goes off to inform the priests of the pollution committed so near their temple. These enter the cave and apprehend the lovers. Amarilli is at once condemned to death, but Mirtillo thereupon offers himself in her place and, being accepted by the priests, is kept as a sacrifice, Amarilli being at the same time closely guarded lest she should lay violent hands upon herself.

In the meantime Silvio has been successful in his hunting of the boar, whose head he brings home in triumph. There follows an echo-scene, one of those toys which, as old as the Greek Anthology, and cultivated in Latin by Tebaldeo, and in Italian by Poliziano, owed, not indeed their introduction, but certainly their great popularity in pastoral, to Guarini. His example is fairly successful. The echo predicts that the end of Silvio's 'carelessness' is at hand, when he shall himself break his bow and follow her who now follows him. The prophecy is quick of fulfilment. With a jest he turns to go, when his eye falls on a grey object crouching among the bushes. He supposes it to be a wolf, and looses an arrow at it. It proves, however, to be Dorinda, who has throughout followed his chase disguised in the rough wolf-skin coat of a herdsman, and who is now led fainting on to the scene by Lupino. Silvio is overcome with remorse, and, careless alike of his troth to Amarilli and of the fate of Arcadia, declares that thenceforth he will love none but Dorinda, and will die with her should his arrow prove fatal. They leave the stage for good--to get healed and married.

To return to the main plot. At sundown Mirtillo is led out to die, and the sacrifice is about to be performed when his supposed father, an Arcadian by birth, though he has long lived at Elis, and has just arrived in search of his foster child, interposes. Explanations ensue, and it gradually appears that Mirtillo is the eldest son of Montano, washed away in his cradle by the floods of the Alpheus twenty years before. Thus in the love between him and Amarilli, and in his voluntary sacrifice of himself in her place, the oracle is fulfilled, and Arcadia freed from its maiden tribute. This seems obvious enough, though it takes the inspiration of a blind prophet to drive it into the heads of the assembled Arcadians. A final difficulty remains--the broken troth. But it so happens that Mirtillo was originally named Silvio, so that to 'Silvio' no faith is broken. A casuistical reason indeed; but good enough for the purpose. No attempt is made to clear Amarilli of the compromising evidence on which she had been condemned, but the pair have the favour of the gods, and the chorus makes no difficulty of chanting the virtue of the bride.

Such is Guarini's play; a plot constructed with consummate ingenuity, but presented with an almost entire lack of dramatic feeling. Almost the whole of the action takes place off the stage. Silvio and Dorinda leave the scene apparently for a tragic catastrophe; their subsequent union is only reported; so is the surprisal of Mirtillo and Amarilli, the scene in which the former offers himself as a sacrifice in her place, and their meeting after the cloud of death has passed. The solitary scene revealing any real dramatic power is that between Amarilli and the priest Nicandro, in which the girl maintains her innocence. Her terror when confronted with death is drawn with some delicacy and pathos, though we sadly miss those poignant touches that the English playwrights seem always to have had at command on similar occasions. Her fear of death, however, stands in powerful dramatic contrast with the sudden courage she displays when her lover seeks to die in her place. Guarini was perfectly aware of the value of this contrast, for he placed the following lines in the mouth of the messo who reports the scene:

Or odi maraviglia.
Quella che fu pur dianzi
Sì dalla tema del morire oppressa,
Fatta allor di repente
A le parole di Mirtillo invitta,
Con intrepido cor così rispose:
'Pensi dunque, Mirtillo,
Di dar col tuo morire
Vita a chi di te vive?
O miracolo ingiusto! Su, ministri;
Su, che si tarda? omai
Menatemi agli altari.' (V. ii.)

And yet this dramatic contrast has been wantonly thrown away by the substitution of narrative for representation, less for the sake of a blind adherence to classical convention, as on account of the author's inability honestly to face a powerful situation. The same dramatic incapacity shows itself in his use of borrowings. It will be sufficient to mention the sententious words from Ovid (Amores, I. viii. 43) placed in the mouth of the chorus:

Dunque non si dirà donna pudica
Se non quella che mai
Non fu sollecitata; (IV. in.)

in order to compare them with the use made of the same by Webster when he made Vittoria at her trial exclaim:

Casta est quam nemo rogavit!--

a comparison which at once reveals the gulf fixed between the clairvoyant dramatist and the mere pedantic scholar.

And yet the subsequent history of pastoral reminds us that it is quite possible to underestimate Guarini's merits as a playwright. In the construction of a complicated plot, apart from the dramatic presentation thereof, he achieved a success not to be paralleled by any previous work in Italy, for the difference in the titles of the Aminta and the Pastor fido, the one styled favola and the other tragi-commedia, indicates a real distinction; and Guarini's proud claim to have invented a new dramatic kind was not wholly unfounded[189]. It was this that caused Symonds to speak of his play as 'sculptured in pure forms of classic grace,' while describing the Aminta as 'perfumed and delicate like flowers of spring.' And lastly, it was this more elaborately dramatic quality that was responsible for the far greater influence exercised by Guarini than by Tasso, both on the subsequent drama of Italy and still more on the fortunes of the pastoral in England.

Moreover, in Amarilli, Guarini created one really dramatic character and devoted to it one really dramatic scene. His heroine is probably the best character to be found in the whole of the pastoral drama, and this simply because there is a reason for her coldness towards the lover, upon her love to whom the plot depends. Unless love is to be mutual the motive force of the drama fails, and consequently, when nymphs insist on parading their inhuman superiority to the dictates of natural affection, they are simply refusing to fulfil their dramatic raison d'être. With Amarilli it is otherwise. She has the right to say:

Ama l' onestà mia, s' amante sei; (III. iii.)

and there is a pathos in the words which the author may not have himself fully understood; whereas the similar expression of Tasso's Silvia quoted on a previous page is insufferable in its smug self-conceit.

Of this quality of extravagant virginity noticed as a characteristic of Tasso's play there is on the whole less in the Pastor fido. It is also freer from the tone of cynical corruption and from improper suggestion. These merits are, however, more than counterbalanced in the ethical scale by the elaboration of the spirit of sentimental sensualism, which becomes as it were an enveloping atmosphere, and lends an enervating seduction to the piece. This spirit, already present in the Aminta, reappeared in an emphasized form in the Pastor fido, and attained its height in the following century in Marino's epic of Adone. We find it infusing the scene of Mirtillo's first meeting with Amarilli, which may be said to set the tone of the rest of the poem. Happening to see the nymph at the Olympian games, Mirtillo at once fell in love and contrived to introduce himself in female attire into the company of maidens to which she belonged. Here, the proposal being made to hold a kissing match among themselves, Amarilli was unanimously chosen judge, and, the contest over, she awarded the prize to the disguised youth. The incident owes its origin, as Guarini's notes point out, to the twelfth Idyl of Theocritus, and the suggestion of the kissing match is aptly put into the mouth of a girl from Megara, where an annual contest of kisses among the Greek youths was actually held. Guarini, however, most probably borrowed the episode from the fifth canto of Tasso's Rinaldo.

The sentimental seductiveness of this and other scenes did not escape sharp comment in some quarters within a few years of the publication of the play. In 1605 Cardinal Bellarmino, meeting Guarini at Rome, told him plainly that he had done as much harm to morals by his Pastor fido as by their heresies Luther and Calvin had done to religion. Later Janus Nicius Erythraeus, that is Giovanni Vittorio Rossi, in his Pinacoteca, compared the play to a rock-infested sea full of seductive sirens, in which no small number of girls and wives were said to have made shipwreck. It is at first sight ratifier a severe indictment to bring against Guarini's play, especially when we remember that a work of art is more often an index than a cause of social corruption. After what has been said, however, of the nature of the sentiment both in the Pastor fido and the Aminta, the charge can hardly be dismissed as altogether unfounded. It is only fair to add that very different views have been held with regard to the moral aspect of the play, the theory of its essential healthiness finding an eloquent advocate in Ugo Angelo Canello[190].

Little as it became him, Guarini chose to adopt the attitude of a guardian of morals, and Bellarmino's words clearly possessed a special sting. This pose was in truth but a part of the general attitude he assumed towards the author of the Aminta. His superficial propriety authorized him, in his own eyes, to utter a formal censure upon the amorous dream of the ideal poet. He paid the price of his unwarranted conceit. Those passages in which he was at most pains to contrast his ethical philosophy with Tasso's imaginative Utopia are those in which he most clearly betrayed his own insufferable pedantry; while critics even in his own day saw through the unexceptionable morality of his frigid declamations and ruthlessly exposed the sentimental corruption that lay beneath. When we compare his parody in the fourth chorus of the Pastor fido with Tasso's great ode; his sententious 'Piaccia se lice' with Tasso's 'S' ei piace, ei lice'; his utterly banal

Speriam: che 'l sol cadente anco rinasce;
E 'l ciel, quando men luce,
L' aspettato seren spesso n' adduce,

with Tasso's superb, even though borrowed, paganism:

Amiam: che 'l sol si muore, e poi rinasce;
A noi sua breve luce
S' asconde, e 'l sonno eterna notte adduce--

when we make this comparison we have the spiritual measure of the man. A similar comparison will give us his measure as a poet. Take the graceful but over-elaborated picture:

Quell' augellin che canta
Sì dolcemente, e lascivetto vola
Or dall' abete al faggio,
Ed or dal faggio al mirto,
S' avesse umano spirto
Direbbe: 'Ardo d' amore, ardo d' amore!'

Compare with this the spontaneous sketch of Tasso:

Odi quell' usignuolo
Che va di ramo in ramo
Cantando: 'Io amo, io amo!'[191]

Or again, with the irresistible slyness of the final chorus of the Aminta already quoted compare the sententious lines with which Guarini closed his play:

O fortunata coppia,
Che pianto ha seminato, e riso accoglie!
Con quante amare doglie
Hai raddolciti tu gli affetti tuoi!
Quinci imparate voi,
O ciechi e troppo teneri mortali,
I sinceri diletti, e i veri mali.
Non è sana ogni gioia,
Nè mal ciò che v' annoia.
Quello è vero gioire,
Che nasce da virtù dopo il soffrire.

It is impossible not to come to the conclusion that we are listening in the one case to a genuine poet of no common order, in the other to a poetaster of considerable learning and great ingenuity, who elected to don the outward habit of a somewhat hypocritical morality. The effect of the contrast is further heightened when we remember that Guarini never for a moment doubted that he had far surpassed the work of his predecessor.

Guarini's comment on the Aminta in his letter to Speroni has been already quoted: it does little credit to the writer. Manso, the companion and biographer of Tasso, records that, the poet being asked by some friends what he thought of the Pastor fido, a copy of which had lately found its way to him at Naples:

Et egli, 'Mi piace sopramodo, ma confesso di non saper la cagione perchè mi piaccia.' Onde io rispondendogli, 'Vi piacerà per avventura,' soggiunsi, 'quel che vi riconoscete del vostro.' Et egli replicò, 'Ne può piacere il vedere il suo in man d' altri.'[192]

Guarini would hardly have acknowledged his indebtedness to Tasso in the way of art, but he drew on all sources for the incidents of his plot, and, since he appears to have valued a reputation for scholarship above one for originality, he recorded a fair proportion of his borrowings in his notes.

The Pastor fido was the talk of the Italian Courts even before it was completed. Early in 1584 the heir to the duchy of Mantua, Vincenzo Gonzaga, to whose intercession Tasso later owed his liberty, entreated Guarini to let him have his already famous pastoral for the occasion of his marriage with Eleonora de' Medici. The poet, however, found it impossible to complete the work in time, and sent the Idropica instead. In the autumn a projected representation of the now completed play came to naught. The following year Guarini presented his play to the Duke of Savoy, and received a gold chain as an acknowledgement. The occasion was the entry into Turin of Carlo Emanuele and his bride, Catharine of Austria, the marriage having taken place at Saragossa some time previously. The dedication is recorded on the title-page of the first edition in words that have not unnaturally been held to imply that the play was performed on that occasion.[193] It is clear, however, from contemporary documents that this is an error, and, though preparations were made in view of a performance at the following carnival, these too were abandoned. After this we find mention of preparations made at a variety of places, but they never came to anything, and there is reason to believe that some at least were abandoned owing to the opposition of Alfonso d' Este, who never forgave a courtier who transferred his allegiance to another prince. In 1591 Vincenzo Gonzaga, now duke, summoned Guarini to Mantua, and matters advanced as far as a prova generale or dress rehearsal. The project, however, had once more to be abandoned owing to the death of Cardinal Gianvincenzo Gonzaga at Rome. We possess the scheme for the four intermezzi designed for this occasion, representing the Musica della Terra, del Mare, dell' Aria, and Celeste. They were scenic and musical only, without words. About this time too, that is after the appearance of the first edition dated 1590, we have notes of preparations for several private performances, the ultimate fate of which is uncertain. The first representation of which there is definite evidence, though even here details are lacking, took place at Crema in Lombardy in 1596, at the cost of Lodovico Zurla[194]. After this performances become frequent, and in 1598, after the death of Alfonso, the play was finally produced in state before Vincenzo Gonzaga at Mantua. On all these occasions we may suppose that other prologues were substituted for that addressed to gran Caterina and magnanimo Carlo[195].

In the meanwhile Guarini, fearing piracy, had turned his attention to the publication of his play. He first resolved to submit it to the criticism of Lionardo Salviati and Scipione Gonzaga, the latter of whom had been a member of the unlucky committee for the revision of the Gerusalemme. Unfortunately little or nothing is known as to the criticisms and recommendations of these two men. The work finally appeared, as we learn from a letter of the author, at Venice in December, 1589. It is a handsome quarto from the press of Giovanbattista Bonfadino, and is dated the following year[196]. In 1602 a luxurious edition, said on the title-page to be the twentieth, was issued at Venice by Giovanbattista Ciotti. This represents Guarini's final revision of the text, and contains, besides a portrait and engravings, elaborate notes by the author, and an essay on tragi-comedy[197].

The Pastor fido was the object of a violent attack while as yet it circulated in manuscript only. As early as 1587 a certain Giasone de Nores or Denores, a Cypriot noble who held the chair of moral philosophy at the university of Padua, published a pamphlet on the relations existing between different forms of literature and the philosophy of government, in which, while refraining from any specific allusions, he denounced tragi-comedies and pastorals as 'monstrous and disproportionate compositions ... contrary to the principles of moral and civil philosophy.' Guarini argued that, as his play was the only one deserving to be called a tragi-comedy and was at the same time a pastoral, the reference was palpable. He proceeded therefore to compose a counterblast which he named Il Verato (1588) after a well-known comic actor of the time, who, it may be remarked, had had the management of Argenti's Sfortunato in 1567. In this pamphlet Guarini traversed the professor's propositions with a good deal of scholastic ergotism: 'As in compounds the hot accords with the cold, its mortal enemy, as the dry humour with the moist, so the elements of tragedy and comedy, though separately antagonistic, yet when united in a third form,' et cetera et cetera. De Nores replied in an Apologia (1590), disclaiming all personal allusion, and the poet finally answered back in a Verato secondo, first published in 1593, after his antagonist's death, restating his arguments and seasoning them with a good deal of unmannerly abuse. These two treatises of Guarini's were reprinted with alterations as the Compendio della poesia tragicommica, in the 1602 edition of the play, and together with the notes to the same edition form Guarini's own share of the controversy[198]. But in 1600, before these had appeared, a Paduan, Faustino Summo, published a set attack on and dissection of the play; while a certain Giovan Pietro Malacreta of Vicenza illustrated the attitude of the age with regard to literature by putting forward a series of critical dubbî, that is, doubts as to the 'authority' of the form employed. Both works are distinguished by a spirit of puerile cavil, which would of itself almost suffice to reconcile us to the worst faults of the poet. Thus Malacreta is not even content to let the author choose his own title, arguing that Mirtillo was faithful not in his quality of shepherd but of lover[199]. He goes on to complain of the tangle of laws and oracles which Guarini invents in order to motive the action of his play; and here, though taken individually his objections may be hypercritical, he has laid his finger on a very real weakness of the author's ingenious plot. It is, moreover, a weakness common to almost the whole tribe of the Arcadian, or rather Utopian, pastorals. Apologists soon appeared, and had little difficulty in disposing of most of the adverse criticisms. A specific Risposta to Malacreta appeared at Padua in 1600 from the pen of Paolo Beni. Defences by Giovanni Savio and Orlando Pescetti were printed at Venice and Verona respectively in 1601, while one at least, written by Gauges de Gozze of Pesaro, under the pseudonym of Fileno di Isauro, circulated in manuscript. These writings, however, are marked either by futile endeavours to reconcile the Pastor fido with the supposed teaching of Aristotle and Horace, or else by such extravagant laudation as that of Pescetti, who doubted not that had Aristotle known Guarini's play, it would have been to him the model of a new kind to rank with the epic of Homer and the tragedy of Sophocles[200]. Finally, Summo returned to the charge with a rejoinder to Pescetti and Beni printed at Vicenza in 1601[201]. But all this writing and counter-writing in no way affected the popularity of the Pastor fido and its successors. Moreover, the critical position of the combatants on both sides was essentially false. It would be an easy task to fill a volume with strictures on the play touching its sentimental tone, its affected manners, its stiff development, its undramatic construction, the weak drawing of character, the lack of motive force to move the complex machinery, and many other points--strictures that should be unanswerable. But those who wish to understand the influence exercised by the play over subsequent literature in Europe will find their time better spent in analysing those qualities, whether emotional or artistic, which won for it the enthusiastic worship of the civilized world.

Numerous translations bear witness to its popularity far beyond the shores of Italy. The earliest of these was into French, and appeared in 1595; it was followed by several others. The Spanish versions have already been mentioned, and the English will occupy our attention shortly. Besides these there are versions, often more than one, in German, Greek, Swedish, Dutch, and Polish. There are likewise versions in the Bergamasc and Neapolitan dialects, while the manuscript of a Latin translation is preserved in the University Library at Cambridge.


There were obvious advantages in treating the two masterpieces of pastoral drama in Italy in close connexion with one another. It must not, however, be supposed that they stood alone in the field of pastoral composition. Both between the years 1573 when the Aminta was composed and 1590 when the Pastor fido was printed, and also after the latter year, the stream of plays continued unchecked, though, apart from a general tendency towards greater regularity of dramatic construction, they do not form any organic link in the chain of artistic development. Few deserve more than passing notice. In the earlier ones, at least, we still find a tendency to introduce extraneous elements. Thus Gl' Intricati, printed in 1581, and acted a few years before at Zara, the work of Count Alvise, or, it would appear, more correctly Luigi, Pasqualigo, contains a farcical and magical part combined with some rather coarse jesting between two rogues, one Spanish and one Bolognese, who speak in their respective dialects. Another play in which a comic element appears is Bartolommeo Rossi's Fiammella (1584), which has the further peculiarity of introducing allegorical characters into the prologue, and mythological into the play. Another piece belonging to this period is the Pentimento amoroso by Luigi Groto, which was printed as early as 1575. It is a wild tale of murder and intrigue, judgement and outrageous self-sacrifice, composed in sdrucciolo verse and speeches of monstrous length. Another piece, Gabriele Zinano's Caride, surreptitiously printed in 1582, and included in an authorized publication in 1590, has the peculiarity of placing the prologue in the mouth of Vergil. Lastly, I may mention Angelo Ingegneri's Danza di Venere, acted at Parma in 1583, and printed the following year. It contains the incident of a mad shepherd's regaining his wits through gazing on the beauty of a sleeping nymph, thus borrowing the motive of Boccaccio's tale of Cymon and Iphigenia. Its chief interest for us, however, lies in the episode of the hero employing a gang of satyrs to carry off his beloved during a solemn dance in honour of Venus. This looks like a reminiscence of Giraldi Cintio's Egle, and through it of the old satyric drama[202].

These plays all belong to the period between the Aminta and the Pastor fido. Tasso's and Guarini's masterpieces mark the point of furthest development attained by the pastoral drama in Italy, or indeed in Europe. With them the vitality which rendered evolution possible was spent, though the power of reproduction remained unimpaired for close on a century. Signor Rossi, in the monograph of which I have already made such free use, mentions a number of plays, whose dependence on the Pastor fido is evident from their titles, though Guarini's influence is, of course, far more widely spread than such eclectic treatment reveals. The most curious, perhaps, is a play, I figliuoli di Aminta e Silvia e di Mirtillo ed Amarilli, by Ercole Pelliciari, dealing with the fortunes of the children of the heroes and heroines of Tasso and Guarini. We are on the way to a genealogical cycle of Arcadian drama, similar to the cycles of romance that centred round Roland and Launcelot. It would be a work of supererogation to demonstrate in detail the influence exercised by Tasso and Guarini over their Italian followers, and a task of forbidding proportions to give the bare titles of the plays that witnessed to that influence. Serassi reports that in 1614 Clementi Bartoli of Urbino possessed no less than eighty pastoral plays; while by 1700, the year of Fontanini's work on the Aminta, Giannantonio Moraldi is said to hsve brought together in Rome a collection of over two hundred.[203] Every device was resorted to that could lend novelty to the scenes; in Carlo Noci's Cintia (1594) the heroine returns home disguised as a boy to find her lover courting another nymph; in Francesco Contarini's Finta Fiammetta (1610), on the other hand, the plot turns on the courtship of Delfide by her lover Celindo in girl's attire; while in Orazio Serono's Fida Armilla (1610) we have the annual human sacrifice to a monstrous serpent--all of which later became familiar themes in pastoral drama and romance. Two plays only call for closer attention, and this rather on account of a certain reputation they have gained than of any intrinsic merit. One of these, Antonio Ongaro's Alceo, which was printed in 1582 and is therefore earlier than the Pastor fido, has been happily nicknamed Aminta bagnato. It is a piscatorial adaptation of Tasso's play, which it follows almost scene for scene. The satyr becomes a triton with as little change of character as the nymphs and shepherds undergo in their metamorphosis to fisher girls and boys. Alceo shows less resourcefulness than his prototype in that he twice tries to commit suicide by throwing himself into the sea. The last act is spun out to three scenes in accordance with the demand for greater regularity of dramatic construction, but gains nothing but tedium thereby. The other play to be considered connects itself in plot rather with the Pastor fido. It is the Filli di Sciro, the work of Guidubaldo Bonarelli della Rovere. The poet's father enjoyed the protection of the Duke Guidubaldo II of Urbino, but in after days he removed to the court of the Estensi at Ferrara. It was here that the play appeared in 1607, though it is dedicated to Francesco Maria della Rovere, who had by that time succeeded his father in the duchy of Urbino. The plot of the play is highly intricate, and shows a tendency towards the introduction of an adventurous element; it turns upon the tribute of youths and maidens exacted from the island of Scyros by the king of Thrace. The figure of the satyr is replaced by a centaur who carries off one of the nymphs. Her cries attract two youths who succeed in driving off the monster, but are severely wounded in the encounter. The nymph, Celia, thereupon falls in love with both her rescuers at once, and it is only when one of them proves to be her long-lost brother that she is able to make up her mind between them[204]. This brother had been carried off as a child by the Thracians together with his betrothed Filli, and having escaped was lately returned to his native land. From a dramatic point of view the dénoûment is even more preposterous than usual. The principal characters leave the stage at the end of the fourth act, under sentence of death, and do not reappear, the whole of the last act being occupied with narratives of their subsequent fortunes. A point which is possibly worth notice is the introduction of that affected talk on the technicalities of sheepcraft which adds so greatly to the already intolerable artificiality of the later pastoral drama, but which is happily absent from the work of Tasso and Guarini.

We have now reached the end of our survey of the Italian pastoral drama. In spite of the space it has been necessary to devote to the subject, it must be borne in mind that we have treated it from one point of view only. Besides the interest which it possesses in connexion with the development of pastoral tradition, it also plays a very important part in the history of dramatic art, not in Italy alone, but over the whole of Europe. On this aspect of the subject we have hardly so much as touched. Nor is this all. If it is true, as is commonly assumed, that the opera had its birth in the Orfeo of Angelo Poliziano, it is not less true that it found its cradle in the Arcadian drama. A few isolated pieces may still be able to charm us by their poetic beauty. In dealing with the rest it must never be forgotten that without the costly scenery and elaborate musical setting that lent body and soul to them in their day, we have what is little better than the dry bones of these ephemeridae of courtly art.

Chapter IV.

Dramatic Origins of the English Pastoral Drama


Having at length arrived at what must be regarded as the main subject of this work, it will be my task in the remaining chapters to follow the growth of the pastoral drama in England down to the middle of the seventeenth century, and in so doing to gather up and weave into a connected web the loose threads of my discourse.

Taking birth among the upland meadows of Sicily, the pastoral tradition first assumed its conventional garb in imperial Rome, and this it preserved among learned writers after its revival in the dawn of the Italian renaissance. With Arcadia for its local habitation it underwent a rebirth in the opening years of the sixteenth century in Sannazzaro's romance, and again towards the close in the drama of Tasso. It became chivalric in Spain and courtly in France, and finally reached this country in three main streams, the eclogue borrowed by Spenser from Marot, the romance suggested to Sidney by Montemayor, and the drama imitated by Daniel from Tasso and Guarini. Once here, it blended variously with other influences and with native tradition to produce a body of dramatic work, which, ill-defined, spasmodic and occasional, nevertheless reveals on inspection a certain character of its own, and one moreover not precisely to be paralleled from the literary annals of any other European nation.

The indications of a native pastoral impulse, manifesting itself in the burlesque of the religions drama and the romance of the popular ballads, we have already considered. The connexion which it is possible to trace between this undefined impulse and the later pastoral tradition is in no wise literary; in so far as it exists at all and is one of temperament alone, a bent of national character. In tracing the rise of the form in Italy upon the one hand, and in England upon the other, we are struck by certain curious contrasts and also by certain curious parallelisms. The closest analogy to the ballad themes to be discovered in the literature of Italy is in certain of the songs of Sacchetti and his contemporaries, but it would be unwise to insist on the resemblance. The more suggestive parallel of the novelle has to be ruled out on the score of form, and is further differentiated by the notable lack in them of romantic spirit. Again, in the sacre rappresentazioni, the burlesque interpolations from actual life, which with us aided the genesis of the interlude, and through it of the romantic comedy, are as a rule so conspicuously absent that the rustic farce with which one nativity play opens can only be regarded as a direct and conscious imitation from the French. It is, on the other hand, a remarkable fact, and one which, in the absence of any evidence of direct imitation,[205] must be taken to indicate a real parallelism in the evolution of the tradition in the two countries, that in England as in Italy the way was paved for pastoral by the appearance of mythological plays, introducing incidentally pastoral scenes and characters, and anticipating to some extent at any rate the peculiar atmosphere of the Arcadian drama.

The earliest of these English mythological plays, alike in date of production and of publication, was George Peele's Arraignment of Paris, 'A Pastorall. Presented before the Queenes Majestie, by the children of her Chappell,' no doubt in 1581, and printed three years later.[206] It partakes of the nature of the masque in that the whole composition centres round a compliment to the Queen, Eliza or Zabeta--a name which, as Dr. Ward notes, Peele probably borrowed along with one or two other hints from Gascoigne's Kenilworth entertainment of 1575. The title sufficiently expresses its mythological character, and the precise value of the term 'pastoral' on the title-page is difficult to determine. The characters are for the most part either mythological or rustic; the only truly pastoral ones being Paris and Oenone, whose parts, however, in so far as they are pastoral, are also of the slightest. It is of course impossible to say exactly to what extent the fame of the Italian pastoral drama may have penetrated to England--the Aminta was first printed the year of the production of Peele's play, and waited a decade before the first English translation and the first English edition appeared[207]--but no influence of Tasso's masterpiece can be detected in the Arraignment; still less is it possible to trace any acquaintance with Poliziano's work.

After a prologue, in which Atè foretells in staid and measured but not unpleasing blank verse the fall of Troy, the silvan deities, Pan, Faunus, Silvanus, Pomona, Flora, enter to welcome the three goddesses who are on their way to visit 'Ida hills,' and who after a while enter, led by Rhanis and accompanied by the Muses, whose processional chant heralds their approach. They are greeted by Pan, who sings:

The God of Shepherds, and his mates,
With country cheer salutes your states,
Fair, wise, and worthy as you be,
And thank the gracions ladies three
For honour done to Ida.

When these have retired from the stage there follows a charming idyllic scene between the lovers Paris and Oenone, which contains the delightful old song, one of the lyric pearls of the Elizabethan drama:

Oenone. Fair and fair, and twice so fair,
  As fair as any may be;
The fairest shepherd on our green,
  A love for any lady.

Paris. Fair and fair, and twice so fair,
  As fair as any may be;
Thy love is fair for thee alone,
  And for no other lady.

Oenone. My love is fair, my love is gay,
As fresh as bin the flowers in May,
And of my love my roundelay,
My merry, merry, merry roundelay,
  Concludes with Cupid's curse--
They that do change old love for new,
  Pray gods they change for worse!

Both. They that do change old love for new,
Pray gods they change for worse!

The second act presents us the three goddesses who have come to Ida on a party of pleasure with no very definite object in view, and are now engaged in exercising their tongues at one another's expense. The scene consists of a cross-fire of feminine amenities, not of the most delicate, it is true, and therefore not here to be reproduced, yet of a keenness of temper and a ringing mastery in the rimed verse little less than brilliant in themselves, and little less than a portent at the date of their appearance. Then a storm arises, during which, the goddesses having sought refuge in Diana's bower, Atè rolls the fatal ball upon the stage. On the return of the three the inscription Detur pulcherrimae breeds fresh strife, until they agree to submit the case for judgement to the next man they meet. Paris arriving upon the scene at this point is at once called upon to decide the rival claims of the contending goddesses. First Juno promises wealth and empery, and presents a tree hung as with fruit with crowns and diadems, all which shall be the meed of the partial judge. Pallas next seeks to allure the swain with the pomp and circumstance of war, and conjures up a show in which nine knights, no doubt the nine worthies, tread a 'warlike almain.' Last Venus speaks:

Come, shepherd, come, sweet shepherd, look on me,
These bene too hot alarums these for thee:
But if thou wilt give me the golden ball,
Cupid my boy shall ha't to play withal,
That whenso'er this apple he shall see,
The God of Love himself shall think on thee,
And bid thee look and choose, and he will wound
Whereso thy fancy's object shall be found.

Whereupon 'Helen entereth in her bravery' attended by four Cupids, and singing an Italian song which has, however, little merit. As at a later day Faustus, so now Paris bows before the sovereignty of her beauty, and then wanders off through Ida glades in the company of the victorious queen of love, leaving her outraged rivals to plot a common revenge. Act III introduces the slight rustic element. Hobbinol, Diggon, and Thenot enter to Colin, who is lamenting the cruelty of his love Thestylis. The names are obviously borrowed from the Shepherd's Calender, but while Colin is still the type of the hopeless lover, there is no necessity to suspect any personal identification. The Arraignment was probably produced less than two years after the publication of Spenser's eclogues, and Peele, who was an Oxford man, may even have been ignorant of their authorship[208]. Still more unnecessary are certain other identifications between characters in the play and persons at court which have been propounded. Such identifications, at any rate, have no importance for our present task, which is to ascertain in what measure and in what manner Peele's work paved the way for the advent of the Italian pastoral; and we note, with regard to the present scene, that the more polished and more homely elements alike--both Colin on the one hand, and Diggon, Hobbinol, and the rest on the other--are inspired by Spenser's work, and by his alone. Meanwhile Oenone enters, lamenting her desertion by Paris. There is delicate pathos in the reminiscence of her former song which haunts the outpouring of her grief--

False Paris, this was not thy vow, when thou and I were one,
To range and change old loves for new; but now those days be gone.

She is less happy in a set lament, beginning:

Melpomene, the Muse of tragic songs,

in which we may perhaps catch a distant echo of Spenser's:

Melpomene, the mournfull'st Muse of nine.

As she ends she is accosted by Mercury, who has been sent to summon Paris to appear at Juno's suit before the assembly of the gods on a charge of partiality in judgement. A pretty dialogue ensues in broken fourteeners, in which the subtle god elicits a description of the shepherd from the unsuspecting nymph--it too contains some delicate reminiscences of the lover's duet.

Mercury. Is love to blame?

Oenone. The queen of love hath made him false his troth.

Mer. Mean ye, indeed, the queen of love?

Oen. Even wanton Cupid's dame.

Mer. Why, was thy love so lovely, then?

Oen. His beauty height his shame;
      The fairest shepherd on our green.

Mer. Is he a shepherd, than?

Oen. And sometime kept a bleating flock.

Mer. Enough, this is the man.

In the next scene we find Paris and Venus together. First the goddess directs the assembled shepherds to inscribe the words, 'The love whom Thestylis hath slain,' as the epitaph of the now dead Colin. When these have left the stage she turns to Paris:

Sweet shepherd, didst thou ever love?

Paris. Lady, a little once.

She then warns him against the dangers of faithlessness in a passage which is a good example of Peele's use of the old rimed versification, and as such deserves quotation.

  My boy, I will instruct thee in a piece of poetry,
That haply erst thou hast not heard: in hell there is a tree,
Where once a-day do sleep the souls of false forsworen lovers,
With open hearts; and there about in swarms the number hovers
Of poor forsaken ghosts, whose wings from off this tree do beat
Round drops of fiery Phlegethon to scorch false hearts with heat.
This pain did Venus and her son entreat the prince of hell
T'impose on such as faithless were to such as loved them well:
And, therefore, this, my lovely boy, fair Venus doth advise thee,
Be true and steadfast in thy love, beware thou do disguise thee;
For he that makes but love a jest, when pleaseth him to start,
Shall feel those fiery water-drops consume his faithless heart.

Paris. Is Venus and her son so full of justice and severity?

Venus. Pity it were that love should not be linkèd with indifferency.[209]

Then follow Colin's funeral, the punishment of the hard-hearted Thestylis, condemned to love a 'foul crooked churl' who 'crabbedly refuseth her,' and the scene in which Mercury summons Paris before the Olympian tribunal. Here we find him in the next act. The gods being seated in the bower of Diana, Juno and Pallas, and Venus and Paris appear 'on sides' before the throne of Jove, and in answer to his indictment the shepherd of Ida delivers a spirited speech. Again the verse is of no small merit. Defending himself from the charge of partiality in the bestowal of the prize, he argues:

Had it been destinèd to majesty--
Yet will I not rob Venus of her grace--
Then stately Juno might have borne the ball.
Had it to wisdom been intitulèd,
My human wit had given it Pallas then.
But sith unto the fairest of the three
That power, that threw it for my farther ill,
Did dedicate this ball--and safest durst
My shepherd's skill adventure, as I thought,
To judge of form and beauty rather than
Of Juno's state or Pallas' worthiness--...
Behold, to Venus Paris gave the fruit,
A daysman[210] chosen there by full consent,
And heavenly powers should not repent their deeds.

After consultation the gods decide to dismiss the prisoner, though we gather that he is not wholly acquitted.

Jupiter. Shepherd, thou hast been heard with equity and law,
And for thy stars do thee to other calling draw,
We here dismiss thee hence, by order of our senate;
Go take thy way to Troy, and there abide thy fate.

Venus. Sweet shepherd, with such luck in love, while thou dost live,
As may the Queen of Love to any lover give.

Paris. My luck is loss, howe'er my love do speed:
I fear me Paris shall but rue his deed.

Apollo. From Ida woods now wends the shepherd's boy,
That in his bosom carries fire to Troy.

This, however, does not settle the case, and the final adjudication of the apple of beauty is entrusted by the gods to Diana, since it was in her grove that it was found. Parting company with classical legend in the incident which gives its title to the play, Peele further adds a fifth act, in which he contrives to make the world-famous history subserve the courtly ends of the masque. When the rival claimants have solemnly sworn to abide by the decision of their compeer, Diana begins:

It is enough; and, goddesses, attend.
There wons within these pleasaunt shady woods,
Where neither storm nor sun's distemperature
Have power to hurt by cruel heat or cold, ...
Far from disturbance of our country gods,
Amid the cypress springs[211], a gracions nymph,
That honours Dian for her chastity,
And likes the labours well of Phoebe's groves;
The place Elizium hight, and of the place
Her name that governs there Eliza is,
A kingdom that may well compare with mine,
An auncient seat of kings, a second Troy,
Y-compass'd round with a commodious sea.

The rest may be easily imagined. The contending divinities resign their claims:

Venus. To this fair nymph, not earthly, but divine,
Contents it me my honour to resign.

Pallas. To this fair queen, so beautiful and wise,
Pallas bequeaths her title in the prize.

Juno. To her whom Juno's looks so well become, The Queen of Heaven yields at Phoebe's doom.

The three Fates now enter, and singing a Latin song lay their 'properties' at the feet of the queen. Then each in turn delivers a speech appropriate to her character, and finally Diana 'delivereth the ball of gold into the Queen's own hands,' and the play ends with a couple of doggerel hexameters chanted by way of epilogue by the assembled actors:

Vive diu felix votis hominumque deumque,
Corpore, mente, libro, doctissima, candida, casta.

The jingle of these lines would alone suffice to prove that Peele's ear was none of the most delicate, and he particularly sins in disregarding the accent in the rime-word, a peculiarity which may have been noticed even in the short passages quoted above. Nevertheless, even apart from its lyrics, one of which is in its way unsurpassed, the play contains passages of real grace in the versification. The greater part is written either in fourteeners or in decasyllabic couplets with occasional alexandrines, in both of which the author displays an ease and mastery which, to say the least, were uncommon in the dramatic work of the early eighties; while the passages of blank verse introduced at important dramatic points, notably in Paris' defence and in Diana's speech, are the best of their kind between Surrey and Marlowe. The style, though now and again clumsy, is in general free from affectation except for an occasional weakness in the shape of a play upon words. Such is the connexion of Eliza with Elizium, in a passage already quoted, and the time-honoured non Angli sed angeli--

Her people are y-clepèd Angeli,
Or, if I miss, a letter is the most--

occurring a few lines later; also the words of Lachesis:

Et tibi, non aliis, didicerunt parcere Parcae.

With regard to the general construction of the piece it is hardly too much to say that the skill with which the author has enlarged a masque-subject into a regular drama, altered a classical legend to subserve a particular aim, and conducted throughout the multiple perhaps rather than complex threads of his plot, mark him out as pre-eminent among his contemporaries. We must not, it is true, look for perfect balance of construction, for adequacy of dramatic climax, or for subtle characterization; but what has been achieved was, in the stage of development at which the drama had then arrived, no mean achievement. The dramatic effects are carefully prepared for and led up to, reminding us almost at times of the recurrence of a musical motive. Thus the song between Paris and Oenone, just before the shepherd goes off to cross Dame Venus' path, is a fine piece of dramatic irony as well as a charming lyric; while the effect of the reminiscences of the song scattered through the later pastoral scenes has been already noticed. Another instance is Venus' warning of the pains in store for faithless lovers, which fittingly anticipates the words with which Paris leaves the assembly of the gods. Again, we find a conscious preparation for the contention between the goddesses in their previous bickerings, and a conscious juxtaposition of the forsaken Oenone and the love-lorn Colin. Lastly, there are scattered throughout the play not a few graphic touches, as when Mercury at sight of Oenone exclaims:

Dare wage my wings the lass doth love, she looks so bleak and thin!

Such then is Peele's mythological play, presented in all the state of a court revel before her majesty by the children of the Chapel Royal, a play which it is more correct to say prepared the ground for than, as is usually asserted, itself contained the germ of the later pastoral drama. In spite of the care bestowed upon its composition, the Arraignment of Paris remains a slight and occasional production; but it nevertheless claims its place as one of the most graceful pieces of its kind, and the ascription of the play to Shakespeare, current in the later seventeenth century, is perhaps more of an honour to the elder than of an insult to the younger poet. Nor, at a more recent date, was Lamb uncritically enthusiastic when he said of Peele's play that 'had it been in all parts equal, the Faithful Shepherdess of Fletcher had been but a second name in this sort of Writing.'

Before leaving Peele, mention must be made of one other play from his pen, namely the Hunting of Cupid, known to us unfortunately from a few fragments only. This is the more tantalizing on account of the freshness of the passages preserved in England's Helicon and England's Parnassus, and in a commonplace-book belonging to Drummond of Hawthornden, and also from the fact that there is good reason to suppose that the work was actually printed[212]. So far as can be judged from the extracts we possess, and from Drummond's jottings, it appears to have been a tissue of mythological conceits, much after the manner of the Arraignment, though possibly somewhat more distinctly pastoral in tone[213].

About contemporary with the Arraignment of Paris are the earliest plays of John Lyly, the Euphuist. Most of these are of a mythological character, while three come more particularly under our notice on account of their pastoral tendency, namely, Gallathea, Love's Metamorphosis, and the Woman in the Moon[214].

Although Lyly's romance itself lay outside the scope of this inquiry, we have already had, in the pastoral work of his imitators, ample opportunities of becoming acquainted with the peculiarities of the style he rendered fashionable. Its laborious affectation is all the more irritating when we remember that its author, on turning his attention to the more or less unseemly brawling of the Martin Mar-prelate pasquilade, revealed a command of effective vernacular hardly, if at all, inferior to that of his friend Nashe; and its complex artificiality becomes but more apparent when applied to dramatic work. Nevertheless in an age when prose style was in an even more chaotic state than prosody, Euphuism could claim qualities of no small value and importance, while as an experiment it was no more absurd, and vastly more popular, than those in classical versification. Its qualities, when we consider the general state of contemporary literature, may well account for the popularity of Lyly's attempt at novel-writing, but the style was radically unsuited for dramatic composition, and the result is for the most part hardly to be tolerated, and can only have met with such court-favour as fell to its lot, owing to the general fashion for which its success in the romance was responsible. It is indeed noteworthy that Lyly is the only writer who ever ventured to apply his literary invention in toto to the uses of the stage, while even in the romance he lived to see Euphuism as a fashionable style pale before the growing popularity of Arcadianism[215]. The opening of Gallathea may supply a specimen of the style as it appears in the dramas; the scene is laid in Lincolnshire, and Tyterus is addressing his daughter who gives her name to the piece:

In tymes past, where thou seest a heape of small pyble, stoode a stately Temple of white Marble, which was dedicated to the God of the Sea, (and in right being so neere the Sea): hether came all such as eyther ventured by long travell to see Countries, or by great traffique to use merchandise, offering Sacrifice by fire, to gette safety by water; yeelding thanks for perrils past, and making prayers for good successe to come: but Fortune, constant in nothing but inconstancie, did change her copie, as the people their custome; for the Land being oppressed by Danes, who in steed of sacrifice, committed sacrilidge, in steede of religion, rebellion, and made a pray of that in which they should have made theyr prayers, tearing downe the Temple even with the earth, being almost equall with the skyes, enraged so the God who bindes the windes in the hollowes of the earth, that he caused the Seas to breake their bounds, sith men had broke their vowes, and to swell as farre above theyr reach, as men had swarved beyond theyr reason: then might you see shippes sayle where sheepe fedde, ankers cast where ploughes goe, fishermen throw theyr nets, where husbandmen sowe their Corne, and fishes throw their scales where fowles doe breede theyr quils: then might you gather froth where nowe is dewe, rotten weedes for sweete roses, and take viewe of monstrous Maremaides, in steed of passing faire Maydes.

The unsuitability of the style for dramatic purposes will by this be somewhat painfully evident, and, as may be imagined, the effect is even less happy in the case of dialogue. To pursue: the offended deity consents to withdraw his waters on the condition of a lustral sacrifice of the fairest virgin of the land, who is to be exposed bound to a tree by the shore, whence she is carried off by the monster Agar, in whom we may no doubt see a personification of the 'eagre' or tidal wave of the Humber. At the opening of the play we find the two fairest virgins of the land disguised as boys by their respective fathers, in order that they may escape the penalty of beauty. While they wander the fields and graves, another maiden is exposed as the sacrifice, but Neptune, offended by the deceit, rejects the proffered victim, and no monster appears to claim its prey. In the meanwhile, Cupid has eluded the maternal vigilance, and, disguised as a nymph, is beginning to display his powers among the followers of Diana. Here is an example of a euphuistic dialogue. Cupid accosts one of the nymphs:

Faire Nimphe, are you strayed from your companie by chaunce, or love you to wander solitarily on purpose?

Nymph. Faire boy, or god, or what ever you bee, I would you knew these woods are to me so wel known, that I cannot stray though I would, and my minde so free, that to be melancholy I have no cause. There is none of Dianaes trayne that any can traine, either out of their waie, or out of their wits.

Cupid. What is that Diana? a goddesse? what her Nimphes? virgins? what her pastimes? hunting?

Nym. A goddesse? who knowes it not? Virgins? who thinkes it not? Hunting? who loves it not?

Cup. I pray thee, sweete wench, amongst all your sweete troope, is there not one that followeth the sweetest thing, sweet love?

Nym. Love, good sir, what meane you by it? or what doe you call it?

Cup. A heate full of coldnesse, a sweet full of bitternesse, a paine ful of pleasantnesse; which maketh thoughts have eyes, and harts eares; bred by desire, nursed by delight, weaned by jelousie, kild by dissembling, buried by ingratitude; and this is love! fayre Lady, wil you any?

Nym. If it be nothing else, it is but a foolish thing.

Cup. Try, and you shall find it a prettie thing.

Nym. I have neither will nor leysure, but I will followe Diana in the Chace, whose virgins are all chast, delighting in the bowe that wounds the swift Hart in the Forrest, not fearing the bowe that strikes the softe hart in the Chamber.

The nymphs are soon in love with the two girls in disguise, and what is more, each of these, supposing the other to be what her apparel betokens, falls in love with her. After a while, however, Diana becomes suspicious of the stranger nymph, and her followers make a capture of the boy-god, whom they identify by the burn on his shoulder caused by Psyche's lamp, and set him to untie love-knots. There follows one of those charming songs for which Lyly is justly, or unjustly, famous[216].

O Yes, O yes, if any Maid,
Whom lering Cupid has betraid
To frownes of spite, to eyes of scorne,
And would in madnes now see torne
The Boy in Pieces--Let her come
Hither, and lay on him her doome.

O yes, O yes, has any lost
A Heart, which many a sigh hath cost;
Is any cozened of a teare,
Which (as a Pearle) disdaine does weare?--
Here stands the Thiefe, let her but come
Hither, and lay on him her doome.

Is any one undone by fire,
And Turn'd to ashes through desire?
Did ever any Lady weepe,
Being cheated of her golden sleepe,
Stolne by sicke thoughts?--The pirats found,
And in her teares hee shalbe drownd.
Reade his Inditement, let him heare
What hees to trust to: Boy, give eare!

This is the position of affairs when Venus appears in search of her wanton, and is shortly followed by the irate Neptune. After some disputing, Neptune, to quiet the strife between the goddesses, proposes that Diana shall restore the runaway to his mother, in return for which he will release the land for ever from its virgin tribute. This happily agreed upon, the only difficulty remaining is the strange passion between the two girls. Venus, however, proves equal to the occasion, and solves the situation by transforming one of them into a man. An allusion to the story of Iphis and Ianthe told in the ninth book of the Metamorphoses suggests the source of the incident[217]. Otherwise the play appears to be in the main original. The exposing of a maiden to the rage of a sea-monster has been, of course, no novelty since the days of Andromeda, but it is unnecessary to seek a more immediate source[218]; while the intrusion of Cupid in disguise among the nymphs was doubtless suggested by the well-known idyl of Moschus, and probably owes to this community of source such resemblance as it possesses to the prologue of the Aminta. A comic element is supplied by a sort of young rascals, and a mariner, an alchemist, and an astrologer, who are totally unconnected with the rest of the play. The supposed allusions to real characters need not be taken seriously. Lyly's rascals are generally recognized as the direct ancestors of some of Shakespeare's comic characters, and we not seldom find in them the germ at least of the later poet's irresistible fun. Take such a speech as Robin's: 'Why be they deade that be drownd? I had thought they had beene with the fish, and so by chance beene caught up with them in a Nette againe. It were a shame a little cold water should kill a man of reason, when you shall see a poore Mynow lie in it, that hath no understanding.' As regards the euphuistic style, the passages already quoted will suffice, but it may be remarked that the marvellous natural history is also put under requisition. 'Virgins harts, I perceive,' remarks one of Diana's nymphs, 'are not unlike Cotton trees, whose fruite is so hard in the budde, that it soundeth like steele, and beeing rype, poureth forth nothing but wooll, and theyr thoughts, like the leaves of Lunary, which the further they growe from the Sunne, the sooner they are scorched with his beames.' At times one is almost tempted to imagine that Lyly is laughing in his sleeve, but as soon as he feels an eye upon him, his face would again do credit to a judge. The following is from a scene between the two disguised maidens:

Phillida. It is pitty that Nature framed you not a woman, having a face so faire, so lovely a countenaunce, so modest a behaviour.

Gallathea. There is a Tree in Tylos, whose nuttes have shels like fire, and being cracked, the karnell is but water.

Phil. What a toy is it to tell mee of that tree, beeing nothing to the purpose: I say it is pity you are not a woman.

Gall. I would not wish to be a woman, unless it were because thou art a man. (III. ii.)

Gallathea may be plausibly enough assigned to the year 1584[219]. The date of the next play we have to deal with, Love's Metamorphosis, is less certain, though Mr. Fleay's conjecture of 1588-9 seems reasonable. All that can be said with confidence is that it was later than Gallathea, to which it contains allusions, that it is an inferior work, and that it has the appearance at least of having been botched up in a hurry[220]. The story is as follows. Three shepherds, or rather woodmen, are in love with three of the nymphs of Ceres, but meet with little success, one of the maidens proving obdurate, another proud, and the third fickle. The lovers make complaint to Cupid, who consents at their request to transform the disdainful fair ones into a rock, a rose, and a bird respectively. Hereupon Ceres in her turn complains to the God of Love, who promises that the three shall regain their proper shapes if Ceres will undertake that they shall thereupon consent to the love of the swains. She does so, and her nymphs are duly restored to their own forms, but at first flatly refuse to comply with the conditions. After a while they yield:

Nisa. I am content, so as Ramis, when hee finds me cold in love, or hard in beliefe, hee attribute it to his owne folly; in that I retaine some nature of the Rocke he chaunged me into.... Celia. I consent, so as Montanus, when in the midst of his sweete delight, shall find some bitter overthwarts, impute it to his folly, in that he suffered me to be a Rose, that hath prickles with her pleasantnes, as hee is like to have with my love shrewdnes.... Niobe. I yeelded first in mind though it bee my course last to speake: but if Silvestris find me not ever at home, let him curse himselfe that gave me wings to flie abroad, whose feathers if his jealousie shall breake, my policie shall imp.[221] (V. iv.)

This plot, at once elementary and violent, is combined with the fantastic story of Erisichthon, 'a churlish husband-man,' who in the nymphs' despite cuts down the sacred tree of Ceres, into which the chaste Fidelia had been transformed. For this offence the goddess dooms him to the plague of hunger. The ghastly description of this monster, who may be compared with Browne's Limos, was probably suggested by some similar descriptions in the Faery Queen (I. iv. and III. xii). Erisichthon is put to all manner of shifts to satisfy the hunger with which he is ever consumed, and is at last forced to sell his daughter Protea to a merchant, in order to keep himself alive. Protea, it appears, was at one time the paramour of Neptune, who now in answer to her prayer comes to her aid in such a way that, when about to embark on the vessel of her purchaser, she justifies her name by changing into the likeness of an old fisherman. The deluded merchant, after seeking her awhile, is obliged to set sail and depart without his ware. She returns home to find her lover Petulius being tempted by a 'syren,' who is evidently a mermaid with looking-glass and comb and scaly tail, disporting herself by the shore--the scene being laid, by the way, on the coast of Arcadia. Protea at once changes her disguise to the ghost of Ulysses, and is in time to warn her lover of his danger. Finally, at Cupid's intercession her father is relieved of his affliction by the now appeased goddess. This plot is even more crudely distinct from the principal action of the play than is usual with Lyly[222].

It will be noticed that in the play we have just been considering the nymphs are no longer treated with the same respect as was the case in Gallathea; we have, in fact, advanced some way towards the satirical conception and representation of womankind which gives the tone to the Woman in the Moon. It would almost seem as though his experience of the inconstancy of the royal sunshine had made Lyly a less enthusiastic devotee of womanhood in general and of virginity in particular, and that with an unadvised frankness which may well account for his disappointments at court, he failed to conceal his feelings. The play is likewise distinguished from the other dramatic works of its author by being composed almost entirely in blank verse. Certain lines of the prologue--

Remember all is but a Poets dreame,
The first he had in Phoebus holy bowre,
But not the last, unlesse the first displease--

have not unnaturally been taken to mean that the piece was the first venture of the author; but on investigation this will be seen to be impossible, since the constant reminiscence of Marlowe in the construction of the verse points to 1588 or at earliest to 1587 as the date. Mr. Fleay's suggestion of 1589-90 may be accepted as the earliest likely date[223]. To my mind it would need external proof of an unusually cogent description to render plausible the theory that the year, say, of the Shepherd's Calender saw the appearance of such lines as:

What lack I now but an imperiall throne[224],
And Ariadnaes star-lyght Diadem? (II. i.)


O Stesias, what a heavenly love hast thou!
A love as chaste as is Apolloes tree,
As modest as a vestall Virgins eye,
And yet as bright as Glow wormes in the night,
With which the morning decks her lovers hayre; (IV. i.)

or yet again:

When will the sun go downe? flye Phoebus flye! O, that thy steeds were wingd with my swift thoughts: Now shouldst thou fall in Thetis azure armes[225], And now would I fall in Pandoraes lap. (IV. i.)

Nor are these isolated passages; from the opening lines of the prologue to the final speech of Nature the verse has the appearance of being the work of a graceful if not very strong hand writing in imitation of Marlowe's early style. We must, therefore, it seems to me, take the words of the prologue as signifying not that the play was the first work of the author, but that it was his earliest adventure in verse.

The plan of the work is as follows. The shepherds of Utopia come to dame Nature and beg her to make a woman for them. She consents and fashions Pandora, whom she dowers with the virtues of the several Planets. These, however, are offended at not being consulted in the matter, and determine to use their influence to the bane of the newly created woman. Under the reign of Saturn she turns sullen; when Jupiter is in the ascendant he falls in love with her, but she has grown proud and scorns him; under Mars she becomes a vixen; under Sol she in her turn falls in love, and turns wanton under Venus; she learns deceit of Mercury when he is dominant, and runs mad under the influence of Luna. At length, since the shepherds will no longer have anything to do with the lady, Nature determines to place her in the heavens. Her beauty makes each planet desire her as companion. Nature gives her the choice:

  Speake, my Pandora; where wilt thou be?

Pandora. Not with old Saturne for he lookes like death;
Nor yet with Jupiter, lest Juno storme;
Nor with thee Mars, for Venus is thy love;
Nor with thee Sol, thou hast two Parramours,
The sea borne Thetis and the rudy morne;
Nor with thee Venus, lest I be in love
With blindfold Cupid or young Joculus;
Nor with thee Hermes, thou art full of sleightes,
And when I need thee Jove will send thee foorth.
Say Cynthia, shall Pandora rule thy starre,
And wilt thou play Diana in the woods,
Or Hecate in Plutos regiment?

Luna. I, Pandora.

Pand. Fayre Nature let thy hand mayd dwell with her,
For know that change is my felicity,
And ficklenesse Pandoraes proper forme.
Thou madst me sullen first, and thou Jove, proud;
Thou bloody minded; he a Puritan:
Thou Venus madst me love all that I saw,
And Hermes to deceive all that I love;
But Cynthia made me idle, mutable,
Forgetfull, foolish, fickle, franticke, madde;
These be the humors that content me best,
And therefore will I stay with Cynthia....

Nat. Now rule, Pandora, in fayre Cynthias steede,
And make the moone inconstant like thy selfe;
Raigne thou at womens nuptials, and their birth;
Let them be mutable in all their loves,
Fantastical, childish, and foolish, in their desires,
Demaunding toyes:
And stark madde when they cannot have their will.
Now follow me ye wandring lightes of heaven,
And grieve not, that she is not plast with you;
Ail you shall glaunce at her in your aspects,
And in conjunction dwell with her a space. (V. i.)

And so Pandora becomes the 'Woman in the Moon.' The play, in its topical and satiric purpose, and above all, in its utilization of mythological material, bears a distinct relationship to the masque. The shepherds are in their origin philosophical, standing for the race of mankind in general, rather than pastoral; Utopian, in fact, rather than Arcadian. These early mythological plays stand alone, in that the pastoral scenes they contain are apparently uninfluenced by the Italian drama. The kind attained some popularity as a subject of courtly presentation, but it did not long preserve its original character. The later examples, with which we shall be concerned hereafter, always exhibit some characteristics which may be immediately or ultimately traced to the influence of Tasso and Guarini. This influence we must now turn to consider in some detail, as evidenced as well in translations and imitations as in the general tone and machinery of an appreciable portion of the Elizabethan drama.[226]


In any inquiry involving the question of foreign influence in literature it is obviously necessary to treat of the work done in the way of translation, although when the influence is of at all a widespread nature, as in the present instance, such discussion is apt to usurp a position unjustified by its intrinsic importance. In most cases, probably, the energy devoted to the task of rendering the foreign models directly into the language they influenced is rather useful as supplying us with a rough measure of their popularity than itself significant as a step in the operation of that influence. We may safely assume that, in the case of the English pastoral drama, the influence exercised directly by the Italian masterpieces was beyond comparison greater than that which made itself indirectly felt through the labours of translators.

Having thus anticipated a possible misapprehension it will be worth our while to devote some little attention to the history of the attempts at translation in this line. The first English writer to venture upon the task of turning the choice music of Tasso into his native language was the eccentric satellite of the Sidneyan circle, Abraham Fraunce, fellow of St. John's College in Cambridge. It so happened that he was at the time pursuing that elusive phantasm, the application of the laws of classical versification to English poetry. The resuit was at least unique, in English, at any rate, namely a drama in hexameter verse. It also occurred to him that Watson's Lamentations of Amyntas, a translation of which he had himself published in 1587, might be made to serve as an appendix to Tasso's play. With this object in view he changed the name of the heroine from Silvia to Phillis. This appears to have been the exact extent to which he 'altered S. Tassoes Italian' in order to connect it with 'M. Watsons Latine Amyntas' and 'to make them both one English.'[227] Certain other changes were, however, introduced upon other considerations. Various unessential points were omitted, notably in connexion with Tirsi, whose topical character disappears; the name Nerina is altered to Fulvia; frequent allusions are introduced to the nymph Pembrokiana, to whom among other things is ascribed the rescue of the heroine from the bear which takes the place of the wolf in Tasso. Lastly, we have the addition of a whole scene immediately before the final chorus. Phillis and Amyntas reappear and carry on a conversation, not unamiably, in a sort of hexametrical stichomythia. The maiden modestly seeks to restrain the amorous impatience of her lover, and the scene ends with a song between the two composed in 'Asclepiades.'[228] Of this literary curiosity Amyntas' opening stave may be quoted:

Sweete face, why be the hev'ns soe to the bountifull,
Making that radiant bewty of all the starrs
Bright-burning, to be fayre Phillis her ornament?
And yet seeme to be soe spytefuly partial,
As not for to aford Argus his eyes to mee,
Eyes too feawe to behould Phillis her ornament?

It is, perhaps, not a little strange that the pedant who made the preposterous experiment of turning the Aminta into English hexameters should nevertheless have been capable of clearly perceiving, however incapable he was of adequately rectifying, the hopelessly undramatic character of the last act of Tasso's play. As an example of the style of the translation we may take the following rendering of the delicate Chi crederia, with which the original prologue opens:

Who would think that a God lay lurking under a gray cloake,
Silly Shepheards gray cloake, and arm'd with a paltery sheephooke?
And yet no pety God, no God that gads by the mountaines,
But the triumphantst God that beares any sway in Olympus:
Which many times hath made man-murdring Mars to be cursing
His blood-sucking blade; and prince of watery empire
Earth-shaking Neptune, his threeforckt mace to be leaving,
And Jove omnipotent, as a poore and humble obeissant,
His three-flak't lightnings and thunderbolts to abandon.

This is in some respects not wholly inadequate; indeed, if it happened to be English it might pass for a respectable translation, for the exotic pedantry of the style itself serves in a way to render the delicate artificiality of the original, and such an expression as a 'God that gads by the mountaines' is a pithy enough paraphrase of dio selvaggio, if hardly an accurate translation. The unsatisfactory nature of the verse, however, for dramatic purposes becomes evident in passages of rapid dialogue; for example, where Daphne tells the careless nymph of Amyntas' resolve to die.

Phillis. As to my house full glad for joy I repayred, I met thee
Daphne, there full sad by the way, and greately amased.

Daphne. Phillis alas is alive, but an other's gone to be dying[229].

Ph. And what mean's this, alas? am I now so lightly regarded,
That my life with, Alas, of Daphne must be remembred?

Da. Phillis, I love thy life, but I lyke not death of an other.

Ph. Whose death?

Da.       Death of Amyntas.

Ph.               Alas how dyed Amyntas?

Da. How? that I cannot tell; nor yet well whether it is soe:
But noe doubt, I beleeve; for it is most lyke that it is soe.

Ph. What strange news doe I heare? what causd that death of Amyntas?

Da. Thy death.

Ph.      And I alive?

Da.           Thy death was lately reported,
And he beleevs thy death, and therfore seeketh his owne death.

Ph. Feare of Phillis death prov'd vayne, and feare of Amyntas
Death will proove vayne too: life eache thing lyvely procureth. (IV. i.)

Even in such a passage as this, however, those strong racy phrases which somehow find their way into the most uninspired of Tudor translations, are not wholly wanting. Thus when the careless nymph at last goes off to seek her desperate lover, Daphne in the original remarks:

     Oh tardi saggia, e tardi
Pietosa, quando ciò nulla rileva;

a passage in translating which Fraunce cannot resist the application of a homely proverb, and writes:

When steedes are stollen, then Phillis looks to the stable.

It may, at first sight, appear strange that at a time when the Italian pastoral was exercising its greatest influence over the English drama this translation by Fraunce of Tasso's play should have satisfied the demand for more than thirty years. The explanation, of course, is that the widespread knowledge of Italian among the reading public in England rendered translation more or less superfluous[230], while at the same time it should be remembered that in this country Tasso was far surpassed in popularity by Guarini. So far as we can tell no further translation of the Aminta was attempted till 1628, when there appeared an anonymous version which bibliographers have followed one another in ascribing to one John Reynolds, but which was more probably the work of a certain Henry Reynolds[231]. However that may be, the translation is of no inconsiderable merit, though this is more apparent when read apart from the original. It bears evidence of having been written by a man capable of appreciating the poetry of Tasso, and one who, while unable to strike the higher chords of lyric composition, was yet able to render the Italian into graceful and unassuming, if seldom wholly musical or adequate, verse. Thus the version hardly does itself justice in quotation, although the general impression produced is more pleasing and less often irritating than is the case with translations which many times reveal far higher qualities. The following is a characteristic specimen chosen from the story of Aminta's early love for Silvia.

Being but a Lad, so young as yet scarce able
To reach the fruit from the low-hanging boughes
Of new-growne trees; Inward I grew to bee
With a young mayde, fullest of love and sweetnesse,
That ere display'd pure gold tresse to the winde;...
Neere our abodes, and neerer were our hearts;
Well did our yeares agree, better our thoughts;
Together wove we netts t' intrapp the fish
In flouds and sedgy fleetes[232]; together sett
Pitfalls for birds; together the pye'd Buck
And flying Doe over the plaines we chac'de;
And in the quarry', as in the pleasure shar'de:
But as I made the beasts my pray, I found
My heart was lost, and made a pray to other. (I. ii.)

Many a translator, moreover, has failed to instil into his verse the swing and flow of the following stanzas from the golden age chorus, which, nevertheless follow the metrical form of the original with reasonable fidelity[233]:

O happy Age of Gould; happy' houres;
Not for with milke the rivers ranne,
And hunny dropt from ev'ry tree;
Nor that the Earth bore fruits, and flowres,
Without the toyle or care of Man,
And Serpents were from poyson free;...
But therefore only happy Dayes,
Because that vaine and ydle name,
That couz'ning Idoll of unrest,
Whom the madd vulgar first did raize,
And call'd it Honour, whence it came
To tyrannize or'e ev'ry brest,
Was not then suffred to molest
Poore lovers hearts with new debate;
More happy they, by these his hard
And cruell lawes, were not debar'd
Their innate freedome; happy state;
The goulden lawes of Nature, they
Found in their brests; and them they did obey. (Ch. I.)

Before leaving the Aminta it will be worth while straying beyond the strict chronological limits of this inquiry to glance for a moment at the version produced by John Dancer in 1660, for the sake of noting the change which had come over literary hack-work of the kind in the course of some thirty years. Comparing it with Reynolds' translation we are at first struck by the change which long drilling of the language to a variety of uses has accomplished in the work of uninspired poetasters; secondly, by the fact that the conventional respectability of production, which has replaced the halting crudities of an earlier date, is far more inimical to any real touch of poetic inspiration. Equally evident is that spirit of tyranny, happily at no time native to our literature, which seeks to reduce the works of other ages into accordance with the taste of its own day. Thus, having 'improved' Tasso's apostrophe to the bella età dell' oro almost beyond recognition, Dancer complacently closes the chorus with the following parody:

We'l hope, since there's no joy, when once one dies
We'l hope, that as we have seen with our eies
The Sun to set, so we may see it rise. (Ch. I.)

Again, while all the spontaneity and reverential labour of an age of more avowed adolescence has disappeared, there is yet lacking the justness of phrase and certainty of grammar and rime, which later supply, however inadequately, the place of poetic enthusiasm. The defects of the style, with its commonplace exaggeration of conceits, the thumbed token-currency of the certified poetaster, are well seen in such a passage as the following:

Weak love is held by shame, but love grows bold
As strong, what is it then can it with-hold:
She as though in her ey's she did contain
Fountains of tears, did with such plenty rain
Them on his cheeks, and they such vertue had,
That it reviv'd again the breathlesse lad;...
Aminta thought 'twas more then heav'nly charms,
That thus enclasp'd him in his Silvia's armes;
He that loves servant is, perhaps may guesse
Their blisse; but none there is can it expresse[234]. (V. i.)

As was to be expected, the attention of translators was early directed to the Pastor fido. The original was printed in England, together with the Aminta, the year after its first appearance in Italy, that is in 1591, and bore the imprint of John Wolfe, 'a spese di Giacopo Castelvetri'; the first translation saw the light in 1602. This version was published anonymously, and in spite of the confident assertions and ingenious conjectures of certain bibliographers, anonymous it must for the present remain; all that can with certainty be affirmed is that it claims to be the work of a kinsman of Sir Edward Dymocke[235]. Most modern writers who have had occasion to mention it have shown a praiseworthy deference to the authority of one of the most venerable figures of English criticism by each in turn repeating that the translation, 'in spite of Daniel's commendatory sonnet, is a very bad one.' And indeed, when we have stated the very simple facts concerning the authorship as distinct from the very elaborate conjectures, there remains little to add to Dyce's words. With the exception of the omission of the prologue the version keeps pretty faithfully to its original, but it does no more than emphasize the tedious artificiality of the Italian, while whatever charm and perhaps over-elaborated grace of language Guarini infused into his verse has entirely evaporated in the process of translation. No less a poet and critic than Daniel, regarding the work doubtless with the undiscriminating eye of friendship, asserted that it might even to Guarini himself have vindicated the poetic laurels of England, and yet from the whole long poem it is hardly possible to extract any passage which would do credit to the pen of an average schoolboy. We turn in vain to the contest of kisses among the Megarean maidens, to the game of blind man's buff, to Amarillis' secret confession of love, and to her trembling appeal when confronted by a death of shame, for any evidence of poetie feeling. The girl's speech in the last-mentioned scene, 'Se la miseria mia fosse mia colpa,' is thus rendered:

If that my fault did cause my wretchednesse,
Or that my thoughts were wicked, as thou thinkst
My deed, lesse grievous would my death be then:
For it were just my blood should wash the spots
Of my defiled soule, heavens rage appease,
And humane justice justly satisfie,
Then could I quiet my afflicted sprights,
And with a just remorse of well-deserved death,
My senses mortifie, and come to death:
And with a quiet blow pass forth perhaps
Unto a life of more tranquilitie:
But too too much, Nicander, too much griev'd
I am, in so young years, Fortune so hie,
An Innocent, I should be doom'd to die. (IV. v.)

The next translation we meet with never got into print. It is preserved in a manuscript at the British Museum[236], and bears the heading: 'Il Pastor Fido, or The Faithfull Sheapheard. An Excellent Pastorall Written In Italian by Battista Guarinj And translated into English By Jonathan Sidnam Esq, Anno 1630.' The prologue is again omitted, and the translation is distinguished from its contemporaries by an endeavour to reproduce to some extent the freer metrical structure of the Italian. This was not a particularly happy experiment, since it ignored the fact that the character of a metre may differ considerably in different languages. The Italian endecasillabi sciolti are far less flexible than our own blank verse, and it is only when freely interspersed with the shorter settinarî that they can attempt to rival the range of effect possible to the English metre in the hands of a skilful artist. Thus the imitation of the irregular measures of Guarini was a confession of the translator's inability adequately to handle the dramatic verse of his own tongue. As a specimen we may take the rendering of Amarillis' speech already quoted from the 'Dymocke' version:

If my mischance had come by mine own fault,
Nicander, or had beene as thou beleevst
The foule effect of base and wicked thoughts,
Or, as it now appeares, a deed of Sinn,
It had beene then lesse greevous to endure
Death as a punishment for such a fault,
And just it had beene with my blood to wash
My impure Soule, to mitigate the wrath
And angar of the Godds, and satisfie
The right of humane justice,
Then could I quiett my afflicted Soule
And with an inward feeling of my just
Deserved death, subdue my outward Sence,
And fawne uppon my end, and happelie
With a more settled countenance passe from hence
Into a better world:
But now, Nicander, ah! tis too much greefe
In soe yong yeares, in such a happie state,
To die so suddenlie, and which is more,
Die innocent. (IV. v.)

It was not until the civil war was at its height, namely in 1647, that English literature was enriched with a translation in any way worthy of Guarini's masterpiece. It is easy to strain the interpretation of such facts, but there is certainly a strong temptation to see in the occasion and circumstances of the composition of the piece an illustration of a critical law already noticed, namely the constant tendency of literature to negative as well as to reproduce the life of actuality, and furthermore of the special liability of pastoral to take birth from a desire to escape from the imminence and pressure of surrounding circumstance. Like Reynolds' Aminta, Richard Fanshawe's Pastor fido is better appreciated as a whole than in quotation, though, thanks partly to its own greater maturity of poetic attainment, partly to the less ethereal perfection of the original, it suffers far less than the earlier work by comparison with the Italian. For the same reasons it is by far the most satisfactory of any of the early translations of the Italian pastoral drama. One noticeable feature is the constant reminiscence of Shakespeare, whole lines from his works being sometimes introduced with no small skill. For instance, where Guarini, describing how love wins entrance to a maiden's heart, writes:

E se vergogna il cela,
O temenza l' affrena,
La misera tacendo
Per soverchio desío tutta si strugge; (I. iv.)

Fanshawe renders the last two lines by:

Poor soul! Concealment like a worm i' th' bud,
Lies in her Damask cheek sucking the bloud.

A few illustrative passages will suffice to give an idea of Fanshawe's style. He stands alone in having succeeded in recrystallizing in his own tongue some at least of the charm of the kissing match, and is even fairly successful in the following dangerous conceit:

          With one voice
Of peerlesse Amarillis they made choice.
She sweetly bending her fair eyes.
Her cheeks in modest blushes dyes,
To shew through her transparent skin
That she is no lesse fair within
Then shee's without; or else her countenance
Envying the honour done her mouth perchance,
Puts on her scarlet robes as who
Should say: 'And am not I fair too?' (II. i.)

So again he alone among the translators has infused any semblance of passion into Amarillis' confession of love:

Mirtillo, O Mirtillo! couldst thou see
That heart which thou condemn'st of cruelty,
Soul of my soul, thou unto it wouldst show
That pity which thou begg'st from it I know.
O ill starr'd Lovers! what avails it me
To have thy love? T' have mine, what boots it thee?
                                               (III. iv.)

In a lighter vein the following variation on the theme of fading beauty by Corisca also does justice to its original:

Let us use it whilst wee may;
Snatch those joyes that haste away.
Earth her winter-coat may cast,
And renew her beauty past;
But, our winter come, in vain
We sollicite spring again:
And when our furrows snow shall cover,
Love may return, but never Lover. (III. v.)

When it is borne in mind that not only is the rendering graceful in itself, but that as a rule it represents its original if not literally at any rate adequately, it will be realized that Fanshawe's qualifications as a translator are not small. His version, which is considerably the best in the language, is happily easily accessible owing to its early popularity. It first appeared in 1647 in the form of a handsomely printed quarto with portrait and frontispiece engraved after the Ciotti edition of 1602, the remaining copies being re-issued with additional matter the following year; it went through two editions between the restoration and the end of the century, and was again reprinted together with the original, and with alterations in 1736[237]. In the meantime, however, the translation had been adapted to the stage by Elkanah Settle. In a dedication to Lady Elizabeth Delaval, the adapter ingenuously disclaims all knowledge of Italian, and when he speaks of 'the Translated Pastor Fido' every reader would no doubt be expected to know that he was referring to Fanshawe's work. He left his readers, however, to discover for themselves that, while he considerably altered, and of course condensed, the original, for whatever poetic merit his scenes possess he is entirely indebted to his predecessor. The adaptation was licensed by L'Estrange in 1676, and printed the following year, while reprints dated 1689 and 1694 seem to indicate that it achieved some success at the Duke's Theatre. It was presumably of this version that Pepys notices a performance on February 25, 1668.[238]

Besides these English translations there is also extant one in Latin, a manuscript of which is preserved in the University Library at Cambridge.[239] The name of the translater does not appear, but the heading runs: 'Il pastor fido, di signor Guarini ... recitata in Collegio Regali Cantabrigiae.' The title is so scrawled over that it would be impossible to say for certain whether the note of performance referred to the present play, were it not for an allusion casually dropped by the anonymous recorder of a royal visit to Oxford, which not only substantiates the inference to be drawn from the manuscript, but also supplies us with a downward limit of August, 1605.[240] In this translation a dialogue between the characters 'Prologus' and 'Argumentum' takes the place of Guarini's long topical prologue, and a short conventional 'Epilogus' is added at the end.

It was not till 1655 that the Filli di Sciro of Bonarelli, which has usually been thought to hold the third place among Italian pastorals, appeared in English dress. The translation published in that year is ascribed on the title-page to 'J. S. Gent.,' an ascription which has given rise to a good deal of conjecture. And yet a very little investigation might have settled the matter. Prefixed to the translation are some commendatory verses signed 'I. H.', in a marginal note to which we read: 'This Comedy was Translated long ago by M. I. S. and layd by, as also was Pastor Fido, which was since Translated and set forth by Mr. Rich. Fanshaw.' Another note,[241] to some verses to the reader, tells us that both translations were made 'neer twenty years agone,' and, as we should expect, the Pastor fido first; and further, that the latter remained in manuscript owing to the appearance of Fanshawe's version, which is spoken of in terms of warm admiration. Now the only manuscript translation of Guarini's play extant in English is that of Jonathan Sidnam, whose name gives us the very initials which appear upon the title-page of the printed play.[242] Since the preliminary verses may have been written any time between 1647 and 1655, the vague allusion to the date of composition will quite well fit 1630, the year given in the manuscript. When, furthermore, we find J. S.'s work characterized by precisely the same use of short lines as we noted above in the case of Sidnam's, the identification becomes a practical certainty. The version, though, as the author was himself aware, it will not stand comparison with Fanshawe's work, is not without merit, and is perhaps as good as the rather tedious original deserves. As a specimen we may take a passage in which the author deliberately followed Tasso, Celia's narration of her adventure with the centaur:

There, to a sturdy Oak, he bound me fast
And re-enforct his base inhumane bonds
With the then danglinst Tresses of my hair;
Ingrateful hair, ill-nurtur'd wicked Locks!
The cruel wretch then took up from the foot
Both my loose tender garments, and at once
Rent them from end to end: Imagine then
Whether my crimson red, through shame was chang'd
Into a pale wan tincture, yea or no.
I that was looking toward Heaven then,
And with my cries imploring ayd from thence,
Upon a suddain to the Earth let fall
My shamefac'd eyes, and shut them close, as if
Under mine eye-lids, I could cover all
My naked Members. (I. iii.)

Of the various unfounded conjectures as to the author of this version, among which Shirley's name has of course not failed to appear, certainly the most ingenious is that which has seen in it the work of Sir Edward Sherburne. The suggestion appears to have been originally made by Coxeter, on what grounds I do not know. 'There is no doubt of the authorship of this play,' writes Professer Gollancz in his notes to Lamb's Specimens, '"J. S." is certainly an error for "E. S." I have found in a MS. in the British Museum Sir E. Sherburne's preface to this play.' Professer Gollancz deserves credit for having unearthed the interesting document referred to,[243] but an examination of it at once destroys his theory. It is a preface 'To the Reader' intended for a translation of the Filli, and another copy also is extant,[244] both being found among the papers of Sir Edward Sherburne, though in neither does his name actually occur. In the course of the preface the writer quotes 'the Censure of my sometime highly valued, and most Ingenious friend S'r. John Denham, to whom (some years before the happy Restauration of King Charles the 2d being then at Paris) I communicated Some Part of this my Translation. Who was not only pleasd to encourage my undertaking, but gave me likewise this Character of the Original. "I will not say It is a Better Poem then Pastor Fido, but to speak my Mind freely, I think it a Better Drama."' From this it is clear that the preface was penned after 1660, and we may furthermore infer that the version was as yet unfinished when the writer was in Paris, apparently at some time during the Commonwealth. It is therefore impossible that the preface should be intended for a translation which was printed in 1655, and which was then distinctly stated to have been composed not later than 1635. Furthermore, I question whether either the preface or the version mentioned therein were by Sherburne at all. There is a translation extant in a British Museum manuscript[245] purporting to be the work of Sir George Talbot, who is said to have been a friend of Sir Edward's, into whose hands some of his papers may have come. The translation is headed: 'Fillis of Scirus, a Pastorall Written in Italian, by Count Guidubaldo de' Bonarelli, and Translated into English by S'r. G: Talbot,' and there follows 'The Epistle Dedicatory To his sacred Ma'ty. Charles 2'd. &c. prophetically written at Paris, an: 57.' The opening is not wanting in grace:

The dawning light breaks forth; I heare, aloofe,
The whistling ayre, the Saints bell of the Heav'n,
Wherewith each morne it call's the drowsy Birds
To offer up theyre Hymnes to th' new-borne day.
But who ere saw, from night's dark bosome, spring
A morne soe fayre and beautifull? Observe
With what imperceptible hand, it steales
The starres from Heav'n, and deck's the earth with flow'rs:
Haile, lovely fields, your flow'rs in this array
Fournish a kind of star-light to the day.

Or take again Celia's encounter with the centaur. And in this connexion it is worth while mentioning that, when revising his translation and introducing a number of verbal changes, in most cases distinctly for the better, Sir George appears to have been struck by the absurdity of this machinery, and throughout replaced the centaur by a 'wild man.' After telling how she was seized and carried to 'the middle of a desart wood,' Celia proceeds:

There, to a sturdy oake, he bound me fast,
Doubling my bonds with knots of mine own hayre;
Ungratefull hayre, thou ill returnst my care.
The Tyrant then my mantle took in hand
And with one rash tore it from head to foote.
Consider whether shame my trembling pale
Did now convert into Vermillion: up
I cast my eyes to Heav'n, and with lowd cryes
Implor'd it's ayd; then lookt downe tow'rd the earth,
And phancy'd my dejected eyebrows hung
Like a chast mantle ore my naked limbs. (I. iii.)

A comparison of this and the preceding renderings with the original will show that while Talbot's is by far the more fiowing and imaginative, Sidnam's is on the whole rather more literal, except where he appears to have misunderstood the original. No other English translation, I believe, exists.

Lastly, as in the case of the Pastor fido, record has to be made of a Latin version acted at Cambridge. It was the work of a Dr. Brooke of Trinity[246], and purports to have been performed, no doubt at that College, before Prince Charles and the Count Palatine, on March 30, 1612[247]. The title is 'Scyros, Fabula Pastoralis,' which has hitherto prevented its being identified as a translation of Bonarelli's play, and it is preserved in manuscripts at the University Library[248], Trinity and Emmanuel. At the beginning is a note to the effect that in the place of the prologue--Marino's Notte--was to be presented a triumph over the death of the centaur. The cast is given, and includes three undergraduates, five bachelors, and five masters.


After translation the next process in logical sequence is direct imitation. Although it is true that the influence of Tasso and Guarini may be traced either directly or indirectly in the great majority of the English pastorals composed during the first half of the seventeenth century, there are nevertheless two plays only in which that influence can be regarded as completely paramount, and to which the term 'imitation' can be with full justification applied. These are the two pastorals by Samuel Daniel, historian and court-laureate, namely the Queen's Arcadia, 'A Pastorall Trage-comedie presented to her Majestie and her Ladies, by the Universitie of Oxford in Christs Church, in August last. 1605[249],' and Hymen's Triumph, which formed part of the Queen's 'magnificent intertainement of the Kings most excellent Majestie' on the occasion of the marriage in 1614 of Robert Ker, Earl of Roxburgh, and Mistress Jean Drummond, sister of the Earl of Perth[250].

The earlier of these pieces displays alike the greater dependence on Italian models and the less intrinsic merit, whether from a poetic or dramatic point of view. It is, indeed, in its apparent carelessness of the most elementary necessities of dramatic construction, distinctly retrograde as compared with these models themselves. In the first scene we are introduced to two old Arcadians who hold long discourse concerning the degeneracy of the age. The simple manners of earlier times are forsaken, constant quarrels occur, faith is no longer untarnished nor modesty secure. In the hope of probing to the root of the evil the two determine to hide close at hand and so overhear the conversations of the younger swains and shepherdesses. The fact is that Arcadia has recently been invaded by a gang of rascally adventurers from Corinth and elsewhere: Techne, 'a subtle wench,' who under pretence of introducing the latest fashions of the towns corrupts the nymphs; Colax, whose courtier-airs find an easy prey in the hearts of the country-wenches; Alcon, a quacksalver, who introduces tobacco to ruin the constitutions of the shepherds; Lincus, 'a petty-fogger,' who breeds litigation among the simple folk; and lastly Pistophanax, who seeks to undermine the worship of Pan. Colax has, it appears, already abused the love of Daphne, and won that of Dorinda from her swain Mirtillus; Techne has sown jealousy between the lovers Palaemon and Silvia; while Lincus has set Montanus and Acrysius by the ears over the possession of a bit of land. Ail the plotting is overheard by the two concealed shepherds, who when the crisis is reached come forward, call together the Arcadians, expose the machinations of the evil-doers, and procure their banishment from the country. Such an automatic solution is obviously incompatible with the smallest dramatic interest in the plot; it is not a dénoûment at all, properly speaking, but a severing of the skein after Alexander's manner, and it is impossible to feel any emotion at the tragic complications when all the while the sword lies ready for the operation.

The main amorous action centres round Cloris, beloved of Amyntas and Carinus, the latter of whom is in his turn loved by Amarillis. Carinus' hopes are founded on the fact that, in imitation of Tasso's Aminta, he has rescued Cloris from the hands of a satyr, while Amyntas bases his upon certain signs of favour shown him. Colax, however, also falls in love with the nymph, and induces Techne to give her tryst in a cave, where he may then have an opportunity of finding her alone. Techne, hereupon, in the hope of winning Amyntas' affection for herself if she can make him think Cloris unworthy, directs him to the spot where she has promised to meet the unsuspecting maiden. This is obviously borrowed from the Pastor fido; indeed, Techne is none other than Corisca under a new name, and it was no doubt she who suggested to Daniel the introduction of the other agents of civilization. Amyntas, on seeing Cloris emerge from the cave in company with Colax, at once concludes her guilt, and in spite of all Techne's efforts to restrain him rushes off with the intention of putting an end to his life. Techne, perceiving the ill-success of her plot, tells Cloris of Amyntas' resolve. We here return to the imitation of Tasso: Cloris, like that poet's Silvia, begins by pretending incredulity and indifference, but being at length convinced agrees to accompany Techne in search of the desperate swain. Daniel has produced what is little better than a parody of the scene in his model. Not content with placing in the girl's mouth the preposterous excuse:

If it be done my help will come too late,
And I may stay, and save that labour here, (IV. iv.[251])

he has spun out the dialogue, already over-long in the original, to an altogether inordinate and ludicrous extent. When the pair at last come upon the unhappy lover they find him lying insensible, a horn of poison by him. The necessary sequel is reported by Mirtillus:

For we perceiv'd how Love and Modestie
With sev'rall Ensignes, strove within her cheekes
Which should be Lord that day, and charged hard
Upon each other, with their fresh supplies
Of different colours, that still came, and went,
And much disturb'd her, but at length dissolv'd
Into affection, downe she casts her selfe
Upon his senselesse body, where she saw
The mercy she had brought was come too late:
And to him calls: 'O deare Amyntas, speake,
Look on me, sweete Amyntas, it is I
That calles thee, I it is, that holds thee here,
Within those armes thou haste esteem'd so deare.' (V. ii.)

Amyntas' subsequent recovery is reported in the same strain. The reader will remember the lines in which Tasso described a similar scene. And yet, in spite of the identity of the situations and even of the close similarity of the language, the tone and atmosphere of the two passages are essentially different; for if Daniel's treatment of the scene, which is typical of a good deal of his work, has the power to call a tear to the eye of sensibility, his sentiment, divested as it is of the Italian's subtle sensuousness, appears perfectly innocuous and at times not a little ridiculous.

Cloris and Amyntas are now safe enough, and Carinus has the despised but faithful Amarillis to console him. The other pairs of lovers need not detain us further than to note that their adventures are equally borrowed from Tasso and Guarini. Silvia relates how, wounded by her 'cruelty,' Palaemon sought to imitate Aminta by throwing himself from a cliff, but was prevented by her timely relenting. Amarillis fondles Carinus's dog, and is roughly upbraided by its master in the same manner as her prototype Dorinda in the Pastor fido.

Amid much that is commonplace in the verse occur not a few graceful passages, while Daniel is at times rather happy in the introduction of certain sententious utterances in keeping with the conventionality of the pastoral form. Thus a caustic swain remarks of a girl's gift:

Poore withred favours, they might teach thee know,
That shee esteemes thee, and thy love as light
As those dead flowers, shee wore but for a show,
The day before, and cast away at night;

and to a lover:

When such as you, poore, credulous, devout,
And humble soules, make all things miracles
Your faith conceives, and vainely doe convert
All shadowes to the figure of your hopes. (I. ii.)

Colax is a subtle connoisseur in love:

Some thing there is peculiar and alone
To every beauty that doth give an edge
To our desires, and more we still conceive
In that we have not, then in that we have.
And I have heard abroad where best experience
And wit is learnd, that all the fairest choyce
Of woemen in the world serve but to make
One perfect beauty, whereof each brings part. (I. iii.)

The historical importance of the Queen's Arcadia, as the first play to exhibit on the English stage the direct and unequivocal influence of the Italian pastoral drama, is evident to the critic in retrospect, and it is not impossible that it may have lent some extraneous interest to the performance even in the eyes of contemporaries; but the zest of the play for a court audience in the early years of the reign of James I was very possibly the satirical element. The shadowy fiction of Arcadia and its age of gold quickly vanished when the actual or fancied evils of the day were exposed to the lash. The abuse of the practice of taking tobacco flattered the prejudices of the king; the quack and the dishonest lawyer were stock butts of contemporary satire; Colax and Techne, the he and she coney-catchers, have maintained their fascination for all ages. Pistophanax, the disseminator of false doctrine, who had actually presumed to reason with the priests concerning the mysteries of Pan, was perhaps the favourite object of contemporary invective. The term 'atheist' covered a multitude of sins. This character appears in the final scene only, and even there he is a mute but for one speech. He is indeed treated in a somewhat different manner from the other subjects of satire in the play. Thus the discovery that he is wearing a mask to hide the natural ugliness of his features passes altogether the bounds of dramatic satire, and carries us back to the allegorical manner of the middle ages. Apart from these figures, who bear upon them the form and pressure of the time, and who are, it must be remembered, the main-spring of the action, there is little of note to fix the attention in this first fruit of the Arcadian spirit in the English drama.

In every way superior to its predecessor is the second venture in the kind made by Daniel after an interval of nearly a decade. Instead of being a patchwork of motives and situations borrowed from the Italian, and pieced together with more or less ingenuity, Hymen's Triumph is as a whole an original composition. The play is preceded by a prologue in which Daniel departs from his models in employing the dialogue form, the speakers being Hymen, Avarice, Envy, and Jealousy[252]. In the opening scene we find Thirsis lamenting the loss of his love Silvia, who is supposed to have been devoured by wild beasts while wandering alone upon the shore--we are once again on the sea-board of Arcadia--her rent veil and a lock of her hair being all that remains to her disconsolate lover. Their vows had been in secret owing to the match proposed by Silvia's father between her and Alexis, the son of a wealthy neighbour[253]. In reality she has been seized by pirates[254] and carried off to Alexandria, where she has lived as a slave in boy's attire for some two years. Recently an opportunity for escape having presented itself, she has returned, still disguised, to her native country, where she has entered the service of the shepherdess Cloris, waiting till the approaching marriage of Alexis with another nymph shall have made impossible the renewal of her father's former schemes. Complications now arise, for it appears that Cloris has fallen in love with Thirsis, but fears ill success in her suit, supposing him in his turn to be pining for the love of Amarillis. She employs the supposed boy to move her suit to Thirsis, and Silvia goes on her errand to court her lover for her mistress, fearing to find him already faithless to his love for her[255]. On her mission she is waylaid by the nymph Phillis, who has fallen in love with her in her male attire, careless of the love borne her by the honest but rude forester Montanus. The varying fortune of Silvia's suit on behalf of Cloris, Thirsis' faith to the memory of Silvia, Montanus' jealousy, and Phillis' shame when she finds her proffered love rejected by the boy for whom she has sacrificed her modesty, are presented in a series of scenes and discourses which do not materially advance the business in hand. Towards the end of the fourth act, however, we approach the climax, and matters begin to move. Alexis' marriage being now imminent, Silvia thinks she can venture at least to give her lover some spark of hope by narrating her story under fictitious names. This she does, making use of the transparent anagrams Isulia and Sirthis[256]. As Silvia ends her tale Montanus rushes in, determined to be revenged for the favour shown by his mistress to the supposed youth. He stabs Silvia, and carries off the garland she is wearing, believing it to be one woven by the hand of Phillis. This naturally leads to the discovery of Silvia's sex and identity, and supposing her dead, Thirsis falls in a swoon at her side. The last act is, as usual, little more than an epilogue, in which we are entertained with a long account of the recovery of the faithful lovers, thanks to the care of the wise Lamia, an elaborate passage again modelled on Tasso, but again falling far short of the poetical beauty of the original.

Taken as a whole, and partly through being unencumbered with the satyric machinery of the Queen's Arcadia, Hymen's Triumph is a distinctly lighter and more pleasing composition. At least so it appears by comparison, for Daniel everywhere takes himself and his subject with a distressing seriousness wholly unsuited to the style; we look in vain for a gleam of humour such as that which in the final chorus of the Aminta casts a reflex light over the whole play[257]. Again an advance may be observed, not only in the conduct of the plot, which moves artistically on an altogether different level, and even succeeds in arousing some dramatic interest, but likewise in the verse, which has a freer movement, and is on the whole less marred by the over-emphatic repetition of words and phrases in consecutive lines, a particularly irritating trick of the author's pastoral style, or by the monotonous cadence and painful padding of the blank verse. Daniel was emphatically one of those poets, neither few nor inconsiderable, the natural nervelessness of whose poetic diction imperatively demands the bracing restraint of rime. It is noteworthy that this applies to his verse alone; such a work as the famous Defence of Rime serves to place him once for all among the greatest masters of 'the other harmony of prose.'

Hymen's Triumph contains many more passages of notable merit than its predecessor. There is, indeed, one passage in the Queen's Arcadia which will bear comparison with anything Daniel ever wrote, but it stands in somewhat striking contrast with its surroundings. This is the opening of the speech in which Melibaeus addresses the assembled Arcadians, and well deserves quotation.

You gentle Shepheards and Inhabitors
Of these remote and solitary parts
Of Mountaynous Arcadia, shut up here
Within these Rockes, these unfrequented Clifts,
The walles and bulwarkes of our libertie,
From out the noyse of tumult, and the throng
Of sweating toyle, ratling concurrencie,
And have continued still the same and one
In all successions from antiquitie;
Whil'st all the states on earth besides have made
A thousand revolutions, and have rowl'd
From change to change, and never yet found rest,
Nor ever bettered their estates by change;
You I invoke this day in generall,
To doe a worke that now concernes us all,
Lest that we leave not to posteritie,
Th' Arcadia that we found continued thus
By our fore-fathers care who left it us. (V. iii.)

Such passages are more frequent in Hymen's Triumph. Take the description of the early love of Thirsis and Silvia, instinct with a delicacy and freshness that even Tasso might have envied[258]:

Then would we kisse, then sigh, then looke, and thus
In that first garden of our simplenesse
We spent our child-hood; but when yeeres began
To reape the fruite of knowledge, ah, how then
Would she with graver looks, with sweet stern brow,
Check my presumption and my forwardnes;
Yet still would give me flowers, stil would me shew
What she would have me, yet not have me, know. (I. i.)

Thirsis, who is the typical 'constant lover' of pastoral convention, and does

Hold it to be a most heroicke thing
To act one man, and do that part exact,

thus addresses his friend Palaemon in defence of love:

Ah, know that when you mention love, you name
A sacred mistery, a Deity,
Not understood of creatures built of mudde,
But of the purest and refined clay
Whereto th' eternall fires their spirits convey.
And for a woman, which you prize so low,
Like men that doe forget whence they are men,
Know her to be th' especiall creature, made
By the Creator as the complement
Of this great Architect[259] the world, to hold
The same together, which would otherwise
Fall all asunder; and is natures chiefe
Vicegerent upon earth, supplies her state.
And doe you hold it weakenesse then to love,
And love so excellent a miracle
As is a worthy woman? (III. iv.)

The sententious passages, the occurrence of which we previously noted in the Queen's Arcadia, likewise appear. Thus of dreams:

Alas, Medorus, dreames are vapours, which,
Ingendred with day thoughts, fall in the night,
And vanish with the morning;[260] (III. ii.)

and of thoughts:

They are the smallest peeces of the minde
That passe this narrow organ of the voyce;
The great remaine behinde in that vast orbe
Of th' apprehension, and are never borne. (III. iv.)

At times these utterances even possess a dramatic value, as where, bending over the seemingly lifeless form of his beloved Silvia, Thirsis exclaims:

And sure the gods but onely sent thee thus
To fetch me, and to take me hence with thee. (IV. v.)

The two plays we have been considering are after all very much what we should expect from their author. A poet of considerable taste, of great sweetness and some real feeling, but deficient in passion, in power of conception and strength of execution, writing for the court in the recognized rôle of court-laureate, and unexposed to the bracing influence of a really critical audience--such is Samuel Daniel as seen in his experiments in the pastoral drama. We learn from his commendatory sonnet on the 'Dymocke' Pastor fido that he had known Guarini personally in Italy, an accident which supplies an interesting link between the dramas of the two countries, and might suggest a specific incentive to the composition of his pastorals, were any such needed. So far, however, from that being the case, the only wonder is that the adventure was not made at an earlier date, a problem the most promising explanation of which may perhaps be sought in the rather conservative taste of the officiai court circle, which tended to lag behind in the general advance during the closing years of Elizabeth's reign. With the accession of James new life as well as a new spirit entered the court, and is quickly found reflected in the literary fashions in vogue. It was in 1605 that Jonson wrote in Volpone:

Here's Pastor Fido ...
        ... All our English writers,
I meane such, as are happy in th' Italian,
Will deigne to steale out of this author, mainely;
Almost as much, as from Montagnie:
He has so moderne, and facile a veine,
Fitting the time, and catching the court-eare. (1616, III. iv.)

On the whole, perhaps, Daniel's merits as a pastoral writer have been exaggerated. His dependence on Italian models, particularly in his earlier play, is close, both as regards incidents and style; while he usually lacks their felicity. His claims as an original dramatist will not stand examination in view of the concealed shepherds in the Queen's Arcadia, of his careful avoidance of scenes of strong dramatic emotion--a point in which he of course followed his models, while lacking their mastery of narrative as compensation--and of his failure to do justice to such scenes when forced upon him.[261] If the atmosphere of certain scenes is purer than is the case with his models, it is in large measure due to his failure to master the style; if his conception of virtue is more wholesome, his picture of it is at times marred by exaggeration, while his sentiment for innocence is of a watery kind, and occasionally a little tawdry. His pathos, as is the case with all weak writers, constantly trembles on the verge of bathos, while his lack of humour betrays him into penning passages of elaborate fatuity. His style is formal and often stilted, his verse often monotonous and at times heavy.[262] On the other hand Daniel possesses qualities of no vulgar kind, though some, it is true, may be said to be rather the qualités de ses défauts. The verse is at least smooth; it is courtly and scholarly, and sometimes graceful; the language is pure and refined, and habitually simple. The sentiment, if at times finicking, is always that of a gentleman and a courtier. Moreover, in reckoning his qualifications as a dramatist, we must not forget to credit him with the plot of Hymen's Triumph, which is on the whole original, and is happily conceived, firmly constructed, and executed with considerable ability.

With Daniel begins and ends in English literature the dominant influence of the Italian pastoral drama. No doubt the imitation of Tasso and Guarini is an important element in the subsequent history of pastoralism in this country, and to trace and define that influence will be not the least important task of the ensuing chapters. No doubt it supplied the incentive that induced a man like Fletcher to bid for a hopeless success in such a play as the Faithful Shepherdess, and placed a heavy debt to the account of Thomas Randolph when he composed his Amyntas. But in these cases, as in others, wherever the author availed himself of the tradition imported from the Ferrarese court, he approached it as it were from without, seeking to rival, to acclimatize, rather than to reproduce. Nowhere else do we find the tone and atmosphere, the structure, situations, and characters imitated with that fidelity, or attempt at fidelity, which makes Daniel's plays almost indistinguishable, except for language, from much of the work of the later Italians.[263] To minimize with many critics Daniel's dependence on his models, or to emphasize with some that of Fletcher, is, it seems to me, wholly to misapprehend the positions they occupy in the history of literature, and to obscure the actual development of the pastoral ideal in this country.

Chapter V.

The Three Masterpieces


Among English pastorals there are two plays, and two only, that can be said to stand in the front rank of the romantic drama as a whole. The first of these is, of course, Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess. In the case of the second the statement would perhaps be more correctly put in the conditional mood, for whatever might have been its importance had it reached completion, the fragmentary state of Jonson's Sad Shepherd has prevented its taking the place it deserves in the history of dramatic literature. With these two productions may for the purposes of criticism be classed Thomas Randolph's Amyntas, which, however inferior to the others in poetic merit, yet like them stands apart in certain matters of intention and origin from the general run of pastorals, and may, moreover, well support a claim to be considered one of the three chief English examples of the kind.

These three plays embrace a period of some thirty years, before, during, and after which a considerable number of dramatic productions, more or less pastoral in character, appeared. The chief feature in which the three plays we are about to consider are distinguished from these is a certain direct and conscious, though in no case subservient, relation they bear to the drama of the Italians; while at the same time we are struck with the absence of any influence of subsidiary or semi-pastoral tradition, of the mythological drama, or the courtly-chivalric romance. We shall therefore gain more by considering them in connexion with each other than we shall lose by abandoning strict chronological sequence.

When Fletcher's play was produced, probably in the winter of 1608-9, it proved a complete failure.[264] An edition appeared without date, but before May, 1610, to which were prefixed verses by Field, Beaumont, Chapman, and Jonson. If, as some have supposed, the last named already had at the time a pastoral play of his own in contemplation, the reception accorded to his friend's venture can hardly have been encouraging, and may have led to the postponement of the plan; as we shall see, there is no reason to believe that the Sad Shepherd was taken in hand for another quarter of a century almost. The Faithful Shepherdess was revived long after Fletcher's death, at a court performance in 1633-4, and shone by comparison with Montagu's Shepherds Paradise acted the year before. It was then again placed on the public boards at the Blackfriars, where it met with some measure of success.

The Faithful Shepherdess was the earliest, and long remained the only, deliberate attempt to acclimatize upon the popular stage in England a pastoral drama which should occupy a position corresponding to that of Tasso and Guarini in Italy. It was no crude attempt at transplantation, no mere imitation of definite models, as was the case with Daniel's work, but a deliberate act of creative genius inspired by an ambitious rivalry. Its author might be supposed well fitted for his task. Although it was one of his earliest, if not actually his very earliest work, it is clear that he must have already possessed an adequate and practical knowledge of stagecraft, and have been familiar with the temper of London audiences. He further possessed poetical powers of no mean order, in particular a lyrical gift almost unsurpassed among his fellows for grace and sweetness, howbeit somewhat lacking in the qualities of refinement and power. That he should have failed so signally is a fact worth attention. For fail he did. His friends, it is true, endeavoured as usual to explain the fiasco of the first performance by the ignorance and incompetence of the spectators, but we shall, I think, see reason to come ourselves to a scarcely less unfavourable conclusion. Nor is this failure to be explained by the inherent disadvantage at which the sentimental and lyrical pastoral stood when brought face to face with the wider and stronger interest of the romantic drama. Such considerations may to some extent account for the attitude of the contemporary audience; they cannot be supposed seriously to affect the critical verdict of posterity. We must trust to analysis to show wherein lay the weakness of the piece; later we may be able to suggest some cause for Fletcher's failure.

In the first place we may consider for a moment Fletcher's indebtedness to Tasso and Guarini, a question on which very different views have been held. As to the source of his inspiration, there can be no reasonable doubt, though it has been observed with truth by more than one critic, that the Faithful Shepherdess may more properly be regarded as written in rivalry, than in imitation, of the Italians. In any case, but for the Aminta and Pastor fido, the Faithful Shepherdess would never have come into being; as a type it reveals neither original invention nor literary evolution, but is a conscious attempt to adapt the Italian pastoral to the requirements of the English stage. As an individual piece, on the other hand, it is for the most part original and independent, little direct influence of the Italians being traceable in the plot, whether in general construction or in single incidents and characters. A certain resemblance has indeed been discovered between Guarini's Corisca and Fletcher's Cloe, but the fact chiefly shows the superficiality of the comparison upon which critics have relied, since if Corisca suggested some traits of Cloe, she may be held responsible for far more of Amarillis. Where Guarini depicted a courtesan, Fletcher has painted a yahoo. Corisca, wanton and cynical, plays, like Amarillis, the part of mischief-maker and deceiver, and, so far from seeking, like her successfully eludes the embraces of the shepherd-satyr. On the other hand, a clear difference between Fletcher's work and that of the Italians may be seen in the respective use made of supernatural agencies. From these the southern drama is comparatively free. A somewhat ultra-medicinal power of herbs, the introduction of an oracle in the preliminary history and of a wholly superfluous seer in the dénoûment make up the whole sum so far as the Pastor fido is concerned, while the Aminta cannot even show as much as this. In the Faithful Shepherdess we find not only the potent herbs, holy water, and magic taper of Clorin's bower, but the wonder-working well and the actual presence of the river-god, who rises, not to pay courtly compliments in the prologue, but to take an actual part in the plot[265]. Alike in its positive and negative aspects Fletcher's relation to the Italian masters was conscious and acknowledged. Far from feigning ignorance, he boldly challenged comparison with his predecessors by imitating the very title of Guarini's play, or yet closer, had he known it, that of Contarini's Fida ninfa[266].

A glance at the dramatis personae reveals a curious artificial symmetry which, as we shall shortly see, is significant of the spirit in which Fletcher approached the composition of his play. In Clorin we have a nymph vowed to perpetual virginity, an anchorite at the tomb of her dead lover; in Thenot a worshipper of her constancy, whose love she cures by feigning a return. In Perigot and Amoret are represented a pair of ideal lovers--so Fletcher gives us to understand--in whose chaste bosoms dwell no looser flames. Amarillis is genuinely enamoured of Perigot, with a love that bids modesty farewell, and will dare even crime and dishonour for its attainment; Cloe, as already said, is a study in erotic pathology. She is the female counterpart of the Sullen Shepherd, who inherits the traditional nature of the satyr, that monster having been transformed into the gentle minister of the cloistral Clorin. So, again, the character of Amarillis finds its counterpart in that of Alexis, whose love for Cloe is at least human; while Daphnis, who meets Cloe's desperate advances with a shy innocence, is in effect, whatever he may have been in intention, hardly other than a comic character. The river-god and the satyr, the priest of Pan and his attendant Old Shepherd, who themselves stand outside the circle of amorous intrigue, complete the list of personae.

The action which centres round these characters cannot be regarded as forming a plot in any strict sense of the term, though Fletcher has reaped a little praise here and there for his construction of one. It is hardly too much to say that the various complications arise and are solved, leaving the situation at the end precisely as it was at the beginning. Even so may the mailed figures in some ancestral hall start into life at the stroke of midnight, and hold high revel with the fair dames and damsels from out the gilt frames upon the walls, content to range themselves once more and pose in their former attitudes as soon as the first grey light of morning shimmers through the mullioned windows. Perigot and Amoret come through the trials of the night with their love unshaken, but apparently no nearer its fulfilment; Thenot's love for Clorin is cured for the moment, but is in danger of breaking out anew when he shall discover that she is after all constant to her vow; Cloe recovers from her amorous possession; the vagrant desires of Amarillis and Alexis are dispelled by the 'sage precepts' of the priest and Clorin; Daphnis' innocence is seemingly unstained by the hours he has spent with Cloe in the hollow tree; while the Sullen Shepherd, unregenerate and defiant, is banished the confines of pastoral Thessaly. What we have witnessed was no more than the comedy of errors of a midsummer night.

The play, nevertheless, possesses merits which it would be unfair to neglect. Narrative is, in the first place, entirely dispensed with in favour of actual representation, though the result, it must be admitted, is somewhat kaleidoscopic. Next, the action is complete within itself, and needs no previous history to explain it; no slight advantage for stage representation. As a result the interest is kept constantly whetted, the movement is brisk and varied, and with the help of the verse goes far towards carrying off the many imperfections of the piece.

It will have been already noticed that the characters fall into certain distinct groups which may be regarded as exemplifying certain aspects of love. Supersensuous sentiment, chaste and honourable regard, too colourless almost to deserve the name of love, natural and unrestrained desire, and violent lust, all these are clearly typified. What we fail to find is the presentment of a love which shall reveal men and women neither as beasts of instinct nor as carved figures of alabaster fit only to adorn a tomb. This typical nature of the characters has given rise to a theory recently propounded that the play should be regarded as an allegory illustrative of certain aspects of love[267]. So regarded much of the absurdity, alike of the characters and of the action, is said to disappear. This may be so, but does it really mean anything more than that abstractions not being in fact possessed of character at all, and being as ideals unfettered by any demands of probability, absurdities pass unnoticed in their case which at the touchstone of actuality at once start into glaring prominence? Moreover, though the Faithful Shepherdess was among the first fruits of its author's genius, and though it may be contended that he never gained a complete mastery over the difficult art of dramatic construction, Fletcher early proved his familiarity with the popular demands of the romantic stage, and was far too practical a craftsman to be likely to add the dead-weight of a moral allegory to the already dangerous form of the Arcadian pastoral. The theory does not in reality bring the problem presented by Fletcher's play any nearer solution; since, if the characters are regarded solely as representing abstract ideas, such as chastity, desire, lust, they strip themselves of every shred of dramatic interest, and could not, as Fletcher must have known, stand the least chance upon the stage; while if they take to cover their nakedness however diaphanous a veil of dramatic personality, the absurdities of character and plot at once become apparent.

What truth there may be underlying this theory will, I think, be best explained upon a different hypothesis. Let us in the first place endeavour, so far as may be possible after the lapse of nearly three centuries, to realize the mental attitude of the author in approaching the composition of his play. In order to do this a closer analysis of the piece will be necessary.

The first point of importance for the interpretation of Fletcher's pastoralism is to be found in the quaintly self-confident preface which he prefixed to the printed edition. Throughout our inquiry we have observed two main types of pastoral, to one or other of which all work in this kind approaches; that, namely, in which the interest depends upon some allegorical or topical meaning lying beneath and beyond the apparent form, and that in which it is confined to the actual and obvious presentment itself. Of the former type Drayton wrote in the preface to his Pastorals: 'The subject of Pastorals, as the language of it, ought to be poor, silly, and of the coursest Woofe in appearance. Neverthelesse, the most High and most Noble Matters of the World may bee shaddowed in them, and for certaine sometimes are[268]. In his preface to the Faithful Shepherdess the author adopts the opposite position, as Daniel, in the prologue to the Queen's Arcadia, and in spite of the strongly topical nature of that piece, had done before him. Fletcher in an often-quoted passage writes: 'Understand, therefore, a pastoral to be a representation of shepherds and shepherdesses with their actions and passions, which must be such as may agree with their natures, at least not exceeding former fictions and vulgar traditions; they are not to be adorned with any art, but such improper [i.e. common] ones as nature is said to bestow, as singing and poetry; or such as experience may teach them, as the virtues of herbs and fountains, the ordinary course of the sun, moon, and stars, and such like.' His interest would, then, appear to lie in a more or less realistic representation, and he appears more concerned to enforce a reasonable propriety of character than to discover deep matters of philosophy and state. This passage alone would, therefore, make the theory we glanced at above improbable. Fletcher next proceeds, in a passage of some interest in the history of criticism: 'A tragi-comedy is not so called in respect of mirth and killing, but in respect it wants deaths, which is enough to make it no tragedy, yet brings some near it, which is enough to make it no comedy, which must be a representation of familiar people, with such kind of trouble as no life be questioned; so that a god is as lawful in this as in a tragedy, and mean people as in a comedy.' One would hardly have supposed it necessary to define tragi-comedy to the English public in 1610, and even had it been necessary, this could hardly be accepted as a very satisfactory definition. The audience, 'having ever had a singular gift in defining,' as the author sarcastically remarks, concluded a pastoral tragi-comedy 'to be a play of country hired shepherds in gray cloaks, with curtailed dogs in strings, sometimes laughing together, and sometimes killing one another'; and after all, so far as tragi-comedy is concerned, their belief was not unreasonable. Fletcher's definition is obviously borrowed from the academic criticism of the renaissance, and bears no relation to the living tradition of the English stage: since his play suggests acquaintance with Guarini's Pastor fido, it is perhaps not fantastic to imagine that in his preface he was indebted to the same author's Compendio della poesia tragicomica. What is important to note is Fletcher's concern at this point with critical theory.

Without seeking to dogmatize as to the exact extent of Fletcher's debt to individual Italian sources, it may safely be maintained that he was familiar with the writings of the masters of pastoral, and worked with his eyes open: whatever modifications he introduced into traditional characters were the result of deliberate intention. In general, two types of love may be traced in the Italian pastoral, namely the honest human desire of such characters as Mirtillo and Amarillis, Dorinda, Aminta, and the more or less close approach to mere sensuality found in Corisca and the satyrs. We nowhere find any approach to supersensuous passion, indifferent to its own consummation; Silvia and Silvio are either entirely careless, or else touched with a genuine human love. Nor are the more tumultuous sides of human passion represented, for it is impossible so to regard Corisca's love for Mirtillo, which is at bottom nothing but the cynical caprice of the courtesan, who regards her lovers merely as so many changes of garment--

Molti averne, uno goderne, e cangiar spesso.

Fletcher appears to have thought that success might lie in extending and refining upon the gamut of love. He possessed, when he set to work, no plot ready to hand capable of determining his characters, but appears to have selected what he considered a suitable variety of types to fill a pastoral stage, not because he desired to be in any way allegorical, but because in such a case it was the abstract relationship among the characters which alone could determine his choice. Having selected his characters, he further seems to have left them free to evolve a plot for themselves, a thing they signally failed to do. Thus there may be a certain truth underlying the theory with which we started, inasmuch as the characters appear to have been chosen, not for any particular dramatic business, but for certain abstract qualities, and some trace of their origin may yet cling about them in the accomplished work; but that Fletcher deliberately intended to illustrate a set of psychological conditions, not by dramatic presentation, but by the use of types and abstractions, is to my mind incredible. In the composition of his later plays he had the necessities of a given plot, incidents, or other fashioning cause, to determine the characters which it was in its turn to illustrate, and here he showed resourceful craftsmanship. In the case of the present play he had to fashion characters in vacuo and then weave them into such a plot as they might be capable of sustaining. In other words, he reversed the formai order of artistic creation, and attempted to make the abstract generate the concrete, instead of making the individual example imply, while being informed by, the fundamental idea.

So much for the formal and theoretic side of the question. A few words as to the general tone and purpose of the play. For some reason unexplained, having selected his characters, which one may almost say exhibit every form of love except a wholesome and a human one, the author deemed it necessary that the whole should redound to the praise and credit of cloistral virginity and glozing 'honour,' and whatever else of unreal sentiment the cynicism of the renaissance had grafted on the superstition of the middle age. Again comparing the Faithful Shepherdess with Fletcher's other work, we find that when he is dealing with actual men and women in his romantic plays he troubles himself little concerning the moral which it may be possible to extract from his plot; he is rightly conscious that that at all events is not the business of art: but when he comes to create in vacuo he is at once obsessed by some Platonic theory regarding the ethical aim of the poet. The victory, therefore, shall be with the powers of good, purity and vestal maidenhood shall triumph and undergo apotheosis at his hands, the world shall see how fair a monument of stainless womanhood he can erect in melodious verse. Well and good; for this is indeed an object to which no self-respecting person can take exception. There was, however, one point the importance of which the author failed to realize, namely, that this ideal which he sought to honour was one with which he was himself wholly out of sympathy. Consequently, in place of the supreme picture of womanly purity he intended, he produced what is no better than a grotesque caricature. His cynical indifference is not only evident from many of his other works, but constantly forces itself upon our attention even in the present play. The falsity of his whole position appears in the unconvincing conventionality of the patterns of chastity themselves, and in the unreality of the characters which serve them as foils--Cloe being utterly preposterous except as a study in pathlogy, and Amarillis essentially a tragic figure who can only be tolerated on condition of her real character being carefully veiled. It appears again in the utterly irrational conversion and purification of these characters, and we may further face it in the profound cynicism, all the more terrible because apparently unconscious, with which the author is content to dismiss Thenot, cured of his altruistic devotion by the shattering at one blow of all that he held most sacred in woman.

In this antagonism between Fletcher's own sympathies and the ideal he set before him seems to me to lie the key to the enigma of his play. Only one other rational solution is possible, namely that he intended the whole as an elaborate satire on all ideas of chastity whatever. It is hardly surprising, under the circumstances, that one of the most persistent false notes in the piece is that indelicacy of self-conscious virtue which we have before observed in the case of Tasso. If on the other hand we have to pronounce Fletcher free of any taint of seductive sentiment, we must nevertheless charge him with a considerable increase in that cynicism with regard to womankind in general which had by now become characteristic of the pastoral drama. We have already noticed it in the case of Tasso's 'Or, non sai tu com' è fatta la donna?' and of the words in which Corisca describes her changes of lovers, to say nothing of its appearance at the close of the Orfeo. In English poetry we find Daniel writing:

Light are their waving vailes, light their attires,
Light are their heads, and lighter their desires;
                              (Queen's Arcadia, II. iii.)

while with Fletcher the charge becomes yet more bitter. Thenot, contemplating the constancy of Clorin, is amazed

     that such virtue can
Be resident in lesser than a man, (II. ii. 83,)

or that any should be found capable of mastering the suggestions of caprice

And that great god of women, appetite. (ib. 146.)

Amarillis, courting Perigot, asks in scorn:

Still think'st thou such a thing as chastity
Is amongst women? (III. i. 297.)

The Sullen Shepherd declares of the wounded Amoret:

     Thou wert not meant,
Sure, for a woman, thou art so innocent; (ib. 358.)

and sums up his opinion of the sex in the words:

Women love only opportunity
And not the man. (ib. 127.)

So Fletcher wrote, and in the same mood the arch-cynic of a later age exclaimed:

ev'ry Woman is at heart a Rake!

But it is high time to inquire how it is, supposing the objections we have been considering to be justly chargeable against the Faithful Shepherdess, that it should ever have come to be regarded as a classic of the language, that it should be by far the most widely known of its author's works, and that we should find ourselves turning to it again and again with ever-fresh delight. The reader has doubtless already answered the question. Fletcher brought to the composition of his play a gift of easy lyric versification, a command of varied rhythm, and a felicity of phrase, allusion, recollection, and echo, such as have seldom been surpassed. The wealth of pure poetry overflowing in every scene is of power to make us readily forget the host of objections which serious criticism must raise, and revel with mere delight in the verbal melody. The play is literally crowded with incidental sketches of exquisite beauty which suggest comparison with the more set descriptions of Tasso, and flash past on the speed of the verse as the flowers of the roadside and glimpses of the distant landscape through breaks in the hedge flash for an instant on the gaze of the rider[269].

Before passing on, and in spite of the fact that the play must be familiar to most readers, I here transcribe a few of its most fascinating passages as the best defence Fletcher has to oppose to the objections of his critics. It is in truth no lame one[270].

In the opening scene Clorin, who has vowed herself to a life of chastity at the grave of her lover, is met by the satyr, who at once bows in worship of her beauty. He has been sent by Pan to fetch fruits for the entertainment of 'His paramour the Syrinx bright.' 'But behold a fairer sight!' he exclaims on seeing Clorin:

By that heavenly form of thine,
Brightest fair, thou art divine,
Sprung from great immortal race
Of the gods, for in thy face
Shines more awful majesty
Than dull weak mortality
Dare with misty eyes behold
And live. Therefore on this mould
Lowly do I bend my knee
In worship of thy deity.[271] (I. i. 58.)

The next scene takes place in the neighbourhood of the village. At the conclusion of a festival we find the priest pronouncing blessing upon the assembled people and purging them with holy water[272], after which they disperse with a song. As they are going, Perigot stays Amoret, begging her to lend an ear to his suit. He addresses her:

                Oh you are fairer far
Than the chaste blushing morn, or that fair star
That guides the wandering seaman through the deep,
Straighter than straightest pine upon the steep
Head of an agèd mountain, and more white
Than the new milk we strip before day-light
From the full-freighted bags of our fair flocks,
Your hair more beauteous than those hanging locks
Of young Apollo! (I. ii. 60.)

They agree to meet by night in the neighbouring wood, there to bind their love with mutual vows. The tryst is set where

       to that holy wood is consecrate
A virtuous well, about whose flowery banks
The nimble-footed fairies dance their rounds
By the pale moonshine, dipping oftentimes
Their stolen children, so to make them free
From dying flesh and dull mortality.
By this fair fount hath many a shepherd sworn,
And given away his freedom, many a troth
Been plight, which neither envy nor old time
Could ever break, with many a chaste kiss given
In hope of coming happiness.
By this fresh fountain many a blushing maid
Hath crown'd the head of her long-lovèd shepherd
With gaudy flowers, whilst he happy sung
Lays of his love and dear captivity. (I. ii. 99.)

Cloe, repulsed by Thenot, sings her roguishly wanton carol:

     Come, shepherds, come!
      Come away
      Without delay,
Whilst the gentle time doth stay.
   Green woods are dumb,
And will never tell to any
Those dear kisses, and those many
Sweet embraces, that are given;
Dainty pleasures, that would even
Raise in coldest age a fire
And give virgin blood desire

Then if ever,
 Now or never,
Come and have it;
 Think not I
 Dare deny
If you crave it. (I. iii. 71.)

Her fortune with the modest Daphnis is scarcely better, and she is just lamenting the coldness of men when Alexis enters and forthwith accosts her with his fervent suit. She agrees, with a pretty show of yielding modesty:

                    lend me all thy red,
Thou shame-fac'd Morning, when from Tithon's bed
Thou risest ever maiden! (ib. 176.)

The second act opens with the exquisite evensong of the priest:

Shepherds all and maidens fair,
Fold your flocks up, for the air
'Gins to thicken, and the sun
Already his great course hath run.
See the dew-drops how they kiss
Every little flower that is,
Hanging on their velvet heads
Like a rope of crystal beads;
See the heavy clouds low falling,
And bright Hesperus down calling
The dead night from under ground,
At whose rising mists unsound,
Damps and vapours fly apace,
Hovering o'er the wanton face
Of these pastures, where they come
Striking dead both bud and bloom. (II. i. 1.)

In the following scene Thenot declares to Clorin his singular passion, founded upon admiration of her constancy to her dead lover. He too can plead his love in verse of no ordinary strain:

             'Tis not the white or red
Inhabits in your cheek that thus can wed
My mind to adoration, nor your eye,
Though it be full and fair, your forehead high
And smooth as Pelops' shoulder; not the smile
Lies watching in those dimples to beguile
The easy soul, your hands and fingers long
With veins enamell'd richly, nor your tongue,
Though it spoke sweeter than Arion's harp;
Your hair woven in many a curious warp,
Able in endless error to enfold
The wandering soul; not the true perfect mould
Of all your body, which as pure doth shew
In maiden whiteness as the Alpen snow:
All these, were but your constancy away,
Would please me less than the black stormy day
The wretched seaman toiling through the deep.
But, whilst this honour'd strictness you do keep,
Though all the plagues that e'er begotten were
In the great womb of air were settled here,
In opposition, I would, like the tree,
Shake off those drops of weakness, and be free
Even in the arm of danger. (II. ii. 116.)

The last lines, however fine in themselves, are utterly out of place in the mouth of this morbid sentimentalist. They breath the brave spirit of Chapman's outburst:

Give me a spirit that on this life's rough sea
Loves t'have his sails fill'd with a lusty wind,
Even till his sail-yards tremble, his masts crack,
And his rapt ship run on her side so low
That she drinks water and her keel plows air.
                       (Byron's Conspiracy, III. i.)

Into the details of the night's adventures there is no call for us to enter; it will be sufficient to detach a few passages from their setting, which can usually be done without material injury. The whole scenery of the wood, in the densest thicket of which Pan is feasting with his mistress, while about their close retreat the satyr keeps watch and ward, mingling now and again in the action of the mortals, is strongly reminiscent of the Midsummer Night's Dream. The wild-wood minister thus describes his charge in the octosyllabic couplets which constitute such a characteristic of the play:

Now, whilst the moon doth rule the sky,
And the stars, whose feeble light
Give a pale shadow to the night,
Are up, great Pan commanded me
To walk this grove about, whilst he,
In a corner of the wood
Where never mortal foot hath stood,
Keeps dancing, music and a feast
To entertain a lovely guest;
Where he gives her many a rose
Sweeter than the breath that blows
The leaves, grapes, berries of the best;
I never saw so great a feast.
But to my charge. Here must I stay
To see what mortals lose their way,
And by a false fire, seeming-bright,
Train them in and leave them right. (III. i. 167.)

Perigot's musing when he meets Amoret and supposes her to be the transformed Amarillis is well conceived; he greets her:

         What art thou dare
Tread these forbidden paths, where death and care
Dwell on the face of darkness? (IV. iv. 15.)

while not less admirable is the pathos of Amoret's pleading; how she had

     lov'd thee dearer than mine eyes, or that
Which we esteem our honour, virgin state;
Dearer than swallows love the early morn,
Or dogs of chase the sound of merry horn;
Dearer than thou canst love thy new love, if thou hast
Another, and far dearer than the last;
Dearer than thou canst love thyself, though all
The self-love were within thee that did fall
With that coy swain that now is made a flower,
For whose dear sake Echo weeps many a shower!...
Come, thou forsaken willow, wind my head,
And noise it to the world, my love is dead! (ib. 102.)

Then again we have the lines in which the satyr heralds the early dawn:

See, the day begins to break,
And the light shoots like a streak
Of subtle fire; the wind blows cold
Whilst the morning doth unfold.
Now the birds begin to rouse,
And the squirrel from the boughs
Leaps to get him nuts and fruit;
The early lark, that erst was mute,
Carols to the rising day
Many a note and many a lay. (ib. 165.)

The last act, with its obligation to wind up such loose threads of action as have been spun in the course of the play, is perhaps somewhat lacking in passages of particular beauty, but it yields us Amarillis' prayer as she flies from the Sullen Shepherd, and the final speech of the satyr. However out of keeping with character the former of these may be, it is in itself unsurpassed:

  If there be
Ever a neighbour-brook or hollow tree,
Receive my body, close me up from lust
That follows at my heels! Be ever just,
Thou god of shepherds, Pan, for her dear sake
That loves the rivers' brinks, and still doth shake
In cold remembrance of thy quick pursuit;
Let me be made a reed, and, ever mute,
Nod to the waters' fall, whilst every blast
Sings through my slender leaves that I was chaste!
                                    (V. iii. 79.)

Lastly, we have the satyr's farewell to Clorin:

  Thou divinest, fairest, brightest,
Thou most powerful maid and whitest,
Thou most virtuous and most blessèd,
Eyes of stars, and golden-tressèd
Like Apollo; tell me, sweetest,
What new service now is meetest
For the satyr? Shall I stray
In the middle air, and stay
The sailing rack, or nimbly take
Hold by the moon, and gently make
Suit to the pale queen of night
For a beam to give thee light?
Shall I dive into the sea
And bring thee coral, making way
Through the rising waves that fall
In snowy fleeces? Dearest, shall
I catch thee wanton fawns, or flies
Whose woven wings the summer dyes
Of many colours? get thee fruit,
Or steal from heaven old Orpheus' lute?
All these I'll venture for, and more,
To do her service all these woods adore.

So I take my leave and pray
All the comforts of the day,
Such as Phoebus' heat doth send
On the earth, may still befriend
Thee and this arbour!
Clorin.         And to thee,
All thy master's love be free! (V. v. 238 and 268.)

Such then is Fletcher's play. It is in the main original so far as its own individuality is concerned, and apart from the general tradition which it follows. Its direct debt to Guarini is confined to the title and certain traits in the characters of Cloe and Amarillis. Further indebtedness has, it is true, been found to Spenser, but some hint of the transformation of Amarillis, a few names and an occasional reminiscence, make up the sum total of specific obligations. Endowed with a poetic gift which far surpassed the imitative facility of Guarini and approached the consummate art of Tasso himself, Fletcher attempted to rival the Arcadian drama of the Italians. Not content, as Daniel had been, merely to reproduce upon accepted models, he realized that some fundamental innovation was necessary. But while he adopted and justified the greater licence and range of effect allowed upon the English stage, thereby altering the form from pseudo-classical to wholly romantic, he failed in any way to touch or vitalize the inner spirit of the kind, trusting merely to lively action and lyrical jewellery to hold the attention of his audience. He failed, and it was not till some years after his death that the play, having been stamped with the approbation of the court, won a tardy recognition from the general public; and even when, after the restoration, Pepys records a successful revival in 1663, he adds that it was 'much thronged after for the scene's sake[273].'


Randolph's play, entitled 'Amyntas, or the Impossible Dowry,' belongs no doubt to the few years that intervened between the author's exchanging the academic quiet of Cambridge and the courts of Trinity, of which college he was a fellow, for the life and bustle of theatre and tavern in London about 1632, and his premature death which took place in March, 1635, before he had completed his thirtieth year. It is tempting to imagine that the revival of Fletcher's play on Twelfth Night, 1633-4, may possibly have occasioned Randolph's attempt, in which case the play must belong to the very last year of his life; but though there is nothing to make this supposition improbable, pastoral representations were far too general at that date for it to be necessary to look for any specific suggestion. The play first appeared in print in the collected edition of the author's poems edited by his brother in 1638.

Like Fletcher's play, the Amyntas is a conscious attempt at so altering the accepted type of the Arcadian pastoral as to fit it for representation on the popular stage, for though acted, as the title-page informs us, before their Majesties at Whitehall, it was probably also performed and intended by the author for performance on the public boards[274]. Yet the two experiments differ widely. Fletcher, as we have seen, while completing the romanticizing of the pastoral by employing the machinery and conventions of the English instead of the classical stage, nevertheless introduced into his play none of the diversity and breadth of interest commonly found in the romantic drama proper, and indeed the Faithful Shepherdess lacks almost entirely even that elaboration and firmness of plot which we find in the Pastor fido. Randolph, on the other hand, chose a plot closely resembling Guarini's in structure, and even retained much of the scenic arrangement of the Italian theatre. But in the complexity of action and multiplicity of incident, in the comedy of certain scenes and the substratum of pure farce in others, he introduced elements of the popular drama of a nature powerfully to affect the essence of his production. Where Fletcher substituted for a theoretic classicism an academic romanticism, Randolph insisted on treating the venerable proprieties of the pastoral according to the traditions of English melodrama.

Like the Pastor fido[275], Randolph's Amyntas is weighted with a preliminary history. Philaebus, the son of the archiflamen Pilumnus, was betrothed to the shepherdess Lalage, who, however, was captivated by the greater wealth of the shepherd Claius, upon whom she bestowed her hand. Moved by his son's grief, Pilumnus entreated Ceres' revenge on the faithless nymph, and Lalage died in giving birth to the twins Amyntas and Amarillis. This but added to Philaebus' despair, so that he died upon her tomb, and the bereft father having once more sought the aid of the goddess, the oracle pronounced the curse:

Sicilian swaines, ill luck shall long betide
To every bridegroome, and to every bride:
No sacrifice, no vow shall still mine Ire,
Till Claius blood both quench and kindle fire.
The wise shall misconceive me, and the wit
Scornd and neglected shall my meaning hit. (I. v.)

Upon this Claius fled, leaving his children in the care of his sister Thestylis. Although Philaebus was dead, two younger children remained to Pilumnus, Damon and Urania. In the course of years it fortuned that Urania and Amyntas fell in love, and though misliking of the match, Pilumnus went so far as to consult the oracle concerning his daughter's dowry. With the uncalled-for perversity characteristic of oracles the 'ompha[276]' replied:

That which thou hast not, mayst not, canst not have
Amyntas, is the Dowry that I crave:
Rest hopelesse in thy love, or else divine
To give Urania this, and she is thine.

Pondering whereon Amyntas lost his wits. In the meanwhile Amarillis had conceived an unhappy passion for Damon, who in his turn sought the love of the nymph Laurinda, having for rival Alexis.

This is the situation at the opening of the action. In the first act we find Laurinda unable or unwilling to decide between her rival lovers, and her endeavours to play them off one against the other afford some of the most amusing scenes of the piece. Learning from Thestylis of Amarillis' love for Damon, she determines on a trick whereby she hopes to make her choice without appearing to slight either of her suitors. She bids them abide by the award of the first nymph they meet at the temple in the morning, and so arranges matters that that nymph shall be Amarillis, whose love for Damon she supposes will move her to appoint Alexis for herself. In the meanwhile the banished Claius has returned, in order, having heard of Amyntas' madness, to apply such cures as he has learnt in the course of his wanderings. He is successful in his attempt, and without revealing his identity departs, having first privately obtained from Urania the promise that she will vow virginity to Ceres, lest Amyntas by puzzling afresh over the oracle should again lose his reason. The nymphs now appear at the temple, and the foremost, who is veiled, is appealed to by Damon and Alexis to give her decision. She reveals herself as Amarillis, and Damon, fearing that she will decide against him, refuses to be bound by the award of so partial an arbiter. Alexis thereupon goes off to fetch Laurinda, who shall force him to abide by his oath, while Damon in a fit of rage seeks to prevent Amarillis' verdict by slaying her. He wounds her with his spear and leaves her for dead. She recovers consciousness, however, when he has fled, and with her blood writes a letter to Laurinda bequeathing to her all interest in Damon. At this point Claius returns upon the scene, and finding her wounded applies remedies. Damon too is led back by an evil conscience, and Pilumnus likewise appears. Claius, in his anxiety to make Amarillis reveal her assassin, betrays his own identity, to the joy of his old enemy Pilumnus. Alexis now returns with Laurinda, and upon hearing the letter which Amarillis had written, Damon confesses his crime and declares that henceforth his love is for none but her. His life, however, is forfeit through his having shed blood in the holy vale, and he is led off in company with Claius to die at the altar of Ceres. In the fifth act we find all prepared for the double sacrifice, when Amyntas enters, and bidding Pilumnus stay his hand, claims to expound the oracle. Claius' blood, he argues, has been already shed in Amarillis, and has quenched the fire of Damon's love for Laurinda, rekindling it again to Amarillis' self. Moreover, had not the oracle warned them that the recognized guardians of wisdom would fail to interpret truly, and that such a scorned wit as that of the 'mad Amyntas' would discover the meaning? Furthermore, he argues that since Amarillis was the victim the goddess aimed at, her blood might without sin be shed even in the holy vale, while Damon is of the priestly stock to which that office justly pertained. Thus Claius and Damon are alike spoken free, and Sicily is relieved of the goddess' curse. While the general rejoicing is at its height, Urania is brought in to take her vestal vows at the altar. In spite of her lover's remonstrance she kneels before the shrine and addresses her prayer to the goddess. At length the appeased deity deigns to answer, and in a gracious echo reveals the solution of the enigma of the dowry--a husband.

This plot is a mingling of comedy in the scenes of Laurinda's 'wavering'[277] and the 'humours' of Amyntas' madness, and of tragi-comedy in the catastrophe. But besides this there is what may best be described as an antiplot of pure farce, in which the main character is the roguish page Dorylas, who in the guise of Oberon robs Jocastus' orchard, tricks Thestylis into marrying the foolish augur, and gulls everybody all round. The humour of this portion of the piece may be occasionally a trifle broad and at the same time childish, but there is nevertheless no denying the genuineness of the quality, while the verse is as a rule sparkling, and the dialogue both racy and pointed, occasionally displaying qualities hardly to be described as other than brilliant.

This comic subplot obviously owes nothing to Guarini, but is introduced in accordance with the usage of the English popular drama, and is grafted somewhat boldly on to the conventional stock. Dorylas is one of the most inimitable and successful of the descendants of Lyly's pages; while the characters of Mopsus and Jocastus, although the former no doubt owes his conception to a hint in the Aminta, belong essentially to the English romantic farce. The scenes in which the page appears as Oberon surrounded by his court recall the introduction of the 'mortal fairies' of the Merry Wives, and that in which Amyntas' 'deluded fancy' takes the augur for a hound of Actaeon's breed may owe something to a passage in King Lear. But even apart from the elements of farce and comedy there are important aspects in which the Amyntas severs itself from the stricter tradition of the Italian pastoral. Randolph, while adopting the machinery and much of the scenic environment of Guarini's play, made certain not unimportant alterations in the dramatic construction, tending towards greater variety and complicity. In the Pastor fido the four main characters, though they ultimately resolve themselves into two pairs, are throughout interdependent, and their story forms but a single plot. That the play should have needed a double solution, the events that bring two couples together having no connexion with one another, was a dramatic blunder but imperfectly concealed by the fact that Silvio and Dorinda are purely secondary, the whole interest being concentrated on the fortunes of Mirtillo and Amarilli. In Randolph's play, on the other hand, there are no less than six important characters. These are divided into two groups, each with an independent plot, one of which contains a telling though somewhat conventional περιπέτεια, while the other, though possessing originality and pathos, is lacking in dramatic possibilities. Thus each supplies the elements wanting in the other, and if woven together harmoniously, should have been capable of forming the basis of a well-constructed play. The first of these groups consists of Laurinda, Alexis, Damon, and Amarillis, the last two being really the dramatically important ones, though their fortunes are connected throughout. It is Laurinda's choice of Alexis that leads to the union of Damon and Amarillis, and it is not till Damon has unconsciously fulfilled the oracle and been freed by its interpretation, that the loves of Laurinda and Alexis can hope for a happy event. Thus Randolph has at least not fallen into the error by which Guarini introduced a double catastrophe into a single plot, though he has not altogether avoided a somewhat similar danger. This is due to the other group above mentioned, consisting of Amyntas and Urania, who, so far as the plot is concerned, are absolutely independent of the other characters. Their own story is essentially undramatic, although it possesses qualities which would make it effective in narrative; and it is, moreover, wholly unaffected by the solution of the other plot. This is obviously a weak place in the construction of the play, but the author has shown great resource in meeting the difficulty. First, by placing the interpretation of the oracle in the mouth of Amyntas, who must yet himself remain hopeless amid the general rejoicing, he has produced a figure of considerable dramatic effect, and so kept the attention of the audience braced, and stayed the relaxing effect of the anti-climax. Secondly, he has amused the spectators with some excellent fooling until, while Io and Paean are yet resounding, it is possible to crown the whole by the solution of the second oracle, and send the hero and his love to join the others in the festive throng. The imperfection of plot is there, but the author has been skilful in concealing it, and it may well be that his success would appear all the greater were his play to be put to the real test of dramatic composition by being actually placed on the boards.

But there is yet another point in which the Amyntas differs not only from its Italian model but from its English predecessors likewise. This is a certain genially humorous conception of the whole, quite apart from and beyond the mere introduction of comedy and farce, which we have never found so marked before, and which has indeed been painfully absent from the pastoral since Tasso penned the final chorus of the Aminta. This humorous tone is never harshly forced upon the attention, and consists, in a measure, merely in the fact of the comic business constantly elbowing the serious action, and thus saving the latter from the danger of becoming stilted and pretentions--a fault not less commonly and quite as justly charged against pastoral literature as that of artificiality. A leaven of humour is the great safeguard against an author taking either himself or his creations too seriously. Randolph's Amyntas, it is true, renounces the high ideality of its predecessors, of the Aminta and the Pastor fido, of Hymen's Triumph and the Faithful Shepherdess; but it makes up for it by human sanity of feeling and expression, by good humour and by wit. It is, moreover, genuinely diverting. Here at least we find no endeavour to attain to the importance and solemnity of a classical tragedy as with Guarini, nor a striving after an utterly unreal, unsympathetic and impossible ideal as with Fletcher. It is, moreover, noticeable and eminently to the credit of the author that the comic scenes, even when somewhat extravagant alike in tone and proportion, seldom clash unpleasantly with the more serious passages, nor derogate from the interest and dignity of the whole.

The play has generally met with a far from deserved neglect, owing in part no doubt to the singular failure on the part of most critics to apprehend correctly the nature and conditions of pastoral poetry.[278] Mr. W. C. Hazlitt, who edited Randolph's works in 1875, does not so much as mention the play in the perfunctory introduction, in which he chiefly follows the extravagant, pedantic, and utterly worthless article in the sixth volume of the Retrospective Review.[279] The merits of the piece have been somewhat more fully recognized by Dr. Ward and Mr. Homer Smith, but the treatment accorded the play by the former is necessarily scanty, while that of the latter is inaccurate. Throughout a tendency is manifest to find fault with the artificiality of the piece, and to blame the author for not representing the true 'simplicity' of pastoral life. That the pastoral tradition was a wholly impossible, not to say an absurd one, bearing no true relation to nature at all, may be admitted; and it may be lamented by such as love to shed bitter tears because the sandy shore is not a well-swept parquet, or because anything you please is not something else to which it bears not the smallest resemblance. It may or may not be unfortunate that Randolph should have elected to write more pastorali, but to censure the individual work because it is not of a type to which its author never had the remotest intention of making it conform, and to which except for something like a miracle it was impossible that it should even approach, is the acme of critical fatuity. Judged in accordance with the intention of the author the Amyntas is no inconsiderable achievement for a young writer, and compared with other works belonging to the same tradition it occupies a highly respectable place. With Tasso's Aminta and Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess it cannot, in point of poetic merit, for one moment compare, falling as far below them in this as it surpasses them in complexity and general suitability of dramatic construction. A fairer comparison may be made between it and the Pastor fido in Italian or Hymen's Triumph in English, and here again, though certainly with regard to the former and probably with regard to the latter it stands second as poetry, as a play it is decidedly better suited than either for representation on the stage--at least on a stage with the traditions and conventions which prevailed in this country in the author's day.

It is then in the matter of the poetical quality of the verse that Randolph's play appears to least advantage. Living in a polished and cultured literary circle at Cambridge, and enjoying after his remove to London the congenial fellowship of the tribe of Ben, he naturally attained the ease and skill necessary to maintain a respectable level of composition, but he was sparing of the higher flights. He seldom strikes the attention by those purple patches which make many of his contemporaries so quotable, yet, while by no means monotonously correct, it is equally seldom that he sinks much below his general level. The dialogue is on the whole natural and easy, and at the same time crisp and pointed. A few of the more distinctively poetic and imaginative passages may be quoted, in order to give some idea of the style. Laurinda thus appoints a choice to her brace of lovers:

I have protested never to disclose
Which 'tis that best I love: But the first Nymph,
As soone as Titan guilds the Easterne hills,
And chirping birds, the Saints-bell of the day,
Ring in our eares a warning to devotion--
That lucky damsell what so e're she be
[That first shall meet you from the temple gate][280]
Shall be the Goddesse to appoint my love,
To say, 'Laurinda this shall be your choice':
And both shall sweare to stand to her award! (III. i.)

Another passage of deliberate poetic elaboration is the monologue of Claius on once again treading his native soil:

I see the smoake steame from the Cottage tops,
The fearfull huswife rakes the embers up,
All hush to bed. Sure, no man will disturbe mee.
O blessed vally! I the wretched Claius
Salute thy happy soyle, I that have liv'd
Pelted with angry curses in a place
As horrid as my griefes, the Lylibaean mountaines,
These sixteene frozen winters; there have I
Beene with rude out-lawes, living by such sinnes
As runne o' th' score with justice 'gainst my prayers and wishes:
And when I would have tumbled down a rock,
Some secret powre restrain'd me. (III. ii.)

By far the greater part of the play is in blank verse, but in a few passages, particularly in certain dialogues tending to stichomythia, the verse is pointed, so to speak, with rime. The following is a graceful example in a somewhat conceited vein; the transition, moreover, from blank to rimed measure has an appearance of natural ease. The rivals are awaiting the arbitrement of their love:

Alexis. How early, Damon,
Doe lovers rise!...

Damon. No Larkes so soon, Alexis.

Al. He that of us shall have Laurinda, Damon,
Will not be up so soone: ha! would you Damon?

Da. Alexis, no; but if I misse Laurinda,
My sleepe shall be eternall.

Al. I much wonder the Sunne so soone can rise!

Da. Did he lay his head in faire Laurinda's lap,
We should have but short daies.

Al.                      No summer, Damon.

Da. Thetis[281] to her is browne.

Al.                              And he doth rise
From her to gaze on faire Laurinda's eyes....

Da. I heare no noise of any yet that move.

Al. Devotion's not so early up as love.

Da. See how Aurora blushes! we suppose
Where Tithon lay to night.

Al.                 That modest rose
He grafted there.

Da. O heaven, 'tis all I seeke,
To make that colour in Laurinda's cheeke. (IV. iv.)

A more tragic note is struck in the speech in which Claius retorts on Pilumnus after his discovery:

I, glut your hate, Pilumnus; let your soule
That has so long thirsted to drinke my blood,
Swill till my veines are empty;... I have stood
Long like a fatall oake, at which great Jove
Levels his thunder; all my boughes long since
Blasted and wither'd; now the trunke falls too.
Heaven end thy wrath in mee! (IV. viii.)

In some of these 'high tragical endeavours,' and notably in Damon's confession, we do indeed find a certain stiltedness, but even here there rings a true note of pathos in the farewell:

I goe to write my story of repentance
With the same inke, wherewith thou wrotes before
The legend of thy love. (IV. ix.)

These passages will serve to give a fair and not unfavourable impression of the style, but I have reserved for separate consideration what I consider to be the most striking portions of the play. The first of these is the string of Latin songs in which the would-be elves comment on their nefarious proceedings in Jocastus' orchard. I quote certain stanzas only:

Nos beata Fauni Proles,
Quibus non est magna moles,
Quamvis Lunam incolamus,
Hortos saepe frequentamus.

Furto cuncta magis bella,
Furto dulcior Puella,
Furto omnia decora,
Furto poma dulciora.

Cum mortales lecto jacent,
Nobis poma noctu placent;
Illa tamen sunt ingrata,
Nisi furto sint parata.

Oberon, descende citus,
Ne cogaris hinc invitus;
Canes audio latrantes,
Et mortales vigilantes.

I domum, Oberon, ad illas
Quae nos manent nunc ancillas,
Quarum osculemur sinum,
Inter poma, lac et vinum. (III. iv.)

To discuss verses such as these seriously is impossible. The dog-Latin of the fellow of Trinity is inimitable, while there is a peculiarly roguish delicacy about his humour. In the admirable ease with which the words are adapted to the sense, the songs are unsurpassed except by the very best of the carmina vagorum. Lastly, as undoubtedly the finest passage of the play, and as one that must give us pause when we would deny to 'prince Randolph' the gifts requisite for the higher imaginative drama, I must quote the scene in which the distracted Amyntas fancies that in his endless search for the 'impossible dowry' he has arrived on the shores of Styx and boarded Charon's bark.

Amyntas. Row me to hell!--no faster? I will have thee
Chain'd unto Pluto's gallies!

Urania.                Why to hell,
My deere Amyntas?

Amyntas.    Why? to borrow mony!

Amarillis. Borrow there?

Amy. I, there! they say there be more Usurers there
Then all the world besides.--See how the windes
Rise! Puffe, puffe Boreas.--What a cloud comes yonder!
Take heed of that wave, Charon! ha? give mee
The oares!--So, so: the boat is overthrown;
Now Charons drown'd, but I will swim to shore....
My armes are weary;--now I sinke, I sinke!
Farewell Urania ... Styx, I thank thee! That curld wave
Hath tos'd mee on the shore.--Come Sysiphus,
I'll rowle thy stone a while: mee thinkes this labour
Doth looke like Love! does it not so, Tysiphone?

Ama. Mine is that restlesse toile.

Amy. Is't so, Erynnis?
You are an idle huswife, goe and spin
At poore Ixions wheele!

Ura.             Amyntas!

Amy.                      Ha? Am I known here?

Ura.       Amyntas, deere Amyntas--

Amy. Who calls Amyntas? beauteous Proserpine?
'Tis shee.--Fair Empresse of th' Elysian shades,
Ceres bright daughter intercede for mee,
To thy incensed mother: prithee bid her
Leave talking riddles, wilt thou?... Queene of darknesse,
Thou supreme Lady of eternall night,
Grant my petitions! wilt thou beg of Ceres
That I may have Urania?

Ura.             Tis my praier,
And shall be ever, I will promise thee
Shee shall have none but him.

Amy.                   Thankes Proserpine!

Ura. Come sweet Amyntas, rest thy troubled head
Here in my lap.--Now here I hold at once
My sorrow and my comfort.--Nay, ly still.

Amy. I will, but Proserpine--

Ura.                          Nay, good Amyntas--

Amy. Should Pluto chance to spy me, would not hee
Be jealous of me?

Ura.   No.

Amy.   Tysiphone,
Tell not Urania of it, least she feare
I am in love with Proserpine: doe not Fury!

Ama. I will not.

Ura.             Pray ly still!

Amy.                            You Proserpine,
There is in Sicilie the fairest Virgin
That ever blest the land, that ever breath'd
Sweeter than Zephyrus! didst thou never heare
Of one Urania?

Ura.    Yes.

Amy.         This poore Urania
Loves an unfortunate sheapheard, one that's mad, Tysiphone,
Canst thou believe it? Elegant Urania--
I cannot speak it without tears--still loves
Amyntas, the distracted mad Amyntas.
Is't not a constant Nymph?--But I will goe
And carry all Elysium on my back,
And that shall be her joynture.

Ura.                     Good Amyntas,
Rest here a while!

Amy.        Why weepe you Proserpine?

Ura. Because Urania weepes to see Amyntas
So restlesse and unquiet.

Amy.               Does shee so?
Then will I ly as calme as doth the sea,
When all the winds are lock'd in Aeolus jayle;
I will not move a haire, not let a nerve
Or Pulse to beat, least I disturbe her! Hush,--
Shee sleepes!

Ura.   And so doe you.

Amy.                   You talk too loud,
You'l waken my Urania.

Ura.            If Amyntas,
Her deere Amyntas would but take his rest,
Urania could not want it.

Amy.               Not so loud! (II. iv.)

It was no ordinary imagination that conceived this example of the grotesque in the service of the pathetic.

I have endeavoured in the above account to do a somewhat tardy justice to the considerable and rather remarkably sustained qualities of Randolph's play. I do not claim that as poetry it can be compared with the work of Tasso, Fletcher, or Jonson, or that it even rivals that of Guarini or Daniel, though had Randolph lived he might easily have surpassed the latter. But I do claim that the Amyntas is one of the most interesting and important of the experiments which English writers made in the pastoral drama, that it possesses dramatic qualities to which few of its kind can pretend, and that pervading and transforming the whole is the genial humour and the sparkling wit of its brilliant and short-lived author. His pastoral muse was a hearty buxom lass, and kind withal, not overburdened with modesty, yet wholesome and cleanly, and if at times her laugh rings out where the subject passes the natural enjoyment of kind, it is even then careless and merry, and there is often a ground of real fun in the jest. Her finest qualities are a sharp and ready wit and a wealth of imaginative pathos, alike pervaded by her bubbling humour; on the other hand there are moments, if rare, when in an ill-considered attempt to assume the buskin tread she reveals in her paste-board fustian somewhat of the unregeneracy of the plebian trull. The time may yet come when Randolph's reputation, based upon his other works--the Jealous Lovers, a Plautine comedy, clever, but preposterous in more ways than one, the Muses' Looking Glass, a perfectly undramatic morality of humours, and the poems, generally witty, occasionally graceful, and more than occasionally improper--will be enhanced by the recognition of the fact that he came nearer than any other writer to reconciling a kind of pastoral with the temper of the English stage. It was at least in part due to a constitutional indifference on the part of the London public to the loves and sorrows of imaginary swains and nymphs, that Randolph's play failed to leave any appreciable mark upon our dramatic literature.[282]


In Jonson's Sad Shepherd we find ourselves once again considering a work which is not only one of very great interest in the history of pastoral, but which at the same time raises important questions of literary criticism. So far the most interesting compositions we have had to consider--Daniel's Hymen's Triumph, Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, Randolph's Amyntas--have been attempts either to transplant the Italian pastoral as it stood, or else so to modify and adapt as to fit it to the very different conditions of the English stage. Jonson, on the other hand, aimed at nothing less than the creation of an English pastoral drama. Except for such comparatively unimportant works as Gallathea and the Converted Robber,[283] the spectators found themselves, for the first time, on English soil. In spite of the occasional reminiscences of Theocritus and the Arcadian erudition concerning the 'Lovers Scriptures,' the nature of the characters is largely English. The names are not those of pastoral tradition, but rather of the popular romance, Aeglamour, Lionel, Clarion, Mellifleur, Amie, or more homely, yet without Spenser's rusticity, Alken; while the one name of learned origin is a coining of Jonson's own, Earine, the spirit of the spring. The silvan element, which had been variously present since Tasso styled his play favola boschereccia, was used by Jonson to admirable purpose in the introduction of Robin Hood and his crew. A new departure was made in the conjoining of the rustic and burlesque elements with the supernatural, in the persons of the witch Maudlin, her familiar Puck-hairy, her son the rude swineherd Lorel, and her daughter Douce the proud. In every case Jonson appropriated and adapted an already familiar element, but he did so in a manner to fashion out of the thumbed conventions of a hackneyed tradition something fresh and original and new.

Unfortunately the play is but half finished, or, at any rate, but half is at present extant. The fragment, as we have it, was first published, some years after the author's death, in the second volume of the folio of 1640, and the questions as to whether it was ever finished and to what date the composition should be assigned are too intricate to be entered upon here. Suffice it to say that no conclusive arguments exist for supposing that more of the play ever existed than what we now possess, nor that what exists was written very long before the author's death. It is conceivable that the play may contain embedded in it fragments of earlier pastoral work, but the attempt to identify it with the lost May Lord has little to recommend it.[284] Seeing that the play is far from being as generally familiar as its poetic merit deserves, I may be allowed to give a more or less detailed analysis of it in this place.[285]

After a prologue in which Jonson gives his views on pastoral with characteristic self-confidence, the Sad Shepherd, Aeglamour, appears, lamenting in a brief monologue the loss of his love Earine, who is supposed to have been drowned in the Trent.

Here she was wont to goe! and here! and here!
Just where those Daisies, Pincks, and Violets grow:
The world may find the Spring by following her;
For other print her aerie steps neere left. (I. i.)

He retires at the approach of Marian and the huntsmen, who are about to fetch of the king's venison for the feast at which Robin Hood is to entertain the shepherds of the vale of Belvoir. When they have left the stage Aeglamour comes forward and resumes his lament in a strain of melancholic madness. He is again interrupted by the approach of Robin Hood, who enters at the head of the assembled shepherds and country maidens. Robin welcomes his guests, and his praise of rustic sports calls forth from Friar Tuck the well-known diatribe against the 'sourer sort of shepherds,' in which Jonson vented his bitterness against the hypocritical pretensions of the puritan reformers--a passage which yields, in biting satire, neither to his own presentation in the Alchemist nor to Quarles' scathing burlesque quoted on an earlier page. As they discourse they become aware of Aeglamour sitting moodily apart, unheeding them. He talks to himself like a madman.

          It will be rare, rare, rare!
An exquisite revenge: but peace, no words!
Not for the fairest fleece of all the Flock:
If it be knowne afore, 'tis all worth nothing!
Ile carve it on the trees, and in the turfe,
On every greene sworth, and in every path,
Just to the Margin of the cruell Trent;
There will I knock the story in the ground,
In smooth great peble, and mosse fill it round,
Till the whole Countrey read how she was drown'd;
And with the plenty of salt teares there shed,
Quite alter the complexion of the Spring.
Or I will get some old, old Grandam thither,
Whose rigid foot but dip'd into the water,
Shall strike that sharp and suddaine cold throughout,
As it shall loose all vertue; and those Nimphs,
Those treacherous Nimphs pull'd in Earine;
Shall stand curl'd up, like Images of Ice;
And never thaw! marke, never! a sharpe Justice.
Or stay, a better! when the yeares at hottest,
And that the Dog-starre fomes, and the streame boiles,
And curles, and workes, and swells ready to sparkle;
To fling a fellow with a Fever in,
To set it all on fire, till it burne,
Blew as Scamander, 'fore the walls of Troy,
When Vulcan leap'd in to him, to consume him. (I. v.)

Robin now accosts him, hoping, since his vengeance is so complete, that he will consent to join his fellows in honouring the spring. At this his distracted fancy breaks out afresh:

A Spring, now she is dead: of what, of thornes?
Briars, and Brambles? Thistles? Burs, and Docks?
Cold Hemlock? Yewgh? the Mandrake, or the Boxe?
These may grow still; but what can spring betide?
Did not the whole Earth sicken, when she died?
As if there since did fall one drop of dew,
But what was wept for her! or any stalke
Did beare a Flower! or any branch a bloome,
After her wreath was made. In faith, in faith,
You doe not faire, to put these things upon me,
Which can in no sort be: Earine,
Who had her very being, and her name,
With the first knots, or buddings of the Spring,
Borne with the Primrose, and the Violet,
Or earliest Roses blowne: when Cupid smil'd,
And Venus led the Graces out to dance,
And all the Flowers, and Sweets in Natures lap,
Leap'd out, and made their solemne Conjuration,
To last, but while shee liv'd. Doe not I know,
How the Vale wither'd the same Day?... that since,
No Sun, or Moone, or other cheerfull Starre
Look'd out of heaven! but all the Cope was darke,
As it were hung so for her Exequies!
And not a voice or sound, to ring her knell,
But of that dismall paire, the scritching Owle,
And buzzing Hornet! harke, harke, harke, the foule
Bird! how shee flutters with her wicker wings!
Peace, you shall heare her scritch. (ib.)

To distract him Karoline sings a song. But after all he is but mad north-north-west, and though he would study the singer's conceits 'as a new philosophy,' he also thinks to pay the singer.

Some of these Nimphs here will reward you; this,
This pretty Maid, although but with a kisse;

          [Forces Amie to kiss Karolin.
Liv'd my Earine, you should have twenty,
For every line here, one; I would allow 'hem
From mine owne store, the treasure I had in her:
Now I am poore as you. (ib.)

There follows a charming scene in which Marian, returning with the quarry, relates the fortunes of the chase, and proceeds, amid Robin's interruptions, to tell how 'at his fall there hapt a chance worth mark.'

Robin. I! what was that, sweet Marian?     [Kisses her.

Marian.             You'll not heare?

Rob. I love these interruptions in a Story; [Kisses her again
They make it sweeter.

Mar.        You doe know, as soone
As the Assay is taken-- [Kisses her again.

Rob.          On, my Marian.
I did but take the Assay. (I. vi.)

To cut the story short, while the deer was breaking up, there

          sate a Raven On a sere bough! a growne great Bird! and Hoarse!

crying for its bone with such persistence that the superstitious huntsmen swore it was none other than the witch, an opinion confirmed by Scathlock's having since beheld old Maudlin in the chimney corner, broiling the very piece that had been thrown to the raven. Marian now proposes to the shepherdesses to go and view the deer, whereupon Amie complains that she is not well, 'sick,' as her brother Lionel jestingly explains, 'of the young shepherd that bekiss'd her.' They go off the stage, and the huntsmen and shepherds still argue for a while of the strange chance, when Marian reappears, seemingly in ill-humour, insults Robin and his guests, orders Scathlock to carry the deer as a gift to Mother Maudlin, and departs, leaving all in amazement. In the next act Maudlin relates to her daughter Douce how it was she who, in the guise of Marian, thus gulled Robin and his guests out of their venison and brought discord into their feast. Douce is clad in the dress of Earine, who, it now appears, was not drowned, but is imprisoned by the witch in a hollow tree, and destined by her as her son Lorel's mistress. The swineherd now enters with the object of wooing the imprisoned damsel, whom he releases from the tree, Maudlin and Douce retiring the while to watch his success, which is small. Baffled, he again shuts the girl up in her natural cell, and his mother, coming forward, rates him soundly for his clownish ways, reading him a lecture for his guidance in his intercourse with women, in which she seems little concerned by the presence of her daughter. This latter, so far as it is possible to judge from the few speeches assigned to her in the fragment, appears to be of a more agreeable nature than one might, under the circumstances, have expected. Jonson sought, it would appear, to invest her with a certain pathos, presenting a character of natural good feeling, but in which no moral instinct has ever been awakened; and it is by no means improbable that he may have intended to dissociate her from her surroundings in order to balance the numbers of his nymphs and swains.[286] After Lorel has left them, Maudlin shows Douce the magic girdle, by virtue of which she effects her transformations, and by which she may always be recognized through her disguises. In the next scene we find Amie suffering from the effect of Karol's kiss. She is ill at ease, she knows not why, and the innocent description of her love-pain possesses, in spite of its quaint artificiality, something of the naïveté of Daphnis and Chloe.

How often, when the Sun, heavens brightest birth,
Hath with his burning fervour cleft the earth,
Under a spreading Elme, or Oake, hard by
A coole cleare fountaine, could I sleeping lie,
Safe from the heate? but now, no shadie tree,
Nor purling brook, can my refreshing bee?
Oft when the medowes were growne rough with frost,
The rivers ice-bound, and their currents lost,
My thick warme fleece, I wore, was my defence,
Or large good fires, I made, drave winter thence.
But now, my whole flocks fells, nor this thick grove,
Enflam'd to ashes, can my cold remove;
It is a cold and heat, that doth out-goe
All sense of Winters, and of Summers so. (II. iv.)

To the shepherdesses enters Robin, who upbraids Marian for her late conduct towards him and his guests. She of course protests ignorance of the whole affair, bids Scathlock fetch again the venison, and remains unconvinced of Robin's being in earnest, till Maudlin herself comes to thank her for the gift. Marian endeavours to treat with the witch, and begs her to return the venison sent through some mistake, but Maudlin declares that she has already departed it among her poor neighbours. At this moment, however, Scathlock returns with the deer on his shoulders, to the discomfiture of the witch, who curses the feast, and after tormenting poor Amie, who between sleeping and waking betrays the origin of her disease, departs in an evil humour. The scene is noteworthy for its delicate comedy and pathos.

Amie [asleep]. O Karol, Karol, call him back againe ...
O', ô.

Marian. How is't Amie?

Melifleur.       Wherefore start you?

Amie. O' Karol, he is faire, and sweet.

Maud.             What then?
Are there not flowers as sweet, and faire, as men?
The Lillie is faire! and Rose is sweet!

Amie.               I', so!
Let all the Roses, and the Lillies goe:
Karol is only faire to mee!

Mar.          And why?

Amie. Alas, for Karol, Marian, I could die.
Karol he singeth sweetly too!

Maud.          What then?
Are there not Birds sing sweeter farre, then Men?

Amie. I grant the Linet, Larke, and Bul-finch sing,
But best, the deare, good Angell of the Spring,
The Nightingale.

Maud.      Then why? then why, alone,
Should his notes please you? ...

Amie. This verie morning, but--I did bestow--
It was a little 'gainst my will, I know--
A single kisse, upon the seelie Swaine,
And now I wish that verie kisse againe.
His lip is softer, sweeter then the Rose,
His mouth, and tongue with dropping honey flowes;
The relish of it was a pleasing thing.

Maud. Yet like the Bees it had a little sting.

Amie. And sunke, and sticks yet in my marrow deepe
And what doth hurt me, I now wish to keepe. (II. vi.)

After this exhibition of her malice the shepherds and huntsmen no longer doubt that it was Maudlin herself who deceived them in the shape of Marian, and they determine to pursue her through the forest. The wise shepherd, Alken, undertakes the direction of this novel 'blast of venerie,' and thus discourses of her unhallowed haunts: /p Within a gloomie dimble shee doth dwell, Downe in a pitt, ore-growne with brakes and briars, Close by the ruines of a shaken Abbey Torne, with an Earth-quake, down unto the ground; 'Mongst graves, and grotts, neare an old Charnell house, Where you shall find her sitting in her fourme, As fearfull, and melancholique, as that Shee is about; with Caterpillers kells, And knottie Cobwebs, rounded in with spells. Thence shee steales forth to releif, in the foggs, And rotten Mistes, upon the fens, and boggs, Downe to the drowned Lands of Lincolneshire. .....[There] the sad Mandrake growes, Whose grones are deathfull! the dead-numming Night-shade! The stupifying Hemlock! Adders tongue! And Martagan! the shreikes of lucklesse Owles, Wee heare! and croaking Night-Crowes in the aire! Greene-bellied Snakes! blew fire-drakes in the skie! And giddie Flitter-mice, with lether wings! The scalie Beetles, with their habergeons, That make a humming Murmur as they flie! There, in the stocks of trees, white Faies doe dwell, And span-long Elves, that dance about a poole, With each a little Changeling, in their armes! The airie spirits play with falling starres, And mount the Sphere of fire, to kisse the Moone! While, shee sitts reading by the Glow-wormes light, Or rotten wood, o're which the worme hath crept, The banefull scedule of her nocent charmes. (II. viii.)

In the third act we are introduced to Puck-hairy, who laments his lot as the familiar of the malignant witch in whose service he has now to 'firk it like a goblin' about the woods. Meanwhile Karol meets Douce in the dress of Earine, who, however, runs off on the approach of Aeglamour. The latter fancies she is the ghost of his drowned love, and falls into a 'superstitious commendation' of her. His delusions are conceived in a vein no less happy and more distinctly poetical than those of Amyntas.

But shee, as chaste as was her name, Earine,
Dy'd undeflowr'd: and now her sweet soule hovers,
Here, in the Aire, above us; and doth haste
To get up to the Moone, and Mercury;
And whisper Venus in her Orbe; then spring
Up to old Saturne, and come downe by Mars,
Consulting Jupiter; and seate her selfe
Just in the midst with Phoebus, tempring all
The jarring Spheeres, and giving to the World
Againe, his first and tunefull planetting!
O' what an age will here be of new concords!
Delightfull harmonie! to rock old Sages,
Twice infants, in the Cradle o' Speculation,
And throw a silence upon all the creatures!...
The loudest Seas, and most enraged Windes
Shall lose their clangor; Tempest shall grow hoarse;
Loud Thunder dumbe; and every speece of storme
Laid in the lap of listning Nature, husht,
To heare the changed chime of this eighth spheere! (III. ii.)

After this Lionel appears in search of Karol, who is in requisition for the distressed Amie. They are about to go off together when Maudlin again appears in the shape of Marian, with the news that Amie is recovered and their presence no longer required. At this moment, however, Robin appears, and suspecting the witch, who tries to escape, seizes her by the girdle and runs off the stage with her. The girdle breaks, and Robin returns with it in his hand, followed by the witch in her own shape. Robin and the shepherds go off with the prize, while Maudlin summons Puck to her aid and sets to plotting revenge. Lorel also appears for the purpose of again addressing himself to his imprisoned mistress, and, if necessary, putting his mother's precepts into practice. With the words of the witch:

          Gang thy gait, and try
Thy turnes with better luck, or hang thy sel';

the fragment breaks off abruptly. From the Argument prefixed to Act III we know that Lorel's purpose with Earine was interrupted by the entrance of Clarion and Aeglamour, and her discovery was only prevented by a sudden mist called up by Maudlin. The witch then set about the recovery of her girdle, was tracked by the huntsmen as she wove her spells, but escaped by the help of her goblin and through the over-eagerness of her pursuers.

Strangely different estimates have been formed of the merits of Jonson's pastoral, alike in itself and in contrast with Fletcher's play. Gifford, who, in spite of his vast erudition, seldom soared in his critical judgements above the more obvious and conventional considerations of propriety and style, praised the work as 'natural and elegant' in thought, and in language 'inexpressibly beautiful,' while at the same time with the petty insolence which habitually marked his utterances concerning any who stood in rivalry with his hero, he referred to the Faithful Shepherdess as being 'insufferably tedious' as a poem, and held that as a drama 'its heaviness can only be equalled by its want of art.' Gifford's spleen, however, had evidently been aroused by Weber, who had declared the Sad Shepherd to be written 'in emulation of Fletcher's poem, but far short of it,' and his remarks must not be taken too seriously. Two quotations will serve to illustrate the diversity of opinion among modern critics. They display alike more condescension to particulars and greater weight of judgement. Thus we find Mr. Swinburne, in his very able study of Ben Jonson, not a little disgusted at the introduction of the broader humour and burlesque of the dialect-speaking characters, Maudlin, Lorel, Scathlock, in conjunction with the greater refinement of Robin, Marian, and the shepherds. 'A masque including an antimasque, in which the serious part is relieved and set off by the introduction of parody or burlesque, was a form of art or artificial fashion in which incongruity was a merit; the grosser the burlesque, the broader the parody, the greater was the success and the more effective was the result: but in a dramatic attempt of higher pretention than such as might be looked for in the literary groundwork or raw material for a pageant, this intrusion of incongruous contrast is a pure barbarism--a positive solecism in composition.... On the other hand, even Gifford's editorial enthusiasm could not overestimate the ingenious excellence of construction, the masterly harmony of composition, which every reader of the argument must have observed with such admiration as can but intensify his regret that scarcely half of the projected poem has come down to us. No work of Ben Jonson's is more amusing and agreeable to read, as none is more graceful in expression or more excellent in simplicity of style.' This last is high meed of praise, but it is the question raised in the earlier portion of the criticism that now particularly concerns us. His love of strong contrasts has no doubt influenced Mr. Swinburne to express at any rate not less than he felt, but he has raised a perfectly clear and evident issue, and one which it is impossible for the critic to neglect. Although had the play undergone final revision, it is possible that Jonson, whose literary judgement was of no mean order, would have softened some of the harsher contrasts in his work, it is evident that they were in the main intentional and deliberately calculated. This appears alike from the prologue, in which he denounces the heresy

That mirth by no meanes fits a Pastorall,

as also from what we gather concerning an earlier work, in which he introduced 'clownes making mirth and foolish sports,' as recorded by Drummond. As against Mr. Swinburne's view may be set that of Dr. Ward. 'In The Sad Shepherd [Jonson] has with singular freshness caught the spirit of the greenwood. If this pastoral is more realistic in texture than either Spenser's or Milton's efforts in the same direction, the result is due, partly to the character of the writer, partly to the circumstance that Jonson's "shepherds" are beings of a definite age and country. It must, however, be observed that the personages in this pastoral are in part not shepherds at all, but Robin Hood and his merry men. We may admit that the lucky combination thus hit upon could probably not easily be repeated; but this is merely to acknowledge the felicity of the author's invention.' Allowing for the difference of temper in the two writers, it will be seen that the view taken of certain essentials of the piece is as favourable in the one case as it is unfavourable in the other. Both alike are critics of recognized standing, so that whichever position one may feel disposed to adopt, ample authority may be quoted in support. There are unfortunate occasions on which one's favourite oracle perversely refuses to accommodate himself to one's own view. Mr. Swinburne is a writer from whom on points of aesthetic judgement I for one differ, but with the greatest reluctance. Nevertheless in the present case I feel bound to record my dissent.

Jonson's play was, as I have already said, an attempt to create a new and genuinely English form of pastoral drama. How far did he succeed? Mr. Homer Smith charitably hints that it was owing to the 'exquisite poetry' in which Jonson's design was clothed 'that many critics do not perceive that he failed in the task he set himself.' This is, however, but to repeat in cruder form Mr. Swinburne's contention.[287] That Jonson did not fail in the task he set himself it would be difficult to maintain--only, however, I believe, because he faiîed to carry it to completion. Had he lived to finish the remaining portion of the play in a manner consonant with that which he has left us, there would probably have been no question as to the propriety of the means he used. I am fully aware how difficult and often dangerous it is in these matters to argue from a mere fragment, especially in view of the breakdown of so many plays when they come to the unravelling, but it should be borne in mind that in the matter of dramatic construction Jonson stood head and shoulders above all the other writers with whom we have been concerned, Fletcher not excepted.

Before, however, proceeding to discuss the issue raised by Mr. Swinburne, it will be well to clear up certain minor misapprehensions. In the first place Mr. Homer Smith states that Jonson 'wove together the two threads, pastoral and forest, apparently regarding them of equal importance and seeing no incongruity in the combination.' In so far as this may be taken to imply a necessary incompatibility of the traditions of field and forest, it is of course utterly opposed to the whole history of pastoral tradition. Tasso's Silvia and Guarini's Silvio alike are silvan not in name only, but are truly figures of the woods, hunters of the wolf and boar; while the same distinction survives in a modified form in Daniel's Hymen's Triumph, in which the ruder characters, Montanus and the rest, are described as foresters. The contrast appears sharply in the Maid's Metamorphosis in the characters of Silvio and Gemulo; more faintly indicated by Randolph in Laurinda's lovers, of whom one frequents the woods and one the plains. The pastoral and forest traditions are in their essence and history indistinguishable.[288] Probably, however, what the writer had in view was some supposed incongruity between the characters of popular romance, such as Robin and his crew, and the shepherds whom he regards as pure Arcadians. This is the same objection as that raised by Mr. Swinburne, to which I shall return.

Another point which has been somewhat obscured by previous writers is the comparative importance of the two threads. Thus, again to quote Mr. Homer Smith, it has been held that 'In general the pastoral incidents serve as an underplot, utterly foreign in spirit to the main plot.' Against this view that the pastoral is, intentionally at least, the subsidiary element, the title itself is a strong argument--'The Sad Shepherd: A Tale of Robin Hood.' Clearly the first title would naturally indicate the main subject of the plot, and the vague addition suggest, the surroundings amid which the action is laid. This is a consideration which no amount of stichometrical argument can seriously discount, especially in the case of a fragment. The same view is borne out by the plot itself so far as it is known to us. In Aeglamour's despair at the supposed loss of his love we have a situation already familiar from at least two English pastorals, Hymen's Triumph and Rutter's Shepherds' Holiday; while in the detention of Earine in the power of the witch we have the material for an exciting and touching development. Where else can we look for the elements of a plot? The only possible alternative lies in the dissensions sown by Maudlin between Robin and his love Maid Marian. Here indeed we find the materials for some excellent comedy, and the instinctive sympathy excited by the characters in the breast of every Englishman, as well as the exquisite charm and grace imparted to the forest scenes by Jonson's verse, have undoubtedly combined to obscure the real action in the earlier part of the fragment. But since Lord Fitzwater's daughter is doomed by an unkind tradition to remain Maid Marian still, no fortunate solution of the imbroglio can do more than restore the harmony which had been before, and the plot would therefore be open to the precise objection from the dramatic point of view which we found in the case of the Faithful Shepherdess. Moreover, the complication is completely solved by the end of the second act, and it was obviously introduced for no other purpose than to bring about a general crusade against the wise woman and her confederate powers, which should be the means of restoring Earine to her Sad Shepherd. Thus the story of these lovers alone can supply the materials for the main, or indeed for any real plot at all; and the fact that, as Mr. Homer Smith informs us, out of some thousand lines less than half are devoted to strictly pastoral interests, is but evidence of the felicity of construction, by which Jonson, while keeping the pastoral plot as the mainspring of the piece, nevertheless avoided the tediousness almost inseparable from pastoral action and atmosphere, and threw the burden of stage business upon the more congenial personages of Maid Marian, Robin Hood and his merry men, the Witch of Paplewich, and Robin Goodfellow. It remains for us to consider the fundamental question which arises in connexion with Mr. Swinburne's criticism. Are the various threads of which Jonson wove his plot in themselves incompatible and incongruous? Is it correct to describe the parts played by the more rustic characters as a grotesque antimasque to the action of the polished shepherds? Or is Dr. Ward right in considering the combination a happy one, and the characters harmonious? Now any one who wishes to defend Mr. Swinburne's view must do so on one of two ground: either he must maintain the general proposition that various degrees of idealization are essentially incompatible within the limits of a single artistic composition, or else he must hold that the contrast between the two sets of characters in the actual play is itself of a grossness to offend the sense of literary propriety in an audience. If any one is prepared without qualification to maintain the former of these two propositions, he is welcome to do so, and he will be perfectly entitled to condemn Jonson's pastoral on the strength of it; but I doubt whether this was the intention of the critic himself. Although as a general rule the English drama found its romance rather in what it imagined to be realism than in conscious idealization, yet the contrast between the imaginative and refined creations of the fancy and the often coarse and gross transcripts from common life are too frequent even to require specific mention, and many shades even of imaginative painting, many degrees of idealism, may frequently be met with in the course of a single play. What of Rosalind, Phoebe, and Audrey in As You Like It? But that is a question to which we shall have to return. It will, however, be contended that in the Sad Shepherd we are introduced to a wholly idealized and artificially refined atmosphere surrounding the shepherds and their hosts, which is yet constantly liable to be broken in upon by beings of the outer world, rude unchastened mortals compounded of our common clay, whose entrance dispels at a stroke the delicate, refined atmosphere of pastoral convention. This brings us to the second alternative mentioned above, to meet which we shall have to condescend to particulars, and consider the real natures of the various groups of personages with which Jonson crowds his stage.

The question of the incongruity of the various characters in Jonson's pastoral is one which every reader of taste must decide for himself. All that the critic can hope to do is to point out how the figures on the stage compare with previous tradition and convention on the one hand, and with the characters of actual life on the other. But in doing this I hope to be able to vindicate Jonson's taste, for I believe Mr. Swinburne to be in error in regarding the shepherds of the play as more, and the rustic characters as less, idealized than Jonson intended them, and than they in reality are. Were the shepherds the pure Arcadians Mr. Homer Smith asserts them to be, and were it necessary with Mr. Swinburne to regard Scathlock and Maudlin as mere parody and burlesque, then indeed Jonson's taste, as exhibited in the Sad Shepherd, would not be worth defending. But it is not so.

It is necessary in the first place, however, to make certain admissions. It is true that in the fragment as we possess it there are certain passages which pass beyond any legitimate idealization of the actual world in which Jonson chose to lay his scene, and which contrast jarringly and irreconcilably with the coarser threads of homespun. Thus Aeglamour, in so far as it is possible to form an opinion, keeps too much of the artificial Arcadianism of the Italians about him, and is hardly of a piece with the rest of the personae. The same may be said of the name at least of Earine; of her character it is impossible to judge--in one passage indeed we find her talking broad dialect, but that doubtless only through an oversight of the author. Much the same may be censured of individual passages: the singularly out-of-place catalogue of 'Lovers Scriptures' put into the mouth of Clarion, and, in a speech of Aeglamour's, the collocation of Dean and Erwash, Idle, Snite, and Soar, with the nymphs and Graces that come dancing out of the fourth ode of Horace. Some have been inclined to add an occasional reminiscence of Sappho or so; but critics appear somewhat dense at understanding that when Amie, for instance, speaks of 'the dear good angel of the spring,' it is not she but her creator who is exhibiting a familiarity with the classics. In this and similar cases the fact of borrowing in no wise affects the question of dramatic propriety. Certain incongruities must then be admitted, but they lie rather in casual passages than in any necessary portion of the play; while in so far as they appear in the presentation of any character, the contrast seems to lie rather between Aeglamour and the rest of the shepherds than between these and the less polished huntsmen. It should furthermore be remembered--though the remark is perhaps strictly beside, or rather beyond, the point--that where the incongruous elements are not fundamental, it is always possible that they might have been removed had the play undergone revision.

Subject to these reservations it appears to me that the characters and general tone of Jonson's pastoral are perfectly harmonious and congruent. The shepherds are far removed from the types of Arcadian convention, and may more properly be regarded as idealizations from the actual country lads and lasses of merry England. Their names are borrowed from popular romance, which, if somewhat French in its tone, was certainly in no way antagonistic to the legends of Sherwood nor to the agency of witchcraft and fairy lore[289]. Even Alken, in spite of his didactic bent, is as far as possible from being the conventional 'wise shepherd,' and certainly no Arcadian ever displayed such knowledge as he of the noble art, while his lecture on the blast of hag-hunting, though savouring somewhat of burlesque, contains perhaps the most thoroughly charming and romantic lines that ever flowed from the pen of the great exponent of classical tradition. That the characters owe nothing to Arcadian tradition is not contended, nor do I know that it would be desirable that they should not, since that tradition forms at least a convenient, if not an altogether necessary, precedent for such pastoral idealization; but even if it is going rather far to say that they 'belong to a definite age and country,' they have yet sufficient individuality and community of human nature to be wholly fitting companions for the gallant Robin and his fair lady. Jonson, it would appear, consciously adopted the pastoral method, if hardly the pastoral mood, of Theocritus, in contradistinction to that of the courtly poets in Italy. It will be noticed that he has not forborne to introduce references to sheepcraft, but the fact that these enter more or less naturally into the discourse, and are not, as in Fletcher's pastoral, introduced in the vain hope of giving local colour to wholly uncolourable characters, saves them from having the same stilted effect, and is at the same time evidence of the greater reality of Jonson's personae. It is also noteworthy that Jonson has even ventured upon allegorical matter in one passage at least, but has succeeded in doing so in a manner in no wise incongruous with the nature of actual rustics, though the collocation of Robin Hood and the rise of Puritanism must be admitted to be historically something of an anachronism.

Robin and Maid Marian are, of course, characters no whit less idealized than the shepherds, though the process was largely effected by popular tradition instead of by the author. But this being so, such characters as Much and Scathlock must be no less incongruous with Robin and Marian than with Karol and Amie--a proportion which those who love the old Sherwood tradition would be loath to admit. In any case the incongruity, if it exists, is not of Jonson's devising, but consecrated for ages in the popular mind. The truth is, however, that Much and Little John, Scathlock and Scarlet are, in spite of their more homely speech and humour, scarcely less idealized than any of the other characters I have mentioned. That Jonson has even sought to tone down such harshness of contrast as he found is noticeable in his treatment of a recognized figure of burlesque like Friar Tuck, who is throughout portrayed with decorum and respect.

Lastly, to come to the third group of characters. If it was impossible for an English audience to regard as burlesque such popular and sympathetic characters as Robin and his merry men, so a malignant witch and a mischievous elf were far too serious agents of ill to be treated in this light either. Characters whose unholy powers would have fitted them for death at the stake can scarcely have been regarded even by the rude audiences of pre-restoration London as fitting subjects of farce, while there is nothing to lead us to suppose that Jonson, whatever his private opinion on the subject may have been, sought in the present instance to cast ridicule upon the belief in witches, but rather it is evident that he laid hands upon everything that could give colour to their sinister reputation. On the other hand, he has treated the whole subject with an imaginative touch which relieves us of all tragic or moral apprehension, removes all the squalid and unblessed surroundings into the region of romantic art, and makes it impossible to regard the characters as less idealized than those of the shepherds and huntsmen. I cannot myself but regard the elements of witchcraft and fairy employed by Jonson as far more in harmony not only with Robin Hood and his men, but also with the shepherds of Belvoir vale, than would have been the oracles, satyrs, and other outworn machinery of regular pastoral tradition.

There remains the rusticity of language which distinguishes some of the ruder characters from others more refined. That some contrast between the groups was intended is indisputable, that the contrast is rather harsher than the author intended may be plausibly maintained. There is, on the whole, a lack of graduation. Into the question of dialectism in general it is needless to enter. The speech employed would be inoffensive, were it not that it is, and is felt to be, no genuine dialect at all, but a mere literary convention, a mixture of broad Yorkshire and Lothian Scots, not only utterly out of place in Sherwood forest, but such as can never have been spoken by any sane rustic. Still more than of Spenser is Ben's dictum true of himself, that where he departed from the cultivated English of his day, whether in imitation of the ancients or of provincial dialect matters not, he failed to write any language at all. Yet here, if anywhere, we should be justified in arguing that it is unfair to judge an unrevised fragment as if it were a completed work in the form in which the author decided to give it to the world. Jonson, as his English Grammar shows, was not without a knowledge of the antiquities at least of our tongue, and it is reasonable to suppose that, had he lived to publish his pastoral himself, he would have removed some of the more glaring enormities of language, along with certain other improprieties which could hardly have escaped his critical eye.

Jonson then, as it seems to me, setting aside a few points of minor importance, successfully combined what he found suited to his purpose in previous pastoral tradition, with what was most romantic and attractive in popular legend and a genuine idealization from actual types, to produce a veritable English pastoral, which failed of success only in that it remained unfinished at the death of its author.

In 1783 F. G. Waldron published his continuation of Jonson's fragment. This work, while betraying throughout the date of its composition, and falling in every respect short of the original, yet catches some measure of its glamour and charm, and has received deserved, if somewhat qualified, praise at the hands of Jonson's critics. The chief faults of the piece are the writer's anxiety to marry every good character and convert every bad one, and the manner in which the dramatic climax by which Aeglamour and Earine should be brought together is frittered away. The shepherdess is duly released from the hands of the lewd Lorel, but only to find that her lover has drowned himself. The hermit is, of course, introduced to revive the Sad Shepherd and restore his wits, and so all ends happily. The only original passage of any particular merit is the hunter's dirge over the drowned Aeglamour, which is perhaps worth quoting[290]:

The chase is o'er, the hart is slain!
The gentlest hart that grac'd the plain;
With breath of bugles sound his knell,
Then lay him low in Death's drear dell!

Nor beauteous form, nor dappled hide,
Nor branchy head will long abide;
Nor fleetest foot that scuds the heath,
Can 'scape the fleeter huntsman, Death.

The hart is slain! his faithful deer,
In spite of hounds or huntsman near,
Despising Death, and all his train,
Laments her hart untimely slain!

The chase is o'er, the hart is slain!
The gentlest hart that grac'd the plain;
Blow soft your bugles, sound his knell,
Then lay him low in Death's drear dell!

(Act IV.)

Chapter VI.

The English Pastoral Drama


We have seen in an earlier chapter what had been achieved within the limits of the mythological drama proper, and also how it had fared with the attempts to introduce the Italian pastoral into England either by way of translation or of direct imitation. We have also seen how, in three notable compositions, three different and variously gifted artists had endeavoured to produce a form of pastoral drama suited to the requirements of the English stage, and how they had each in turn fallen short of complete success. We have now to consider a series of plays, less distinguished on the whole, though varying greatly in individual merit, which, amid the luxuriant growth of the romantic drama, tended, in a more spontaneous and less purposeful manner, towards the creation of something of a pastoral tradition. We shall find in thèse plays a considerable traditional influence, a groundwork, as it were, borrowed from the Arcadian drama of Italy, together with frequent elements owing their origin to plays of the mythological type. But in the great majority of cases we shall also find another influence, which will serve to differentiate these plays from those we have been hitherto concerned with. This is the influence of the so-called pastoral romances of the Spanish type, which manifests itself in the introduction of characters and incidents, warlike, courtly, or adventurous, borrowed more or less directly from the works of writers such as Sidney, Greene, and Lodge. Their influence was extended and enduring, and survived until, towards the middle of the seventeenth century, the fashionable tradition of the Astrée was introduced from France[291]. It was evinced both in a general manner and likewise in direct dramatic adaptation. Since the romances thus dramatized lay claim to a pastoral character, it will be necessary for us to examine as briefly as may be these stage versions, however little of the pastoral element may survive, as a preliminary to considering other plays in which the debt is less specific.

There are extant at least seven plays founded upon Sidney's Arcadia.[292] Since these appear to be wholly independent of one another, it will be convenient to disregard chronology, and to consider first those which have for subject the main story of the romance, four in number, and then the remaining three founded upon various incidents. First, then, and most important, Shirley's play bearing the same title as the romance will claim our attention as the most full and faithful stage-rendering of Sidney's work. Although not printed till 1640 the play was, according to Mr. Fleay's plausible conjecture, performed on the king's birthdayas early as 1632. It cannot exactly be pronounced a good play, but the dramatization is effected in a manner which does justice to the very great abilities of the author, and the same measure of success would probably not have been attained by any other dramatist of the time.

At the opening of the play we find that Basilius, king of Arcadia, has, in consequence of a threatening oracle, committed the government of his kingdom into the hands of a nobleman Philanax, and retired into a rural 'desert' along with his wife Gynecia and his daughters Philoclea and Pamela. Here they live in company with the 'most arrant dotish clowne' Dametas, his wife Miso and daughter Mopsa, rustic characters which supply a coarsely farcical element in the plot, certainly no less out of place and inharmonious in the play than in the romance. There are also the cousins Pyrocles and Musidorus, son and nephew respectively to Euarchus, king of Thessaly, who have arrived in quest of the princesses' loves, and have obtained positions near the objects of their affection, the one disguised as an Amazon under the name of Zelmane, the other seeking service under Dametas and assuming the name of Dorus. Complications, moreover, have already arisen, Basilius falling in love with the supposed Amazon, while Gynecia sees through the disguise and falls in love with the concealed Pyrocles. The disguised lover, in order to allay suspicion, has to feign a return of love to the queen and also to humour the dotage of the king, in the meanwhile revealing himself and his love to Philoclea, whom her father employs to court the affections of the Amazon. Musidorus, on his part, while pretending to court Mopsa, takes the opportunity of addressing his suit to Pamela. At length all is arranged, the princesses consenting to accompany their lovers in flight, and the various guardians being cleverly duped. Pyrocles gives rendezvous both to Basilius and Gynecia in a dark and lonely cave, Dametas is sent to dig for hidden treasure, Miso to seek her maligned husband in the house of one of her female neighbours, and Mopsa to await the coming of Apollo in the wishing-tree. Musidorus and Pamela make for the coast, while Pyrocles goes to fetch his mistress Philoclea. While, however, he is endeavouring to persuade her to take the final and irrevocable step, they are both overcome by a strange drowsiness and are discovered by Dametas, who, disappointed of his treasure, has missed his charge Pamela and comes to give the alarm. Musidorus and his mistress on their side have been captured by outlaws, who, discovering their identity, bring them back, hoping thereby to secure their own pardons. In the meantime, in the cave Gynecia has given Basilius by mistake for Zelmane a love potion, which turns out apparently to be a strong narcotic, for the king at once falls into a death-like trance, and the queen, discovering her mistake and overcome by shame and remorse, accuses herself publicly of having poisoned her husband, and is consequently put under guard. At this juncture Euarchus happens to arrive in search of his son and nephew, and consents to act as judge in the case. The princes, who for no apparent reason assume false names, are brought up for judgement and sentenced to death by Euarchus, whom, unaccountably enough, they fail to recognize. They are about to be led off to execution when Basilius, who is lying on a bier in the judgement hall, suddenly rises, the potion having spent its force. Explanations and recognitions of course follow, the oracle is satisfactorily expounded, and all ends to the sound of marriage bells.

It will be seen that in spite of the description 'pastoral' which appears on the title-page of the play, there is little or nothing of this nature to be found in the plot, and in this it is typical of all the plays founded upon Sidney's romance. The only pastoral element indeed is a sort of show or masque, presented by the rustic characters in company with certain shepherds, and even here little of a pastoral nature is visible beyond the characters of the performers. As a play, the Arcadia is distinctly pleasing; the action is bright and easy, the gulling scenes are very entertaining, and some of the love scenes, notably that in which Pyrocles endeavours to persuade Philoclea to escape with him, are charmingly written. Take for instance the following passage, in which the princess confesses her love:[293]

                        such a truth
Shines in your language, and such innocence
In what you call affection, I must
Declare you have not plac'd one good thought here,
Which is not answer'd with my heart. The fire
Which sparkled in your bosom, long since leap'd
Into my breast, and there burns modestly:
It would have spread into a greater flame,
But still I curb'd it with my tears. Oh, Pyrocles,
I would thou wert Zelmane again! and yet,
I must confess I lov'd thee then; I know not
With what prophetick soul, but I did wish
Often, thou were a man, or I no woman.

Pyrocles. Thou wert the comfort of my sleeps.

Philoclea.           And you
The object of my watches, when the night
Wanted a spell to cast me into slumber;
Yet when the weight of my own thoughts grew heavy
For my tear dropping eyes, and drew these curtains,
My dreams were still of thee--forgive my blushes--
And in imagination thou wert then
My harmless bedfellow.

Pyr. I arrive too soon
At my desires. Gently, oh gently, drop
These joys into me! lest, at once let fall,
I sink beneath the tempest of my blessings. (III. iv.)

Or again when he urges her to escape:

            I could content myself
To look on Pyrocles, and think it happiness
Enough; or, if my soul affect variety
Of pleasure, every accent of thy voice
Shall court me with new rapture; and if these
Delights be narrow for us, there is left
A modest kiss, where every touch conveys
Our melting souls into each other's lips.
Why should not you be pleas'd to look on me?
To hear, and sometimes kiss, Philoclea?
Indeed you make me blush.       [Draws a veil over her face.] Pyr.            What an eclipse
Hath that veil made! it was not night till now.
Look if the stars have not withdrawn themselves,
As they had waited on her richer brightness,
And missing of her eyes are stolen to bed. (ib.)

These passages display the tenderer side of Shirley's gift at its best, and prove that, had he but set himself the task, he possessed the very style needed for a successful imitation of the Italian pastoral adapted to the temper of the English romantic drama.

But Shirley's, though the most complete, was not the earliest attempt at placing Sir Philip's romance upon the boards. As long before as 1605 was acted Day's Isle of Gulls, a farcical and no doubt highly topical play, which is equally founded on the Arcadia, though it follows the story far less closely. Day's title was probably suggested by Nashe's Isle of Dogs, a satirical play performed in 1597, which brought its author into trouble, but if it deserves Mr. Bullen's epithet of 'attractive,' it must be admitted that it is almost the only part of the play to which that epithet can be applied. Day was in no wise concerned to maintain the polished and artificial dignity of the original; his satiric purpose indeed called for a very different treatment. The Isle of Gulls is a comedy of the broadest and lowest description, almost uniformly lacking in charm, notwithstanding a certain skill of dramatization, and the occurrence of passages which are good enough of their kind. It will easily be conceived that a highly ideal and romantic plot treated in the manner of the realistic farce of low life may offer great opportunities of satiric effect; but it must have made the courtly Sidney turn in his grave to see his gracious puppets debased into the vulgar rogues and trulls of the lower-class London drama. Day in no wise sought to hide his indebtedness, but on the contrary acknowledged in the Induction that his argument is but 'a little string or Rivolet, drawne from the full streine of the right worthy Gentleman, Sir Phillip Sydneys well knowne Archadea.' The chief differences between the play and its source are as follows. Basilius and Gynetia--as Day writes the name--are duke and duchess of Arcadia[294]--near which, apparently, the island is situated--Philoclea and Pamela become Violetta and Hipolita, Pyrocles and Musidorus appear as Lisander and Demetrius, Philanax and Calander from being lords of the court become captains of the castles guarding the island, and Dametas comes practically to occupy the post of Lord Chamberlain. Among the more important characters Euarchus disappears and Aminter and Julio, rivals of the princes in the ladies' loves, are added, as also Manasses, 'scribe-major' to Dametas. When the princes have at last prevailed upon their loves to elope with them, and tricked as before their various guardians into leaving the coast clear, they are in their turn persuaded to leave the ladies in the charge of their disguised rivals, who, of course, secure them as their prizes. Thus the gulling is singularly complete all round, not least among the gulled being the audience, whose sympathy has been carefully enlisted on the princes' behalf. The last scene, in which all the characters forgather from their various ludicrous occupations, is, as might be expected, one of considerable confusion, which is rendered all the more confounded by frequent errors in the speakers' names, which remain in spite of the labours of Day's editor.[295]

If we approach the play with Sir Philip's romance in our mind, the characters cannot but appear one and all offensive. In every case Day has indulged in brutal caricature. The courtly characters are represented from the point of view of a prurient-minded bourgeoisie; the rustic figures are equally gross in their vulgarity; while the traitor Dametas, who serves as a link between the two classes, is an upstart parasite, described with a satiric touch not unworthy of Webster as 'a little hillock made great with others' ruines.' But if we are content to forget the source of the play, we may take a rather more charitable view. Not all the characters are consistently revolting, several, including the princesses, having at times a fine flavour of piquant roguishness, at others a touch of easy sentiment. For a contemporary audience, of course, there were other points of attraction in the play, for the satirical intent is sufficiently obvious, though it is needless for us here to inquire into the personages adumbrated, that investigation belonging neither to pastoral nor to literary history properly speaking. By far the cleverest as well as the most pleasing scene in the play is that introducing a game of bowls,[296] during which Lisander courts Violetta in long-drawn metaphor. Part at least of this brilliant double-edged word-play must be quoted, even though the verse-capping may at times pass the bounds of strict decorum:

Duke. Doth our match hold?

Duchess.         Yes, whose part will you take?

Duke. Zelmanes.

Duchess.    Soft, that match is still to make.

Violetta. Lets cast a choice, the nearest two take one.

Lisander. My choice is cast; help sweet occasion.

Viol. Come, heere's agood.

Lis.         Well, betterd.

Duch.               Best of all:

Lis. The Duke and I.

Duke.       The weakest goe to the wall.

Viol. Ile lead.

Lis.     Ile follow.

Viol.        We have both one mind.

Lis. In what?

Viol.    In leaving the old folke behinde.

Duke. Well jested, daughter; and you lead not faire,
The hindmost hound though old may catch the hare.

Duch. Your last Boule come?

Viol. By the faith a me well led.

Lis. Would I might lead you.

Viol.          Whither?

Lis.              To my bed.

Viol. I am sure you would not.

Lis.           By this aire I would.

Viol. I hope you would not hurt me and you should.

Lis. Ide love you, sweet ...

Duke.        Daughter, your bowle winnes one.

Viol. None, of my Maidenhead, Father; I am gone: The Amazon hath wonne one.

Lis.            Yield to that.

Viol. The cast I doe.

Lis.        Yourselfe?

Viol.           Nay scrape out that. (II. v.)[297]

The unprinted dramas founded on the Arcadia need not detain us long. One is preserved in a volume of manuscript plays in the British Museum, and is entitled Love's Changelings' Change.[298] It is written in a hand of the first half of the seventeenth century, small and neat, but, partly on account of the porous nature of the paper, exceedingly hard to read. The dramatis personae include a full cast from the Arcadia; and somewhat more stress appears to be laid on the pastoral elements than is the case in either of the printed plays. From what I have thought it necessary to decipher, however, I see no reason to differ from Mr. Bullen, who dismisses it as 'a dull play.'[299] The prologue may serve as a specimen of the style of the piece.

This Scaene's prepar'd for those that longe to see
The crosse Meanders in Loves destinie;
To see the changes in a shatterd wit
Proove a man Changlinge in attemptinge it;
To change a noble minde t'a gloz'd intent
Beefore such change will let um see th' event.
This change our Famous Princes had, beefore
Their borrowed shape could speake um any more,
And nought but this our Poet feares will seize
Your liking fancies with that new disease.
Wee hope the best: all wee can say tis strange
To heare with patient eares Loves changelinges Change

--which, if this is a fair sample, is very likely true. Below the prologue the writer has added the couplet:

Th' old wits are gone: looke for noe new thing by us,
For nullum est jam Dictum quod non sit dictum prius.

The other play is preserved in a Bodleian manuscript,[300] and is entitled 'The Arcadian Lovers, or the Metamorphosis of Princes.' 'The name of the author,' writes Mr. Hazlitt following Halliwell, 'was probably Moore, for in the volume, written by the same hand as the play, is a dedication to Madam Honoria Lee from the "meanest of her kinsmen," Thomas Moore. A person of this name wrote A Brief Discourse about Baptism, 1649.' Mr. Falconer Madan, however, in his catalogue ascribes the manuscript to the early eighteenth century, a date certainly more in accordance with the character of the handwriting. If, therefore, the conjecture concerning the author's name is correct, he may be plausibly identified with the Sir Thomas Moore whose tragedy Mangora was acted in 1717. The manuscript, which contains various poetical essays, includes not only the complete play, which is in prose, but also a verse paraphrase of a large portion of the same. Neither prose nor verse possesses the least merit.[301]

The earliest of the plays founded upon episodes in the Arcadia is Beaumont and Fletcher's Cupid's Revenge, which was acted by the children of the Queen's Revels, and published in 1615.[302] A revision, possibly by another hand, has introduced considerable confusion into the titles of the personae, but need not otherwise concern us.[303] The plot of the play is based on two episodes in the romance, one relating to the vengeance exacted by Cupid on the princess Erona of Lycia for an insult offered to his worship, the other to the intrigue of prince Plangus of Iberia with the wife of a citizen, and the tragic complications arising therefrom. These two stories are combined by the dramatists, with no very conspicuous skill, into one plot. Plangus and Erona, under the names of Leucippus and Hidaspes, are represented as brother and sister, children of the old widowed duke of Lysia. They make common cause in seeking to abolish the worship of Cupid, and their tragedies are represented as alike due to his offended deity. No sooner has the old duke, yielding to his daughter's prayers, prohibited the worship of the god, than Hidaspes falls desperately in love with the deformed dwarf Zoilus, and begs him in marriage of her father. The duke, infuriated at such an exhibition of unnatural and disordered affection in his daughter, causes the dwarf to be beheaded, whereupon the princess languishes and dies.[304] In the meanwhile Leucippus has fallen in love with Bacha, the widow of a citizen, and frequents her house secretly, where being surprised by his father, he protests so strongly of her chastity--hoping thereby to save her credit and his own--that the old duke falls in love with her himself, and shortly afterwards marries her. Having now become duchess she seeks to renew her intercourse with the prince, and being repulsed resolves upon revenge. She makes the duke believe that his son is plotting against him, and so secures his arrest and condemnation, hoping thereby to obtain the crown for Urania, her daughter by a previous marriage. The citizens, however, rise in revolt and rescue Leucippus, who thereupon goes into voluntary exile. He is followed by Urania, a simple and innocent girl, who, knowing her mother's designs upon his life, hopes to counteract her malice by attending on the prince in the disguise of a page. The duchess in fact sends a man to murder the prince, the attempt being frustrated by Urania, who herself receives the blow and dies, the murderer being then slain by Leucippus. In the meanwhile the duke dies, and the friends of the prince hasten to him, bringing with them the duchess as a prisoner. She however, seeing her schemes doomed to failure, nurses revenge, and succeeds in stabbing Leucippus, then turning the dagger into her own heart.[305]

More ink than was necessary has been spilt over the motive of this wildly melodramatic play. Seward expressed an opinion that there was nothing in the action of the brother and sister deserving such severe retribution. To him Mason retorted, with somewhat childish seriousness, that, the characters being supposed pagan, the speech of the princess must be held a sacrilegious blasphemy. So Sidney no doubt intended it, and so Beaumont, who was evidently the author of the scene in question, intended it too, and he would possibly, if left to himself, have executed the rest in a manner consonant with this intention. But his collaborator took the opportunity of adding a scene between certain of the lords of the court, in which, with characteristic coarseness, he represented the condemned worship in the light of mere vulgar licence. The fact is that not only the playwrights, but, no doubt, the majority of the audience as well, were interested chiefly in the extravagance of the plot, and cared little or nothing for the adequacy of the motive. As a drama the piece is decidedly poor, and the construction which ends the sister's part of the tragedy in the second act leaves much to be desired. There is, moreover, something particularly and unnecessarily revolting in Hidaspes' passion for the deformed dwarf, and something forced in the contrast between Leucippus' licentious relations with Bacha at the beginning of the play and the self-righteousness of his later attitude. Both faults are unfortunately rather typical, one of the extravagant colouring affected by the dramatists, the other of the coarse and hasty characterization to which Fletcher in particular is apt to condescend. There are, however, some good passages in the play, though it is not always easy to assign them to their author. The scenes in which Urania appears are pretty, though inferior to the very similar ones in the nearly contemporary Philaster. The song of the maidens as they watch by their dying mistress, palinode and dirge in one, is striking in the blending of diverse modes:

Cupid, pardon what is past,
And forgive our sins at last!
Then we will be coy no more,
But thy deity adore;
Troths at fifteen we will plight,
And will tread a dance each night,
In the fields or by the fire,
With the youths that have desire.

Thus I shut thy faded light,
And put it in eternal night.
Where is she can boldly say,
Though she be as fresh as May,
She shall not by this corpse be laid,
Ere to-morrow's light do fade? (II. v.)

There is a suggestion of better things, too, in the lines:

                        he is like
Nothing that we have seen, yet doth resemble
Apollo, as I oft have fancied him,
When rising from his bed he stirs himself,
And shakes day from his hair. (I. iii.)

The authors, or one of them, had also learned something of Shakespeare's quaint humour, as appears in the remark:

What should he be beheaded? we shall have it grow so base shortly, gentlemen will be out of love with it. (II. iii.)

The main plot of the above reappears in Andromana, a play which was published in 1660 as 'By J. S.' It had probably never been performed when it was printed, and though the initials were possibly intended to suggest Shirley's authorship, there can be little doubt that he was wholly innocent of its parentage. An allusion to Denham's Sophy places the date of composition after 1642.[306] The plot is taken direct from the Arcadia, the names being retained, and there is nothing to show that the author, whoever he may have been, knew anything of Cupid's Revenge. The story, however, is practically the same except for the addition of the episode of Plangus defeating the Argive rebels, and the omission of the character which appears as Urania in Beaumont and Fletcher's play and as Palladius in the original romance. The end is also slightly different. After the prince has been rescued by the citizens, Andromana, the queen, plots a general massacre. Plangus overhears her conversation with her instrument and confidant, and runs him through with his sword on the spot. At Andromana's cries the king enters, and she forthwith accuses the prince of attempting violence towards her; the king stabs his son, Andromana stabs the king, next the prince's friend Inophilus, and finally herself. She seems on the whole satisfied with this performance, and with her last breath exclaims:

I have lived long enough to boast an act,
After which no mischief shall be new.

Little need be said of this play. It is wholly lacking in distinction of any sort or kind, and the last act with the catastrophe is a mere piece of extravagant botching. There are, however, here and there passages which are worth rescuing from the general wreck. One of these is the opening of the first scene between Plangus and Andromana:

Plangus. It cannot be so late.

Andromana.        Believe 't, the sun
Is set, my dear, and candles have usurp'd
The office of the day.

Plan.         Indeed, methinks
A certain mist, like darkness, hangs on my eye-lids.
But too great lustre may undo the sight:
A man may stare so long upon the sun
That he may look his eyes out; and certainly
'Tis so with me: I have so greedily
Swallow'd thy light that I have spoil'd my own.

And. Why shouldst thou tempt me to my ruin thus?
As if thy presence were less welcome to me
Than day to one who, 'tis so long ago
He saw the sun, hath forgot what light is. (I. v.)

Occasional touches, too, are not without flavour:

You can create me great, I know, sir,
But good you cannot. You might compel,
Entice me too, perhaps, to sin. But
Can you allay a gnawing conscience,
Or bind up bleeding reputation? (II. v. end.)

or, again:

          Shall I believe a dream?
Which is a vapour borne along the stream
Of fancy. (V. iii.)

The last in this somewhat dreary catalogue is Glapthorne's Argalus and Parthenia, published in 1639 and acted probably the previous year. It is founded on the episode related in Books I and III of the Arcadia,[307] and possibly on Quarles' poem already noticed. The story is briefly as follows. Demagoras, finding his suit to Parthenia rejected in favour of Argalus, robs her of her beauty by means of a poisonous herb, an outrage for which he is slain by his rival. After a while Parthenia regains her beauty through the care and skill of the queen of Corinth, and returns to her lover. During the marriage festivities the king sends for Argalus to act as champion against a knight who has carried off his daughter, and Argalus, obeying the summons, finds himself opposed to his friend Amphialus. They fight, and Argalus is slain. Parthenia then appears disguised as a warrior in armour, challenges Amphialus, and suffers a like fate. With this inconsequent and unmotived tragedy is interwoven a slight and incongruous underplot of rustic buffoonery. As a whole Glapthorne's play is of inconsiderable merit. Here and there, however, we come upon a passage which might make us hope better things of the author.[308] Of Argalus it is said that

His gracions merit challenges a wife,
Faire as Parthenia, did she staine the East,
When the bright morne hangs day upon her cheeks
In chaines of liquid pearle. (I. i.)

Demagoras is a glorious warrior who would compel love as he has done fame. Though Parthenia reminds him that

Mars did not wooe the Queen of Love in Armes,

his fierce soul yet dwells on deeds of force:

                   I'll bring on
Well-manag'd troops of Souldiers to the fight,
Draw big battaliaes, like a moving field
Of standing Corne, blown one way by the wind
Against the frighted enemy; (ib.)

and, remembering former conquests:

                         This brave resolve
Vanquish'd my steele wing'd Goddesse, and ingag'd
Peneian Daphne, who did fly the Sun,
Give up to willing ravishment, her boughes
T' invest my awfull front. (ib.)

Parthenia, healed from the poison, returns

                   her right
Beauty new shining like the Queen of night,
Appearing fresher after she did shroud
Her gawdy forehead in a pitchy cloud:
Love triumphs in her eyes; (III, end.)

and the pastoral poetess Sapho promises an 'epithalamy' for the bridal pair,

Till I sing day from Tethis armes, and fire
With ayry raptures the whole morning quire,
Till the small birds their Silvan notes display
And sing with us, 'Joy to Parthenia!' (ib.)

Into her mouth, too, is put the following picture of the bride which has some kinship with contemporary baroque in Italian architecture and painting, and also occasionally anticipates in a remarkable manner the diction of the following century.

The holy Priest had joyn'd their hands, and now
Night grew propitious to their Bridall vow,
Majestick Juno, and young Hymen flies
To light their Pines at faire Parthenia's eyes;
The little Graces amourously did skip,
With the small Cupids, from each lip to lip;
Venus her selfe was present, and untide
Her virgine Zone;[309] when loe, on either side
Stood as her handmaids, Chastity and Truth,
With that immaculate guider of her youth
Rose-colour'd Modestie: These did undresse
The beauteous maid, who now in readinesse,
The Nuptiall tapers waving 'bout her head,
Made poore her garments, and enrich'd her bed. (IV. i.)

So again we find single expressions which are striking, as when Parthenia bids Amphialus, sooner than appease her wrath, to hope

To charme the Genius of the world to peace; (V.)

or when, dying, she commends herself to her dead lover:

                             take my breath
That flies to thee on the pale wings of death. (ib.)

And yet it would be scarcely unfair to describe these as for the most part the beauties of decay; they are as rich embroidery upon rotten cloth, and are achieved by careful elaboration of sensuous imagination, and the art of arresting the attention upon a commonplace thought by the use of some striking epithet or novel and daring turn of expression. For the wider and more essential beauties of conception, character, and construction we look in vain in Glapthorne's play.

Sidney's Arcadia, however, though the most important, was not the only so-called pastoral romance which left dramatic progeny. It has been customary to describe the Thracian Wonder, a play of uncertain authorship, as founded upon the story of Curan and Argentile in Warner's Albion's England, a metrical emporium of historical legend very popular at the close of the sixteenth century. The narrative in question was later expanded into a separate work by one William Webster, and published in 1617.[310] That Collier should have given a quite erroneous abstract of Warner's tale, and should then have proceeded to claim it as the source of the play in question, is perhaps no great matter for astonishment, nor need it particularly surprise us to find certain modern critics swallowing the whole fiction on Collier's authority. What is extraordinary is that a scholar of Dyce's ability and learning should have been misled. For it is quite evident that the Thracian Wonder is based, though hardly closely, on no less famous a work than Greene's Menaphon.[311] This should of course have been apparent to critics even without the hint supplied by Antimon in the second scene of Act IV: 'She cannot choose but love me now; I'm sure old Menaphon ne'er courted in such clothes.' The dramatist, however, has not followed his source slavishly; the pastoral element is largely suppressed or at least subordinated, and the catastrophe somewhat altered. Instead of the siege of the castle by the shepherds when the heroine is carried off by her own son, we have the following ending. The king himself carries off his daughter, and her son and husband, ignorant of course of their mutual relationship, put themselves at the head of the shepherds in pursuit. At this moment the country is invaded by the king of Sicily, who comes to seek his son, the husband of the heroine, and by the king of Africa, who comes to avenge the banished brother of the king of Thrace. After much fighting it is resolved to decide the issue by single combat, in the course of which explanations ensue which lead to a general recognition and reconciliation. The pastoral element is represented by old Antimon an antic shepherd, a clown his son, his daughter a careless shepherdess and her despised lover, and a careless shepherd.

The play was printed in 1661 by Francis Kirkman, who ascribed it on the title-page to John Webster and William Rowley. All critics are agreed that the former at least had nothing to do with the composition; but beyond that it is difficult to go. Perhaps the mention of 'old Menaphon' might be taken to indicate that the romance was at least not new at the time of the composition of the play, for Menaphon himself was not an old man. In spite of the small merit of the play from a poetical point of view, and of occasional extraordinary oversights in the plot--for instance, we are never told how the infant who is shipwrecked on the shore, presumably of Arcadia, comes to be a young man in the service of the king of Africa--its badness has perhaps been exaggerated, and it is undoubtedly from the pen of an experienced stage-hack. I do not know, however, that any passage is worth quotation.[312]

Any argument in favour of an early date for the Thracian Wonder, based on its being founded on Greene's romance, is sufficiently answered by Thomas Forde's Love's Labyrinth, which is a much closer dramatization of the same story, retaining the names and characters almost unchanged, but which cannot have been written very long before its publication in 1660. One episode, the death of Sephistia's mother, a character unknown to Greene, is apparently borrowed from Gomersall's Lodovick Sforza.[313] The play, which lies somewhat beyond our limits, represents in its worst form the débâcle of the old dramatic tradition, continued past its date by writers who had no technical familiarity with the stage. It is equally without poetic merit, except in a few incidental songs. Of these, some are borrowed from Greene, one is a translation from Anacreon also printed in the author's Poetical Diversions, some are original. Of the last, one may be worth quoting.[314]

Fond love, no more
Will I adore
Thy feigned Deity;
Go throw thy darts
At simple hearts
And prove thy victory.

Whilst I do keep
My harmless sheep
Love hath no power on me;
'Tis idle soules
Which he controules,
The busy man is free.

(II. i.)

Readers of Suckling will recognize the inspiration of the following lines:

Why so nice and coy, fair Lady,
Prithee why so coy?
If you deny your hand and lip
Can I your heart enjoy?
Prithee why so coy?

(IV. iii.)

There is one obvious omission from the above list of plays founded on pastoral romances, but it has been made intentionally. The interest which from our present point of view attaches to As You Like It lies less in the relation of that play to its source in Lodge's romance than to the fact that in it Shakespeare summed up to a great extent, and by implication passed judgement upon, pastoral tradition as a whole. It will therefore be more convenient and more appropriate to postpone consideration of the piece until we have followed out the influence of that tradition, and watched its effect in the wide field of the romantic drama, and come at the end ourselves to face the question of the meaning and the merits of pastoralism as a literary creed.

Looking back for a moment over the plays just passed in review, it is impossible not to be struck by the fact that they present in themselves but the slightest traces of pastoral. It is evident that it was not there that lay the dramatists' interest in the romances. This observation is important, for the tendency is not confined to those plays which are directly founded on works of the sort. The idea of pastoral current among the playwrights, and no doubt among the audience too, was largely derived from novels such as the Arcadia, and, as we have seen, the tradition of these works was one rather of polite chivalry and courtly adventure than of pastoralism proper. Had no other forces been at work the tradition of the stage influenced by the romances would have probably shown no trace of pastoral at all. As it was, something of a genuinely pastoral tradition arose out of the mythological plays and the attempts at imitating the Italian drama, and this combined with the more popular but less genuine pastoralism of the romances to produce the peculiar hybrid which we commonly find passing under the name of pastoral in this country.


The pastoral tradition, such as it was, that thus formed itself on the English stage remained to the end hesitating, tentative, and undefined. At no time did it become an enveloping atmosphere of artistic creation. Authors approached it as it were from the outside, from no sense of inner compulsion, but experimentally from the broader standpoint of the romantic drama, and with the air of pioneers and innovators, as if ignorant of what had been already achieved in the same line by their predecessors. Consequently, in spite of the considerable following it enjoyed, this romantic-pastoral tradition lacked vitality, and failed as a rule to attract authors of more pre-eminent powers. We have already seen how the three chief English experiments stand apart from it, and we shall find as we proceed that there are other plays as well which it is difficult to bring strictly into line, though they are not in themselves of sufficient importance to claim separate consideration. In some measure, indeed, it may be truly said that, like the history of the Senecan drama or of classical versification, the history of the dramatic pastoral in England is that of a long series of incoherent and more or less fruitless experiments. There is, however, an important difference between the two cases, for in the pastoral we are at least aware of a striving towards some new and but dimly apprehended form of artistic expression. It is true that this was never attained; and looking back from the vantage-ground of time we may doubt whether after all it was worth attaining, but it serves to differentiate the pastoral experiment from those others whose object was but the revival of a past for ever vanished. The English pastoral drama had one advantage at least over many other literary fopperies, in that it obeyed the fundamental law of literary progress, which is one with artistic evolution.

A chronological survey of the regular plays to be classed as pastorals will best serve the needs of our present inquiry, and for this purpose it is fortunate that in nearly all cases we possess evidence which enables us to date the work with tolerable accuracy, while the few which yet remain doubtful are themselves unimportant, and probably fall near the limit of our period. Even, however, were this not so, the singular independence of most of the pieces and the absence of any visible line of development would make uncertainty as to their order of far less consequence here than in many departments of literary history in which similar evidence is unhappily wanting.

In substance, then, the romantic pastoral in England was a combination of the Arcadian drama of Italy with the chivalric romance of Spain, as familiarized through the medium of Sidney's work, and also, though less consistently, with the never very fully developed tradition of the mythological play. In form, again, it may be said to represent the mingling of the conventions of the Italian drama with the freer action and more direct and dramatic presentation of the romantic stage. The earliest play in which these characteristics are found is the anonymous Maid's Metamorphosis, printed and probably acted 'by the Children of Powles' in 1600.[315] The plot, which from the blending of different elements it presents is of considerable historical interest, is briefly as follows. Eurymine, of whose connexions we hear nothing but that she is supposed to be lowly born, and Ascanio, the duke's son, are in love. The duke, discovering this, orders two of his retainers to lead Eurymine secretly into the forest and there slay her. Her youth and beauty, however, touch their hearts, and they agree to spare her on condition that she shall live among the country folk, and never return to court. They have no sooner left her than she meets with a shepherd and a hunter, who both fall in love on the spot, and whose rivalry supplies her with the means of livelihood. Ascanio now appears in search of his love, and is directed by Morpheus, at the hest of Juno, to seek out a certain hermit, who will be able to advise him. In the meantime, however, an unexpected complication has arisen. Apollo, meeting Eurymine in her shepherdess' disguise, has fallen violently in love, and threatens mischief. To escape from his pursuit she craves a boon, and having extorted a promise from the infatuated god, demands that he shall change her into a man. Much regretting his rash promise, Apollo complies. The next thing that happens is that the lovers meet. This is distinctly unsatisfactory, but at the suggestion of the hermit 'three or four Muses' and the 'Charities' or Graces are called in to help, and by their prayers at length induce Apollo to relent and restore Eurymine to her original sex. No sooner is this performed than she is discovered to be the daughter of the hermit, and he the exiled prince of Lesbos. At this juncture arrives a messenger from the duke, begging Ascanio to return to court, and adding casually, as it seems, that should Eurymine happen to be still alive she too will be welcome.

Thus we see the threefold weft, Arcadian, courtly, and mythological, weaving the fantastic web of the earliest of the romantic pastorals. Of the influence of the drama of Tasso and Guarini there is, indeed, but little, the plot being in no wise that of orthodox tradition; but shepherd and ranger are true Arcadians, neither disguised courtiers nor rustic clowns, as in the Sidneian romance. The author, whoever he was, may have drawn a hint for his plot from Lyly's Gallathea, in which, it will be remembered, Venus promises to change one of the enamoured maidens into a man, or else, maybe, direct from the tale of Iphis in Ovid.[316] As to the sources of the other elements, it will be sufficient for our purpose to note that the verse portions of the play are rimed throughout in couplets, a fact that carries them back towards Peele's Arraignment and the days previous to Marlowe. The slight comic business is in prose, and the characters of the three young rogues are directly traceable to the waggish pages of Lyly.[317]

The piece has the appearance of being a youthful work; the verse is often irregular and clumsy, and the rimes uncertain. On the whole, however, it contains not a little that is graceful and pleasing to the ear, while in description the unknown author shows himself a faithful and not unsuccessful disciple of Spenser in his idyllic mood. Here, for instance, are two passages which have been thought to reveal a study of the master:[318]

Within this ore-growne Forrest, there is found
A duskie Cave, thrust lowe into the ground:
So ugly darke, so dampie and so steepe,
As for his life the sunne durst never peepe
Into the entrance: which doth so afright
The very day, that halfe the world is night.
Where fennish fogges, and vapours do abound:
There Morpheus doth dwell within the ground,
No crowing Cocke, nor waking bell doth call,
Nor watchfull dogge disturbeth sleepe at all.
No sound is heard in compasse of the hill,
But every thing is quiet, whisht, and still.
Amid this Cave, upon the ground doth lie,
A hollow plancher, all of Ebonie
Cover'd with blacke, whereon the drowsie God,
Drowned in sleepe, continually doth nod. (II. i. 112.)

And again:

Then in these verdant fields al richly dide,
With natures gifts, and Floras painted pride:
There is a goodly spring whose christal streames
Beset with myrtles, keepe backe Phoebus beames:
There in rich seates all wrought of Ivory,
The Graces sit, listening the melodye:
The warbling Birds doo from their prettie billes
Unite in concord, as the brooke distilles,
Whose gentle murmure with his buzzing noates
Is as a base unto their hollow throates.
Garlands beside they weare upon their browes,
Made of all sorts of flowers earth allowes:
From whence such fragrant sweet perfumes arise,
As you would sweare that place is Paradise. (V. i. 104.)

The same influence may perhaps be traced in slighter sketches, such as the

                            grassie bed
With sommers gawdie dyaper bespred. (II. i. 55.)

Here is a passage in another strain, which culminates in a touch of haunting melody that Spenser himself might have envied:

I marvell that a rusticke shepheard dare
With woodmen thus audaciously compare?
Why, hunting is a pleasure for a King,
And Gods themselves sometime frequent the thing.
Diana with her bowe and arrowes keene,
Did often use the Chace, in Forrests greene.
And so alas, the good Athenian knight,
And swift Acteon herein tooke delight:
And Atalanta the Arcadian dame,
Conceiv'd such wondrous pleasure in the game,
That with her traine of Nymphs attending on,
She came to hunt the Bore of Calydon. (I. i. 318.)

We have also the introduction of an Echo scene--the earliest, I suppose, in English. A notable feature of the play, on the other hand, are the songs, which are in some cases of rare excellence, and certain of which bear a resemblance to those found in Lyly's plays. In the lines sung by Eurymine--

Ye sacred Fyres, and powers above,
Forge of desires working love,
Cast downe your eye, cast downe your eye
Upon a Mayde in miserie--(I. i. 131.)

there is a subtlety of sound rare even in the work of lyrists of acknowledged merit. Again, there is a fine swing in the song:

Round about, round about, in a fine Ring a:
Thus we daunce, thus we daunce, and thus we sing a.
Trip and go, too and fro[319], over this Greene a:
All about, in and out, for our brave Queene a. (II. ii. 105.)

The best of these songs, however, and indeed the gem of the whole play, is undoubtedly the duet of the shepherd and the ranger, as they call upon Eurymine, with its striking crescendo of antiphonal effect:

Gemulo. As little Lambes lift up their snowie sides,
When mounting Larke salutes the gray-eyed morne--

Silvio. As from the Oaken leaves the honie glides, Where Nightingales record upon the thorne--

Ge. So rise my thoughts--

Sil.                      So all my sences cheere--

Ge. When she surveyes my flocks--

Sil.                             And she my Deare.

Ge. Eurymine!

Sil.      Eurymine!

Ge.            Come foorth!

Sil.              Come foorth!

Ge.                  Come foorth and cheere these plaines!

Both. Eurymine, come foorth and cheere these plaines--

Sil. The Wood-mans Love--

Ge.                 And Lady of the Swaynes[320] (IV. ii. 39.)

Not long after the appearance of the Maid's Metamorphosis there was written a play entitled The Fairy Pastoral, or the Forest of Elves, which is preserved in a manuscript belonging to the Duke of Devonshire, and was printed as long ago as 1824 by Joseph Haslewood, for the Roxburghe Club. The author was William Percy, third son of Henry, eighth Earl of Northumberland, and the friend of Barnabe Barnes at Oxford, but of whose life, beyond the facts of its obscurity and seeming misery, little or nothing is known. He left several manuscript plays, of which the present at least, dated 1603[321] at 'Wolves Hill, my Parnassus,' possesses neither interest nor merit. It is an amateurish performance, partly in prose, partly in verse, either blank or rimed in couplets. Where the author adopts verse as a vehicle, his language becomes crabbed and ungrammatical in its endeavour to accommodate itself to the unwonted restraint of metre, which it nevertheless fails to do. It is also apt to be laden to the point of obscurity with strange verbal mintage of the author's own. The plot is not strictly pastoral at all, the only characters that supply anything traditional in this line being the fairy hunters and huntresses. Oberon, having heard that Hypsiphyle, the princess of Elvida or the Forest of Elves, neglects her charge and suffers the woods and quarry to decay, sends Orion to take over the government and reform the abuses. The princess refuses to resign her authority, and a hunting contest ensues, in which, though she is vanquished, she in her turn overcomes her victor, and finally shares with him the fairy throne. While this plot is in action three careless huntresses play tricks on their enamoured hunters, and, being fooled in their turn, at last consent to reward the service of their lovers. The scenes are spun out by a thread of broad farce, supported by the fairy children, their schoolmaster, and his wench. Some of the obscenity of this part may be elaborated from passages in the Maid's Metamorphosis. The piece has a prologue for representation at court, but it is most unlikely that it ever had that honour. It is from beginning to end a graceless and mirthless composition.

Passing over the Faithful Shepherdess in 1609, we come to a play of a very different order from the last, namely, Phineas Fletcher's Sicelides, a piscatorial, written for presentation before King James at Cambridge in 1614-5, though he left without seeing it. It was acted before the University at King's College, on March 13, and printed, surreptitiously it would appear, in 1631[322]. It is not easy to account for the neglect which has usually fallen to the lot of this play at the hands of critics[323]. No doubt among writers generally it has shared the neglect commonly bestowed on pastorals, while among those more particularly concerned with our present subject it has possibly been overlooked as being piscatory. The fisher-poem, however, as we have already seen, is merely a variant of the pastoral, and must be included under the same general heading, while the play itself has no less poetic merit, and is certainly far more entertaining than the piscatory eclogues of the same author. The scene, as the title implies, is laid in Sicily, which was natural enough, or indeed inevitable, in the case of a writer who would himself in all confidence have pointed to Theocritus as the fountain-head of his inspiration.

Perindus loves Glaucilla, the daughter of Glaucus and Circe, and his affection is returned. In consequence, however, of an oracle he feigns indifference towards her, and though heart-sick when alone, meets her with mockery when she pleads her love. Meanwhile Perindus' sister, Olinda, is courted by Glaucilla's brother, Thalander, to whose suit, however, she turns a deaf ear, and at last bids him leave the country. He does so, but soon returns in disguise, resolved on winning her. She in the meantime has relented of her coldness, and is pining for his love. An opportunity soon offers itself for his purpose. By mistake or through ignorance she plucks the Hesperian apples in the sacred grove, an offence for which she is condemned to be offered as a sacrifice to a monster who inhabits a cave on the shore, and is known by the name of Maleorchus. Andromeda-like, she is bound to a rock, and the orc is in the very act of rushing upon its prey, when Thalander interposes and succeeds in slaying the monster. Meanwhile Cosma--'a light nymph of Messina,' who replaces the 'wanton nymph of Corinth' of the Arcadian cast--has fallen in love with Perindus, and, determining to get rid at a stroke both of his sister Olinda and his mistress Glaucilla, gives the former a poison under pretence of a love-cure. Glaucilla hearing of this, and suspecting the supposed philtre, mingles with it an antidote, so that when Olinda drinks it she only falls into a death-like trance. Hereupon Cosma accuses Glaucilla of substituting a poison for the philtre. She is condemned to be cast from the cliffs, but Perindus comes forward and claims to die in her place. He is actually cast from the rocks, but falling into the sea is rescued by two fishermen. These, we may notice, are borrowed from the twenty-first idyl of Theocritus, and supply, together with Cosma's page and lovers, a comic under-plot to the play. Olinda now revives, Thalander discovering her love for him reveals himself, and Perindus' oracle being fulfilled, all ends happily, the festivities being crowned by the entirely unexpected and uncalled-for return of Tyrinthus, the father of Perindus and Olinda, who had been carried off long before by pirates.

This somewhat complex plot, the dependence of which on the Italian pastoral is evident, is padded with a good deal of farce, but though the construction never evinces any great power on the part of the author, it is not on the whole inadequate. The verse is in great part rimed in couplets, and there are frequent attempts at epigrammatic effect, which at times lead to some obscurity. The language betrays, as in the case of the author's eclogues, a pseudo-archaism, which points, particularly in such phrases as 'doe ycleape,' to a perhaps unfortunate study of Spenser. Occasionally we meet with topical allusions, for instance the thrust at Taylor put into the mouth of the rude Cancrone:

Farewell ye rockes and seas, I thinke yee'l shew it
That Sicelie affords a water-Poet. (II. vi.)

The stealing of the Hesperian apples, and the penalty entailed, appear to be imitated from the breaking of Pan's tree in Browne's Britannia's Pastorals, as does also the devotion and rescue of Perindus[324]. The orc probably owes its origin, directly or indirectly, to Ariosto, and the influence of the Metamorphoses is likewise, as so often, present. The following is perhaps a rather favourable specimen of the verse, but many short passages and phrases of merit might be quoted:

The Oxe now feeles no yoke, all labour sleepes,
The soule unbent, this as her play-time keepes,
And sports it selfe in fancies winding streames,
Bathing his thoughts in thousand winged dreames ...
Only love waking rests and sleepe despises,
Sets later then the sunne, and sooner rises.
With him the day as night, the night as day,
All care, no rest, all worke, no holy-day.
How different from love is lovers guise!
He never opes, they never shut their eyes. (III. vi.)

Ten years at least, and probably more, intervened before the next pastoral that has survived appeared on the stage. This is a somewhat wild production, of small merit, though of some historical interest, entitled The Careless Shepherdess. It was printed many years after its original production, namely in 1656, and then purported to be written by 'T. G. Mr. of Arts,' who was identified with Thomas Goffe by Kirkman; nor has this ascription ever been challenged. Goffe was resident till 1620 at Oxford, where his classical tragedies were performed, after which he held the living of East Clandon in Surrey till his death in July, 1629. It is probably to these later years that his attempt at pastoral belongs, but the actual date of composition must rest upon conjecture. It was, we are informed on the title-page, performed before their majesties (at Whitehall, the prologue adds), and also publicly at Salisbury Court, the playhouse in the Strand, opened in 1629. Consequently the 'praeludium,' the scene of which is laid in the new theatre, must belong to the last months of the author's life[325]. The question of the date is interesting principally on account of certain lines which bear a somewhat striking resemblance to those which stand at the opening of Jonson's Sad Shepherd:

This was her wonted place, on these green banks
She sate her down, when first I heard her play
Unto her lisning sheep; nor can she be
Far from the spring she's left behinde. That Rose
I saw not yesterday, nor did that Pinke
Then court my eye; She must be here, or else
That gracefull Marygold wo'd shure have clos'd
Its beauty in her withered leaves, and that
Violet too wo'd hang its velvet head
To mourn the absence of her eyes[326]. (V. vii.)

The general poetic merit of the piece is, except for these lines, slight, while the songs and lyrical passages, which are rather freely interspersed, are almost all wooden and unmusical. Such interest as the play possesses is dependent on the plot. We have the conventional four characters: Arismena, the careless shepherdess, her lover Philaritus, and Castarina, whose affections lean towards the last, though she does not object to hold out some hope to her lover Lariscus. Philaritus is the son of Cleobulus, who is described as 'a gentleman of Arcadia,' and opposes his son's marriage with the daughter of a mere shepherd to the point of disowning him, whereupon the lover dons the pastoral garb, and so continues his suit to his unresponsive mistress. Castarina meanwhile informs her lover that she will show no favour to any suitor until the return of her banished father, Paromet. Both swains are of course in despair at the cruelty of their loves, but the behaviour of the nymphs is throughout marked by a certain sanity of feeling, which contrasts with the exaggerated devotions, and yet more exaggerated iciness, of their Italian predecessors. Philaritus, in the hope of rousing Arismena to jealousy, feigns love to Castarina, who readily meets his advances. He is so far successful that he awakes his mistress to the fact that she really loves him, but she determines to play the same trick upon him by feigning in her turn to love Lariscus. This has the immediate effect of making Philaritus challenge his supposed rival, who, having witnessed his pretended advances to Castarina, eagerly responds. Their meeting is, however, interrupted, in the one tolerably good scene in the play, by the appearance of the two shepherdesses, who threaten to slay one another unless their lovers desist. Arismena's coldness, it may be mentioned, has been shaken by Philaritus having rescued her from the pursuit of a satyr, and the two maidens now consent to make return for the long suit of their lovers. While, however, they are yet in the first transport of joy, a troop of satyrs appear, and carry off the girls by force, leaving the lovers to a despair rendered all the more bitter for Philaritus by the announcement that his father relents of his anger, and is willing to countenance his marriage with Arismena. After a vain search for traces of their loves the swains return home, where they are met by the same satyrs, still guarding their captives. They offer to run at them, when the two leaders discover themselves as the fathers respectively of Philaritus and Arismena. No satisfactory account of their motive for this outrage is offered, for while they are disputing of the matter the other satyrs, supposed to be their servants in disguise, suddenly disappear with the girls. Consternation follows, and great preparations are made for pursuit. Arismena and Castarina, however, apparently escape from their captors, for we next find them sleeping quietly in an arbour. Again a satyr enters, and carries off Arismena, whom Castarina on waking follows to the dwelling of the satyrs, where she finds her friend being courted by her captor. Meanwhile the rash pursuers have fallen into the hands of the pursued, and are brought in bound. Matters appear desperate, and the nymphs are actually brought on the stage apparently dead and lying in their coffins. They soon, however, show themselves to be alive, and the chief satyr reveals himself as the banished Paromet, who has been endeavouring to induce Arismena to marry him, in the hope thereby to get his sentence of banishment revoked. This, it appears, has already been done, and all now ends happily.

In this chaotic medley it will be observed that the plot is twice ravelled and loosed before the final solution. In the frequent enlèvements by the satyrs, as in the manner in which these deceive their employer, the story distantly recalls Ingegneri's Danza di Venere. One feature of importance is the comic character Graculus, who is well fooled by the pretended satyrs, and has an amusing though coarse part in prose. He seems to owe his origin to the broad humours of the vulgar stage, though he may be in a measure imitated from the roguish pages of Lyly, and so be the forerunner of Randolph's Dorylas. The tradition of the comic scenes, usually written in prose, was in process of crystallization, and from the Maid's Metamorphosis we can trace it onwards through the present piece, and such slighter compositions as the Converted Robber and Tatham's Love Crowns the End, to Randolph and even later writers. In the present case it was no innovation, nor is there any reason to suppose that it was unpopular with the audience.[327] What was an innovation was the 'gentleman of Arcadia,' a character for which the Spanish romance was without doubt responsible. In the Italian pastoral proper the shepherds are themselves the aristocracy of Arcadia, the introduction of such social hierarchy as is implied in the phrase being a point of chivalric and courtly tradition. Cleobulus, however, as well as his son Philaritus, is in fact purely Arcadian in character. Among other personae we find Apollo and the Sibyls, introduced for the sake of an oracle; Silvia, who more or less fills the office of priestess of Pan, and leads the shepherds to his shrine in a sort of masque; and a very superfluous 'Bonus Genius' of Castarina. This mythological element, however, though suggested, is not, any more than the courtly, put to the fore. I quote Silvia's song as the best example of the lyrical verse of the play:

Come Shepherds come, impale your brows
With Garlands of the choicest flowers
               The time allows.
Come Nymphs deckt in your dangling hair,
And unto Sylvia's shady Bowers

               With hast repair:
Where you shall see chast Turtles play,
And Nightingales make lasting May,
As if old Time his youthfull minde,
To one delightful season had confin'd. (II. i.)

There is one thing that can be said in favour of the pastoral written by Ralph Knevet for the Society of Florists at Norwich, namely, that while adhering mainly to tradition, it is not indebted to any individual works. Of the author of Rhodon and Iris, as the play was called, little is known beyond the dates of his birth and death, 1600 and 1671, and the bare facts that he was at one time connected in the capacity of tutor or chaplain with the family of Sir William Paston of Oxmead, and after the restoration held the living of Lyng in Norfolk. The play appears to have been performed at the Florists' feast on May 3, 1631, and was printed the same year. The object the author had in view was the characterization of certain flowers in the persons of nymphs and shepherds; other characters are allegorical personifications, while Flora herself plays the part of the pastoral god from the machine. The weakness of the plot, as in so many cases, lies in the existence of two main threads of interest, whose connexion is wholly fortuitous, and neither of which is clearly subordinated to the other. In the present case no attempt is made to interweave the chivalric motive, in which Rhodon stands as champion of the oppressed Violetta, with the pastoral motive of his love for Iris. It is, moreover, hardly possible to credit the play with a plot at all, since one thread is cut short by a dea ex machina of the most mechanical sort, while in the other there is never any complication at all. The following is the outline of the action. The proud shepherd Martagan has encroached on and wasted the lands of Violetta, the sister of Rhodon, to whom she appeals for protection. The latter determines to demand reparation of Martagan, and, in case of his refusal, to offer battle on his sister's behalf. In the meantime, warned, as we are told, by the stars, he has abandoned his love Eglantine, and incontinently fallen in love with Iris. The forsaken nymph seeks the aid of a witch, Poneria (Wickedness), who with her associate Agnostus (Ignorance) is supporting the pretensions of Martagan. Poneria supplies Eglantine with a poison under pretence of a love-philtre, with instructions to administer it to Rhodon disguised as his love Iris, which she succeeds in doing. Meanwhile Martagan has refused to come to terms, and either side prepares for war. Violetta and Iris send Rhodon charms and salves for wounds by the hand of their servant Panace (All-heal), who happily arrives just as he has drunk the poison, and is in time to cure him. Rhodon now prepares for battle under the belief that Iris has sought his death, but being assured of her faith, he vows a double vengeance on his foes, to whose deceit he next attributes the attempt. The forces are about to join battle when, in response to the prayers of the nymphs, Flora appears and bids the warriors hold. Martagan she commands to refrain from the usurped territory, and charges his followers to keep the peace and abide by her award. Poneria and Agnostus she banishes from the land, and Eglantine for seeking unlawful means to her love is condemned to ten years' penance in a 'vestal Temple.' Thus Rhodon is free to celebrate his nuptials with Iris, though the matter is only referred to in the epilogue.

The plot, it will be seen, is anything but that of a pure pastoral. The large chivalric or at least martial element belongs less to the courtly and Spanish type than to that of works like Menaphon, or even Daphnis and Chloe. There is also a comic motive between Clematis and her fellow servant Gladiolus, which turns on the wardrobe and cosmetics of Eglantine and Poneria, and belongs to the tradition of court and city. The allegorical characters find their nearest parallel in those of the Queen's Arcadia.[328]

This amateurish effort is composed for the most part in a strangely unmetrical attempt at blank verse. It differs from the doggerel of the Fairy Pastoral in making no apparent attempt at scansion at all, and so at least escapes the crabbedness of Percy's language. It is not easy to see how the author came to write in this curious compromise between verse and prose, since it is more or less freely interspersed with passages both in blank verse and in couplets, which, while exhibiting no conspicuous poetical qualities, are both metrical and pleasing enough. Take, for example, the lines from Eglantine's lament:

Since that the gods will not my woe redresse,
Since men are altogether pittilesse,
Ye silent ghosts unto my plaints give eare;
Give ear, I say, ye ghosts, if ghosts can heare,
And listen to my plaints that doe excell
The dol'rous tune of ravish'd Philomel.
Now let Ixions wheele stand still a while,
Let Danaus daughters now surcease their toyle,
Let Sisyphus rest on his restlesse stone,
Let not the Apples flye from Plotas sonne,
And let the full gorg'd Vultur cease to teare
The growing liver of the ravisher;
Let these behold my sorrows and confesse
Their paines doe farre come short of my distresse. (II. iii.)

Or take Clematis' prayer for her mistress Eglantine:

Thou gentle goddesse of the woods and mountains,
That in the woods and mountains art ador'd,
The Maiden patronesse of chaste desires,
Who art for chastity renouned most,
Tresgrand Diana, who hast power to cure
The rankling wounds of Cupids golden arrowes,
Thy precious balsome deigne thou to apply
Unto the heart of wofull Eglantine. (I. iii.)

Or yet again, in lighter mood, Acanthus' boast:

When Sol shall make the Easterne Seas his bed,
When Wolves and Sheepe shall be together fed,...
When Venus shal turn Chast, and Bacchus become sober,
When fruit in April's ripe, that blossom'd in October,...
When Art shal be esteem'd, and golden pelfe laid down,
When Fame shal tel all truth, and Fortune cease to frown,
To Cupids yoke then I my necke will bow;
Till then, I will not feare loves fatall blow. (I. ii.)

Yet the author of the above passages--for there is no reason to suppose a second hand, and the play was published under his own direction--chose to write the main portion of his poem in a measure of this sort:

Oh impotent desires, allay the sad consort
Of a sublime Fortune, whose most ambitious flames
Disdaine to burne in simple Cottages,
Loathing a hard unpolish'd bed;
But Coveting to shine beneath a Canopy
Of rich Sydonian purple, all imbroider'd
With purest gold, and orientall Pearles. (I. iii.)

Why he should have so chosen I cannot presume to say; whether from haste and carelessness, or from a deliberate intention of writing a sort of measured prose; but it was certainly from no inability to be metrical. The occasional lyrics, moreover, are not without merit; the following lines, sung by Eglantine, are perhaps the most pleasing in the play:

Upon the blacke Rocke of despaire
My youthfull joyes are perish'd quite;
My hopes are vanish'd into ayre,
My day is turn'd to gloomy night;
For since my Rhodon deare is gone,
Hope, light, nor comfort, have I none.
A Cell where griefe the Landlord is
Shall be my palace of delight,
Where I will wooe with votes and sighes
Sweet death to end my sorrowes quite;
Since I have lost my Rhodon deare,
Deaths fleshlesse armes why should I feare? (I. iii.)

To treat of Walter Montagu's Shepherds' Paradise at a length at all commensurate with its own were to set a premium on dull prolixity; there are, however, in spite of its restricted merits, a few points which give it a claim upon our attention. A brief analysis will suffice. The King of Castile negotiates a marriage between his son and the princess of Navarre. The former, however, is in love with a lady of the court named Fidamira, who repulses his advances in favour of Agenor, a friend of the prince's. The prince therefore resolves to leave the court and seek the Shepherds' Paradise, a sequestered vale inhabited by a select and courtly company, and induces Agenor to accompany him on his expedition. In their absence the king himself makes love to Fidamira, who, however, escapes, and likewise makes her way to the Shepherds' Paradise in disguise. Meanwhile, Belesa, the princess of Navarre, misliking of the proposed match with a man she has never seen, has withdrawn from her father's court to the same pastoral retreat, where she has at once been elected queen of the courtly company. On the arrival of the prince and his friend they both fall in love with her, but the prince's suit is seconded by the disguised Fidamira, and soon takes a favourable turn. At this point the King of Castile arrives in pursuit, together with an old councillor, who proceeds to reveal the relationship of the various characters. Fidamira and Belesa, it appears, are sisters, and Agenor their brother. The marriage of the prince and Belesa is of course solemnized; the king renews his suit to Fidamira, but she prefers to remain in Paradise, where she is chosen perpetual queen[329].

The plot, it will be observed, belongs entirely to the school of the Hispano-French romance, and the style, intricate, involved, and conceited, in which this prose pastoral is written betrays the same origin. Moreover, as Euphuism, objectionable enough in the romance, becomes ten times more intolerable on the stage, so too with the language of the pastoral-amorous tale of courtly chivalry. There are, however, incidental passages of verse which in their own rather intricate and ergotic style are of greater merit than the prose, though that is not saying much. The close dependence of the piece upon the chivalric tradition serves to differentiate it from the majority of those we have to consider; while certain external circumstances have combined to give it a fortuitous reputation.

One of Montagu's passports to fame is an allusion in Suckling's Session of the Poets, from which it is evident that the style of the play attracted notice of an uncomplimentary character even among the writer's contemporaries:

Wat Montagu now stood forth to his trial,
And did not so much as suspect a denial;
But witty Apollo asked him first of all,
If he understood his own pastoral!

The Shepherds' Paradise is, however, best remembered on account of circumstances attending its performance. It was acted, as we learn from a letter of John Chamberlain's, on January 8, 1632-3, by the queen and her ladies, who filled male and female parts alike. Almost simultaneously appeared Prynne's famous attack on all things connected with the stage, in which was one particularly scurrilous passage concerning women who appeared on the boards. As this, of course, was not the practice of the public stage, it was evident that the author must have had some specific instance in mind, and though it is not certain whether there was any personal intention in the allusion, the cap was made to fit, and for the supposed insult to the queen Prynne lost his ears.

It is presumably at this point that Randolph's Amyntas should appear in a chronological survey of English pastoralism.

Of the 'Pastoral of Florimene,' presented at the queen's command before the king at Whitehall, on December 21, 1635, we possess the plot only, and it is even doubtful in what language the piece was composed[330]. The songs in the introduction and the intermedî were undoubtedly in French, and the prologue by Fame in English; the rest is uncertain, but the French forms of the names, and the fact that it was represented by 'les filles françaises de la Reine' point in the same direction. The plot, which belongs entirely to the court-pastoral type of the French romances, only influenced in the dénoûment by mythological tradition, appears to be original in the same degree as most other pastoral inventions, that is, to exhibit fresh variations on stock situations.[331] The relation of the characters is involved, and not easily made out from the printed account of the piece, but the outline of the plot is as follows. The shepherdess Florimene is loved by the Delian shepherd Anfrize, who has long been her servant, and the Arcadian stranger Filene, who in order to gain access to the object of his devotion has disguised himself in female attire, and passes under the name of Dorine. In this disguise he is courted by Florimene's brother, Aristee. Filene, however, was loved in Arcadia by the nymph Licoris, who has followed him disguised in shepherd's weeds. Aristee, in order to sound the mind of his love, the supposed Dorine (i.e. Filene), disguises himself in his sister Florimene's dress, and in this garb receives to his astonishment the declaration of Filene's love. Aristee immediately leaves him, and turns his affections towards the faithful Lucinde, who has long pined for his love. She, however, has now fallen in love with Lycoris in her male attire, and rejects the advances of the penitent Aristee, continuing to do so even after she has discovered her mistake. Lycoris, hearing of the disguise of Filene, seeks Florimene at the moment when she is most incensed on discovering the deception, and begs her good offices with Filene, which are readily promised. Florimene accordingly rejects Filene when he presents himself, but he refuses to show any favour to Lycoris until she shall have obtained his pardon from Florimene. The latter is really in love with Filene all the time, and when Lycoris comes to plead his cause, she readily grants her audience. Filene now enters, and is about to pass his vows to Florimene when they are interrupted by Anfrize, who in a fit of jealousy offers to kill Filene. This attempt Florimene prevents with her sheep-hook, and declares that they must all seek the award of Diana, by whose decision she promises to abide. The goddess then appears. Lucinde she decrees shall restore her love to Aristee; Lycoris, she informs the company, is own sister to Filene, whose love she must therefore renounce. She then bids Anfrize and Filene plead their cause, which they do, and she declares in favour of the latter's suit, commanding at the same time that the unsuccessful Anfrize shall wed the forlorn Lycoris. Thus all are happy, so far as having their love affairs arranged by a third party can be supposed to make them. Florimene, who had retired, perhaps to don her bridal robes, now returns to complete the tableau. 'Here the Heavens open, and there appeare many deities, who in their songs expresse their agreements to these marriages'--which was, no doubt, thought very satisfactory by the spectators.

The Shepherds' Holiday is the most typical, as it is on the whole the most successful, of those pastorals which exhibit the blending of the Arcadian and courtly elements. It was printed in 1635, and the title-page informs us that it was 'Written by J. R.,' initials which there is satisfactory evidence for regarding as those of Joseph Rutter, the translater of Corneille's Cid, who appears to have been in some way attached to the households both of Sir Kenelm Digby and the Earl of Dorset. The play was acted before Charles and his queen at Whitehall. The following analysis will sufficiently express its nature.

At the opening of the play we find Thirsis grieving for the loss of Silvia, a strange shepherdess who appeared amongst the pastoral inhabitants of Arcadia some while previously, and has recently vanished, carried off, as her lover supposes, by a satyr. Leaving him to his lament, the play introduces us to the huntress Nerina, courted by the rich shepherd Daphnis, whose suit is favoured by her father, and the poor swain Hylas. Daphnis is in his turn loved by the nymph Dorinda. In a scene between Hylas and Nerina she upbraids him with having once stolen a kiss of her, and dismisses him in seeming anger; immediately he is gone, however, delivering herself of a soliloquy in which she confesses her love for him, which her father's commands forbid her to reveal. Daphnis, finding her cold to his suit, seeks the help of Alcon, who supplies him with a magic glass, in which whoso looks shall not choose but love the giver. In reality it is poisoned, and upon his giving it to Nerina she faints, and in appearance dies, after obtaining as her last request her father's favour to her love for Hylas. The scene now shifts to court. Silvia, who it appears is none other than the daughter of King Euarchus, recounts how she had fled owing to the unwelcome suit of Cleander, the son of the old councillor Eubulus, and on account of her love of the shepherd Thirsis, whom she had seen and heard at the annual show which the country folk were wont to perform at court. After a while, however, Cleander had discovered her retreat and forced her to return. The shepherds are now again about to present their rustic pageant, and she takes the opportunity of sending a private message, seeking an interview with Thirsis. Meanwhile Eubulus has explained to his son Cleander how Silvia is really his own daughter, and consequently Cleander's sister. An oracle had led the king to believe that if a son were born to him harm would ensue, and therefore commanded that in that case the child should be destroyed. A son was born, but Eubulus substituted his own daughter, whom he feigned dead, and carried away the king's son with a necklace round his neck, intending to commit him to the care of some shepherds, but being surprised by robbers fled leaving the child to its fate. Returning now to the shepherds, the play shows us Daphnis and Alcon seeking the tomb of Nerina with a restorative. The glass, it seems, was intentionally poisoned by Alcon, who adopted this elaborate device for placing the nymph in the power of her lover should she continue obdurate. They restore her, and finding her still unmoved by his suit Daphnis threatens her with violence. Her cries, however, attract the swains, who arrive with Hylas at their head. Daphnis, overcome with shame at the exposure of his villany, is glad to find a friend in the despised Dorinda, while Nerina rewards her faithful Hylas in accordance with her father's promise. Meanwhile at court Silvia and Thirsis have been surprised in their secret interview, and both doomed to die by the anger of the king. The necklace on Thirsis' neck, however, leads to the discovery of his identity as the king's son, and all ends happily.[332]

In point of dramatic construction the first three acts leave little to be desired; as is so often the case, the weakness of the plot appears in the unravelling. The double solution of the two threads, neither of which is properly subordinated, and which are wholly independent, is a serious blot on the dramatic merit of the play. The courtly element, moreover, is but clumsily grafted on to the pastoral stock. Throughout the debts to predecessors, whether of language or incident, are fairly obvious. The verse in which the play is written is adequate and well sustained, and if its dependence on Daniel is evident, no less so is the advance in flexibility and expression which the language, as handled by the lesser poets, has made in the course of the twenty years or so that separate the Shepherds' Holiday from Hymen's Triumph. Rutter's verse also displays a certain nervousness of its own which is wanting in the model, though it preserves the intermixture of blank verse with irregular rimes which Daniel affected. These peculiarities may be illustrated in a passage which opens with a reminiscence of Spenser:

All as the shepherd is, such be his flocks,
So pine and languish they, as in despair
He pines and languishes; their fleecy locks
Let hang disorder'd, as their master's hair,
Since she is gone that deck'd both him and them.
And now what beauty can there be to live,
When she is lost that did all beauty give? (I. i.)

Again the opening situation recalls that of Hymen's Triumph, a resemblance rendered all the more striking by the retention of the actual names, Silvia and Thirsis. In like manner the name and character of Dorinda are taken from the Pastor fido. From the Aminta, of course, comes Nerina's description of how her lover stole a kiss, though little of the sensuous charm of the original survives; from the Pastor fido her confession of love as soon as she finds herself alone. The opening lines of this speech are, indeed, a direct translation:

Alas! my Hylas, my beloved soul,
Durst she whom thou hast call'd cruel Nerina
But speak her thoughts, thou wouldst not think her so;
To thee she is not cruel, but to herself.[333] (II. iii.)

But these borrowings are by no means unskilful, so far at least as the construction is concerned. The discovery by Cleander that Silvia is his own sister, and the instant effect of the discovery in destroying his love, are of course commonplaces of the minor pastoral drama of Italy, and also occur in some of the plays we have been examining in this chapter. Verbal reminiscences of the Aminta also are scattered through the play, for instance, the lines in which Nerina protests her hatred of all who seek to win her from her state of unfettered virginity, protestations particularly fatuous, seeing that she is in love with Hylas throughout. Her father not unreasonably retorts:

Yes, you have made a vow, I know, which is,
Whilst you are young, you will have all the youth
To follow you with lies and flatteries.
Fool, they'll deceive you; when this colour fades,
Which will not always last, and you go crooked,
As if you sought your beauty, lost i' th' ground,
Then they will laugh at you! (II. v.)

With which he goes off to attend to the shearing of his sheep, one of those wholly unnecessary operations which the less skilful pastoralists make it a virtue to thrust upon our attention. The scene between Nerina, Daphnis, and Dorinda, a sort of three-cornered love-suit, may possibly have suggested to Cowley the best scene in the play which next claims our attention.

Cowley's Love's Riddle, published in 1638, but written two or three years earlier, is the work of a boy of sixteen, and though it serves amply to prove the precocity of its author, it does not therefore follow that it is itself possessed of any conspicuous merit. To find in it passages of genuine observation and love of nature, as one of Cowley's critics professes to do, is unpardonably partial; to grumble with another at not finding them is futile; even with a third to see in the piece 'a boy's conception of Sicilian life' is, to say the least, unnecessary. Cowley had, indeed, a great deal too much of 'the precocious humour of the world-wise boy' to put forward his play as anything of the kind; he was perfectly aware that it was an absolutely unreal fantasy, based entirely on convention and imitation, the sole merit of which was the more or less clever manner in which borrowing, reminiscence, and tradition were interwoven and combined. The plot is a mixture of the pastoral and courtly, or at least aristocratic, types, not uninfluenced by the rustic or comic, which, like the chivalric, is no doubt of Sidneian origin.

Calidora, the daughter of noble parents in Sicily, retires among the shepherd folk disguised in man's apparel, in order, as we only learn at the end of the play, to escape from the violence of Aphron, one of her suitors. Her other suitor, Philistus, as well as her brother Florellus and Philistus' sister Clariana, all set off in search of her, while Aphron, finding her fled from his pursuit, wanders aimlessly about, having lost his reason. Thus the courtly characters are all brought in contact with the country swains, among whom Palaemon courts the disdainful Hylace, daughter of the crabbed Melarnus and the old hag Truga. Other pastoral characters are old Aegon and his supposed daughter Bellula, and Alupis, who fills at once the rôles of the 'merry' shepherd and the 'wise.' On Callidora's appearance in boy's attire among the shepherd folk Hylace and Bellula alike fall in love with her, while in his search for his sister Florellus falls in love with Bellula. This gives occasion for a scene of some merit between Callidora, Bellula, and Florellus, in which, after vainly disputing of their loves, they form a sort of triple alliance under the name of Love's Riddle. A similar scene could obviously be worked with Callidora, Hylace, and Palaemon, and it is perhaps to Cowley's credit that he has avoided the obvious parallelism. Meanwhile Clariana has met the mad Aphron without recognizing him, and taking pity on his state brings him home to cure him, an attempt in which she is successful. He rewards her by transferring to her his somewhat questionable attentions. Also Alupis, working on Truga, has tricked her into seeking the marriage of Hylace and Palaemon; a plan, however, which is upset by Hylace and Melarnus. Florellus in the meantime becomes impatient at finding a rival in Bellula's love, and seeks a duel with Callidora. She apparently fails to recognize her brother, and is forced to fight. They are separated by Philistus and Bellula. The two girls faint, and are carried by their lovers into the house where Clariana is nursing Aphron. Callidora's identity is discovered, and her parents arrive upon the scene. Bellula is found to be, not, as was supposed, Aegon's daughter, but sister to Aphron, stolen by pirates in childhood. Aegon makes Palaemon his heir, thereby removing Melarnus' objection to his suit to Hylace, while the latter and Bellula, discovering the hopelessness of their love for Callidora, consent to reward their respective lovers. Aphron, cured and forgiven, is accepted by Clariana, and thus, all bars removed, the happiness of the four pairs is secured.

There has been a tendency to exaggerate the merits of this plot. Cowley shows, indeed, some skill in the ravelling and in the handling of individual scenes, but in the unravelling he is far from happy, and there is often an utter lack of motive about his characters. Where the whole construction, indeed, depends upon no inner necessity, the various threads, as soon as their interweaving ceases to be necessary to the plot, fall apart of themselves, without any dénoûment, strictly speaking, at all. Thus Cowley's play has the characteristic faults of immature work, absence of rational characterization, and want of logical construction.

The verse, though well sustained, is on a singularly tedious level of mediocrity, while the lyrics introduced are all alike considerably below the general level. There are seldom more than a few lines together which possess any distinguishing merit, such as an indulgent editor has found in Bellula's exclamation when she first falls in love with Callidora:

How red his cheekes are! so our garden apples
Looke on that side where the hot Sun salutes them; (I. ii.)

or in the lines with which Callidora prepares to meet death from her brother's sword:

As sick men doe their beds, so have I yet
Injoy'd my selfe, with little rest, much trouble:
I have beene made the Ball of Love and Fortune,
And am almost worne out with often playing;
And therefore I would entertaine my death
As some good friend whose comming I expected. (V. iii.)

Mr. Gosse once expressed the opinion that Cowley's play is 'a distinct following without imitation of The Jealous Lovers of Thomas Randolph.' Exactly what was meant by this phrase it is difficult to tell, but if it was intended to imply any resemblance between the two pieces its application is confined to the character of a woman to whom age has not taught continence, and an incidental hit at the jargon of astrologers.[334] That Cowley had read The Jealous Lovers, published in 1633, is by no means unlikely, for he was certainly acquainted with the yet unpublished Amyntas. This he may perhaps have seen when it was performed at Whitehall, and he imitated several passages of it in his own Westminster play. The most important point of connexion is the madness of Aphron, which is modelled with some closeness on that of Amyntas. Actual verbal reminiscences are not common, but there can, I think, be little doubt that the schoolboy has been imitating the half-grotesque, half-poetic fantasies of the university wit, though he has wholly failed to achieve his pathos. Again, the speech of Florellus at the opening of Act III recalls the return both of Corymbus and of Claius in Amyntas, while Cowley is much more likely to have been influenced to lay the scene of his play in Sicily by Randolph's example than by his reading of Theocritus, whose influence, if it exists, is of the slightest. Emulation, rather than imitation, was Cowley's attitude towards his predecessor, and his means are not always happy. Thus, though the humours of Truga may have been suggested by the character of Dipsa in the Jealous Lovers, she is probably introduced into Cowley's play as the counterpart of Dorylas in Amyntas. Randolph trod on thin ice in some of the speeches of the liquorish wag, whose 'years are yet uncapable of love,' but censure will not stick to the witty knave. On the other hand, Cowley's portrait of incontinent age in Truga fails wholly of being comic, and appears all the loathlier for the fact that the author himself was still a mere schoolboy--though this is, indeed, his best excuse. Other parallels could be pointed out, but it would be superfluous; convention and petty theft are the warp and woof of the piece. The satire, which has met with some praise, is, of course, staled by a hundred poets of the pastoral vein. The position of Callidora, loved in her disguise by the two girls, recalls that of many pastoral heroines before and since Daniel's Silvia, particularly perhaps of the courtly Rosalind loved by the Arcadian Phoebe. The chivalric admixture is, as usual, traceable to Sidney, and the duel finds of course an obvious parallel in Twelfth Night. The discovery of Bellula's identity recalls more particularly, perhaps, that of Chloe's in Longus' romance, or may possibly indicate an acquaintance with Bonarelli's Filli di Sciro, which might also be traced in the attribution to centaurs of the character long identified with satyrs in pastoral tradition.

It is a coincidence, but one significant of the nature of the pastoral tradition, if such it can be called, that had sprung up on the English stage, that the next play to claim our notice is again the work of a schoolboy. Love in its Extasy, described on the title-page as 'a kind of Royall Pastorall,' was written, at the age of seventeen, by a student of Eton College, whom it has been customary to identify with one William Peaps.[335] The date of composition is said in the stationer's preface to have preceded by many years that of publication, 1649, we may perhaps regard the piece as more or less contemporary with Cowley's juvenile effort. There is, it is true, one passage,[336] treating of tyrants and revolutions, which is such as a moderate supporter of 'divine right' might have been expected to pen in the later days of the civil war; the publisher's words, however, are unequivocal, and can hardly refer to a period after 1642.

Love in its Extasy itself cannot, without some straining of the term, be called a pastoral, though there are certain links serving to connect it with pastoral tradition. The only excuse, beyond that afforded by the title-page, for including it in the present category is that several of the characters, finding it for various reasons inconvenient to appear in their own shapes, take upon themselves a pastoral disguise; but there is no hint of any pastoral background to the action, not even the atmosphere of a rural academy as in Montagu's play. The whole piece, however, is in the style of the Hispano-French romance, in which pastoral or pseudo-pastoral plays so large a part. To enter into the plot in detail is for our present purpose unnecessary. It is apparently original, and, considered as a romance, would do no small credit to its youthful author. An exiled king and his lady-love assume the sheep-hook, as do also two princes and the mistress of one of them, the mistress of the other appearing in the disguise of a boy. Disguisings, potions, feigned deaths, and recognitions, or rather revelations of identity, form the staple elements of the plot. The play is long, the stage crowded, the plot intricate and elaborated with a superabundance of incident; but it must be admitted that the attention is held and the interest sustained, even to a wearisome degree, throughout; that the characters are individualized, and the action clear. These are no small merits, as any one whose fortune it has been to wade through any considerable portion of the minor drama will be ready to acknowledge; while the defects of the piece are those commonly incident to immature work. The most conspicuous are the want of one prominent interest, and the lack of definite climax; at least four equally important threads are kept running through the play, and the dramatic tension is at an almost constant pitch throughout. These characteristics are those of the narrative romance and of the novel of adventure respectively, and are fatal to the success of the dramatic form.

The verse is in a way peculiar. It is intended as blank verse, and it is true that the licences taken do not exceed those commonly allowed by the practice of dramatists such as Fletcher, but here they are wholly unregulated by any natural feeling for metre or rhythm, and the resuit can hardly be called pleasing. On the other hand, there are a few happy lines, as where a lover bids his penitent mistress

Knock at Repentance gate, one tear of thine
Will easily compell an entrance. (V. ii.)

There are also some passages of forcible vigour, not always subject to dramatic propriety. Nevertheless, the qualities of life and brightness displayed are sufficient to induce a belief that had the author begun writing at a moment more propitious than the eve of the civil war, and pursued his career on the practical London stage, our drama might have been the richer by, say, a second Shirley, an addition which those who know that writer best will probably rate most highly. In any case the composition must, I think, be held to surpass in genuine qualities Cowley's flashy precocity.

This will be the most convenient place to mention an anonymous and undated play entitled Love's Victory, extracts from a manuscript of which were printed in 1853.[337] The style of the piece is not much guide as to the date, but the play does not appear to be early, in spite of the somewhat archaic spelling. It is in rime; mostly decasyllabic couplets, but with free intermixture of alternative rime and frequent lyrical passages. It is of course difficult to gather much of the plot from the printed extracts, but so far as it is possible to judge the play appears to have been a pure pastoral, with Venus and Cupid introduced in the finale, while the situations and characters are those habitual to pastorals, including the quite superfluous protesting of a not very prepossessing chastity. The only more original trait is the scene in which the nymphs meet and relate their love adventures, a rather awkward device for carrying on the involution of the plot. There is a certain ease in the verse, but on the whole the poetic merit is small.[338]

We have now passed in review all the regular pastoral plays lying within our scope. There remain a number of shorter compositions of a similar or at least analogous nature, as well as a good many masques and other pieces in which the pastoral element is more or less dominant. These it will for our present purpose be convenient to consider in connexion with each other, and without troubling ourselves too much concerning such nice differences of form as may be found to exist among them.

Chapter VII.

Masques and General Influence


The history of the English masque offers a very interesting study in what may be called literary morphology. Under the influence of the stage the early disguisings and spectacular dances developed into a semi-dramatic kind, intermediate between the literary drama and mere scenic displays, and recognized as possessing a definite nature and proper limitations of its own. To this highly individualized form of art the term masque may often with convenience and propriety be restricted, but all such rigid and exclusive definitions have this disadvantage, that they tend to make lines of division appear clearer and more logically convincing than they in fact usually are, and further that they tempt us to neglect the often numerous and closely allied specimens which cannot be brought to accommodate themselves to the abstract type. Those writers who deny that Comus is a masque are entirely justified from their point of view; it is a question of classification, and the classification which it is convenient to adopt may vary according to the nature of the investigation in hand. It must not, therefore, be thought that I place myself in antagonism to critics such as Dr. Brotanek for example, if I give to the term masque its widest possible signification as including not only the regular and highly developed compositions of the Jonsonian type, but also mere pageants on the one hand, and what may be called miniature plays on the other; all dramatic or semi-dramatic pieces, in short, which it is undesirable or inconvenient to treat along with the regular productions. Approaching the question as we do, not from the point of view of the evolution of a particular literary form, but from that of a persistent ideal and quasi-philosophical tradition, which manifests itself in all manner of forms and fashions, we have a perfect right to adopt whatever classification suits our purpose best, provided always that we have a clear notion what it is we are discussing. I propose, therefore, to treat in chronological order all those pieces which, owing to their less fully developed dramatic form, were omitted from the previous chapter. Something no doubt has been sacrificed by thus separating the regular dramas from the slighter and more occasional compositions, for in the earlier times especially these latter serve to fill considerable gaps in the sequence, and must have had a powerful influence in fashioning that pastoral tradition to which the pieces we have already considered belong.

The connexion of the pastoral with the masque began very early, and may well have been more constant than we should be tempted to suppose from the isolated examples that remain. The union was a natural one, for the pastoral, whether in its Arcadian or chivalric guise, was well suited to supply the framework for graceful poetry and elaborate dances alike, while the rustic and burlesque elements were equally capable of furnishing matter for the antimasque, when the form had reached that stage of structural elaboration. The allusive and allegorical features which had long been traditional in the pastoral likewise suited the topical and occasional nature of the masque. The connexion, however, with the stricter forms at least, was never very close, the tendency on the part of the pastoral to confine itself to a mere external formalism being even more noticeable here than in the case of the regular drama.

The earliest instance of this connexion of which we have notice is one of interest in English history. It is none other than the masquerade in which Henry appeared disguised as a shepherd at Wolsey's feast, which, according to Shakespeare, was the occasion of his first meeting with Anne Boleyn. The disguising is attested by the authority of Cavendish and Hall, but it is clear that the pastoral element was confined to the garb, there being no indication of anything of the nature of a literary presentation.

The first literary specimen of the kind does not appear till near the middle of Elizabeth's reign, and even then there is barely an excuse for classing it as pastoral. The composition in question is the slight entertainment, to which the name of The Lady of May has been given by modern critics, composed by Sidney for presentation before Elizabeth during her visit to Leicester at Wanstead, in May, 1578. It appears to have been his earliest work. Though not itself a masque in the strict sense of the word in which we have learnt to use it, the piece contains the undeveloped germs of most of the later characteristics of the kind. The Queen in her walks through the grounds came to a spot where the May-Lady was being courted by a shepherd and a 'foster,' hotly contending for the prize. The strife was stayed, and, the deserts of either party being duly set forth, the Lady referred the choice to the Queen, who decided in favour of the pastoral suitor. A song and music ended the show. A strongly rustic element is sustained by the Lady's mother and the old shepherd Dorcas, while a touch of broad burlesque is introduced in the character of the pedagogue Rombus, who speaks in a style really little more extravagant than that of Sidney's own Arcadia. As in the romance, at the end of which the piece was first printed in 1598, the occasional songs are of small merit.

The spring-like freshness that characterizes so much of Peele's best work breathes deliciously through the polite convention of the Descensus Astraeae, the 'Pageant, borne before M. William Web, Lord Maior of the Citie of London on the day he tooke his oath; beeing the 29. of October. 1591.' The conceit is graceful in itself, and significant of the sentiment of contemporary London. Astraea, bearing her sheep-hook as a sort of pastoral sceptre, typified the Queen, and passed on in her triumphal car with the words:

Feed on, my flock, among the gladsome green,
Where heavenly nectar flows above the banks;
Such pastures are not common to be seen:
Pay to immortal Jove immortal thanks,
For what is good fro heaven's high throne doth fall;
And heaven's great architect be praised for all[339].

In her praise the graces, the virtues, and a champion utter appropriate speeches, whilst Superstition, a friar, and Ignorance, a priest, together with other malcontents, shrink back abashed before her onward march.

The following year appeared the anonymous 'Speeches delivered to her Majestie this last progresse, at the Right Honorable the Lady Russels, at Bissam, the Right Honorable the Lorde Chandos, at Sudley, at the Right Honorable the Lord Norris, at Ricorte.' This piece being very characteristic of a certain sort of courtly shows, and itself possessing rather greater intrinsic interest than is to be found in most of the compositions we shall have to examine, may lay claim to a somewhat more detailed discussion. As the Queen approached through the woods towards Bisham, cornets were heard to sound, and presently there appeared a wild man who began his speech thus:

I followed this sounde, as enchanted; neither knowing the reason why, nor how to bee ridde of it: unusuall to these Woods, and, I feare, to our gods prodigious. Sylvanus whom I honour, is runne into a Cave: Pan, whom I envye, courting of the Shepheardesse. Envie I thee Pan? No, pitty thee; an eie-sore to chast Nymphes, yet still importunate. Honour thee Sylvanus? No, contemne thee; fearefull of Musicke in the Woods, yet counted the god of the Woods.

He then proceeds to welcome the royal visitor. Further on 'At the middle of the Hill sate Pan, and two Virgins keeping sheepe, and sowing in their Samplers.' Pan courts the shepherdesses, who mock him, and finally all join in welcome of the Queen. 'At the bottome of the hill,' we read further, 'entring into the hous, Ceres with her Nymphes in an harvest Cart, meete her Majesty, having a Crowne of wheat-ears with a Jewell.' Ceres sings:

Swel Ceres now, for other Gods are shrinking;
   Pomona pineth,
       Fruitlesse her tree;
   Fair Phoebus shineth
       Onely on mee.
Conceit doth make me smile whilst I am thinking,...
All other Gods of power bereven,
Ceres only Queene of heaven.

With Robes and flowers let me be dressed;
      Cynthia that shineth
        Is not so cleare,
      Cynthia declineth
        When I appeere,
Yet in this Ile shee raignes as blessed, ...
   And in my eares still fonde Fame whispers,
   Cynthia shalbe Ceres Mistres.

She then proceeds to welcome the Queen as 'Greater then Ceres.' At Sudely Castle her Majesty was received by an old shepherd with a long speech; whereafter we read: 'Sunday, Apollo running after Daphne,' a show accompanied by a speech from another shepherd, at the end whereof, the metamorphosis safely accomplished, 'her Majesty sawe Apollo with the tree, having on one side one that sung, on the other one that plaide.'

Sing you, plaie you, but sing and play my truth,
This tree my Lute, these sighes my notes of ruth:
The Lawrell leafe for ever shall bee greene,
And chastety shalbe Apolloes Queene.
If gods maye dye, here shall my tombe be plaste,
And this engraven, 'Fonde Phoebus, Daphne chaste.'

'The song ended, the tree rived, and Daphne issued out, Apollo ranne after, with these words:'

Faire Daphne staye, too chaste because too faire,
Yet fairer in mine eies, because so chaste,
And yet because so chaste, must I despaire?
And to despaire, I yeelded have at last.

'Daphne running to her Majestie uttered this:'

I stay, for whether should chastety fly for succour, but to the Queene of chastety, &c.

a speech which can without loss be left to the imagination of the reader. The third day's show was prevented by bad weather: it was designed thus. Summoned by one clad in sheep-skins, the Queen was to be led to where the shepherds of Cotswold were engaged in choosing a king and queen of the feast by the simple divination of a bean and a pea concealed in a cake. After a while spying her Majesty, the whole company should have joined in a welcome. The rest of the show is in no wise pastoral. The very marked Euphuism of the prose portions, combined with some lyrical merit, makes the composition worth notice, and has led to its ascription to the pen of Lyly himself. It was, of course, composed and presented for her Majesty's delectation at a time when Lyly's plays were the delight of the court; but however grateful we may feel to Mr. Bond for having made this and other similar pieces accessible in his edition of the poet, we need not necessarily accept his view of the authorship.[340]

To the end of the sixteenth century belong undoubtedly many of the pieces printed for the first time in 1637 in Thomas Heywood's volume of Dialogues and Dramas.[341] The only one of these that can really be styled pastoral is a slight composition entitled Amphrissa, or the Forsaken Shepherdess. Two shepherdesses, Pelopaea and Alope, meet and fall to discoursing of love and inconstancy, and cite incidentally the unhappy case of Amphrissa, who at that moment appears in person and joins in the conversation. The nymphs undertake her cure, and give her much wise counsel while they crown her with willow. Then there appears upon the scene the huntress queen of Arcadia herself, attended by her nymphs, virgin Diana, before whom the country maidens bow in awe. She graciously raises them, and the slight piece ends with dance and song.

In this drama or dialogue or masque, or whatever it may be most appropriately called, we see all plot disappear, and the interest concentrate itself in the dialogue, which, for all that it is written in blank verse of some rhythmical merit, reveals a strong inclination towards Euphuism. Thus we read of men how

  like as the Chamelions change themselves
Into all perfect colours saving white;
So they can to all humors frame their speech,
Save only to prove honest;

or else how

  light minds are catcht with little things,
And Phancie smels to Fennell.

Nor are other and more marked traces of Lyly's influence wanting: witness the following passage, which is a mere metrical paraphrase of a speech in the Gallathea already quoted (p. 227):

You have an heate, on which a coldnesse waits,
A paine that is endur'd with pleasantnesse,
And makes those sweets you eat have bitter taste:
It puts eies in your thoughts, eares in your heart:
'Twas by desire first bred, by delight nurst,
And hath of late been wean'd by jelousie.

Certain speeches of a sententious nature, on the other hand, remind us rather of Daniel and the sonneteers:

To wish the best, to thinke upon the worst,
And all contingents brooke with patience,
Is a most soveraigne medicine.

All these characteristics point to an early date, and Mr. Fleay, who regards the piece as forming part of the Five Plays in One, acted at the Rose in April, 1597, may very likely be right. Of the other pieces printed in the same volume, a few only show any trace of pastoral blending with the general mythological colouring. Perhaps the most that can be said is that the nymphs are already familiar to us from the pastoral tradition, and must have been scarcely less so to a contemporary audience, fresh from the work of Peele and Lyly. In Jupiter and Io, which perhaps made part of the same performance as Amphrissa, Mercury disguises himself as a shepherd, in order to cut off the head of Argus. This he did to such good purpose that record of the trunkless member remains unto this day in the inventories of the Lord Admiral's company. Another of these pieces, the character of which can be easily imagined from its title, Apollo and Daphne, ends with a song, which may owe something to the traditions of the mythological pastoral:

  Howsoe're the Minutes go,
Run the heures or swift or slow:
Seem the Months or short or long,
Passe the seasons right or wrong:
All we sing that Phoebus follow,
Semel in anno ridet Apollo.
Early fall the Spring or not,
Prove the Summer cold or hot:
Autumne be it faire or foule,
Let the Winter smile or skowle: Still we sing, that Phoebus follow, Semel in anno ridet Apollo.

Passing on to the seventeenth century, the first piece that demands attention is the St. John's Twelfth Night entertainment, Narcissus, performed at Oxford in 1602. If its pastoral quality is somewhat evanescent, there is another point of view from which the piece has a good deal of interest. It is, namely, a burlesque production of the nature of the Pyramus and Thisbe interlude in the Midsummer Night's Dream, and flavoured with something of the comic rusticity of Greene's Carmela eclogue in Menaphon. It is needless here to summarize the plot of the 'merriment' which the ingenious author, no doubt a student of St. John's, evolved from Ovid's account in the third book of the Metamorphoses, and which runs to the respectable length of some eight hundred lines.[342] I may be allowed, however, to note that echo verses, suggested by Ovid, are introduced and handled with more than usual ingenuity; and further to quote two characteristic passages. In one of these the nymphs Florida and Clois court the affections of the loveless hero.

Florida. Shine thou on mee, sweet plannet, bee soe good
As with thy fiery beames to warme my bloud ...

Narcissus. To speak the truth, faire maid, if you will have us,
O Oedipus I am not, I am Davus.

Clois. Good Master Davis, bee not so discourteous
As not to heare a maidens plaint for vertuous.

Nar. Speake on a Gods name, so love bee not the theame.

Flo. O, whiter then a dish of clowted creame,
Speake not of love? How can I overskippe
To speake of love to such a cherrye lippe?

Nar. It would beseeme a maidens slender vastitye
Never to speake of any thinge but chastitye.

Flo. As true as Helen was to Menela
So true to thee will be thy Florida.

Clo. As was to trusty Pyramus truest Thisbee
So true to you will ever thy sweete Clois bee.

Flo. O doe not stay a moment nor a minute,
Love is a puddle, I am ore shooes in it.

Clo. Doe not delay us halfe a minutes mountenance
That ar in love, in love with thy sweet countenance.

Nar. Then take my dole although I deale my alms ill,
Narcissus cannot love with any damzell;
Although, for most part, men to love encline all,
I will not, I, this is your answere finall.

We are here, it is true, as far as ever from the delicate rusticity of Lorenzo de' Medici, and not particularly near to the humour of the Athenian rustics, but for burlesque it is passably amusing. The Midsummer Night's Dream had appeared possibly a decade earlier, and the audience in the college hall at Oxford can hardly but have been reminded of Wall and Moonshine as they listened to the speech by one who enters carrying 'a buckett and boughes and grasse.'

A well there was withouten mudd,
Of silver hue, with waters cleare,
Whome neither sheep that chawe the cudd,
Shepheards nor goates came ever neare;
Whome, truth to say, nor beast nor bird,
Nor windfalls yet from trees had stirrde.
                  [He strawes the grasse about the buckett. And round about it there was grasse,
As learned lines of poets showe,
Which next by water nourisht was;            [Sprinkle water. Neere to it too a wood did growe,       [Sets down the bowes. To keep the place, as well I wott,
With too much sunne from being hott.
And thus least you should have mistooke it,
The truth of all I to you tell:
Suppose you the well had a buckett,
And so the buckett stands for the well;
And 'tis, least you should counte mee for a sot O,
A very pretty figure cald pars pro toto.

The first strict masque of a pastoral character that we meet with is that of Juno and Iris, with the dance of nymphs and the 'sunburnt sicklemen, of August weary,' introduced by Shakespeare into the Tempest; but this must not be taken as altogether typical of the independent productions of the time. The masques introduced into plays were necessarily, for the most part, of a slighter and less elaborate character than those performed at court, or for the entertainment of persons of rank. This is more particularly the case with the serions portions of the masques, since the actors, who were engaged for the performance of the antimasques in court revels, frequently transferred their parts bodily on to the public boards. Thus, in the entertainment in the Winters Tale, in which shepherds also appear, the main feature was a dance of satyrs, which was no doubt borrowed from Jonson's Masque of Oberon.[343] The Tempest masque, however, is of the simpler type, without antimasque. At Juno's command Iris summons Ceres, and the goddesses together bestow their blessing on the young lovers. Then at Iris' call come the naiads and the reapers for the dance. The date of the play may be taken as late in 1610, or early the next year, a time at which the popularity of the masque was reaching its height.

Although the mythological element is everywhere prominent, the pastoral is comparatively of rare occurrence in the regular masque literature of the seventeenth century. This, considering the adaptability and natural suitability of the form, is rather surprising. Probably the masque as it evolved itself at the court of James needed a subject possessing a traditional story, or at least fixed and known conditions of a kind which the pastoral was unable to supply. Be this as it may, on one occasion only did Jonson make extended use of the kind, namely, in the masque which in the folio of 1640 appears with the heading 'Pans Anniversarie; or, The Shepherds Holy-day. The Scene Arcadia. As it was presented at Court before King James. 1625. The Inventors, Inigo Jones, Ben. Johnson[344].' Even here, however, we learn little concerning the condition of pastoralism in general, from the highly specialized form employed to a specific purpose. As in all the regular masques of the Jonsonian type the characters and situations exist solely for the opportunities they afford for dance and song. Shepherds and nymphs constitute the personae of the masque proper, while those of the antimasque are supplied by a band of Bocotian clowns, who come to challenge the Arcadians to the dance. Some of the songs are very graceful, suggesting at times reminiscences of Spenser, at others parallels to Ben's own Sad Shepherd, but the piece does not possess either sufficient importance or interest to justify our lingering over it. Outside this piece the nearest approach to pastoral characters to be found in Jonson's masques are, perhaps, the satyr and Queen Mab in the fairy entertainment at Althorp in 1603, Silenus and the satyrs in Oberon in 1611, and Zephyrus, Spring, and the Fountains and Rivers in Chloridia in 1631.

During James I's reign pastoral shows of a sort no doubt became frequent. While in some cases which remain to be noticed they reached the elaboration of small plays, in others they probably remained simple affairs enough. We get an interesting glimpse of the conditions of production in a note of John Aubrey's.[345] 'In tempore Jacobi,' he writes, 'one Mr. George Ferraby was parson of Bishops Cannings in Wilts: an excellent musitian, and no ill poet. When queen Anne came to Bathe, her way lay to traverse the famous Wensdyke, which runnes through his parish. He made severall of his neighbours, good musitians, to play with him in consort, and to sing. Against her majestie's comeing, he made a pleasant pastorall, and gave her an entertaynment with his fellow songsters in shepherds' weeds and bagpipes, he himself like an old bard. After that wind musique was over, they sang their pastorall eglogues.' This was in 1613; Ferraby or Ferebe later became chaplain to the king.

The more elaborate pieces were usually written for performance at schools or colleges. Such a piece is Tatham's Love Crowns the End, composed for the scholars of Bingham in Nottinghamshire in 1633, and printed in his Fancy's Theatre in 1640. Small literary interest attaches to the play, which is equally slight and ill constructed, but is perhaps not unrepresentative of its class. In spite of its very modest dimensions it possesses a full romantic-pastoral plot, with the resuit that it is at times almost unintelligible, owing to the want of space in which to develop in an adequate and dramatic manner the motives and situations. The bewildering rapidity with which character succeeds character upon the stage must have made the representation almost impossible to follow, while the reading of the piece is not a little complicated by the confusion in which the stage directions remain in the only modern edition.[346] Some notion of the complexity of the plot may be gathered from the following account. Cliton, having in a fit of jealousy sought to kill his love Florida, is found wandering in the woods by Alexis, who receives his confession and shows him the way to repentance. Florida, moreover, has been found and healed by the wise shepherdess Claudia, and is living in retirement. Meanwhile Cloe (a name which it appears from the rimes that the author pronounced Cloi) is saved by Lysander from the pursuit of a Lustful Shepherd, in consequence of which she transfers to him the affection she previously bore to her lover Daphnes. Next Leon and his daughter Gloriana appear, together with the swain Francisco, to whom against her will the maiden is apparently betrothed. They all go off to view the games in which Lysander, whose heart is also fixed on Gloriana, proves victor. His refusal to entertain the affection of Cloe drives her to a state of distraction, in which the nymphs of the woods take pity on her and bring her to Claudia to be cured. Gloriana in the meantime returns the affections of Lysander, but the meeting of the lovers is interrupted by the jealous Francisco and a gang who wound Lysander and carry off Gloriana. She escapes from her captors, but only after she has lost her reason, and wanders about until she meets with Cliton, who has turned hermit and who now undertakes her cure. Throughout the play we find comic interludes by Scrub, a page or attendant in search of his master, who also has some farcical business with the Lustful Shepherd, who after being disappointed of Cloe disguises himself as a satyr, apparently deeming that rôle suited to his taste. In the end all the characters are brought together. Francisco, found contrite, is forgiven by Lysander and Gloriana; Cliton and Florida love once more; so do Daphnes and Cloe, appropriately enough. Scrub announces the death of the usurping duke, 'who banished good old Leon;' Francisco and Lysander reveal themselves as princes who left the court to win his daughter's love, when he was driven from his land, and so--love crowns the end.

Through this medley it is not hard to see the various debts the author has incurred towards his predecessors. The verse, in rimed couplets, whether deca- or octo-syllabic, ultimately depends on Fletcher; of the comic prose scenes I have already spoken in dealing with Goffe's Careless Shepherdess, a play the influence of which may perhaps be specifically traced in the satyr-disguise, the gang who carry off Gloriana, her unexplained escape, and the songs of the 'Destinies' and a 'Heavenly Messenger,' who in their inconsequence recall the 'Bonus Genius' of Goffe's play. Scrub may owe his origin to the same source, though he is rather more like the page in the Maid's Metamorphosis. The usurping duke recalls As You Like It; the princes seeking their love-fortunes among the shepherd folk suggest the Arcadia; while the influence of the Faithful Shepherdess is not only traceable in the character of the Lustful Shepherd, but also in certain specific parallels, as where the wounded Lysander, seeing his love carried off, exclaims:

Stay, stay! let me but breathe my last
Upon her lips, and I'll forgive what's past; (p. 24)

a reminiscence of the lines spoken by Alexis in a similar situation:

             Oh, yet forbear
To take her from me! give me leave to die
By her! (Faithful Shepherdess, III. i. 165[347].)

The general level of the verse is not high, but we now and again light on some pleasing lines such as the following:

My dearest love, fair as the eastern morn
As it breaks o'er the plains when summer's born,
Hanging bright liquid pearls on every tree,
New life and hope imparting, as to me
Thy presence brings delight, so fresh and rare
As May's first breath, dispensing such sweet air
The Phoenix does expire in; sit, while I play
The cunning thief, and steal thy heart away,
And thou shalt stand as judge to censure me. (p. 18.)

So again there is some grace in a song which catches perhaps a distant echo of Peele's gem:

Gloriana. Sit, while I do gather flowers
And depopulate the bowers.
Here's a kiss will come to thee!

Lysander. Give me one, I'll give thee three!

Both. Thus in harmless sport we may
Pass the idle hours away.

Gloriana. Hark! hark, how fine
The birds do chime!
And pretty Philomel
Her moan doth tell. (p. 22.)

Another of these miniature pastorals is preserved in a British Museum manuscript, where it bears the title of The Converted Robber.[348] No author's name appears, but a plausible conjecture may be advanced. The scene of the piece, namely, is Stonehenge, and it is evident that the occasion on which it was first performed had some connexion with Salisbury, for there is obviously a topical allusion in the final words:

Lett us that do noe envy beare um
Wish all felicity to Sarum.

Now in 1636,[349] according to Anthony à Wood, there was acted at St. John's College, Oxford, a play by John Speed, entitled Stonehenge, the occasion being the return of Dr. Richard Baylie after his installation as Dean of Salisbury. We can hardly be far wrong in identifying the two pieces. The only difficulty is that in the manuscript the play is dated 1637. This, however, may either be a mere slip of the scribe, or may possibly imply that the piece was produced in 1636-7, the scribe adopting the popular and modern, whereas Wood always adhered to the old or legal reckoning.

The piece possesses a certain interest from the fact of its forming, in a stricter sense than any of the other pieces we have examined, a link between the drama and the masque. In this it somewhat resembles Comus, employing a more or less dramatic plot as the setting for the formai dances of the masque.[350]

The story is simple enough. A band of robbers and a company of shepherds and shepherdesses keep on Salisbury Plain in the neighbourhood of Stonehenge--'stoy[=n]age ye wonder yt is vpon that Playne of Sarum'--which forms the background of the scene. It chanced that the shepherdess Clarinda, falling into the hands of the robbers, was saved from dishonour by their chief Alcinous, an action which won for him her love, and having escaped, she returned dressed as a boy in order to serve him. Meanwhile the robbers have decided to make a raid upon the shepherd folk, and Alcinous, disguising himself as a stranger shepherd, mixes among them, while his companions Autolicus and Conto lie in wait hard by. During a festival Alcinous seeks the love of Castina, Clarinda's sister, and finding her unmoved by entreaty threatens force. At this she attempts to stab herself, and the robber chief is so struck that he vows to reform and is converted to the pastoral life. His companions, left in the lurch, fall upon the shepherds of their own accord, but are soon brought to see reason by the hand and tongue of their chief, and are content to follow him in his conversion. Clarinda now discovers herself and marries Alcinous, while Castina and her fellow shepherdess Avonia consent to reward their faithful swains, Palaemon and Dorus.

In this piece there is a rather conspicuous absence of motive and dramatic construction, the author claiming apparently the freedom of the masque. The verse is mainly octosyllabic, sometimes blank, but the rough accentual 'rime' is also used. Decasyllabics are rare. There is also some prose in the comic part sustained by Autolicus and Conto and the aged clown Jarbus, as well as a certain amount of Spenserian archaism, and a good deal of dialect. Whether comic or romantic, the characters are singularly out of keeping with their surroundings, while the conceit of paganizing the Christian worship appears to be carried to ludicrous lengths, until one recollects that it depends almost entirely upon the substitution of the name of Pan for that of the Deity--a process no doubt facilitated by false etymology. Thus Christ, who is spoken of by name, is called 'Pannes blest babe.' After describing the foundation of Salisbury Cathedral, the old shepherd proceeds:

But sturdy shepherds brought all the other stones,
And reard up that great Munster all at once,
Wher shepherds each one, both woman and man,
Do come to worship theyr great God Pann.

A rustic show formed the first part of an entertainment witnessed by Charles and Henrietta Maria at Richmond, after their return from a visit to Oxford in 1636. A clown named Tom comes in bearing a present for the queen, and is on the point of being unceremoniously removed by the usher, when he espies Mr. Edward Sackville, to whom he appeals, and a dialogue ensues between the two. After he has offered his present, Madge, Doll, and Richard come in, and the four perform a country dance. They are all plain Wiltshire rustics who talk a broad vernacular, but at the end a shepherd and shepherdess enter and sing a duet in a more courtly strain. The author of this slight production is not known, but it is regarded by the latest authority on masques as an imitation, in the looseness of its construction, of Davenant's Prince d'Amour.[351]

Little poetic ability was displayed by Heywood on the only occasion on which he introduced pastoral tradition into a Lord Mayor's pageant. The 'first show by land' of the Porta Pietatis, presented by the drapers in 1638 on the occasion of Sir Maurice Abbot's mayoralty, consisted of a speech by a shepherd, which is preceded in the printed copy by a short account of the properties, natural history, and general usefulness of sheep, as well as of their peculiar importance in relation to the craft honoured in the person of the newly appointed Lieutenant of the city of London. Heywood was famous for his wide, miscellaneous, and often startling information.

We have already seen how, in the first blush and budding of the Elizabethan spring, George Peele treated the tale of the judgement of Paris; on the same legend Heywood based one of his semi-dramatic dialogues; it remains to be seen how, in the late autumn of the great age of our dramatic literature, Shirley returned to the same theme in his Triumph of Beauty, privately produced about 1640. It is a regular masque, for which the familiar story serves as a thread; the goddesses and their symbolical attendants, or else the Graces and the Hours with Hymen and Delight, performing the dances, while a company of rustic swains of Ida, who come to relieve the melancholy of the princely shepherd, form a comic antimasque. It has, however, grown to the proportions of a small play. The comic characters also study a piece on the subject of the golden fleece, reminiscent, like Narcissus, of the Midsummer Night's Dream. This, as Mr. Fleay supposes, may well be satirical of some of the city pageants, though it is best to be cautious in discovering definite allusions. But the success of such a piece as the present, in so far as it was dependent on the libretto, demanded a power of light and graceful lyric versification which was not conspicuous among the many gifts of the author. The comic business is frankly amusing, but the long speeches of the goddesses can hardly have appeared less tedious to a contemporary audience than they do to the reader to-day.

I may also notice here a regular short pastoral in three acts, inserted by Robert Baron in his romance Ἐροτοπαίγνιον, or the Cyprian Academy, printed in 1647. It is entitled Gripus and Hegio, or the Passionate Lovers, and relates the loves of these characters for Mira and Daris; while we also find the familiar roguish boy, less amusing and of stricter propriety than usual; a chorus of fairies who discourse classical myth; Venus, Cupid, Hymen, and Echo; and the habitual concomitants of pastoral commonplace. The romance also contains a masque entitled Deorum Dona, in which figure allegorical abstractions such as Fame, Fortune, and the like. It is in no wise pastoral.

Another pastoral show of some elaboration, and of a higher order of poetry than most of those we have been considering, is Sir William Denny's Shepherds' Holiday, printed from manuscript in the Inedited Poetical Miscellany of 1870. The piece appears to date from 1653, and is only slightly dramatic so far as plot is concerned. It is of an allegorical cast, the various characters typifying certain virtues, or rather temperaments--virginity, love and so forth--as is elaborately expounded in the preface.

A few slight pieces by the quondam actor Robert Cox, partaking more or less of the character of masques, possess a certain pastoral colouring. This is the case, for instance, in the Acteon and Diana, published in 1656.[352] The piece opens with the humours of the would-be lover Bumpkin, a huntsman, and the dance of the country lasses round the May-pole. Then enters Acteon with his huntsmen, who is followed by Diana and her nymphs. Upon the dance of these last Acteon, returning, breaks in unawares, and is rebuked by the goddess, who then retires with her nymphs to a glade in the forest. They are in the act of despoiling themselves for the bath when they are again surprised by Acteon. Incensed, the goddess turns upon him, and he flees before her anger, only to return once more upon the dance of the bathers in the shape of a hart, and fall at their feet a prey to his own hounds. The verse, whether lyric or dramatic, is of a mediocre description, and the piece, if it was ever actually performed, no doubt depended for success upon the music, dancing, and scenery. It is a curious fact, to which Davenant's work among others is witness, that the nominally private representation of this kind of musical ballet was permitted, while the regular drama was under strict inhibition. At any time, however, it must have been difficult to represent such a piece as the present without sacrificing either propriety or tradition.

Another similar composition, headed 'The Rural Sports on the Birthday of the Nymph Oenone,' is printed together with the above. In it the strains of the polished pastoral are varied by the humours of the clown Hobbinall, the whole ending with a speech by Pan and a dance of satyrs.

One obvions omission from the above catalogue will have been noticed. The reason thereof is sufficiently obvious; and the following section will endeavour to repair it.


In Milton's contribution to the fashionable masque literature of his day we approach work the poetic supremacy of which has never been called in question, and whose other qualities, lying properly beyond the strict application of that term, critics have habitually vied with one another to extol. No one, indeed, for whom poetry has any meaning whatever, can turn from the work of Peele, Heywood, and Shirley, of Ben Jonson even, to the early works of Milton, to such comparatively immature works as Arcades and Comus, without being conscious that they belong to an altogether different level of poetical production. It was no mere conventional commendation, such as we may find prefixed to the works of any poetaster of the time, that Sir Henry Wotton addressed to the author of the Ludlow masque: 'I should much commend the Tragical [i.e. dramatic] part, if the Lyrical did not ravish me with a certain Dorique delicacy in your Songs and Odes, wherunto I must plainly confess to have seen yet nothing parallel in our Language[353].'

The two poems we have now to consider were, in all probability, written within a short while of one another, and the second anticipated by more than three years the composition of Lycidas. But the connexion between the two is not one of date only, nor even of the spectacular demand it was the end of either to meet. It may, namely, in the absence of any definite evidence, be with much plausibility presumed that the impulse to the entertainment, of which as we are told Arcades formed a part, originated with that very Lady Alice Egerton and her two young brothers who, the following year probably, bore the chief parts in Comus. The entertainment was presented at Harefield in honour of their grandmother, the Countess Dowager of Derby. This lady, probably somewhat over seventy at the time, was the honoured head of a large family. The daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorpe, born about 1560, she married first Ferdinando Stanley, Lord Strange, afterwards Earl of Derby, patron of the company of actors with whom Shakespeare's name is associated; and secondly, after his early death in 1594, the Lord Keeper, Sir Thomas Egerton, who rose by rapid steps to be Viscount Brackley shortly before his death in 1617. The span of a human life appears strange when measured by the rapidly moving events of the English renaissance. The wife of Shakespeare's patron, who may have witnessed the early ventures of the Stratford lad at the time of his first appearance on the London stage--the 'Amarillis' of Colin Clout, with whom, and with her sisters 'Phillis' and 'Charillis,' Spenser claimed kinship, and to whom he dedicated his Tears of the Muses in 1591--lived to see her grandchildren perform for her amusement in the reign of the first Charles an entertainment for which their music-master Lawes had requisitioned the pen of the future author of Paradise Lost.

Arcades, or 'the Arcadians,' can hardly be dignified by the name of a masque; it is the mere embryo of the elaborate compositions which were at the time fashionable under that name, and of which Milton was to rival the constructional elaboration in his pastoral entertainment of the following year. It rather resembles such amoebean productions as we find introduced into the stage plays of the time; and was, no doubt, as the superscription explicitly informs us, but 'Part of an entertainment presented to the Countess Dowager of Darby.' Nevertheless it is complete and self-contained, and to speak of it, as Professer Masson does, as 'part, and part only, of a masque,' is to give a wholly false impression; for, whatever the rest of the entertainment may have been, there is not the least reason to suppose that it had any connexion or relation with the portion that has survived. This runs to a little over one hundred lines. A group of nymphs and shepherds, coming from among the trees of the garden, approach the 'seat of State' where sits the venerable Countess, whom they address in a song. As this ends their progress is barred by the Genius of the Wood, who delivers a long speech.[354] This is followed by a song introducing the dance, after which a third song brings the performance to a close. It cannot be honestly said that the bulk of this slender poem is of any very transcendent merit; but the final song stands apart from the rest, and deserves notice both on its own account and for the sake of that to which it served as herald:

Nymphs and Shepherds dance no more
By sandy Ladons Lillied banks;
On old Lycaeus or Cyllene hoar
Trip no more in twilight ranks;
Though Erymanth your loss deplore
A better soyl shall give ye thanks.
From the stony Maenalus
Bring your Flocks, and live with us;
Here ye shall have greater grace
To serve the Lady of this place,
Though Syrinx your Pans Mistres were,
Yet Syrinx well might wait on her.
  Such a rural Queen
All Arcadia hath not seen.

Here we have, if nothing else, promise at least of the melodies to be, as also of that harmonious interweaving of classical names which long years after was to lend weight and dignity to the 'full and heightened style' of the epic. One other point in connexion with the poem is noteworthy, the quality, namely, in virtue of which it claims our attention here. It is, indeed, not a little curious that on the only two occasions on which Milton was called upon to produce something of the order of the masque, he cast his work into a more or less pastoral form; and this in spite of the fact that, as we have seen, the form was by no means a prevalent one among the more popular and experienced writers. It would appear as though his mind turned, through some natural bent or early association, to the employment of this form; an idea which suggests itself all the more forcibly when we find him, a few years later, setting about the composition of a conventional lament in this mode on a young college acquaintance, and producing, through his power of alchemical transmutation, one of the greatest works of art in the English language.

It was, no doubt, in the earlier months of 1634, while his friend Lawes was engaged on the gorgeous and complicated staging and orchestration of the Triumph of Peace and the Coelum Britannicum, that Milton composed the poem which perhaps more than any other has made readers of to-day familiar with the term 'masque.' In the second of the elaborate productions just named--a poem, be it incidentally remarked, which does no particular credit to the pen of its sometimes unsurpassed author, Tom Carew, but in the presentation of which the king and many of his chief nobles deigned to bear a part--minor rôles had been assigned to the two sons of the Earl of Bridgewater, namely, the Viscount Brackley and Master Thomas Egerton. When the earl shortly afterwards went to assume the Presidency of the Welsh Marches, it was these two who, together with their sister the Lady Alice, bore the central parts in the masque performed before the assembled worthies of the West in the great hall of Ludlow Castle. The ages of the three performers ranged from eleven to thirteen, the girl, who was the eighth daughter of the marriage, being the eldest.

It must have been a gay and imposing sight that greeted the spectators in the grim old border fortress, the gaunt ruins of which may yet be seen, but which had at that date already rubbed off some of its medieval ruggedness as a place of defence. Though necessarily less elaborate and costly than the performances in London, no pains were spared to make the spectacle worthy of the occasion, and it must have appeared all the more splendid in contrast to its surroundings, presented as it was in the great hall in which met the Council of the Western Marches in the distant town upon the Welsh border. Nor did the occasion lack the heightening glamour and dramatic contrast of historical association, for in this very hall just a century and a half before, if tradition is to be credited, the unfortunate Prince Edward, son of Edward IV, was crowned before setting out with his young brother on the fatal journey which was to terminate under a forgotten flagstone in the Tower of London.

I do not propose to enter into any detailed account of the manner in which we may suppose the masque to have been performed, nor into the literary history of the poem itself; to do so would be a work of supererogation in view of the able discussion of the whole subject from the pen of Professor Masson. The debts Milton owed to the Somnium of Puteanus, to Peele's Old Wives' Tale and to Fletcher's Faithful Shepherdess, are now all more or less recognized. From the first he probably borrowed the name and character of Comus himself, as well as a few incidental expressions. The second contains a remarkable parallel to the search of the two brothers for their lost sister, which it is difficult to suppose fortuitous; while many passages might be cited to prove Milton's close acquaintance with Fletcher's poem[355].

The masque as performed at Ludlow Castle probably differed in one important particular from the form in which we know it, and which is that in which it left Milton's hand. This form is attested by the original quarto edition, by the texts of the Poems of 1645 and 1673, and by Milton's manuscript draft in the volume preserved at Trinity College, Cambridge. The variant form is found in the manuscript at Bridgewater House, reputed to be in Lawes' handwriting, which seemingly represents the acting version. In Milton's text the scene discovered is a wild wood; the attendant Spirit descends, or enters, and at once launches out into a long speech in blank verse. Lawes seems to have thought that it would be more appropriate for the Spirit--that is, for himself, for it appears that he took the part--to open the performance with a song, and consequently transferred to this place the first thirty-six lines of the final lyrical speech of the Spirit, substituting the words 'From the heavens' for Milton's 'To the ocean.' The change was doubtless effective, and was skilfully made; yet one cannot help feeling that some of the magic of the poem has evaporated in the process. However, Lawes was loyal to his friend, and whatever alterations his wider knowledge of the requirements of stage production may have led him to introduce into the masque as performed at Ludlow, he never sought to foist any changes of his own into the published poem, when, having tired himself with making copies for his friends, he at length decided, with Milton's consent, to send it forth into the world in its slender quarto garb.

A brief analysis will serve to reveal the lines upon which the piece is constructed, and to show how far it follows the traditions respectively of the drama and the masque. The introductory speech puts the audience in possession of the situation, and informs them how the wood is haunted by Comus and his crew, himself the son of Bacchus and Circe, and how they seek to trick unwary passengers into drinking of the fateful cup which shall transform them to the likeness of beasts and, driving all remembrance of home and friends from their imaginations, leave them content 'to roll with pleasure in a sensual sty.' Wherefore the Spirit is sent to guide the steps of those 'favoured of high Jove,' and save them from the wiles of the fleshly god. Announcing that he goes to assume 'the weeds and likeness of a swain,' so as to perform his charge unknown, the Spirit leaves the stage, which is at once invaded by Comus and his rout. A brilliant speech by the god, preceding the first measure, illustrates the strange but yet not infrequent irony of fate by which it has happened that the most puritanical of poets have thrown the full weight of their best work into the opposing scale, and clothed vice in magic colours to outdo the richest fancies of the libertine. No doubt this reckless adorning of sin was intentional on Milton's part; he painted the pleasures of κῶμος in their most seductive colours, that the triumph of virtue might appear by so much the greater, fancying that it was enough to assert that final victory, and failing, like most preachers, to perceive that unless it was made psychologically and artistically convincing the total effect would be the very reverse of that which he intended. If we compare the speech of Comus with that of the Lady on her first appearance, we shall hardly escape the conclusion that then, as indeed always, Milton had a mere schoolboy's idea of 'plot,' as of some combination of events to be infused with the breath of life at his own will, and from without, not such as should spring from the fundamental elements of the characters themselves. In the midst of dance and revel Comus interrupts his followers:

Break off, break off, I feel the different pace
Of some chast footing neer about this ground;

and the crew vanishes among the trees as the Lady enters alone and narrates how she lost her brothers at nightfall in the wood, and attracted by the sounds of mirth has bent hither her steps in the hope of finding some one to direct her. She then sings a song by way of attracting her brothers' attention, should they chance to be near. As she ends Comus re-enters in guise of a shepherd, and offers to escort her to his hut where she may rest until her companions are found. She has no sooner left the stage than these enter in search of her, and while away the time with a long discussion on the dangers of the wood and the protective power of virtue. To them at length enters the attendant Spirit, who has certainly been so far very remiss in his duties, in the habit of their father's shepherd Thirsis; and on hearing how they have parted company with their sister, tells of Comus and his enchantments, and arming his hearers with hemony, powerful against all spells, guides them to the hall of the sorcerer. The scene now changes to the interior of the palace of Comus, 'set out with all manner of deliciousness,' where the god and his rabble are feasting. On one side we may imagine an open arcade giving on to the banks of the Severn, silvery in the moonlight, the cool purity of its waters contrasting with the rich jewelled light and perfumed air within. We see the Lady seated in an enchanted chair, while before her stands the magician, wand in hand, offering her wine in a crystal goblet. Then follows the dialogue in which the Lady defends her virtue against the blandishments of Comus, till at last her brothers, followed by the spirit-shepherd, rush in and disperse the revellers. The Lady is now found to be fixed like marble in the chair of enchantment, but the attendant Spirit shows his resource by calling to their help the virgin goddess of the stream:

Sabrina fair
Listen where thou art sitting
Under the glassie, cool, translucent wave,
In twisted braids of Lillies knitting
The loose train of thy amber-dropping hair,
Listen for dear honour's sake,
Goddess of the silver lake,
              Listen and save.

Thus conjured in some of the most perfectly musical lines in the language the daughter of Locrine rises from her waves, and enters the hall with a song, attended by her obedient nymphs. Having broken the spell and freed the captive Lady, she at once departs with her train, and after another speech by the Spirit, the scene changes to the town and castle of Ludlow, a bevy of shepherds dancing in the foreground. After these have concluded their measure, the wanderers enter, still guided by the spirit-shepherd, who presents them safe and sound to their parents. Then follows another dance, and the Spirit, throwing off, we may presume, his pastoral disguise, launches into his final speech:

To the Ocean now I fly,
And those happy climes that ly
Where day never shuts his eye;


Mortals that would follow me,
Love vertue, she alone is free,
She can teach ye how to clime
Higher than the Spheary chime;
Or if Vertue feeble were,
Heav'n it self would stoop to her.

Such is the bare outline, the skeleton of the piece; what, we cannot help wondering, was it like when it first appeared clothed in the beauty of the flesh and inspired with the spirit of song? Its fashion and its form we have indeed yet before us, though nothing can again quicken it into the life it enjoyed for one brief hour nearly three hundred years ago. We must be thankful that we count the poem itself among our treasures, and be content to confine our inquiry to it. It is, after all, to the accidents of its production as the body to the robes that adorn it.

It must be confessed that outwardly at least Comus has but little connexion with pastoral. The habit of the Spirit, the disguise of the magician, the dance in the third scene, these are the only points serving to connect the poem with pastoral tradition in any formal manner. It is not, however, on account of these that Comus has been commonly assigned to the same category as the Faithful Shepherdess and Lycidas, but rather because its whole tone, its mode, one might almost say, is essentially pastoral, and because it is directly dependent upon previous pastoral work.

It has been the fashion to praise Comus above all other masques whatever, and from the point of view of the poetry it contains it would be idle to dispute its supremacy. But there are other considerations. As a masque proper, and from the point of view of what had come to be expected of such compositions, how does it stand? I am not here concerned to inquire how far the term can with strict propriety be applied to the piece, a question which may be left to the somewhat arid region of the formal classification of literature. The points in which it resembles the regular spectacular masques, as well as those in which it differs from them, will be alike evident from the analysis given above. It may, however, be well to put in a caution against the manner in which some writers on the masque seek to make their distinctions appear more clearly defined than they in reality are by declaring Comus to be not a masque at all but a play. It is no more a regular play than it is a strict masque, but a dramatic composition containing elements of both in almost equal proportions.

That the songs are for the most part exquisite, that they were worthily set to music and adequately rendered; that the measures, the dance of the revellers in their half-brutish disguises, the antimasque of country folk, and the final or main dance of the wanderers, were effective; that the whole was graceful, complete and polished, is either self-evident to-day, or may with reason be inferred. The scenery, too, must have been striking; the dreary forest, its darkness just relieved by the half-seen 'glistering' forms; the heavy drug-like splendour of the enchanted palace and the cold moonlight outside; the bright, fresh sunshine, lastly, dew-washed, of the early morning; there were here a series of pictures the contrasts of which must have added to their individual effect. The scene, the song and the measure, these form, indeed, the very stuff that masques are made of. But Milton's poem offered more than this; and it may well be questioned how far this more was of a nature to recommend it to the tastes of his audience, or indeed to heighten rather than to diminish its merits as a work of literature and art. There was, in the first place, a philosophical and moral intention, which, however veiled in fanciful imagery and clothed in limpid verse, is yet not content to be an inspiring principle and artistic occasion of the poem, but obtrudes itself directly in the length of some of the speeches; refuses, that is, to subserve the aesthetic purpose, and endeavours to divert the poetic beauty to its own non-aesthetic ends. In the second place, and probably of greater importance as regards the actual success of the piece on the stage, it contained somewhat of dramatic emotion, of incident which depended for its value upon its effect on the characters involved, which was ill served by the spectacular machinery and necessary limitations of the composition, while at the same time it must have interfered with the opportunity for mere sensuous effect which it was the main business of the masque to afford. The weight which different persons will attach to these objections will no doubt vary with their individual temperaments, their susceptibility to the magical charm of the verse, their sense of artistic propriety, and the degree to which they are able to recall in imagination the conditions of a bygone form of artistic presentation. I speak for myself when I say that, in fitness for the particular end it had to serve, Milton's poem appears to me to be surpassed, for instance, by the best of Jonson's masques, no less than it surpasses them, and all others of their kind, in the poetical beauty of the verse, whether of the 'tragical' or lyrical portions.

Since I have ventured to formulate certain objections against an acknowledged masterpiece, it will be well that I should define as clearly as possible the ground upon which those objections are based. I have, I hope, sufficiently emphasized my dissent from that school of criticism which condemns a work of art for not conforming to one or another of a series of fixed types. That Comus lies, so to speak, midway between the drama and the masque, and partakes of the nature of either, is not, by any inherent law of literary aesthetics, a blemish; what in my view is a blemish, and that a serions one, is that the means employed are not calculated to the demands of the situation. The struggle of the Lady against the subtle enchanter, the search of the brothers for their lost sister, the safe event of their wanderings, are all points which, however simple in themselves, yet excite our interest; however certain we may feel that virtue in the person of the Lady will never fall to the allurements of Comus, they neither of them become a mere abstraction. That is to say that, little as there may be of plot, the interest is that of the drama, an interest really felt in the fate of the characters; while the medium adopted is that of the masque, with its spectacular machinery, even if not in its regular and orthodox form. It follows that the dramatic interest is a clog on the scenic elaboration of the form, while the form is necessarily inadequate to the rendering of the content.

It is significant that in all the early editions the piece is merely styled 'A Maske Presented At Ludlow Castle'; the title of Comus was first affixed by Warton. It was an obvious title for a critic to adopt; it is probably the last that the author would himself have thought of choosing. Had it been named contemporaneously, and after the fashion of the masques at court, the title of the Triumph of Virtue could not but have suggested itself. This is indeed the very theme of the piece. Virtue in the person of the Lady, guarded by her brothers, watched over by the attendant Spirit, aided at need by the nymph Sabrina, triumphant over the blandishments and temptations of fancy and of sense in the persons of Comus and his followers; that is the subject of the masque. It is a subject finely and suitably conceived for spectacular illustration, and possesses a moral after Milton's own heart. The closing lines of the poem, already quoted, give admirable expression to the motive. Were the subject, on the other hand, to be treated dramatically, then the character of the Lady, virtue at grip with evil, was worthy to exercise--had; indeed, in varying forms long exercised--the highest dramatic genius. But in this direction lay, consciously or unconsciously, one of Milton's most evident limitations, and had he attempted to give full dramatic expression to the idea it is not improbable that the experiment would have resulted in undeniable failure. From such an attempt he was, however, debarred by the terms of his commission, which demanded not a drama, but a spectacular performance. Yet in spite of this Milton's conception of the piece is, as we have seen, essentially dramatic, and consequently in so far as the means prevented the due fulfilment of that conception in so far must the Lady necessarily fall short of the adequate realization of her high rôle. The action is too much abstracted, the characters too allegorical, to satisfy in us the dramatic expectations which they nevertheless call forth; while, on the other hand, they remain too concrete and individual to be adequately rendered by purely spectacular means.

These considerations have an important bearing upon the other objection which I ventured to bring forward, that of moralizing; for it cannot be argued, I imagine, that the direct expression of philosophical or ethical ideas is in any way illegitimate in the masque proper, any more than it is in the choric ode. But, as I have said, Milton--no doubt intentionally, though the point is irrelevant--has raised dramatic issues and dramatic emotions, and consequently by the laws of the drama, that is, by his success in satisfying those emotions, he must be judged. All speeches therefore introduced with a directly moral and philosophical rather than a dramatic end must be pronounced artistic solecisms. Whether Milton has been guilty of such undramatic interpolations, such lapses from the one end of art, may be left to the individual judgement of each reader to determine; for my own part I cannot conceive that any doubt should exist.

But even if we pass over what some readers will be inclined to dismiss as a mere theoretical objection, there are other charges which these same passages will have to meet. Those who have borne with me in my remarks on the Aminta and the Faithful Shepherdess, will probably also agree with me here, when I say that to me at least there is something not altogether pleasing in Milton's presentment of virtue. I should add at once, that to place Milton's poem on an ethical level with either of the above-mentioned pieces would, of course, be preposterous. It is impossible to doubt the severe chastity of Milton's own ideal, and to compare it for one moment to the conventional onestà which replaced virtue in Tasso's world, or with the nauseous unreality of the puppet Fletcher sought to enthrone in its place, would be to commit an uncritical outrage. Nevertheless, the expression Milton chose to give to his ideal cannot, therefore, lay claim to privilege. That expression had become intimately associated with pastoral convention, and he accepted it along with much else from his predecessors. I am not aware of any reason why spectators should have been prejudiced otherwise than in favour of the Lady Alice Egerton; but she is, nevertheless, careful to take the first opportunity of informing them, with much earnest protestation, of her quite remarkable purity and virtue, implying as it were a naïve surprise at having arrived unsullied at the perilous age of thirteen. The stilted affectation of this self-conscious innocence is perhaps less evident in the scene in which we should most readily look for it--that, namely, in which the Lady defends herself from the persuasions of the Sorcerer, where a certain fervour of feeling raises her utterances above a merely colourless level--than in the long soliloquy in which she indulges on first appearing on the stage. Something of the same disagreeable quality is present in the rather mawkish discussion between her two young brothers. Milton, who is entirely untouched, either with the levity of Tasso or the cynicism of Fletcher, was undoubtedly himself wholly unconscious that any such charge could be brought against his work. It is the direct outcome of a certain obtuseness, a curious want of delicacy, which in his later work results at times in passages of offensively bad taste[356]. As yet it is hardly responsible for anything worse than a confused conception in the poet's imagination. Πάντα καθαρὰ τοῖς καθαροῖς, and the allegory is an old one whereby virtue appears as the tamer of the beasts of the wild. It is, however, to those alone who are innocent of evil that belongs the faery talisman. The virtue, knowing of itself and of the world, may be held a surer defence, but it is by comparison a gross and earthly buckler, with less of the glamour of romance reflected from its aegis-mirror. Somehow one feels instinctively that Una did not, on meeting with the lion, launch forth into a protestation of her chastity. Nothing, of course, would be easier than by means of a little judicious misrepresentation to cast ridicule upon the whole of Milton's conception of virtue in woman, and nowhere is it more needful than in such a case as the present to remember the fundamental maxim that bids one take the position one is attacking at its strongest. Nevertheless, putting aside for the moment all questions of art and all considerations of taste, there remains a question worthy of being fully and carefully stated, and of being honestly entertained. Milton has deliberately penned passages of smug self-conceit upon a subject whose delicacy he was apparently incapable of appreciating, and these passages he has placed, to be spoken in her own person, in the mouth of a child just passing into the first dawn of adolescence, thereby outraging at once the innocence of childhood and the reticence of youth. Is it possible to pretend that this is an action upon which moral censure has no word to say[357]?

It would hardly have been necessary to emphasize this point of view, or to dwell upon objections which, when one surrenders to the magic of the verse, can hardly appear other than carping, were it not for the somewhat injudicious and undiscriminating praise which it has been the fashion of a certain school of critics to lavish upon the piece. The exquisite quality of the verse may be readily conceded, as may also the nobleness of Milton's conception and the brilliance, within certain limits, of the execution; but when we are further challenged to admire the 'moral grandeur' of the figure in which virtue is honoured, there are some at least who will feel tempted to reply in the significant words: 'Methinks the lady doth protest too much!'

A word may be said finally as to the quality of the verse. I need not repeat that it is exquisite, that the music of it is like a full stream overflowing the rich pastures; what I am concerned to maintain is, that it is not for the most part of Milton's best. In the first place, what, for want of a better name, I have called Milton's moralizing is a blemish upon the poetic as it is upon the dramatic merits of the piece. The muse of poetry, like all her sisters, is not slow in avenging herself of a divided allegiance. By the cynical irony of fortune already noticed, where Milton would most impress us with his moral he becomes least poetical. There is, it is true, hardly a speech or a song which does not contain lines worthy to rank with any in the language, from the opening words:

Before the starry threshold of Joves Court,

to the final couplet:

Or if Virtue feeble were,
Heav'n it self would stoop to her.

But there are passages in which these memorable lines appear as so much rich embroidery superimposed upon the baser fabric of the verse, not woven of the woof. They are in their nature more easily detached, and often form the best known and most often quoted passages of the work. Take the first speech of the Lady, concerning which something has already been said. Here we find the lines:

They left me then, when the gray-hooded Eev'n
Like a sad Votarist in Palmer's weed
Rose from the hindmost wheels of Phoebus wain;

or again:

         A thousand fantasies
Begin to throng into my memory
Of calling shapes, and beckning shadows dire,
And airy tongues, that syllable mens names
On Sands, and Shoars, and desert Wildernesses;

or yet again:

Was I deceiv'd, or did a sable cloud
Turn forth her silver lining on the night?

We have the song:

Sweet Echo, sweetest Nymph that liv'st unseen
          Within thy airy shell
By slow Meander's margent green,
And in the violet imbroider'd vale
Where the love-lorn Nightingale
Nightly to thee her sad Song mourneth well.

Such lines would justly render famous any passage in any poem in which they occurred. Nevertheless, remove them, which can be done without material injury to the sequence of the thought, and see whether in its warp and web the speech can for a moment stand comparison with that of Comus, to which it stands in direct and dramatic contraposition.

But this drawback is only incidental; through nine-tenths of the piece, perhaps, there is little or no moral preoccupation to disturb us. And here, though no doubt the poetic beauty reaches a climax in the song to Sabrina--a song for pure music certainly unsurpassed and probably unequalled by anything else that Milton ever wrote--there are others, such as 'By the rushy-fringed bank,' as well as less distinctively lyrical passages, which come within measurable distance even of its perfection. And yet, with certain noticeable exceptions, there are few passages in which comparison with Milton's later works will not reveal technical immaturity. This is no less true of the decasyllabic verse, when compared with the full sonority of Lycidas, than of the shorter measures. Take, for example, the invocation of Sabrina which follows the song previously quoted--the speech beginning:

Listen and appear to us
In name of great Oceanus.

In spite of its very great beauty there is observable at the same time a certain monotony of cadence, and an occasional want of success in the attempts to relieve it, which place the passage distinctly below Milton's best. And yet it seems almost ungenerous to place Milton even below himself, particularly when in the very speech we are criticizing we are brought face to face with two such flawless lines as those on 'fair Ligea's golden comb',

Wherwith she sits on diamond rocks
Sleeking her soft alluring locks--

lines which anticipate and rival the perfection of rhythmic modulation in L'Allegro and Il Penseroso[358].


There remains to inquire what influence of pastoral tradition is traceable in the wider field of the romantic drama, whether in individual scenes and characters, or more vaguely in general tone and sentiment; and, finally, to consider for a moment the critical expression given by writers of various dates to the sentimental philosophy of life which went under the name of pastoralism in fashionable circles.

The number of plays in which definite pastoral elements can be traced is surprisingly small, even when every allowance has been made for the fact that we have already included in our examination several pieces which come but doubtfully within the fold. The spirit of the romantic drama, instinct with sturdy life, had little in common with the artificial and unreal sentiment of a tradition which had almost ceased to pretend to a basis in the emotions of natural humanity. The result was, as might be expected, that when the drama introduced characters of a nominally pastoral type, they were either direct transcripts from actual life, deliberately ignoring conventional tradition, or else specifie borrowings from that tradition, introduced with full consciousness of its fashionable unreality, and using that unreality for a definite dramatic purpose. Thus, although the basis of pastoralism is found in non-traditional garb, and though pastoralism itself is found as the subject of dramatic treatment, yet, so far as the introduction of individual scenes and characters is concerned, it is seldom possible to say that pastoral has influenced the romantic drama in any sensible degree.

A certain number of plays, presumably of a more or less pastoral nature, have perished. Thus no trace remains of the Lusus Pastorales licensed to Richard Jones in 1565, the nature of which can be only vaguely conjectured. The early date of the entry renders it important, and it is much to be regretted that the work should have perished, since it might have thrown very interesting light upon the condition of pastoralism in England previous to the appearance of the Shepherd's Calender. Most probably, however, the piece, whatever it may have been, was composed in Latin. We also have to lament the non-survival of a Phillida and Corin, which, we learn from the Revels' accounts, was acted by the Queen's men before the court, at Greenwich, on St. Stephen's day, 1584. This again would be an interesting piece to possess, since the title suggests a purely pastoral composition contemporary with Peele's mythological play. On February 28, 1592, Lord Strange's men performed a piece at the Rose, the title of which is given by Henslowe as 'clorys & orgasto,' presumably Chloris and Ergasto. It was an old play, probably dating from some years earlier. Whether 'a pastorall plesant Commedie of Robin Hood and little John,' entered to Edward White in the Stationers' Register, on May 14, 1594, could have justified its title may be questioned, but it is curious as suggesting an anticipation of Jonson's experiment. Again, on July 17, 1599, George Chapman received of Philip Henslowe forty shillings, in earnest of a 'Pastorall ending in a Tragydye,' which, however, was apparently never finished. Possibly our loss is not great, for Chapman's talents hardly lay in this line; but a tragical ending to a play of the pure pastoral type would have been something of a novelty, and the early date would also have lent it some interest. Yet another play known to us solely from Henslowe's accounts is the Arcadian Virgin, on which Chettle and Haughton were at work for the Admiral's men in December, 1599, and for which they received sums amounting in all to fifteen shillings. The title suggests that the play may have been founded on the story of Atalanta, but it was probably not completed. Ben Jonson's May Lord, which we know only through the notes left by Drummond of his conversations, was almost certainly not dramatic, though critics have always accepted it as such; but the same authority records that Jonson at the time of his visit to Hawthornden was contemplating a fisher-play, the scene to be laid on the shores of Loch Lomond. There is no evidence that the scheme ever reached a more mature stage. Finally, I may mention a play entitled Alba, a Latin pastoral, which incurred the royal displeasure when performed before James and his consort in the hall of Christ Church, Oxford, in 1605. The historian of the visit, quoted by Nichols, says that 'It was a pastoral, much like one which I have seen in King's College, Cambridge, but acted far worse.' The allusion is presumably to the Latin translation of the Pastor fido. The cause of offence was the appearance of 'five or six men almost naked,' who no doubt represented satyrs.

To what extent these plays were of a pastoral character must, of course, be matter of conjecture. They may have been pastoral plays of a more or less regular type, they may have been mythological dramas, or they may have been distinguished from the ordinary run of romantic compositions by a few incidental traits of pastoralism only. Not a few pieces of the latter description have been preserved, pieces in which definite traces of pastoral are to be found, but which cannot as a whole be included in the kind.

We have already had occasion to note the very slight pastoral influence which exists in the short masques or dialogues of Thomas Heywood, in spite of the opportunity afforded by their mythological character. The same may be noticed in the plays in which he drew his subject from classical legend. Love's Mistress is the appropriate and attractive title of a dramatization of the last-born fancy of the mythopoeic spirit of Greece, Apuleius' tale of Cupid and Psyche. The early editions add to the title the further designation of 'The Queen's Masque.' The work is indeed a composite piece, a masque grown into a play through the accretion of foreign matter, and was probably in its original state a far simpler composition than it now appears. The writing is in a dainty vein, and had the piece been completed in a manner consonant with the simple and idyllic grace of the earlier scenes, it would have been no such unequal companion to Peele's Arraignment of Paris. What the play contains of pastoral belongs to one of the accretions. It is a rustic element in the interludes, satiric and farcical, supplied by a country clown, some shepherds, and 'a shee Swaine,' Amarillis. In his Ages the pastoral element shrinks to an occasional dance and song. Thus in the Golden Age the satyrs and nymphs sing a song in honour of Diana, which introduces the disguised Jupiter in his courtship of Calisto. In the Silver Age, again, the rape of Proserpine by Pluto is preluded by a song of 'a company of Swaines, and country Wenches' in honour of Ceres.

An unkind and quite worthless tradition, based on a manuscript note in an old copy, has connected Peele's name with the lengthy and tedious drama of Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes. It was admitted into the canon of Peele's works by Dyce, and though Mr. Bullen differed from his predecessor as to the justness of the ascription, he retained it in his edition. We find in it a coarse, dialect-speaking rustic, named Corin, who at one point succours Clyomon, and with whom Neronis, daughter of the King and Queen of the Strange Marshes, seeks service in the disguise of a boy. Apart from his name and the profession of shepherd he is a mere countryman, with nothing to connect him with pastoral tradition, though the princess' action finds, of course, abundant parallels therein. The Old Wives' Tale, printed as 'by G. P.,' and of which there is no reason to question Peele's authorship, connects itself with pastoral chiefly through the already mentioned parallel which it affords to Comus. It also anticipates, in a song of harvesters, the introduction of the 'sunburnt sicklemen' of the Tempest masque.

At a later date we find Shirley in his Love Tricks introducing two sisters who leave their home and, taking the disguise of shepherd and shepherdess, dwell among the country folk in the fields and pastures, whither they are followed by their lovers. There are passages which reveal a genuine pastoral tone, such as Shirley could readily adopt when it suited his purpose, and it is not only in the measure that the tradition reveals itself in such lines as:

A shepherd is a king whose throne
Is a mossy mountain, on
Whose top we sit, our crook in hand,
Like a sceptre of command,
Our subjects, sheep grazing below,
Wanton, frisking to and fro. (IV. ii.)

Again, in the Grateful Servant we have a show of 'Satyres pursuing Nymphes; they dance together. Exeunt Satyres; three Nymphes seem to intreat [Lodowick] to goe with them,' accompanied by a song of Silvanus.

Yet slighter traces of pastoral are to be occasionally found in other plays of the period. Thus in Brome's Love-Sick Court the swains and nymphs are led in the dance by characters who have sought and found a cure for love among the country folk. In John Jones' Adrasta, the scene of which is laid at Florence, several of the characters disguise themselves in pastoral attire, and there is one definitely pastoral scene in which they appear in the midst of real shepherds and shepherdesses. The play was printed in 1635, and it is noticeable as containing, in the pastoral scene, satire on the Puritans resembling that introduced by Jonson in the Sad Shepherd. So again, similar disguisings, though of a less pronouncedly pastoral character, occur in the anonymous Knave in Grain, in which the scene is Venice. Satyrs and nymphs, clowns and maids, join in a song in Nashe's curious allegorical show entitled Summer's Last Will and Testament; nymphs and satyrs appear in the interludes of Dekker's Old Fortunatus; Silvanus, with nymphs and satyrs, perform a sort of interlude with song in the anonymous Wily Beguiled; and, lastly, we have the morris danced by the countrymen and wenches who accompany the jailor's daughter in the Two Noble Kinsmen.

The wider influence of tone and spirit is, in the nature of the case, far more difficult to determine. It is possible that some court-plays may show the influence of the artificial arrangement of characters and the conventional play of motives characteristic of the pastoral drama. But it is a matter of the greatest difficulty to analyse with certainty such structural peculiarities as these, still more so to assign them with confidence to their proper origin. Many characteristics which one might at first sight put down to the influence of the pastoral drama are, in reality, far more likely to be due to that of the comic stage of Italy in general. But while it would be rash to assert that the pastoral plays in this country exercised any wide influence over the regular drama, there can be no question such an influence was exercised to a very appreciable degree by pastoral poetry in general. I am not thinking of the romances at this moment, for as we have already seen it was the non-pastoral elements in the pastoral novel that exerted such influence as can be traced over the drama, but rather of the pastoral ideal and the pastoral mode in general, as expressed either in the lyric, the eclogue, or the drama. In this the drama shared an influence which was also exercised on other departments of literature. Numerous songs might be quoted from the scenes of the Elizabethan dramatists in support of this contention; while, on the other hand, we also find dramatic and descriptive passages the idyllic quality of which may not unreasonably be referred to a pastoral source.

This tendency of the drama to absorb pastoral elements rather from the lyric and the idyll than from regular plays in that kind is significant. It is the acknowledgement of an important fact, which pastoralism failed to recognize; namely, that as the expression of the pastoral idea gained in complexity of artistic structure it lost in vitality. The pastoral drama, born late in time, was the outcome of very especial circumstances, emphatically the child of its age, and little calculated to serve the artistic requirements of any other. Once the creative impulse that gave it life was withdrawn the falsity of the kind as a form of art became manifest; and though it lingered on for many years its life was but that of a fashionable toy, with little or no hold over the vital literature of its day. The popularity of the pastoral eclogue or idyll was of far longer duration. Though the form was more or less definitely conditioned, it had less of the structural rigidity of the drama, it brought its subject less into contact with the hard limitations of reality, and, which may also have been important, brought it less into comparison with other subject-matter employing the same or a closely analogous form. Thus it was better able to adapt itself to the tastes and requirements of various ages, and found favour in such vastly different societies as those for which Theocritus, Mantuan, Spenser, and Pope produced their works in this kind. Even here, however, the simple sensuous ideal was too much hampered by the ungenuine paraphernalia which the conventions of these various societies had gathered round it to take rank among the permanent and inevitable forms of literary art. This was granted to the lyric alone. It was through the lyric that the pastoral ideal and pastoral colouring most deeply penetrated and influenced existing forms; for the lyric, the freest and most unconditioned of all poetical kinds, the least tied to the circumstances and limitations of the actual world, was particularly fitted to extract the fragrance from the pastoral ideal without raising any unseasonable questions as to its rational or actual possibility.

It was a lover and his lass
That o'er the green cornfield did pass--

this is the essential; and we ask no more if we are wise. The very essence, be it remembered, of the pastoral ideal is no more than 'love in vacuo.' And this the lyric alone can give us.

But there is one play which more than any other illustrates the nature of the influence exerted by pastoral tradition over the romantic drama and the relation subsisting between the two. This is As You Like It; for if in one sense Shakespeare was but following Lodge in the traditional blending of pastoral elements with those of court and chivalry, in another sense he has in this play revealed his opinion of, and passed judgement upon, the whole pastoral ideal. This must necessarily happen whenever a great creative artist adopts, for reasons of his own, and takes into his work any merely outward and formal convention. It was rarely that in his plays Shakespeare showed any inclination to connect himself even remotely with pastoral tradition. The Two Gentlemen of Verona traces its origin, indeed, to the Diana of Montemayor; but all vestige of pastoral colouring has vanished, and Shakespeare may even have been himself ignorant of the parentage of the story he treated. A more apparent element of pastoral found its way many years later into the Winters Tale; but it is characteristic of the shepherd scenes of that play, written in the full maturity of Shakespeare's genius, that, in spite of their origin in Greene's romance of Pandosto, they owe nothing of their treatment to pastoral tradition, nothing to convention, nothing to aught save life as it mirrored itself in the magic glass of the poet's imagination. They represent solely the idealization of Shakespeare's own observation, and in spite of the marvellous and subtle glamour of golden sunlight that overspreads the whole, we may yet recognize in them the consummation towards which many sketches of natural man and woman, as he found them in the English fields and lanes, seem in a less certain and conscious manner to be striving in plays of an earlier date. It was characteristic of Shakespeare, as it has been of other great artists, to introduce into his early writings incidental sketches which serve as studies for further work of a later period. In much the same manner the varied, but at times uncertain, melody of the early love comedies seems to aspire towards the full sonority and magic of lyric feeling and utterance in Romeo and Juliet.

Thus it is neither to the mellow autumn of his art, when he had cast aside as unworthy all the trivialities of convention, nor yet to the storm and stress of adolescence, the immaturity of pettiness and exaggeration, that we must look if we would discover Shakespeare's attitude towards pastoral tradition. As You Like It belongs to his middle period. It will be remembered, from what has been said on an earlier page, that in this play Shakespeare substantially followed the story of Rosalind as narrated by Lodge, to whom we owe the introduction of a pastoral element into the old tale of Gamelyn. The pastoral characters of the play may be roughly analysed as follows. Celia and Rosalind, the latter disguised as a youth, are courtly characters; Phebe and Silvius represent the polished Arcadians of pastoral tradition; while Audrey and William combine the character of farcical rustics with the inimitable humanity which distinguishes Shakespeare's creations. It is noteworthy that this last pair is the dramatist's own addition to the cast. Thus we have all the various types--all the degrees or variations of idealization--brought side by side and co-existent in the fairyland of the poet's fancy. The details of the play are too well known for there to be any call to outrage the delicate interweaving of character and incident by translating the perfect scenes into clumsy prose. Nor would such analysis throw any light upon Shakespeare's attitude towards pastoral. That must be sought elsewhere. We may seek it in the fanciful mingling of ideals and idealizations--of courtly masking, of the conventional naturalism of polished dreamers, and of a rusticity more genuine at once and more sympathetic than that of Lorenzo, all of which act by their very natures as touchstones to one another. We may seek it in the uncertainty and hovering between belief and scepticism, earnest and play, reality and imagination--such as can only exist in art, or in life when life approaches to the condition of an art--which we find in the scenes where Orlando courts his mistress in the person of the youth who is but his mistress in disguise. We may seek it lastly in the manner in which the firm structure of the piece is fashioned of the non-pastoral elements; in the happiness of the art by which the pastoral incidents and business appear but as so much fair and graceful ornament upon this structure, bringing with them a smack of the free, rude, countryside, or a faint perfume of the polished Utopia of courtly makers. It is here that we may trace Shakespeare's appreciation of pastoral, as a delicate colouring, an old-world fragrance, a flower from wild hedgerows or cultured garden, a thing of grace and beauty, to be gathered, enjoyed, and forgotten, unsuited in its evanescent charm to be the serious business of art or life.

On this note, the realization at once of the delicate loveliness and of the unsubstantiality of the pastoral ideal, we may close our survey of its growth and blossoming in our dramatic literature, and before finally turning from the tradition which fascinated so many generations of European artists, pause for one moment to inquire of the critical expression it has received at the hands of more philosophical writers.

We have already seen how in the early days of modern pastoral composition Boccaccio, summing up the previous history of the kind, found in allegory and topical allusion its raison d'être. We have seen how in our own tongue Drayton expressed a similar view, and how Fletcher adopted in theory at least a more naturalistic position. This antagonism which runs through the whole of pastoral theory is really dependent upon two questions which have not always been clearly distinguished. There is, namely, the question of the allegorical or topical interpretation of the poems, and there is the question of the rusticity or at least simplicity of the form and language. It is possible to advocate the introduction of Boccaccio's 'nonnulli sensus' and yet demand that, whatever the esoteric interpretation of which the poem may be capable, the outward expression shall be appropriate to the apparent condition of the speakers; while on the other hand it is possible to confine the meaning to the evident and unsophisticated sense of the poem, while allowing such a degree of idealization in the language and sentiments of the characters as to differentiate them widely from the actual rustics of real life. The former of these positions is that assumed by Spenser in the Shepherd's Calender, however much he may have failed in logical consistency; the second is that which, in spite of much incidental matter of a topical nature, underlies Tasso's masterpiece in the kind. It is with the second of the above questions that critics have in the main been concerned. They have, namely, as a rule, tacitly though not explicitly recognized the fact that a poem whose value depends exclusively upon an esoteric interpretation has no meaning whatever as a work of art, while if artistic value can be assigned to the primary meaning of the work, it is a matter of indifference aesthetically whether there be an esoteric interpretation or not.

Every writer, I think, who comes within the limits of pastoral as usually understood, has found a certain idealization and a certain refinement necessary in bringing rustic swains into the domain of art. That any such process is inherently necessary to produce an artistic result there is no reason whatever to suppose; it may even be rationally questioned whether it is necessary to ensure the result falling within the recognizable field of pastoral; but neither of these considerations affects the historical fact. It is commonly admitted that among pastoral writers Theocritus adhered most closely to nature; yet no one has been found to describe him as a realist, whether in method or intention. But though this process of idealization is practically universal, few poets have confessed to it. Only occasionally an author, writing according to the demands of his age or of his individual taste, has been alive to what appeared to be a contradiction between his creations and what he mistook for the fundamental conditions of the kind in which he created. This was the case with Tasso, and he sought to reconcile the two by making Amore in the prologue declare:

Spirerò nobil sensi a' rozzi petti,
Raddolcirò nelle lor lingue il suono,
Perche, ovunque i' mi sia, io sono Amore,
Ne' pastori non men, che negli eroi;
E la disagguaglianza de' soggetti,
Come a me piace, agguaglio.

This served, of course, no other purpose than to salve the author's artistic conscience, since it is perfectly evident that the polished civility of his characters belongs to them by nature, and is not in any way an external importation. The remark, however, is interesting in respect of the philosophy of love as a civilizing power, which we have seen constantly recurring from the days of Boccaccio onward. Ben Jonson expressed himself sharply on this subject, with respect to Guarini and Sidney, in his conversations with Drummond. 'That Guarini, in his Pastor Fido, keept not decorum, in making Shepherds speek as well as himself could.... That Sidney did not keep a decorum in making everyone speak as well as himself.'[359] The critical foundation of these censures in an a priori definition of pastoral is obvious, and they are more interesting for their authorship than for their intrinsic merit. It would be curious to know how Jonson defended such a character as his Sad Shepherd--but his views had time to alter.

It is to the critics of the late years of the seventeenth century and early ones of the eighteenth that we owe the attempt to formulate a theory of pastoral composition. The attempt has not for us any great importance. All the work we have been considering had appeared, and the vast majority of it had passed into oblivion, before the French critics first engaged upon the task. Nor has the attempt much intrinsic interest. The theories of individual writers such as those already mentioned are of value, as showing the critical mood in which they themselves created; but these, and still more the theories of pure critics, are of no importance, either in the field of abstract critical theory or of historical inquiry. Fontenelle, offended at the odour of Theocritus' hines, Rapin, with his Jesuitical prudicity and ethico-literary theories of propriety, are not the kind of thinkers to advance critical and historical science. Yet it was to their school that the far greater English critics of the early eighteenth century belonged. Their work consists for the most part of various combinations of a priori definition and arbitrary rules, based on the notion of propriety. Thus Pope in the Discourse on Pastoral, prefixed to his eclogues in 1717, writes: 'A pastoral is an imitation of the action of a shepherd, or one considered under that character.... If we would copy nature, it may be useful to take this idea along with us, that pastoral is an image of what they call the golden age. So that we are not to describe our shepherds as shepherds at this day really are, but as they may be conceived then to have been, when the best of men followed the employment.' Shallow formalism this; but what else was to be expected from Alexander Pope at the age of sixteen? His contemporaries, however, and successors down to Johnson, took his solemn vacuity in all seriousness. Steele, writing in the Guardian in 1713 (Nos. 22, &c.), follows much the same lines. He speaks of 'Innocence, Simplicity, and whatever else has been laid down as distinguishing Marks of Pastoral.' Again, the reader is informed that 'Whoever can bear these'--namely, certain concetti from Tasso and Guarini--'may be assured he hath no Taste for Pastoral.' We find the same pedantic and ignorant objections to Sannazzaro's piscatorials as were later advanced by Johnson: 'who can pardon him,' loftily queries the censor, 'for his Arbitrary Change of the sweet Manners and pleasing objects of the Country, for what in their own Nature are uncomfortable and dreadful?' An afternoon's idling along the cliffs of Sorento or the shore of Posilipo will supply a sufficient answer to such ignorant conceit as this. Lastly, in the same familiar strain, but with all the pompous weight of undisputed dictatorship, we find Dr. Johnson a generation later laying down in the Rambler that a pastoral is 'a Poem in which any action or Passion is represented by its Effects upon a Country Life.... In Pastoral, as in other Writings, Chastity of sentiment ought doubtless to be observed, and Purity of Manners to be represented; not because the Poet is confined to the Images of the golden Age'--this is a rap at Pope--'but because, having the subject in his own Choice, he ought always to consult the Interest of Virtue.' The one fixed idea which runs throughout these criticisms is that pastoral in its nature somehow is, or should be, other than what it is in fact[360].

This is a view which very rightly meets with small mercy at the hands of the modern historical school of criticism. A last fragment of the hoary fallacy may be traced in Dr. Sommer's remark: 'Die Theorie des Hirtengedichtes ist kurz in folgenden Worten ausgedrückt: schlichte und ungekünstelte Darstellung des Hirtenlebens und wahre Naturschilderung.' It cannot be too emphatically laid down that there is and can be no such thing as a 'theory' of pastoral, or, indeed, of any other artistic form dependent, like it, upon what are merely accidental conditions.[361] As I started by pointing out at the beginning of this work, pastoral is not capable of definition by reference to any essential quality; whence it follows that any theory of pastoral is not a theory of pastoral as it exists, but as the critic imagines that it ought to exist. 'Everything is what it is, and not another thing,' and pastoral is what the writers of pastoral have made it.

It may be convenient before closing this chapter to summarize briefly the results of our inquiry into the history of pastoral tradition on the pre-restoration stage in England, without the elaboration of detail and the many necessary though minor distinctions unavoidable in the foregoing account. We saw, in the first place, that the idea of a literature dealing with the humours and romance of farm and sheepcot was not wholly alien to national English literature; but, on the contrary, that the shepherd plays of the religions cycles, the popular ballads, and a few of the Scots poets of the time of Henryson, all alike furnish verse which may be regarded as the index of the readiness of the popular mind to receive the introduction of a formal pastoral tradition. Next, preceding, as in Italy, the introduction or evolution of a regular pastoral drama, we find a series of mythological plays embodying incidentally elements of pastoral, written for the amusement of court circles, and founded on the Metamorphoses of Ovid. In these the nature of the pastoral scenes appear to be conditioned, in so far as they are independent of their classical source, partly by the already existing eclogue, and partly perhaps by the native impulse mentioned above[362]. All this anticipates the rise of the pastoral drama proper. The foreign pastoral tradition reached England through three main channels. The earliest of these, the eclogue, was imitated by Spenser from Marot, who, while depending somewhat more closely, perhaps, than was usual upon the ancients, and adding to his work a certain original flavour, yet belonged essentially to the tradition of the allegorical pastoral which took its fashion from the works of Petrarch and Mantuan. The second, and for the English drama vastly the more important channel, was the pastoral-chivalric romance borrowed by Sidney from Montemayor, the great exponent of the Spanish school, which was, however, based upon the Italian work of Sannazzaro. The third was the Arcadian drama of the Ferrarese court, which was imitated, chiefly from Guarini, by Samuel Daniel. Thus, of the three forms, verse, prose, and drama, adopted by England from Italy, the first came by way of France, the second by way of Spain, while the third alone was taken direct[363]. These three blended with the pre-existing mythological play, and with the traditions of the romantic drama generally, to produce the pastoral drama of the English stage. The influence ot the eclogue was on the whole slight, but to it we may reasonably ascribe a share of the topical and allusive elements, when these do not appear assignable either to the Arcadian drama or to masque literature generally.[364] The influence of the mythological drama, again, is not of the first importance, and is also very restricted in its occurrence; the Maid's Metamorphosis is the most striking example. The three main influences at work in fashioning the pastoral drama upon the English stage were, therefore, the Arcadian drama of Italy, the Sidneian romance borrowed from Spain, and the native tradition of the romantic drama.[365] But we have seen that the most important examples of dramatic pastoral in this country, though to some extent conditioned like the rest by the above-mentioned influences, were the outcome of direct and conscious experiment. In part, at least, the earliest, and by far the most simple, was the work of Samuel Daniel himself, which aimed at nothing beyond the mere transference of the Italian tradition unaltered on to the English stage. A different aim underlay the attempts alike of Fletcher and Randolph; the combination, namely, of the traditions of the Arcadian and romantic dramas. This common end they sought, however, by very diverse means. Fletcher, while adopting the machinery and methods of the popular drama, left the ideal and imaginary content practically untouched, and even chose a plot which in its structure resembled those familiar in the romantic drama even less than did Guarini's own. Randolph, on the other hand, while preserving much of the classical mechanism as he found it in Guarini, altered the whole tone and character of the piece to correspond to the greater complexity of interest, more genial humour, and more genuine romanticism of the English stage. Lastly, we found Jonson cutting himself almost entirely adrift from the tradition of Italian Arcadianism, and seeking to create an essentially national pastoral by the combination of shepherd lads and girls, transmuted from actuality by a natural process of refinement akin to that of Theocritus, with the magic and fairy lore of popular fancy, and with the characters of Robin and Marian and all the essentially English tradition of Sherwood. These three chief experiments in the production of an English pastoral drama which should rival that of Italy stand, together with Daniel's two plays, apart from the general run of pieces of the kind. It is also worth notice that they are all alike unaffected by the Sidneian romance. The remaining plays which form the great bulk of the contribution made by English drama to pastoral, and among which we must look for such dramatic pastoral tradition as existed, are almost all characterized by a more or less prevalent court atmosphere, disguisings and adventures in shepherd's garb forming the mainstay of the plot, while the genuine pastoral elements supply little beyond the background of the action.

Into the post-restoration pastorals it is no part of my present scheme to enter. They flourished for a while under the wing of the fashionable romance of France, but were almost more than their predecessors the things of artificial convention, having their form and being in a world whose only pre-occupations were the pangs and transports of sensibility. They occupy by right a small corner in the Carte du Tendre. Nor do I propose to do more than allude in passing to Allan Ramsay's Gentle Shepherd. In spite of the almost unvarying praise which has been lavished upon this 'Scots pastoral,' and even though the characters may have some points of humanity in common with actual Lothian rustics, the whole composition of the piece can scarcely be pronounced less artificial than that of the Arcadian drama itself, and the play has undoubtedly shared in the exaggerated esteem which has fallen to the lot of dialectal literature generally. The tradition lingered on throughout the eighteenth and into the nineteenth century. Goethe in his youth, while under the French influence, composed the Laune des Verliebten, and in his later days at Weimar the Fischerin, a piscatorial adapted for representation on an open-air stage, in which the interest was purely spectacular. As a general rule, however, pastoral inanity seldom strayed beyond the limits of the opera.

That the pastoral should flourish by the side of the romantic drama was not to be expected. It was impossible in England, as it was impossible in Spain. In either case it might now and again achieve a mild success at court, or under some exceptional conditions of representation; it never held the popular stage. No literature based on the accidents of a special form of civilization, or upon a set of artificially imagined conditions, can ever hope to outlive the civilization or the fashion that gave it birth. 'Love in vacuo' failed to arouse the interest of general mankind. Every literature of course wears the livery of its age, but where the body beneath is instinct with human life it can change its dress and pass unchanged itself from one order of things to another; where the livery is all, the form cannot a second time be galvanized into life. Pastoral, relying for its distinctive features upon the accidents rather than the essentials of life, failed to justify its pretentions as a serious and independent form of art. The trivial toy of a courtly coterie, it attempted to arrogate to itself the position of a philosophy, and in so doing exposed itself to the ridicule of succeeding ages. Men with a stern purpose in life turned wearily from the sickly amours of romantic poets who dreamed that human happiness found its place in the economy of the world. They left it to a rout of melodious idlers to imagine unto themselves a state in which serious importance should attach to the gracious things of sentiment and the loves of youth and maiden.


Page 19.--Even apart from the evidence of the Bucolica Quirinalium, it is, of course, clear that Vergil's eclogues were familiar to the writers of the early middle ages. How far their interest in them was literary, and how far, like that of the mystery-writers, it was theological, may, however, be questioned. It is worth noticing in this connexion that a German translation was projected by no less a person than Notker, and since they are coupled by him with the Andria, we may reasonably infer that in this case at least the writer's concern, if not distinctively literary, was at any rate educational. (See W. P. Ker, The Dark Ages, p. 317.)

Page 112, note 2.--There is an error here. The Passionate Pilgrim version of 'As it fell upon a day' does not contain the couplet found in England's Helicon. I was misled by its being supplied from the latter by the Cambridge editors. Another poem of the same description appears in Francis Sabie's Pan's Pipe. (See Sidney Lee's introduction to the Oxford Press facsimile of the Passionate Pilgrim, p. 31.)

Page 204.--It is perhaps hardly surprising to find Tasso's 'S' ei piace, ei lice' quoted by English writers as summing up the cynical philosophy of those whom they not unaptly styled 'politicians.' In Marston's tragedy on the story of Sophonisba, for instance, the villain Syphax concludes a 'Machiavellian' speech with the words:

For we hold firm, that 's lawful which doth please.
              (Wonder of Women, IV. i. 191.)

Appendix I

On the Origin and Development of the Italian Pastoral Drama

The chapter in the history of Italian literature which shall deal with the evolution of the Arcadian drama still remains to be written. The treatment of it in Symonds' Renaissance is decidedly inadequate, and even as far as it goes not altogether satisfactory. The explanation of this is, that the most important works fall outside his period; the Aminta and the Pastor fido are admirably treated in the volumes dealing with the counter-reformation, but these are of the nature of an appendix, and formed no part of his original plan. Tiraboschi's account is also meagre. A long discussion of the subject will be found in the fifth volume of J. L. Klein's Geschichte des Dramas (Leipzig, 1867), but the bewildering irrelevancy of much of the matter introduced by that eccentric writer seriously impairs the critical value of his work. An excellent sketch of the early history as far as Beccari, with full references, is given in Vittorio Rossi's valuable monograph, Battista Guarini ed il Pastor Fido (Torino, 1886), pt. ii. ch. i. This has the immense advantage of conciseness, and of a clear and scholarly style. An important review of Rossi's book, concerning itself particularly with the chapter in question, appeared in the Literaturblatt für germanische und romanische Philologie for 1891 (col. 376), from the pen of A. L. Stiefel, who incidentally announced that he was himself engaged on a comprehensive history of the pastoral drama. Of this work I have been unable to obtain any further information. Next an elaborate essay by the veteran Giosuè Carducci, largely combatting Rossi's conclusions as to the literary evolution of the form, and bringing forward a good deal of fresh evidence, appeared in the Nuova Antologia for September, 1894, and was reprinted with additions and corrections as the second of three papers in the author's pamphlet Su l'Aminta di T. Tasso (Firenze, 1896). To this Rossi rejoined, effectively as it seems to me, in the Giornale storico della letteratura italiana (1898, xxxi. p. 108). The treatment in W. Creizenach's Geschichte des neueren Dramas (Halle, 1901, ii. p. 359) is unfortunately not yet complete.

The theory of development which I have adopted is substantially that elaborated by Rossi. To him belongs the honour of having been the first clearly to indicate the historical steps by which the eclogue passes into the drama. The idea, however, was not original; it underlies the accounts given by Egidio Menagio in the notes to his edition of the Aminta (Paris, 1655), by G. Fontanini (Aminta difeso, Roma, 1700, and Venezia, 1730), by P. L. Ginguené (Histoire littéraire d'Italie, vol. vi, Paris, 1813), and by Klein. It was also virtually accepted by Stiefel in his review of Rossi, since he confined his criticism to pointing out and attempting to fill occasional gaps in the sequence of development, and to insisting on the influence of the regular drama, and more particularly of the Intronati comedy. The incomplete state of Creizenach's work, and the caution with which he expresses himself on the subject, preclude our reckoning him among the declared supporters of the theory; but there can be little doubt, I think, as to the tendency of his remarks. This may then be regarded as the orthodox view. It has not, however, received the exclusive adherence of scholars, and it may therefore be thought right that I should both give in detail the arguments by which it is supported and my reasons for accepting it, and likewise state the grounds on which I reject the rival theories that have been propounded.

Two of these latter may be quickly dismissed. These are the views put forward respectively by Gustav Weinberg, Das französische Schäferspiel in der ersten Hälfte des XVIIten Jahrhunderts (Frankfurt, 1884), and by J. G. Schönherr in his Jorge de Montemayor (Halle, 1886). Weinberg finds the origin of the Italian pastoral drama in the 'Éclogas' of Juan del Encina. With regard to this theory it may be sufficient to observe that, at the time Encina wrote, the ecloga rappresentativa, or dramatic eclogue, was already familiar in the Italian courts, and that, so far from his writings being the source of any pastoral tradition even in his own country, what subsequent dramatic work of the kind is to be found in Spain merely represents a further borrowing from Italy. Schönherr, on the other hand, regards the Jus Robins et Marion as the source of the Arcadian drama. Not only, however, did Adan de le Hale's play fail to originale any dramatic tradition in its own country, but it is itself nothing but an amplified pastourelle, a form which, in spite of marked Provençal influence, never obtained to any extent in Italy. It need hardly be said that there is not a vestige of historical evidence to support either of these theories[366].

It is different with the theory advanced by Carducci in the essay already mentioned. The reputation of the great Italian critic would alone entitle any view he advanced to the most respectful consideration. In the present case, however, there is more than this, for his essay is a monument of deep and loving scholarship, and whether we agree or not with its conclusions, it adds greatly to our knowledge of the subject. Briefly and baldly stated, his contention is as follows. The Arcadian drama was a creation of the literary and courtly circles of Ferrara, and so far as Italy is concerned the precursors of the Aminta are to be sought in Beccari's Sacrifizio and Giraldi Cintio's Egle alone, with a connecting link as it were supplied by the pastoral fragment of the latter author, first printed as an appendix to the essay in question. Beyond these compositions no influence can be traced, except that of a study of the classics in general, and of Theocritus in particular. It is certainly remarkable that the important texts mentioned above, as well as Argenti's Sfortunato and the Aminta itself, should all alike have been written for and produced at the court of the Estensi at Ferrara. The selection, however, I regard as somewhat arbitrary. The Egle appears to lie entirely off the road of pastoral development, and I cannot help thinking that Carducci falls into the not unnatural error of exaggerating the importance of the interesting document he was the first to publish. The primitive dramatic eclogue was not altogether unknown at Ferrara, nor do the pastoral shows elsewhere appear to have been always as remote from the courtly grace of the Arcadian tradition as the critic is at pains to demonstrate. In view therefore of the practically unbroken line of formal development, and the consistency of artistic aim observable from Sannazzaro in the last quarter of the fifteenth to Guarini in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, I find it impossible to accept Carducci's conclusions.

The advocates of the orthodox theory, however, must be prepared to meet and combat the objections which Carducci has raised, and which, in his opinion, necessitate the adoption of a different explanation. The evolution of the pastoral drama from the eclogue he declares to be impossible, in the first place, on historical grounds. This objection relates to the evidence as to a continuous development traceable in the accessible texts, and to it the account given in the following pages will--or will not--be found a sufficient answer. In the second place, he declares it to be impossible on aesthetic grounds. These are three in number, and may be briefly considered here. (a) 'Idealization cannot develop out of caricature.' Here, I presume, he is using 'caricature' in its technical sense of what Aristotle calls 'imitation worse than nature,' not merely for the resuit of an inadequate command over the medium of artistic μίμησις. The remark, therefore, can only apply to the 'rustic' productions. But, as Aristotle's phrase suggests, burlesque, or caricature, is only idealization in a different direction, so that there appears to be less antagonism between the two tendencies than might at first be supposed. Moreover, no one has suggested that the rustic shows were the origin of the Arcadian drama, so that it is to be presumed that Carducci had in mind the more or less frequent but still sporadic elements borrowed by the eclogues from the popular drama. These, however, are found in conjunction with idealized elements of courtly tradition, both in the dramatic eclogues themselves and more especially in the ecloghe maggiaiuole or May-day shows of the Congrega dei Rozzi. Thus, although it is true that we should not expect idealization to be evolved out of caricature, there is no reason to deny its evolution from a form in which burlesque and romance subsisted side by side. (b) 'Those eclogues that are not burlesque are occasional compositions equally incapable of developing into the Arcadian drama.' Though, no doubt, usually written for presentation upon some particular occasion, several of the dramatic eclogues present no topical features. Nor does it appear why a form of composition, the type of which was fairly constant although the individual examples might be ephemeral enough, should not develop into something of a more permanent nature. Moreover, the topical allusions scattered throughout the Aminta, as well as the highly occasional character of the prologue to the Pastor fido, serve to connect these plays directly with the 'occasional' eclogue. (c) The metrical form of the recognized dramatic pastorals differs from that of the eclogues.' While beginning, however, with simple terza or ottava rima, the dramatic eclogue gradually became highly polymetric in structure, though it is true that it seldom affected the free measures peculiar to the Arcadian drama. These, however, were no more suited to short compositions than the stiff terzines and octaves to more complicated dramatic works. The prevalent metre, as indeed many other points, might well be borrowed by the dramatic pastoral from the practice of the regular stage without it thereby ceasing to be the formal descendant of the eclogue.

Another point in debate is the view taken of the question by contemporary critics--that is, by Guarini and his adversaries. Rossi pointed out a passage in Guarini's Veraio of 1588[367] which he held to support his theory of development. Translated, the passage runs: 'And why should it not be thought lawful for the eclogue to grow out of its infancy and arrive at mature years, if this has been possible in the case of tragedy? ... Even as the Muses grafted tragedy upon the dithyrambic stock, and comedy upon the phallic, so in their ever-fertile garden they set the eclogue as a tiny cutting, whence sprang in later years the stately growth of the pastoral,' that is, of the favola di pastori, or dramatic pastoral, as he elsewhere explains. 'But in thèse words,' objects Carducci, 'the writer is in no way referring to the Italian eclogues of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The eclogue had passed out of its infancy in the work of Theocritus.' Here, however, Carducci appears to me to misinterpret Guarini's meaning in an almost perverse manner. The metaphoric 'infancy' of which Guarini speaks is the pre-dramatic period of pastoral growth. No one will deny that the Theocritean idyl had attained full and perfect development in its own kind; but from the dramatic point of view, and granted that it contained the germ of the later pastoral drama, it belonged to a period of infancy, or, to adopt a more strictly accurate metaphor, of gestation. Were further evidence needed to show that the allusion is to the Italian rather than to the classical eclogue, it might be found in the fact that the passage in question was Guarini's answer to the following criticism of De Nores, as to the meaning of which there can be no two opinions. Attacking the pastoral tragi-comedy, the critic remarks: 'Until the other day similar compositions were represented under the name of eclogues at festivals and banquets, ... but now of a sudden they have been fashioned of the extension of comedies and tragedies in five acts[368].' It will be noticed that in his reply Guarini makes no attempt to question the underlying identity of the pastoral tragi-comedy with the dramatic eclogue, but contents himself with very justly asserting the right of the latter to develop into a mature literary form. Two other passages from Guarini have been quoted as germane to the discussion. They occur in the Verato secondo, written as a counterblast to De Nores' Apologia,[369]. One may be rendered thus: 'Although the dramatic pastoral, in respect of the characters introduced, recognizes its ultimate origin in the eclogue and in the satire [i. e. the satyric drama] of the ancients, nevertheless, in respect of its form and ordinance it may be said to be a modern kind of poetry, seeing that no example of such dramatic composition, whether Greek or Latin, is to be found in ancient times.' The other runs: 'having regard to the fact that Theocritus stepped beyond the number of persons usual in similar poems, and composed one [the Feast of Adonis] which not only contains many interlocutors, but is of a more dramatic character than usual, and remarkable also for its greater length; it seemed to him [Beccari] that he might with great honour supply that kind neglected by the Greek and Latin authors[370].' In the former of these passages Guarini, while recognizing the community of subject-matter between the classical eclogue and the renaissance pastoral drama, claims that as an artistic form the latter is independent of the former. Nor is this inconsistent with what he says in the subsequent passage, for it is perfectly true that it was with Beccari that the pastoral first attained its full complexity of dramatic structure, and his allusion to Theocritus means, not that he regarded him as the father of the form, but that, after the manner of a cinquecento critic, he is seeking for authority at least among the ancients where direct precedent is not to be found. His reference to the evolution of classical tragedy and comedy in the passage cited from his first essay shows clearly that he had in mind a process of gradual and natural development, not one of definite borrowing or artificial creation. It appears to me, therefore, that Carducci has erred in not taking a sufficiently broad view of the lines on which literary development proceeds; and also, more specifically, in failing to recognize the importance of the distinction between the ordinary and the dramatic eclogue. This distinction, though on the scanty evidence extant it is extremely hard to draw it with any degree of certainty, appears to me a vital point in the history of the species. The value of Carducci's work lies in his insistence on the influence of the regular drama, to which, perhaps on account of its very obviousness, Rossi had failed to attach sufficient importance; in his directing attention to the local Ferrarese tradition; in the admirable energy and patience with which he has collected all available evidence; and in his reprinting the interesting pastoral fragment of Giraldi Cintio. For these he deserves the warmest thanks of all students of Italian literature; for my own part I need only refer the reader to the footnotes to the following pages as indicating in some measure the extent of my indebtedness[371].

The theatrical tendency first exhibited itself in the mere recitation of a dialogue in character, and the earliest examples of these ecloghe rappresentative are identical in form with those written merely for literary circulation. For the dates of these external evidence unfortunately fails us almost entirely, but a fairly well-marked sequence may be established on the grounds of internal development. Roughly, they must fall within a few years of the close of the fifteenth century, say between 1480 and 1510. They are commonly of an allegorical nature, containing allusions to real persons, and are for the most part composed in terza rima, diversified in the more complex examples by the introduction of octaves and lyrical measures[372]. Of this primitive form is a poem by the Genoese Baldassare Taccone, bearing the superscription 'Ecloga pastorale rapresentata nel Convivio dell' III. Sig'r. Io. Adorno, nella quale si celebra l' amor del Co. di Cayace [Francesco Sanseverino] e di M. Chiara di Marino nuncupata la Castagnini[373].' This piece, in which the characters represent real persons, is a mere dialogue without any semblance of action. Aminta questions his fellow-shepherd Fileno as to the cause of his melancholy, and learns that it arises from his hopeless passion for a certain cruel nymph. His offer to undertake his friend's cure is met with the declaration, that of the two death were preferable. Similar in simplicity of construction is another poem, the work of Serafino Aquilano, which deals with the corruption of the Church, and was performed at Rome during the carnival of 1490[374]. An advance in dramatization is made by an eclogue of Galeotto Del Carretto's, written in 1492, in honour of the newly elected Alexander VI, in that one character enters upon the scene after the other has been discoursing for some time; while another, the work of Gualtiero Sanvitale, contains three speakers, of whom one enters towards the close, and is called upon to decide between the other two. This arbiter is none other than Lodovico Sforza himself[375]. So far the eclogues have all been in Sannazzaro's terza rima. A wider range of metrical effect, including not only terzines both sdrucciole and piane, but also hendecasyllables with internal rime and a canzone, and at the same time a more dramatic treatment, is found in another eclogue of Aquilano's[376]. In this Palemone sends his herdsman Silvano to inspect his flocks after a stormy night. The herdsman meets Ircano in a melancholy mood, who when questioned endeavours to hide the nature of his grief by feigning that he has lost his flock in the storm. At that moment, however, the real cause of his sorrow enters in the shape of a nymph, and Ircano leaves Silvano in order to follow her with prayers and supplications. Silvano endeavours to dissuade him from his love, but meets with the usual want of success. In the case of this piece, as also of the two preceding ones, we have no direct evidence of any representation, but all three, and especially the last, have the appearance of being composed for recitation. Another piece, exhibiting an advance in complexity of dramatic structure, is an 'ecloga overo pasturale,' a disputation on love by Bernardo Bellincioni[377], apparently in some way connected with Genoa, in the course of which five characters, probably representing actual personages, though we lack external evidence, forgather upon the stage. The versification again exhibits novel features, the piece being for the most part in ottava rima with the introduction of settenarî couplets. In the former we may perhaps see the influence of the Orfeo, or possibly of the old sacre rappresentationi themselves. In 1506 the court of Urbino witnessed the eclogue composed and recited by Baldassare Castiglione and Cesare Gonzaga[378]. It also belongs to the octave group, and is diversified with a canzonet. Dramatically the piece is somewhat of a retrogression, but it is interesting from the characters introduced in pastoral guise. Thus in Iola and Dameta we may see Castiglione and his fellow author; Tirsi, who gives his name to the poem, is a stranger shepherd attracted by reports of the court; while among the characters mentioned are discernible Bembo and the Duchess Elizabeth. At this point may be mentioned a somewhat similar eclogue found in a Spanish romance of about 1512, entitled Cuestion de amor, descriptive of the Hispano-Neapolitan society of the time. The eclogue, which is clearly modelled on the Italian examples, contains five characters, and is supposed to represent the love affairs of real personages[379]. Two so-called 'commedie pastorali,' from which Stiefel hoped for useful evidence, prove on inspection to be medleys of pastoral amours exhibiting little advance in dramatization, though interesting as showing traces of the influence of the not yet fully developed 'rustic' eclogue. They are composed throughout in terza rima without any division into acts or scenes, and are the work of one Alessandro Caperano of Faenza, thus hailing, like the later Amaranta, from the Romagna[380]. In 1517 we find a fantastic pastoral entitled Pulicane, written in octaves by Piero Antonio Legacci dello Stricca, a Sienese, who was also the author of several rustic pieces, in which is introduced a monster half dog and half man. Another work by the same, again in octaves, and entitled Cicro, appeared in 1538. Another piece mentioned by Stiefel as likely to throw light on the development of the dramatic pastoral is the 'Ecloga di amicizia' of Bastiano di Francesco, or Bastiano 'the flax-dresser'(linaiuolo), also of Siena, which was first printed in 1523. It turns out, however, to be a decidedly primitive composition in terza rima, with a certain slightly satirical colouring[381].

If the texts that have survived are somewhat scanty, there is good reason to believe that they form but a small portion of the eclogues actually represented at the end of the fifteenth and beginning of the sixteenth centuries. Thus we find a show, of the nature of which it is not altogether easy to judge, recorded in a letter by a certain Floriano Dulfo, written from Bologna in July, 1496[382]. It appears to have been a composition of some length, pastoral only in part, supernatural in others, but belonging on the whole rather to the cycle of chivalresque romance than of classical mythology. In Act I an astrologer announces the birth of a giant, who in Act II is represented as persecuting the shepherds. Acts III and IV are occupied by various complaints on his account In Act V, called by Dulfo 'la ultima comedia, overo egloga,' the giant carries off a nymph while she is gathering flowers; the shepherds, however, come to her rescue and restore her to her lover. This incident, reminiscent possibly of the rape of Proserpine, tends to connect the piece with the mythological tradition. So far as can be gathered, the verse appears to have been ottava rima with the introduction of lyrical passages. Again, we know that the representation of eclogues formed part of the festivities at the marriage of Lucrezia Borgia with Giovanni Sforza in 1493, and again in 1502, when she espoused Alfonzo d' Este. In 1508 the carnival shows at Ferrara included three eclogues, the work respectively of Ercolo Pio, Antonio dall' Ongano. and Antonio Tebaldeo[383]. At Venice we have note of similar performances, and even find ecloghe mentioned among the forms of dramatic spectacle recognized by the laws of the state. I may also call attention in this connexion, and as illustrating the habituai introduction of acted eclogues in all forms of festival, to the occurrence of such a performance in a chivalrous romance by Cassio da Narni, entitled La morte del Danese[384]. The piece is, however, of the most primitive form, and must not be taken as typical of its date, just as the masques introduced into the plays of the Elizabethan drama are commonly of a far simpler order than actually represented at court. It may also not improbably have been influenced by the more popular form of rustic shows, as its description as a 'festa in atti rusticali' would seem to indicate.

Meanwhile the rustic eclogue was developing upon lines of its own, though rather in arrear of the courtly variety. In 1508 we find a piece in terza rima, exhibiting traces of Paduan dialect, composed or transcribed by one Cesare Nappi of Bologna, in which no less than fourteen 'villani' appear with their sweethearts to honour the feast of San Pancrazio[385]. Eating and dancing form the mainstay of the composition, and since the female characters are described but do not speak, it may be questioned whether the piece was intended for representation. Not till five years later have we any evidence of a rustic eclogue forming part of an actual show. In 1513, Giuliano de' Medici was at Rome, and in the entertainment provided at the Capitol on the occasion of his receiving the freedom of the city was included an eclogue by a certain 'Blosio,' otherwise Biagio Pallai delia Sabina, of the Roman Academy. The argument alone has come down to us. A rustic, who has first suffered at the hands of the foreign soldiers then overrunning Italy, and has afterwards been plundered by the sharper citizens of Rome, meets a friend with whom it has fared similarly, and the two determine to seek justice of the Conservators, as a last chance before retiring to live among the Turks, since a man may not abide in peace in a Christian land. They find the Capitol en fête, and the piece ends with a song in praise of Giuliano and Leo X[386]. Of the same year is the 'Egloga pastorale di Justitia,' the earliest extant specimen of the rustic dramatic eclogue proper. It is a satirical piece concerning a countryman, who fails to obtain justice because he is poor. He at last appeals to the king himself, but is again repulsed because he is accompanied by Truth in place of Adulation[387]. This form of composition, recalling as it does the allegories of Langland and other satirists of the middle ages, differs widely from that usually found in the courtly eclogues, nor is it typical of rustic representations. Again, to the same year, 1513, belongs an eclogue in rustic speech and Bellunese dialect, by Bartolommeo Cavassico, which like the Roman show turns upon the horrors of the war which had been devastating the country since 1508. Recollections of the 'tagliata di Cadore[388]' blend incongruously with fauns, nymphs, bears, pelicans, and wild men of the woods, to form a whole which appears to be of a decidedly burlesque character. The distribution, however, of these rustic eclogues never appears to have been very wide, and in later times they were chiefly confined to the representations of the famous Congrega dei Rozzi at Siena, though the activity of this society extended, it is true, far beyond the limits of its Tuscan home. Most of these representations, at any rate in the earlier years with which we are concerned, were short realistic farces of low life composed in dialectal verse. Some of the cleverest are by Francesco Berni, better known for his obscene capitoli and his rifacimento of Boiardo's Orlando, and appeared between 1537 and 1567; while in later days the kind attained its highest perfection in the work of Michelangelo Buonarroti the younger, whose Tancia originally appeared in 1612[389].

It may be questioned to what extent these rustic shows influenced the development of the pastoral eclogue. Their recognition as a dramatic form was subsequent to that of the ecloga rappresentativa, and no element traceable to their influence can be shown to exist in the dramatic pastoral as finally evolved. On the other hand, we do undoubtedly meet with incidents and characters in the courtly shows which appear to belong to the style of the popular burlesque. A point of contact between the two traditions may be found in the commedie maggiaiuole, a sort of May-day shows also represented by the Rozzi, but of a more idealized character than the rustic drama proper. They may, indeed, be regarded as to some extent at least a parody of the two kinds--the courtly and the popular pastoral--since by combining the two each was made the foil and criticism of the other. Nymphs and shepherds appear as in the pastoral eclogues, but their loves are interrupted by the incursion of boisterous rustics, who substitute the unchastened instincts and brute force of half-savage boors for the delicate wooing and sentimentality of their rivals.

We return to the development of the dramatic eclogue in a work of some importance as marking an advance both in dramatic construction and versification. I due pellegrini[390], written not later than 1528, when the author, Luigi Tansillo, was a youth of sixteen or seventeen, was doubtless produced on some occasion before the court of the Orsini, at Nola, near Naples. It was revived with great pomp ten years later at Messina, when Don Garcia de Toledo, commander of the Neapolitan fleet, entertained Antonia Cardona, daughter of the Count of Colisano, for whose hand he was a suitor[391]. Two shepherds, pilgrims of love, bereft of the objects of their affection, the one through death, the other through inconstancy, meet in a forest and reason of the comparative hardness of their lots. Unable to decide the question, they each resolve to bear the strongest possible witness to the depth of their affliction by putting an end to their lives. At this moment, however, the voice of the dead mistress is heard from a neighbouring tree, persuading them to relinquish their intentions, reconciling them once more with the world and life, and directing them to join the festivities in the city of Nola. Here for the first time we meet with a pastoral composition of some length pretending to a dramatic solution, and contrasting with the stationary character of most of the eclogues we have been examining in that the change of purpose among the actors constitutes a sort of περιπέτεια, or rivolgimento. The piece is likewise important from a metrical point of view, since it not only contains a free intermixture of ottava and terza rima, and hendecasyllables with rimalmezzo, a favourite verse form in certain kinds of composition[392], but likewise foreshadows, in its mingling of freely riming hendecasyllables with settenarî, the peculiar measures of the pastoral drama proper. I due pellegrini was not, however, an altogether original composition. In 1525 had appeared a work by the Neapolitan Marco Antonio Epicuro de' Marsi, styled in the original edition 'dialogo di tre ciechi,' and in later reprints 'tragi-commedia intitulata Cecaria[393].' In this three blind men, one blind with love, another with jealousy, the third with gazing too intently on the sun-like beauty of his mistress, meet and determine to die together. They fall in, however, with a priest of Amor, who sends them back to their respective loves to be cured. It was this theme that Tansillo arranged in pastoral form, borrowing even the metres of the original, but it was just the element which justifies our including it here that he added, and it is useless to seek in Epicuro's work the origin of the form with which it was thus only accidentally associated.

A composition of some importance, dating from a period about two years later than Tansillo's piece, is an 'ecloga pastorale' by the 'mestissimo giovane' Luca di Lorenzo of Siena.[394] Two nymphs, by name Euridice and Diversa, respectively seek and shun the delights of love. They meet a citto--that is a bambino in Sienese dialect--who proves to be none other than Cupid himself, and rewards them according to their deserts, Euridice obtaining the love of the courtly shepherd Orindio, while Diversa is condemned to follow the rude and loveless Fantasia. The piece is written in a mixture of ottava and terza rima, with a variety of lyrics introduced. The contrast between the loving and the careless nymphs, and the episode of the latter being bound to a tree, appear to anticipate the later pastoral; while the introduction of Cupid as a dramatis persona carries one back to the mythological drama, and the rustic characters connect the piece with the plays of the Rozzi. Another composition of Tuscan origin is the Lilia, first printed in 1538, and composed throughout in polished octaves.[395] It merely relates how the shepherd Fileno courted the fair Lilia, a certain rustic element being introduced in the persons of the herdsmen Crotolo and Tirso.

With the Amaranta of Casalio we have been sufficiently concerned in the text (p. 172). It was printed at Venice in 1538,[396] having probably been written some years earlier. It is composed in ottava and terza rima, with the introduction of a canzonet, and marks an important advance on previous work, not only in the nature of the plot, but in being divided into acts and scenes. Sixteen years elapsed between the publication of Amaranta and the appearance of the regular pastoral drama in Beccari's Sacrifizio. Some time ago Stiefel pointed out a considerable hiatus at this point in Rossi's account, and mentioned certain works which might be expected to fill it. These and others have since been examined by Carducci, with the result that it is possible, at least partially, to bridge the gap. The period proves to be one less of gradual evolution than of conscious experiment. At least this is how I read the available evidence. Besides the Cecaria, mentioned above, Epicuro de' Marsi also left a manuscript play entitled Mirzia, which he describes as a 'favola boschereccia,' being thus the first to make use of the term later adopted by Tasso.[397] The piece, which was written some ten years before the author's death in 1555, leads us off into one of the numerous by-paths into which the pastorals of this period were for ever wandering. Two despised lovers, together with their friend Ottimo, witness unseen the dances of Diana and the nymphs, on which occasion Ottimo falls in love with the goddess herself. After passing through various plights, into which they are led by their love of the careless nymphs, they all have recourse to an oracle, whose predictions are fulfilled through a series of violent metamorphoses. This mixture of mythology and magic is wholly foreign to the spirit of the Arcadian drama, and the Mirzia cannot any more than the Cecaria be regarded as the progenitor of that form. I may mention incidentally that among the characters is a good-natured satyr, who consoles Ottimo in his hopeless passion for Diana.

Another attempt at mingling the pastoral with the mythological drama, and one which likewise exhibits a tendency to borrow from the rustic compositions, is the Florentine 'commedia pastorale' first printed in 1545 under the title of Silvia.[398] The author calls himself Fileno Addiacciato, from which it would appear that he was a member of the pastoral academy of the Addiaccio, founded at Prato in 1539 by Agnolo Firenzuola. The prologue relates how the first archimandrita of the academy, the title assumed by the president, here called Silvano, was driven out by his followers because of certain innovations he made, 'Alzando i Rozzi e deprimendo i buoni.' This would seem to imply that the head of the Addiacciati was expelled for evincing too particular an interest in the Sienese society, a piece of literary gossip fairly borne out by the little we know of the events which led up to Firenzuola's departure from Prato. The prologue, indeed, speaks of Silvano as already dead, which would appear to necessitate the placing of Firenzuola's death earlier by three years than the accepted date. The inference, however, is not necessary, since the expelled president might in his pastoral character be represented as dead though still alive in the flesh. The play itself, which is in five acts, and contains characters alike Olympian, Arcadian, and rustic, besides a hermit and a slave, is composed in a variety of metres--terza rima, octaves both sdrucciole and piane, and in the style alike of Poliziano and Lorenzo, hendecasyllables both blank and with rimalmezzo, and lyrical stanzas. The plot itself is of the simplest, and resembles that of the Amaranta. Through the sovereign will of Venus and Cupid, Silvia and Panfilo love. A temporary estrangement, brought about by the mischievous rustic Murrone and his burlesque courting of Silvia, is set right by an opportune appearance of Cupid just as the girl has determined on suicide, and the lovers are united according to the Christian rite by the hermit, in the presence of Cupid and Venus. What could be more complete?

The following year, 1546, saw the appearance in type of two eclogues, Erbusto and Filena, by a certain Giovanni Agostino Cazza or Caccia, the founder of a pastoral academy at Novara, for whose diversion the pieces were presumably composed.[399] The first of these, Erbusto, is in three acts, and terza rima. The elderly Erbusto is the rival of Ameto in the love of a shepherdess named Flora. The girl's affections are set on the younger suitor, and after some complications she is discovered to be Erbusto's own daughter, stolen as a baby during the war in Piedmont. Similar recognitions, imitated from the Roman comedy, are of frequent occurrence in the regular Italian drama, and are not uncommonly connected, as here, with some actual event in contemporary history. The second piece, Filena, runs to four acts, and has lyrical songs introduced into the terza rima. It appears to be a sufficiently shameless and somewhat formless farce, which, being quite alien from the spirit of the regular pastoral, need not be examined in detail.

To the next few years belong a series of 'giocose moderne e facetissime ecloghe pastorali,' by the Venetian Andrea Calmo, composed in endecasillabi sdruccioli sciolti, and published in 1553.[400] They introduce a number of dialects, suited to various personages; Arcadian shepherds like Lucido, Silvano, and the rest; rustics with names such as Grítolo di Burano, mythological figures, and a satiro villan who speaks Dalmatian. An advance in dramatization may perhaps be seen in the introduction of a second pair of lovers, while the writer goes even further than Beccari in the introduction of oracles (a point in which, however, he had been anticipated by the author of Mirzia), and an echo scene, a device of which Calmo's example is certainly of an elementary character.

The most important, however, of the writers between Casalio and Beccari is the well-known Ferrarese novelist Giovanbattista Giraldi, surnamed Cintio, the author of the Ecatommiti, and of a number of tragedies on the classical model. The first piece of his which claims our attention is a satira entitled Egle, which was privately performed at the author's house in February, 1545, and again the following month in the presence of Duke Ercole and his brother, the Cardinal Ippolito d' Este.[401] The play is an avowed and solitary attempt to revive the 'satyric' drama of the Greeks, a kind of which the Cyclops of Euripides is the only extant example. The action is simple. The rural demigods, fauns, satyrs, and the like, having long sought the love of the nymphs of Diana in vain, enter, at the suggestion of Egle the mistress of Silenus, upon a plan whereby they may have the careless maidens in their power. They make a show of leaving Arcadia in high dudgeon, abandoning their families of little fauns and satyrs. On these the unwary maids take pity, and begin forthwith to dance and play with them in the woods. The deceitful divinities, however, have only hidden for a while, and when opportunity serves are placed by Egle where they may surprise the nymphs at sport. They suddenly break cover, follow and seize the flying girls, and are on the point of enjoying the success of their plot when Diana intervenes, transforming her outraged followers into trees, streams, and so forth. The metamorphosis is related by Pan himself, who returns bearing in his hand a reed, all that is left of his beloved Syrinx. Thus the piece may be regarded as a dramatization of Sannazzaro's Salices, expanded by the free introduction of mythological characters, and bears no connexion with the real nature of pastoral, the life-blood of which, whether in the idyls of Theocritus, the Arcadia of Sannazzaro, or the Aminta of Tasso, is primarily and essentially human.

The other work of Cintio with which we are here concerned, a fragment which remained in MS. till published by Carducci in 1896 as an appendix to his essays on the Aminta, may be at once pronounced the most important attempt at writing a really pastoral drama previous to Beccari's Sacrifizio. It is found with the heading 'Favola pastorale' in an autograph MS., along with several other works of the author, including Egle, but with no indication of the date of composition. The author survived till 1573, but we may reasonably suppose that the piece was written before his departure from Ferrara in 1558. It consists of what are apparently intended for two acts, headed respectively Parte prima and Parte quinta, each consisting of several scenes, though these are not distinguished. The first two form a sort of introduction, in which Cupid and Diana mutually defy one another on account of the nymph Irinda, whom the boy-god has wounded with love for Filicio. The shepherd returns her love, but finds a rival in Viaste, whose blind passion, though unreturned, will admit no discourse of reason. It is, however, ultimately discovered that Irinda and Viaste are cousins, a fact which is regarded as a sufficient reason for the infatuated swain to free himself wholly and immediately from his passion, and accept the love of the faithful Frodignisa, who has followed him throughout.[402] The story, which resembles that of Cazza's Erlusto, is thus of a simple order, and it is chiefly in the composition that the likeness of the play to the regular pastoral is seen. What the author intended for the middle three acts it is hard to say, since the action at the opening of the fifth is precisely at the point at which the first left it. Probably they were never written, and the author may even have abandoned his work owing to the difficulty of filling the hiatus. In both Cintio's pieces the metre is blank verse (hendecasyllabic), diversified in the case of the Egle with a rimed chorus.[403]

One point becomes, I think, apparent from the foregoing examination; namely, that while the fully developed pastoral owes its origin to the evolution of the eclogue as a dramatic kind, its final form was arrived at, not merely by a natural and inevitable process of growth, but as the result of direct experimenting on certain lines. The evolution, that is, was at the last conscious, not spontaneous. While up to a certain point the dramatic germs latent in the eclogue develop upon a natural line of growth, each advance being the reasonable resuit of the action of surrounding conditions upon a previous stage of evolution, there comes a time when authors seem to have felt that the form was in a state of unstable equilibrium, that it was advancing towards a final expression, which it had so far failed to find, but which each individual writer sought to realize in his work. The supposition of a theoretic preoccupation on the part of these writers is reasonable enough, considering the critical atmosphere in which the pastoral developed, and the heated controversy which soon centred round the accomplished form; and it serves at the same time to explain the liabilities of writers before Tasso to run metaphorically into blind alleys. The conscious endeavour after a stable and adequate form appears to me a determining factor in the work of Casalio, Cintio, and finally Beccari.

Of the Sacrifizio of Agostino Beccari[404] have already spoken at some length in the text (p. 174). From the account there given it will be seen that the plot, though from its threefold character it attains a certain degree of complexity, is in reality little more than the scenic combination of three distinct stories, each of which might well have formed the subject of an eclogue, and the whole play is thus closely connected with the dramatic simplicity of its origin.[405] The verse, which is blank, interspersed with lyrical passages, shows, like Cintio's, the influence of the regular drama. For the satyr we need seek no individual source; he was already as much a recognized character of the Italian pastoral as the Vice was of the English interlude. The magical element is doubtless ultimately traceable to a romantic source; it is one which almost entirely drops out of the later pastoral drama, in which the more distinctively classical oracle gradually won for itself a place. Finally, I may remark that Beccari's claim to be considered the originator of the pastoral drama was made in spite of his being perfectly well acquainted with Cintio's Egle, as a passage in the first scene of Act III testifies. There is, indeed, no reason to suppose that any writer before Carducci ever considered Cintio's play as belonging to the realm of pastoral.

Beccari's immediate successors were of no great interest in themselves, and contributed little to the development of the form. In 1556 appeared a 'comedia pastorale,' by the Piedmontese Bartolommeo Braida, a hybrid composition in octave rime, written possibly for representation at the court of Claudio of Savoy, governor of Provence and Marseilles, to whose wife it is dedicated.[406] This piece resembles Poliziano's play, not only in metrical structure, but in having a prologue spoken by Mercury, while by its general character it connects itself with such old-fashioned productions as Cavassico's Bellunese eclogue of 1513, and the representation reported from Bologna by Dulfo in 1496. On the other hand, the introduction of three pairs of lovers, and the incident of the nymph being bound to a tree, suggest that Braida may at least have heard of the Ferrarese Sacrifizio. The whole is a strange medley of various and incongruous elements--mythological in Mercury and Somnus; pastoral in the shepherds, Tindaro, Ruffo, Alpardo, and their loves; rustic in the clown Basso, who speaks Piedmontese in shorter measure; satirical in the wanton hermit; allegorical in the figure of Disdain; romantic in the wild man of the woods and the magic herb. Thus on the whole Braida's work represents a decided retrogression in the development of pastoral; or perhaps it may be more accurate to say that it renects the tradition of an outlying district in which that development had been retarded.

To this period likewise, if we are to believe the author, belongs a 'nova favola pastorale' entitled Calisto, by Luigi Groto, the blind littérateur of Adria, whose preposterous pastoral, Il pentimento amoroso, was produced between the Aminta and the Pastor fido. According to a note in the original edition, the piece was first represented at Adria in 1561, revived and rewritten in 1582, and first printed the following year.[407] It is founded on the well-known tale of the love of Zeus for Calisto, a nymph of Artemis, who by him became the mother of the Arcadians, as related by Ovid in the second book of the Metamorphoses (ll. 401, &c.). It may, therefore, so far as the subject is concerned, be classed among the mythological plays, but the author has mingled with his main theme much of the vulgar indecency of the Latin comedy as adopted in the cinquecento on to the Italian stage. The piece is composed in sdrucciolo blank verse.

With our next author, the orator Alberto Lollio, we return once more to Ferrara. In 1563 a play entitled Aretusa[408] was presented before Alfonso II and his brother the cardinal, by the students of law at Ferrara, at the command, it is said, of Laura Eustoccia d' Este. The verse is blank, diversified by a single sonnet, but the piece is again a hybrid of an earlier type--a love-knot solved by the discovery of consanguinity--with certain elements of Plautine comedy added. There is also extant in MS. the plot, or prose sketch, of another comedy by Lollio, entitled Galatea, on the same model as the Aretusa, but with somewhat greater complexity of construction.[409]

It is evident that, though in the Sacrifizio the final form of the pastoral drama had been attained, the fact was not immediately recognized. Indeed, until the seal had been set upon that form by the genius of Tasso, it must have been difficult for any one to realize what had been achieved. The form had been discovered, but it remained to prove that it was the right form, and to show its capabilities. In 1567 a return was made to the tradition of Beccari in Agostino Argenti's play Lo Sfortunato.[410] With this piece also, composed in blank verse with a couple of lyric songs, we have already been sufficiently concerned (p. 175). I only wish to draw attention to one point here, namely, that if Guarini's Silvio is a companion portrait to Tasso's Silvia, she in her turn is but the feminine counterpart of Argenti's Silvio. The Sfortunato stands on the threshold of the Aminta, and its performance may have suggested to Tasso the composition of his pastoral masterpiece, but it contributed little either to the evolution of the form, or to the poetic supremacy of its successor.

We have arrived at the end of the catalogue, and it is for the reader to decide whether or not I have succeeded in establishing a formal continuity between the eclogue and the pastoral drama, and so answering the most serious of Carducci's objections.

Appendix II


Any attempt at an adequate bibliography of pastoral literature would require space far greater than that at present at my disposal. In the case of all the more important works considered in the foregoing inquiry, I have been careful to mention the edition from which my quotations are taken whenever this was not the original. Nor do I propose to mention in this place every book or article which I have consulted in the course of my study. Where some particular authority has been followed on some particular point the reference has been given in the form of a footnote. There are, however, two classes of books which require special mention. The first of these consists of those works to which I have had cause constantly to refer, and which I have therefore quoted by abbreviated titles; and second, of certain works which I have constantly consulted and followed, but to which I have had no occasion to make specific reference in the notes. A list of the works coming under one or other of these heads will give a very fair survey of the critical literature of the subject, and may therefore not only be convenient to readers of my work, but may prove useful as a guide to any who may wish to make an independent study. I have, of course, derived much help from the critical apparatus accompanying many of the texts cited, but these I have not, as a rule, thought it necessary to recapitulate here. Where, however, I have used critical matter in editions other than those quoted for the text, they have been duly recorded. Ordinary works of reference need no specific notice.

A. General.

(α) Works on General Literature. These chiefly refer to Italian and English literature.

(i) Italian. J. A. Symonds. Renaissance in Italy. Vols. IV and V. Italian Literature. To the whole of this work, but especially to the section dealing with literature and to that on the Catholic reaction mentioned below (B. vi), my indebtedness is far more than any specific acknowledgement can express. My references are to the new edition (7 vols., London, 1897-8), which has the advantages of being obtainable, and of having a full though not very accurate index to the whole work, but which is unfortunately very carelessly printed.

B. Weise and E. Pèrcopo. Geschichte der italienischen Litteratur von den ältesten Zeiten bis zur Gegenwart. Leipzig und Wien, 1899. I have often found this of considerable use as summarizing the latest work on the subject. It is, however, not invariably accurate, and the literary appreciations, whether original or borrowed, are seldom enlightening. Had the space occupied by these been devoted to giving references to special works, the value of the book would have been enormously increased.

A. D'Ancona and O. Bacci. Manuale della letteratura italiana. 5 vols. Firenze, 1897-1900. I have fonnd the biographical and bibliographical notes to this collection of the greatest use.

(ii) English. W. J. Courthope. A History of English Poetry. 5 vols, published. London, 1895-1905. Vols, ii and iii contain accounts of English poets of the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries.

A. W. Ward. A History of English Dramatic Literature to the Death of Queen Anne. New and revised edition. 3 vols. London, 1899.

F. G. Fleay. A Biographical Chronicle of the English Drama. 2 vols. London, 1891.

(β) General Works on Pastoral. Of these some refer chiefly to pastoral poetry, some mainly to the English drama.

(i) Poetry. E. W. Gosse. An Essay on English Pastoral Poetry. A. B. Grosart, Rider on Mr. Gosse's Essay. In Grosart's edition of Spenser, vol. iii, 1882, pp. ix-lxxi.

H. O. Sommer. Erster Versuch über die englische Hirtendichtung. Marburg, 1888. A useful sketch of the eclogue in English literature from 1510 to 1805, though superficial and not always accurate.

Katharina Windscheid. Die englische Hirtendichtung von 1579-1625. Halle, 1895. This contains a good deal of original investigation, and I have found it of considerable use. In questions of literary judgement, however, the author is not always happy.

C. H. Herford. Spenser. Shepheards Calender, edited with introduction and notes. London, 1897. The Introduction contains an admirable sketch of pastoral poetry in general.

E. K. Chambers. English Pastorals, with an introduction. London, 1895. A collection of lyrics, eclogues, and scenes, with a useful introduction.

(ii) English Drama. Homer Smith. Pastoral Influence in the English Drama. Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. xii (1897), pp. 355-460. This has been constantly cited in my notes. As the first serious attempt to investigate the English pastoral drama it deserves credit; but in detail it is often inaccurate, while I generally disagree with the author on all matters on which divergence of opinion is possible.

Josephine Laidler. A History of Pastoral Drama in England until 1700. Englische Studien, July, 1905, xxxv (2). pp. 193-259. This appeared while my work vas passing through the press, and though I have read it carefully, I think that the reference to Mahaffy's not very accurate account of Arcadia (see p. 51, note) is the total extent of my indebtedness. The article adds little to Homer Smith's work for the period with which we are concerned, while it is at the same time both incomplete and inaccurate.

A. H. Thorndike. The Pastoral Element in the English Drama before 1605. Modern Language Notes, vol. xiv. cols. 228-246 (1899). A careful and interesting article, which I also only read while my book was in the press. Though it did not contain much that was new, I was particularly glad to find myself in agreement with the author as regards the importance of the pre-Italian tradition in English pastoral.

(γ) I ought also to mention: J. C. Dunlop. History of Prose Fiction. A new edition by H. Wilson. 2 vols. London, 1888. The fact that this work consists chiefly of summaries of plots and stories makes it of great value for tracing sources.

B. Special.

(i) Classical (Chap. I, sect. ii). J. A. Symonds. Studies of the Greek Poets. Third edition. 2 vols. London, 1893. Chap. XXI deals with 'The Idyllists.'

Andrew Lang. Theocritus, Bion, and Moschus rendered info English Prose, with an introductory essay. London, 1889. The introduction contains a very interesting account of the conditions of Alexandrian poetry.

Joseph Jacobs. Daphnis and Chloe: the Elizabethan version from Amyot's Translation by Angel Day. London, 1890. The introduction contains an account of Longus and his translators.

(ii) Medieval and Humanistic (Chap. I, sect. iv). F. Macrì-Leone. La Bucolica latina nella letteratura italiana del secolo XIV, con una introduzione sulla bucolica latina nel medioevo. Parte I (all published). Torino, 1889.

P. H. Wicksteed and E. G. Gardner. Dante and Giovanni del Virgilio, including a critical edition of the text of Dante's 'Eclogae Latinae' and of the poelic remains of Giovanni del Virgilio. Westminster, 1902.

Attilio Hortis, Scritti inediti di Francesco Petrarca pubblicati ed illustrati. Trieste, 1874.

Luigi Ruberto. Le Egloghe del Petrarca. Il Propugnatore, xi (2). p. 244, xii (1). p. 83, (2). p. 153. Bologna, 1878-9.

Attilio Hortis. Studl sulle opere latine del Boccaccio con particolare riguardo alla storia delia erudizione nel medio evo e alle letterature straniere. Trieste, 1879.

Marcus Landau. Giovanni Boccaccio, sua vita e sue opere. Traduzione di Camillo Antona-Traversi approvata e ampliata dall' autore, Napoli, 1881. Greatly enlarged from the original German edition. Stuttgart, 1877.

[Bucolic Collections.] (a) Eclogae Vergilii. Calphurnii. Nemesiani. Frcisci. Pe. Ioannis Boc. Ioanbap Mā. Pomponii Gaurici. Florentiae. Philippus de Giunta. 1504. Decimo quinto. Calendas Octobris. Contains the editio princeps of Boccaccio's eclogues.

(β) En habes Lector Bucolicorum Autores XXXVIII. quot quot uidelicet à Vergilij ætate ad nostra usque tempora, eo poëmatis genere usos, sedulò inquirentes nancisci in præsentia licuit: farrago quidem Eclogarum CLVI. mira cùm elegantia tum uarietate referta, nuncque primum in studiosorum iuuenum gratiam atque usum collecta. Basel. Ioannes Oporinus. 1546. Mense Martio.

[Sannazzaro.] I may note here, what I was unaware of when writing my account of Sannazzaro's Latin poems, that the Salices was translated into English under the title of The Osiers, by Beaupré Bell, about 1724. The MS. is in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge; see M. R. James' Catalogue of the Western MSS., ii. p. 102.

(iii) Spanish (Chap. I, sect. vii). George Ticknor. History of Spanish Literature. Sixth American edition. 3 vols. Cambridge (Mass.), 1888.

J. Fitzmaurice-Kelly, A History of Spanish Literature. London, 1898.

H. A. Rennert. The Spanish Pastoral Romances. Publications of the Modern Language Association of America, vol. vii (3). pp. 1-119, (1892). An elaborate study, which, however, I only discovered when my work was in the press.

Francesco Torraca. Gl' imitatori stranieri di Jacopo Sannazaro. Seconda edizione accresciuta. Roma, 1882. A study which I have found very useful both in relation to Spanish and French pastoralism.

(iv) French (Chap. I, sect. viii). L. Petit de Julleville. Histoire de la Langue et de la Littérature française. 8 vols. Paris, 1896-1899.

(v) English Poetry (Chap. II). J. G. Underhill. Spanish Literature in the England of the Tudors. New York (Columbia University Studies in Literature), 1899. A valuable study, particularly in connexion with Montemayor, with useful bibliography.

A. W. Pollard. The Castell of Labour, translated from the French of Pierre Gringore by Alexander Barclay. Edinburgh (Roxburghe Club), 1905. Whatever can be said for Barclay as a poet is admirably said in the Introduction to this work.

F. W. Moorman. William, Browne. His Britannia's Pastorals and the pastoral poetry of the Elizabethan age. Strassburg (Quellen und Forschungen), 1897.

Walter Raleigh. The English Novel. Second edition. London, 1895. To this brilliant study, and in particular to the treatment of Euphuism and Arcadianism, I am deeply indebted.

J. J. Jusserand. The English Novel in the Time of Shakespeare, translated from the French by Elisabeth Lee. Revised and enlarged by the author. London, 1890.

K. Brunhuber. Sir Philip Sidneys Arcadia und ihre Nachläufer. Nürnberg, 1903. Though not always accurate, the first part, dealing chiefly with the sources, possesses original value; the same cannot be said of the second, dealing with the dramatizations, which is superficial.

(vi) Italian Drama (Chap. III). J. L. Klein. Geschichte des Dramas. Vol. V. Das italienische Drama. Zweiter Band. Leipzig, 1867.

Wilhelm Creizenach. Geschichte des neueren Dramas. Zweiter Band. Renaissance und Reformation. Erster Theil. Halle, 1901.

Alessandro D'Ancona. Origini del teatro italiano. 2 vols. Torino, 1891. Very much enlarged from the original edition, 2 vols., Firenze, 1877.

Curzio Mazzi. La Congrega dei Rozzi di Siena nel secolo XVI. 2 vols. Firenze, 1882.

Vittorio Rossi. Battista Guarini ed il Pastor Fido. Studio biografico-critico con documenti inediti. Torino, 1886.

Giosuè Carducci. Su l'Aminta di T. Tassa, saggi tre. Con una pastorale inedita di G. B. Giraldi Cinthio. Firenze, 1899.

J. A. Symonds. Renaissance in Italy. Vols. VI and VII. The Catholic Reaction. (See above, A. a. i.) Chapters VII and XI contain admirable criticisms of the pastoral work of Tasso and Guarini.

(vii) English Masques (Chap. VII). Rudolf Brotanek. Die englischen Maskenspiele. Wien und Leipzig (Wiener Beiträge), 1902.

David Masson. The Poetical Works of John Milton, edited with memoir, introduction, notes, and an essay on Milton's English and versification. 3 vols. London, 1890.

M. W. Sampson. The Lyric and Dramatic Poems of John Milton, edited, with an introduction and notes. New York, 1901.


[In cases where a name occurs several times, the main reference or references, if any, are distinguished by bold-face type.]

Abbot, Sir Maurice, Lord Mayor
Abbruzzese, A.
Abuses Stript and Whipt
Accademia tusculana
Achelly, Thomas
Achilles Tatius
Actaeon and Diana
àdan de le Hale, or le Bochu
Addiaccio, academy at Prato
Admiral, Lord (Charles, Lord Howard)
Aeneas Silvius, see Pius II.
Affectionate Shepherd
Affò, Ireneo
Alberti, Leo Battista
Albion's England
Aldus Manutius, the elder
Aldus Manutius, the younger
Alexander VI, Pope
Alexander, Sir William (Earl of Stirling)
Allacci, Leone
Almerici, Tiburio
Alva, Duke of
Amadis of Gaul
Ambra (Lorenzo de' Medici)
Ambra (Poliziano)
Ambrogini, Angelo, see Poliziano.
Aminta (Tasso), English translations:
  Oldmixon, du Bois, Ayre, Stoekdale, Leigh Hunt, anon.
Aminta bagnato
Aminta difeso
Amintae Gaudia
Amore cortese
Amore fuggitivo
Amores (Ovid)
Amorosi sospiri
Amorous War
Amyntas (Randolph)
Amyntas (Watson)
Amyot, Jacques
Ancona, Alessandro D'
Angeli, Nicolò degli
Anne of Denmark
Annunzio, Gabriele d'
Anthology (Greek)
Antona-Traversi, Camillo
Apollo and Daphne
Apologia contre l'autor del Verato
Apology for Poetry
Aquilano, Serafino
Arber, Edward
Arcadia, Academy of the
Arcadia (Sannazzaro)
Arcadia (Shirley)
Arcadia (Sidney)
Arcadia (Vega, drama)
Arcadia (Vega, romance)
Arcadia in Brenta
Arcadia Reformed
Arcadian Lovers
Arcadian Princess
Arcadian Virgin
Archer, Edward
Archivio storico per le provincie napolitane
Argalus and Parthenia (Glapthorne)
Argalus and Parthenia (Quarles)
Argenti, Agostino
Ariosto, Lodovico
Arnold, Matthew
Arraignment of Paris
Arsocchi, Francesco
Art of English Poesy
As You Like It
Astrological Discourse
Astrophel and Stella
Atchelow, Thomas
Athenae Oxonienses
Aubrey, John
Aucassin et Nicolette
Auto pastoril castelhano
Averara, Niccolò
Ayre, William

B., I. D.
Bacchus and Ariadne
Bacci, Orazio
Baglione family
Balbuenas, Bernardo de
Baldi, Bernardino
Baldini, Vittorio
Baldinucci, Filippo
Baldovini, Francesco
Ballad Society
Bandello, Matteo
Bang, W.
Barclay, Alexander
Barclay, John
Bariola, Felice
Barksted, William
Barnes, Barnabe
Barnfield, Richard
Baron, Robert
Bartoli, Adolfo
Bartoli, Clementi
Basse, William
Bastiano di Francesco (linaiuolo)
Bathurst, Theodore
Baylie, Richard
Beaumont, Francis
Beautiful Shepherdess of Arcadia
Beca di Dicomano
Beccari, Agostino
Beeching, H. C.
Belcari, Feo
Beling, Richard
Bell, Beaupré
Bellarmino, Roberto, Cardinal
Bellay, Joachim du
Belleau, Remi
Bellessa, the Shepherd's Queen
Bellincione, Bernardo
Bembo, Pietro
Bendidio, Lucrezia
Beni, Paolo
Benivieni, Girolamo
Bentivogli, Annibale
Benvoglienti, Uberto
Bergerie (Belleau)
Bergerie de Juliette
Berni, Francesco
Bertini, Romolo
Biographia Dramatica
Blake, William
Blosio, see Pallai delia Sabina, Biagio.
Boccaccio, Giovanni
Bodoni, Giambattista
Boiardo, Matteo Maria
Bois, P. B. Du
Boleyn, Anne
Bonarelli della Rovere, Guidubaldo
Bond, R. W.
Bonfadino, Giovanbattista
Boni, Giovanni de
Bonifacia, Carmosina
Boninsegni, Fiorino
Bonnivard, François de
Bonny Hynd
Bonny May
Bono de Monteferrato, Manfrido
Borgia, Lucrezia
Boscán Almogaver, Juan
Botticelli, Alessandro
Brabine, Thomas
Brackley, Viscount, see Egerton
Braga, Teofilo
Braida, Bartolommeo
Brandt, Sebastian.
Brathwaite, Richard
Breton, Nicholas
Bridgewater, Earl of, see Egerton.
Brief Discourse about Baptism
Britannia's Pastorals
Brome, Richard
Brooke, Dr.
Brooke, Christopher
Brooke, Samuel
Brookes, Mr.
Broom of Cowdenknows
Brotanek, Rudolf
Browne, William
Brunhuber, K.
Bruni, Lionardo
Bryskett, Lodovic
Buc, Sir George
Buck, George, Gent.
Bucolica Quirinalium
Bucolicorum Autores XXXVIII
Bucolics (Vergil)
Bulifon, Antonio
Bullen, A. H.
Buonarroti, Michelangelo, the younger
Burd Helen
Byse, Fanny

C., H.
Caccia, G. A., see Cazza, G. A.
Caccia col falcone
Caccia d' amore
Calderon de la Barca, Pedro
Calendar of Shepherds
Calmo, Andrea
Calvin, Jean
Campori, G.
Canello, Ugo Angelo
Canterbury Tales
Canzoniere (Petrarca)
Camoens, Luis de
Caperano, Alessandro
Capitolo pastorale (Machiavelli)
Cardona, Antonia
Carducci, Giosuè
Careless Shepherdess
Carew, Thomas
Carlton, Sir Dudley
Carlo emanuele, Duke of Savoy
Carmen bucolicum (Endelechius)
Caro, Annibale
Carretto, Galeotto Del
Carte du Tendre
Casalio, Giambattista
Cassio da Narni
Castelletti, Cristoforo
Castelvetri, Giacopo
Castiglione, Baldassarre
Castle of Labour
Catharine of Austria
Catherine of Siena, Saint
Cavassico, Bartolommeo
Cavendish, George
Cazza, Giovanni Agostino
Cecco di Mileto
Cefalo y Pocris
Celos aun del aire matan
Cent Nouvelles nouvelles
Cervantes Saavedra, Miguel de
Cesana, Gasparo
Chaloner, Thomas
Chamberlain, John
Chambers, E. K.
Chandos, Lord
Chapman, George
Charles I
Charles II
Châteillon, Sébastien
Chaucer, Geoffrey
Chester mysteries
Chettle, Henry
Chetwood, W. R.
Child, F. J.
Child Waters
Chloris and Ergasto
Ciotti, Giovanbattista
Claudio of Savoy
Clorys and Orgasto
Ciacco dell'Anguillaja
Citizen and Uplondishman
Clement VI, Pope
Coello, Antonio
Coelum Britannicum
Coleridge, S. T.
Colin Clout's come home again
Colisano, Count of
Colleoni, Bartolommeo
Collier, J. P.
Colonna, Giovanni, Cardinal (at Avignon)
Colonna, Giovanni, Cardinal (at Rome)
Columbia University Studies in Literature
Compani, A.
Compendio della poesia tragicomica
Complete Angler
Conflictus veris et hiemis
Conington, John
Constable, Henry
Contarini, Francisco
Converted Robber
Coplas de Mingo Revulgo
Corazzini, Francesco
Corneille, Pierre
Cornhill Magazine
Corrado, Gregorio
Correggio, Niccolò da
Count Palatine (Frederick V, Elector Palatine)
Courthope, W. J.
Coventry mysteries
Cowdenknows, see Broom of Cowdenknows.
Cowley, Abraham
Cox, Robert
Coxeter, Thomas
Creizenach, Wilhelm
Cresci, Pietro
Crescimbeni, G. M.
Croce, B.
Crusca, Accademia della
Cuchetti, Giovanni Donato
Cuestion de amor
Cunningham, Peter
Cupid and Psyche
Cupid's Revenge
Cynthia (Barnfield)
Cynthia (Dyer)

D., D.
D., E.
Dancer, John
Daniel, Samuel
Dante Alighieri
Danza di Venere
Daphnis and Chloe
Δάφνις Πολυστέφανος
Davenant, Sir William
Davies, Sir John
Davison, Francis
Day, Angel
Day, John
Défense de la langue française
Defence of Poesy
Defence of Rime
Deighton, Kenneth
Dekker, Thomas
Delaval, Lady Elizabeth
Denny, Sir William
Denham, Sir John
Denores, Giasone, see Nores, Giasone de.
Deorum Dona
De Remedio Amoris
Derby, Countess Dowager of
Dering, Sir E.
Descensus Astraeae
Devonshire, Duke of
De Vulgari Eloquio
Dialogo di tre ciechi
Dialogue at Wilton
Dialogue in Praise of Astrea
Dialogues and Dramas
Diane de Poitiers
Dickenson, John
Dictionary of National Biography
Digby, Sir Kenelm
Digby, Lady Venetia
Dionisio, Alessandro
Dionisio, Scipione
Discorso intorno alla commedia
Discourse of English Poetry
Discourse on Pastoral
Dispraise of a Courtly Life
Divina Commedia
Dodsley's Old Plays
Dolce, Lodovico
Donald of the Isles
Donati, Alesso
Donne, John
Don Quixote
Dorastus and Fawnia
Dorset, Earl of
Dossi, Dosso
Dove, John
Drake, Sir Francis
Drayton, Michael
Driadeo d'amore
Drummond, Jean
Drummond, William
Dryden, John
Du Bartas, Seigneur (Guillaume de Salluste)
Due pellegrini
Dunlop, J. C.
Dulfo, Floriano
Dyce, Alexander
Dyer, Sir Edward
Dymocke, Mr.
Dymocke, Charles
Dymocke, Sir Edward
Dymocke, John

Earl Lithgow
Earl Richard
Early English Text Society
Ebsworth, J. W.
Ecloga di amicizia
Ecloga di justizia
Ecloga duarum sanctimonialium
Ecloga Theoduli
Éclogas (Encina)
Éclogue au Roi (Marot)
Éclogue Gratulatory (Peele)
Éclogue, ou Chant pastoral(I. D. B.)
Éclogues sacrées (Belleau)
Edward IV, King of England
Edward V, King of England
Edward VI, King of England
Egerton, Lady Alice
Egerton, John (first Earl of Bridgewater)
Egerton, John (third Viscount Brackley and second Earl of Bridgewater)
Egerton, Sir Thomas (Baron Ellesmere and first Viscount Brackley)
Egerton, Thomas (son of John, first Earl of Bridgewater)
Elizabeth, Queen of England
Elizabeth, Duchess of Urbino, see Gonzaga, Elizabeta.
Encina, Juan del
Encinas, Pedro de
Endelechius, Severus Sanctus
England's Helicon
England's Mourning Garment
England's Parnassus
Englische Studien
English Grammar (Jonson)
English Miscellany
Enrique IV, King of Spain
Entertainment at Althorp
Entertainment at Elvetham
Entertainment at Kenilworth
Entertainment at Richmond
Epicuro de' Marsi
Epithalamium (Spenser)
Erasmus, Desiderius
Erythraeus, Janus Nicius
Essex, Earl of
Este, House of (Estensi)
Este, Alfonso d' (Alfonso I), Duke of Ferrara
Este, Alfonso d' (Alfonso II), Duke of Ferrara
Este, Ercole d' (Ercole I), Duke of Ferrara
Este, Ercole d'(Ercole II), Duke of Ferrara
Este, Francesco d'
Este, Ippolito d', Cardinal
Este, Laura Eustoccia d'
Este, Leonora d'
Este, Lucrezia d' (wife of Annibale Bentivogli)
Este, Lucrezia d' (daughter of Ercole II)
Este, Luigi d', Cardinal (son of Ercole II)
Este, Renata d' (wife of Ercole II, and daughter of Louis XII of France)

Faery Queen
Fairfax, Edward
Fairy Pastoral
Faithful Shepherdess
Falkland, Viscount
Fancy's Theatre
Fanfani, P.
Fanshawe, Sir Richard
Faustus, Dr.
Feast of Adonis
Ferdinand I, King of Naples
Ferrario, Giulio
Ferraby, George
FF. Anglo-Britannus (pseud.)
Fickle Shepherdess
Fida Armilla
Fida ninfa
Fida pastora
Fidus Pastor
Field, Nathan
Fig for Momus
Figlia di Iorio
Figliuoli di Aminta e Silvia e di Mirtillo ed Amarilli
Figueroa, Cristóbal Suárez de
Figueroa, Francisco de
Fileno Addiacciato
Filleul, Nicolas
Filli di Sciro
Filli di Sciro (Bonarelli), English translations:
  [Latin] (Scyros)
Finta Fiammetta
Firenzuola, Agnolo
Fisherman's Tale
Fitzmaurice-Kelly, James
Five Plays in One
Flamini, F.
Fleay, F. G.
Fleming, Abraham
Fletcher, Giles, the elder
Fletcher, John
Fletcher, Phineas
Flower of Fidelity
Folengo, Teofilo
Fontanini, Giusto
Fontenelle, Bernard le Bovier de
Forbonius and Prisceria
Forde, Thomas
Fortini, Pietro
François I, King of France.
Frati, L.
Fratti, Giovanni
Fraunce, Abraham
Frederick of Aragon, King of Naples
Frezzi, Frederigo
Frutti d'amore
Furness, H. H.

G., T.
Galatea (Cervantes)
Galatea (Lollio)
Gammer Gurton's Needle
Garcia de Toledo
Garcilaso de la Vega
Gardner, E. G.
Gascoigne, George
Gauricus, Pomponius
Gentle Shepherd
Gerusalemme liberata
Gesta Romanorum
Gifford, William
Ginguené, P. L.
Giornale storico della letteratura italiana
Giovanni del Virgilio
Giraldi Cintio, Giovanni Battista
Giunta, Filippo di
Glapthorne, Henry
Glasgow Peggie
God's Revenge against Murder
Goethe, Johann Wolfgang
Goffe, Thomas
Golden Age (Graham)
Golden Age (Heywood)
Golden Fleece
Golding, Arthur
Gollancz, Israel
Gomersall, Robert
Gonzaga, Cesare
Gonzaga, Elisabetta (wife of Guidubaldo II of Urbino)
Gonzaga, Francesco
Gonzaga, Gianvincenzo, Cardinal
Gonzaga, Isabella
Gonzaga, Scipione
Gonzaga, Vincenzo
Goodere, Anne
Goodwin, Gordon
Googe, Barnabe
Gosse, E. W.
Gosson, Stephen
Gower, Lady
Gower, John
Gozze, Gauges de
Graham, Kenneth
Grateful Servant
Gravina, Gian Vincenzo
Great Plantagenet
Greene, Robert
Gregory XI, Pope
Greville, Dorothy
Greville, Fulke (Lord Brooke)
Grimaldi, Bartolommeo Ceva, Duke of Telese
Grimani, Marin, Doge
Gringore, Pierre
Gripus and Hegio,
Grosart, A. B.
Groto, Luigi
Guarini, Alessandro
Guarini, Battista
Guerrini, O.
Guidubaldo I, see Montefeltro, G.
Guidubaldo II, see Rovere, G. della.
Gustavus Adolphus, King of Sweden

H., I.
Hall, Edward
Hall, Joseph
Halliwell-Phillipps, J. O.
Hardy, Thomas
Harmony of the Church
Harpelus' Complaint
Harvey, Gabriel
Harvey, Richard
Harvey, Thomas
Havelok the Dane
Hawes, Stephen
Hazlewood, Joseph
Hazlitt, W. C
Heber, Richard
Henneman, J. B.
Henrietta Maria
Henry VI
Henry VIII, King of England
Henryson, Robert
Henslowe, Philip
Herbert, Sir Henry
Herd, David
Herford, C. H.
Herrick, Robert
Hewlett, Maurice
Heywood, John
Heywood, Thomas
Hiero of Syracuse
Histoire des satyres et nymphes de Diane
Honour's Academy
Hortis, Attilio
Hospital of Lovers
House of Fame
Howard, Douglas
Howard, Sir Edward
Hunt, Leigh
Hunting of Cupid
Hymen's Triumph
Hymn to Pan
Hymns in honour of Love and Beauty

Idyllia (Ausonius)
Idyls (Theocritus)
Immerito (pseud.)
Index, Congregation of the
Index Expurgatorius
Index Librorum Prohibitorum
Inedited Poetical Miscellany
Ingegneri, Angelo
Inner Temple Masque
Innocent VIII, Pope
Intrichi d' amore
Intronati, academy at Siena
Iphis and Ianthe
Isauro, Fileno di (pseud.)
Isle of Dogs
Isle of Gulls

Jackson, Henry
Jacobs, James
James I, King of England
James, M. R.
James, William
Jauregui, Juan de
Jealous Lovers
Jeanne de Laval
Jennaro, Pietro Jacopo de
John, King
John of Bologna, see Giovanni del Virgilio.
Johnie Faa
Johnson, Samuel
Jones, Inigo
Jones, John
Jones, Richard
Jones, Stephen
Jonson, Benjamin
Jonsonus Verbius
Julius Caesar
Jupiter and Io
Jusserand, J. J.
Juvenal, 6.

K., E.
Ker, Robert (Earl of Roxburgh)
Ker, W. P.
King, Edward
Kipling, Rudyard
Kirke, Edward
Kirkman, Francis
Klein, J. L.
Kluge, Friedrich
Knave in Grain
Knevet, Ralph
Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter
Knight of the Burning Pestle
Koeppel, Emil
Kynder, Philip

Lady of May
Lady Pecunia
La Fayette, Comtesse de
Lagrime di San Pietro
Laidler, Josephine
Lamb, Charles
Lamentations of Amyntas
Lamenta di Cecco da Varlungo
Landau, Marcus
Lang, Andrew
Langland, William
Languet, Hubert,
Laud, William
Laune des Verliebten
Lauro, Cristoforo
Lawes, Henry
Lawyer's Logic
Lear, King
Lee, Elizabeth
Lee, Honoria
Lee, Margaret L.
Lee, S. L.
Lee, William
Lee Priory Press
Legacci dello Stricca, Piero Antonio
Legge, Cantrell
Leicester, Earl of
Leir, King
Leo X, Pope
L'Estrange, Sir Roger
Lettere memorabili
Literaturblatt für germanische und romanische Philologie
Lizie Baillie
Lizie Lindsay
Lodge, Thomas
Lodovick Sforza
Logan, W. H.
Lollio, Alberto
Love Crowns the End
Love in its Ecstasy
Love-Sick Court
Love Tricks
Love's Changelings' Change
Love's Labour's Lost
Love's Labyrinth
Love's Metamorphosis
Love's Mistress, 407.
Love's Riddle
Loves Victory
Loyse de Savoye
Luca di Lorenzo
Lungo, Isidore del
Lusus Pastorales
Luther, Martin
Lydgate, John
Lyly, John

Macaulay, Lord
Machiavelli, Niccolo
Machiavelli, Paolo
Machin, Lewis
Macrì-Leone, F.
Madan, Falconer
Mahaffy, J. P.
Maidment, James
Maid's Metamorphosis
Maid's Revenge
Malacreta, Giovan Pietro
Man in the Moon
Mancina, Faustina
Manso, Giovanni Battista
Mantegna, Andrea
Manuscripts quoted:--
    Rawl. Poet.
  British Museum:--
    Addit. 10,444

     " 11,743

     " 14,047

     " 18,638

     " 29,493
    Egerton, 1994
    Harl. 6924

     " 7044
    Lansd. 1171
    Sloane, 836

     " 857
  Caius College, Cambridge
  Cambridge University Library
  Emmanuel College, Cambridge
  Trinity College, Cambridge
Manwood, Sir Peter
Manwood, Thomas
Marchesa, Cassandra
Margaret of Navarre
Marini, Giovanbattista
Marlowe, Christopher
Marot, Clement
Marsi, E., see Epicuro de' Marsi.
Marston, John
Martin Mar-prelate (pseud.)
Martino da Signa
Mason, I. M.
Masson, David
Materialien zur Kunde des alteren Englischen Dramas
May Lord
Mazzi, Curzio
Mazzoni, G.
McKerrow, R. B.
Medici, Eleonora de'
Medici, Ferdinando de' (Ferdinando I), Grand Duke of Florence
Medici, Giuliano de' (brother of Lorenzo)
Medici, Giuliano de' (son of Lorenzo)
Medici, Lorenzo de', Il Magnifico
Menagio, Egidio
Mendoza, Iñigo de
Menina e moça
Menzini, Benedetto
Meres, Francis
Merry Wives of Windsor
Meung, Jean de
Meyers, Ernest
Midsummer Night's Dream
Milton, John
Mirari, Alessandro
Mirror for Magistrates
Modern Language Association of America, Publications of the
Modern Language Notes
Modern Language Quarterly
Modern Language Review
Molza, Francesco Maria
Montagu, Walter
Montefeltro, Guidubaldo (Guidubaldo I), Duke of Urbino
Montemayor, Jorge de
Moore, Thomas
Moore, Sir Thomas
Moorman, F. W.
Moraldi, Giannantonio
Morte del Danese
Morte della Nencia
Mother Bombie
Mother Hubberd's Tale
Mourning Garment
Munday, Anthony
Muses' Elizium
Muses' Looking Glass
Mussato, Albertino

Nappi, Cesare
Narcissus' Change
Nashe, Thomas
Nencia da Barberino
Nettleship, Henry
Never too Late
New English Dictionary
Nichols, John
Nicolas de Montreux
Ninfa tiberina
Ninfale fiesolano
Noci, Carlo
Nores, Giasone de
Norris of Rycote, Baron
Northampton, Earl of
Northumberland, Earl of
Notker the German
Novelle de Novizi
Nuova Antologia
Nut-brown Maid

Occleve, Thomas
Old-fashioned Love
Old Fortunatus
Old Law
Oldmixon, John
Old Wives' Tale
Ollenix du Mont-Sacré
Ongaro, Antonio
Oporinus, Joannes
Orlando furioso
Orlando innamorato
Orphei Tragoedia
Orsini family
Otranto, Castle of

P., G.
Paglia, Francesco Baldassare
Palladis Tamia
Pallai delia Sabina, Biagio
Palmers Ode
Palmerini, I.
Pan his Syrinx
Pan's Anniversary
Pan's Pipe
Paradise Lost
Parsons, Philip
Parthenophil and Parthenope
Pasqualigo, Luigi (Alvisi)
Passionate Pilgrim
Passionate Shepherd
Passionate Shepherd to his Love
Paston, Edward
Paston, Sir William
Pastor fido
Pastor fido (Guarini), English translations:
  Grove, Clapperton
Pastor lobo
Pastor vedovo
Pastoral ending in a Tragedy
Pastores de Balue
Pastoureau crestien
Patrizi, Francesco
Paul et Virginie
Peaps, William
Pearson, John
Peele, George
Pelliciari, Ercole
Pembroke, Countess of
Pembroke's Arcadia, Countess of, see Arcadia (Sidney).
Pembroke's Ivychurch, Countess of, see Ivychurch.
Pentimento amoroso
Pepys, Samuel
Pèrcopo, Erasmo
Percy Society
Percy, Thomas
Percy, William
Pérez, Alonzo
Perimedes the Blacksmith
Perth, Earl of
Perugino (Pietro Vespucci)
Pescatoria amorosa
Pescetti, Orlando
Petit de Julleville, L.
Petowe, Henry
Petrarca, Francesco
Petrarca, Gherardo
Phillida and Corin
Phillida and Corydon
Phillida flouts me
Phillips, Edward
Phillis of Scyros, see Filli di Sciro.
Piccolomini, Aeneas Silvius, see Pius II.
Pico delia Mirandola, Giovanni
Piers Plowman
Pigna, Giovanbattista
Pinturicchio, Bernardo
Pio, Ercole
Pius II, Pope
Poems Lyric and Pastoral
Poetical Diversions
Poetical Rhapsody
Poetics (Aristotle)
Poet's Willow
Poliziano (Angelo Ambrogini)
Pollard, A. W.
Polo, Gaspar Gil
Ponce, Bartolomé
Ponsonby, William
Pontana, Accademia
Pope, Alexander
Porcacchi, Tommaso
Porta Pietatis
Prince d'Amour
Princesse de Clèves
Prova amorosa
Prynne, William
Ptolemy Philadelphus
Pulci, Bernardo
Pulci, Luca
Pulci, Luigi
Purple Island
Puteanus (Hendrik van der Putten)
Puttenham, (George?)
Pynson, Richard
Pyper, John

Quaritch, Bernard
Quarles, Francis
Queen's Arcadia
Quetten und Forschungen

R., J.
Raleigh, Walter
Raleigh, Sir Walter
Ramsay, Allan
Randolph, Thomas
Rapin, René
Reid, J. S.
Reinolds, see Reynolds.
Reissert, Oswald
Reliques of Ancient English Poetry
René of Anjou
Renier, R.
Rennert, H. A.
Retrospective Review
Reynolds, Henry
Reynolds, John:
  Fellow of New College
  of Exeter
  author of God's Revenge
Reynolds, Sir John, Colonel
Rhodon and Iris
Ribeiro, Bernardim
Risposta al Malacreta
Robene and Makyne
Robert of Sicily
Robin Hood and Little John
Robins et Marion
Rodrígues de Lobo, Francisco
Rollinson, Anthony
Roman de la Rose
Romeo and Juliet
Rondinelli, Dionisio
Ronsard, Pierre de
Rossi, Bartolommeo
Rossi, Giovanni Vittorio
Rossi, Vittorio
Rota, Bernardino
Rovere, Francesco Maria delia
Rovere, Guidubaldo delia (Guidubaldo II), Duke of Urbino
Rowley, William
Roxburghe Club
Royden, Matthew
Royster Doyster
Rozzi, Congrega dei
Ruberto, Luigi
Rural Sports of the Nymph Oenone
Russell, Lady
Rutter, Joseph

S., E.
S., H.
J. (translater of the Filli di Sciro)
S., J. (author of Andromana)
Sâ de Miranda, Francisco de
Sabie, Francis
Sacchetti, Franco
Sackville, Edward
Sacrifizio (Beccari)
Sacrifizio (Intronati masque)
Sacrifizio pastorale
Sad Shepherd
Sagredo, Giovanni
Saint-Pierre, Jacques Henri Bernardin de
Saintsbury, George
Salviati, Lionardo
Samson, M. W.
Sand, George
Sandys, J. E.
Sannazzaro, Jacopo
Sansovino, F.
San vitale, Gualtiero
Saturday Review
Savio, Giovanni
Schlegel, A. W. von
Schönherr, J. G.
Schucking, L. L.
Scilla's Metamorphosis
Scott, Mary A.
Scott, Sir Walter
Scyros, see Filli di Sciro
Selva d' amore
Selva sin amor
Serassi, Pierantonio
Serono, Orazio
Session of the Poets
Settle, Elkanah
Seward, Thomas
Seyffert, Oskar
Sforza, Giovanni
Sforza, Lodovico
Shadow of Sannazar
Shakespeare, William
Shakespeare Society
Shepherd Tony (pseud.)
Shepherd's Calendar
Shepherd's Complaint
Shepherd's Content
Shepherds' Holiday (Angel Day)
Shepherds' Holiday (Denny)
Shepherds' Holiday (Rutter)
Shepherd's Hunting
Shepherds' Masque
Shepherd's Ode
Shepherd's Oracle
Shepherd's Oracles
Shepherds' Paradise
Shepherd's Pipe
Shepherds' Sirena
Shepherd's Taies
Shepherd's Wife's Song
Sherburne, Sir Edward
Sherley, James
Ship of Fools
Shuckburgh, E. S.
Sidnam, Jonathan
Sidney, Lady
Sidney, Sir Philip
Siglo de Oro
Signorelli, Luca
Silesio, Mariano
Silver Age
Silvia (Fileno)
Silvia (Kynder)
Sincerus, Actius, see Sannazzaro, Jacopo.
Sir Clyomon and Sir Clamydes
Sirena, see Shepherds' Sirena.
Skeat, W. W.
Skelton, John
Smith, G. C. M.
Smith, Homer
Smith, William, 124.
Solerti, Angelo
Solisy Rivadeneira, Antonio de
Sommer, H. O.
Somnium Puteani (Cornus, sive Phagesiposia Cimeria)
Song of Solomon
Southampton, Earl of
Speeches at Bisham, &c.
Speed, John
Spencer, Sir John
Spenser, Edmund
Speroni, Sperone
Spinelli, A. G.
Stanley, Ferdinando (Lord Strange)
Steel Glass
Steele, Sir Richard
Stevenson, R. L.
Stiefel, A. L.
Stockdale, Percival
Strange, Lord, see Stanley, F.
Stultifera Navis
Suckling, Sir Thomas
Summer's Last Will and Testament
Summo, Faustino
Surrey, Earl of (Henry Howard)
Sweet Sobs and Amorous Complaints
Swinburne, A. C.
Symonds, J. A.

T., I.
Taccone, Baldassare
Talbot, Sir George
Tale of Troy
Tansillo, Luigi
Tarlton's News out of Purgatory
Tasso, Torquato
Tatham, John
Taylor, John
Taylor's Pastoral
Tears of the Muses
Tebaldeo, Antonio
Texeda, Jerónimo de
Theatrum Poetarum
Thomason, George
Thorndike, A. H.
Thracian Wonder
Thynne, William
Ticknor, George
Tiraboschi, Girolamo
Titirus and Galathea
Tofte, Robert
Tottel's Miscellany
Townley mysteries
Triumph of Beauty
Triumph of Peace
Triumph of Virtue
Torraca, Francesco
Turberville, George
Turnbull, W. B.
Twelfth Night
Tivo Gentlemen of Verona
Two Noble Kinsmen

Ugolino, Braccio
Ulloa, Alonzo de
Under der linden
Underhill, J. G.
Uniti, Accademia degli
Urfe, Honoré d'

Valle tenebrosa (Vallis Opaca)
Valle, Cesare della
Valois, House of
Vega, Lope de
Venus and Adonis
Verato secondo
Vergna, Maria della, see La Fayette, Comtesse de
Vicente, Gil
Vida, Marco Girolamo
Villon, François
Vuelta de Egypto

W., A.
Waldron, F. G.
Walsingham, Sir Francis
Walther von der Vogelweide
Walton, Isaac
War without Blows and Love without Suit (? Strife)
Ward, A. W.
Warner, William
Warton, Thomas
Waterson, Simon
Watson, Thomas, III
Web, William, Lord Mayor
Webbe, William
Weber, H. W.
Webster, John
Webster, William
Weinberg, Gustav
Weise, Berthold
White, Edward
Wicksteed, P. H.
Wilcox, Thomas
Wilde, George
Wilson, H.
Wilson, Thomas
Wily Beguiled
Windscheid, Katharina
Winstanley, William
Winter's Tale
Wither, George
Wolfe, John
Wolsey, Thomas, Cardinal
Woman in the Moon
Wonder of Women
Wood, Anthony à
Wotton, Sir John
Wotton, Sir Henry
Wyatt, Sir Thomas, the elder
Wynkyn de Worde

Yong (or Young), Bartholomew

Zinano, Gabriele
Zola, Emil
Zurla, Lodovico

Oxford: Horace Hart, Printer to the University.


1. The often cited pastoralism of the Song of Solomon resolves itself on investigation into an occasional simile. These argue familiarity with the scenes of pastoral life, but equally reveal the existence of the contrast in the mind of the writer. It was on the orthodox interpretation of this love-song that Remi Belleau founded his Éclogues sacrées, but they contain little or nothing of a pastoral nature. The same may be said of Drayton's paraphrase, included in his Harmony of the Church in 1591, which is chiefly remarkable for the evident and honest pleasure with which he rendered the unsophisticated meaning of the original. It is, however, just possible that the Hebrew poem may have had some influence on pastoral poetry in Italy. There is a monograph on the subject by A. Abbruzzese, Il Cantico dei Cantici in alcune parafrasi poetiche italiane: contributo alla storia del dramma pastorale, which, however, I have not seen. With regard to possible Greek predecessors of Theocritus, it must be borne in mind that there were singing contests between shepherds at the Sicilian festival of Artemis, and it is possible that the competitors may have been sufficiently influenced by other orders of civilization to have given a definitely pastoral colouring to their songs. Little is known of their nature beyond the fact that they probably contained the motive of the lament for Daphnis, which appears to be as old as Stesichorus. They have perished all but two lines which are found prefixed by way of motto to the Idyls:

δέξαι τὰν ἀγαθὰν τύχαν, δέξαι τὰν ὑγίειαν,
ἃν φέρομεν παρὰ τᾶσ θεοῦ, ἃν ἐκαλέσσατο τήνα.

What I have wished to emphasize above is the fact that because shepherds sang songs we have no reason to assume that these were distinctively pastoral. In later times the pastoral generally acknowledged a theoretical dependence on rustic song, and the popular compositions did actually now and again affect literary tradition. But this was rare.

2. Details concerning the conception of the golden age will be found in Moorman's William Browne, p. 59.

3. The tendency to form an ideal picture of his own youth is common both to mankind and man. The romance of childhood is the dream with which age consoles itself for the disillusionments of life. This it is that gives a peculiar appropriateness to the title of Mr. Graham's pictures of childhood in The Golden Age, a work of the profoundest insight and genius, as delightful as it is unique. I am not aware that there has ever been another author in English who could have written thus intimately of children without once striking a false note.

4. There is some truth in the charge. Even Symonds wrote of Theocritus, possibly with Fontenelle's words in his mind: 'As it is, we find enough of rustic grossness on his pages, and may even complain that his cowherds and goatherds savour too strongly of their stables.' (Greek Poets, ii. p. 246.)

5. Landscapes as decoration may be seen on the walls of the so-called Casa Nuova at Pompeii. It should be remarked that one idyl is addressed to Hiero, ruler of Syracuse, and it is quite possible that Theocritus may have been a frequent visitor there.

6. Theocritus flourished in the first half of the third century B.C. Some authorities place the younger poets more than a hundred years later.

7. Familiar to English readers through Matthew Arnold's translation.

8. Suidas says that Moschus came from Sicily, and some authorities speak of him as a Syracusan. But in his 'Lament' he alludes to his 'Ausonian' song, apparently as distinguished from that of Theocritus 'of Syracuse.' The passage, however, is rendered obscure by an hiatus. Another tradition made Theocritus a native of the island of Cos. More probably it was between the time of his leaving Syracuse and that of his settling at Alexandria that he was the pupil of the Coan poet and critic, Philetas.

9. Ernest Myers' version from Andrew Lang's delightful volume in the Golden Treasury Series.

10. Placing the romance, that is, in the third century A.D. Authorities assign it to various dates from the second to the sixth centuries, according as they regard it as a model or an imitation of Heliodorus' work.

11. A similar use of ἀναγνώρισις is very frequent in the Italian pastoral drama, where, however, it is more probably derived from Latin comedy.

12. This was not the first Italian version of Longus. Daphnis and Chloe had been translated directly from the Greek by Annibale Caro in the previous century.

13. Two poems, written in close imitation of Theocritus' natural manner, and entitled respectively Moretum and Copa, have sometimes, but wrongly, been attributed to Vergil.

14. Greek Poets, ii. p. 265.

15. Symonds speaks strongly on the point. 'Virgil not only lacks his [Theocritus'] vigour and enthusiasm for the open-air life of the country, but, with Roman bad taste, he commits the capital crime of allegorising.' (Greek Poets, ii. p. 247.)

16. Seyffert's classical dictionary, as revised by Nettleship and Sandys (1899), definitely assigns Calpurnius to the middle of the first century. In that case the amphitheatre mentioned was no doubt the wooden structure that preceded the Colosseum.

17. See, in Conington and Nettleship's Virgil, 1881, the essay on 'The Later Bucolic Poets of Rome,' in which will be found a detailed account of this very intricate controversy.

18. It would appear that the two founders of the renaissance eclogue deliberately chose the Vergilian form as that best suited to their purpose. Petrarch calls attention to the advantages offered by the pastoral for covert reference to men and events of the day, since it is characteristic of the form to let its meaning only partially appear. He was therefore perfectly aware of the allegorical nature of the Vergilian eclogue, and adopted it for definite purposes of utility. Boccaccio is even more explicit, and I cannot do better than transcribe the very interesting summary of the history of pastoral verse down to his day, given in a letter addressed by him to Martino da Signa, which I shall again have occasion to mention in dealing with his own contributions to the kind. He writes: 'Theocritus Syracusanus Poeta, ut ab antiquis accepimus, primus fuit, qui Graeco Carmine Buccolicum escogitavit stylum, verum nil sensit, praeter quod cortex verborum demonstrat. Post hunc Latine scripsit Virgilius, sed sub cortice nonnullos abscondit sensus, esto non semper voluerit sub nominibus colloquentium aliquid sentiremus. Post hunc autem scripserunt et alii, sed ignobiles, de quibus nil curandum est, excepto inclyto Praeceptore meo Francisco Petrarca qui stylum praeter solitum paululum sublimavit et secundum Eclogarum suarum materias continue collocutorum nomina aliquid significantia posuit. Ex his ego Virgilium secutus sum quapropter non curavi in omnibus colloquentium nominibus sensum abscondere.' Lettere di G. Boccaccio, ed. Corazzini, 1877, p. 267.

19. Line 1228. See Skeat's note in the Athenæum, March 1, 1902.

20. On all points connected with these compositions see the elaborate monograph by Wicksteed and Gardner.

21. Dante's poems do not stand altogether isolated in this respect. It would be possible to cite eclogues formerly ascribed to Mussato, as also some from the pens of Giovanni de Boni of Arezzo and Cecco di Mileto, in support of the above remarks. It is significant of their independence of medieval pastoralism, that Giovanni del Virgilio repeatedly speaks of Dante as the first to write bucolic poetry since Vergil, thus ignoring the whole production from Calpurnius to Metellus.

22. Boccaccio was of course acquainted with Dante's eclogues, and in his life of the poet he allows them considerable beauty. It seems never to have occurred to him, however, to regard them as serious contributions to pastoral literature, for, as we have already seen, he stigmatizes all bucolic writers between Vergil and Petrarch as ignobiles. I do not think this attitude was due to the influence of Petrarch having lessened his admiration of Dante, as maintained by Wicksteed and Gardner, but simply to his recognition of the absolute unimportance of the poems in question from the historical point of view.

23. In this connexion it will be remembered that Dante places Brutus and Cassius, the betrayers of Julius, in company with Judas, the betrayer of Christ, as arch-traitors in the innermost circle of hell (Inferno, xxxiv). He was no doubt influenced in this by his philosophical Ghibelline tendencies.

24. The evolution of this idea, suggested of course by John X. II, can be clearly traced in the mosaics at Ravenna.

25. So Hortis (Scritti inediti di F. Petrarca, pp. 221, &c.), who combats A. W. von Schlegel's view that the Epy of Eclogue VII stands for Avignon.

26. This spelling was current for some centuries, Spenser among others adopting it. Indeed, egloghe is still the prevalent form among Italian scholars.

27. One other was discovered and published from MS. by Hortis, in his Studi sulle opere latini, p. 351.

28. It is not impossible that Boccaccio may have begun composing eclogues before his acquaintance with Petrarch, since the influence of the poems sent by Dante to Giovanni del Virgilio has been traced in the eclogue printed by Hortis, and in an early version of the Faunus, as well as in the work of Boccaccio's correspondent, Cecco di Mileto.

29. So Aeneas Sylvius, in his De Remedio Amoris, after a particularly virulent tirade against women, explained: 'De his loquor mulieribus quae turpes admittunt amores.'

30. 'Syncerius' is the form used, but there can be little doubt who was intended.

31. In the days when it was fashionable for men of learning to discuss the laws of pastoral composition, a certain northern giant fell foul of the Neapolitan's piscatory eclogues on somewhat theoretical grounds. Having never seen the blue smile of the bay of Naples, he suggested that the sea was an object of terror; forgetful of the monotonous setting of pastoral verse, he complained that the piscatory life offered little variety; finally, he contended that the technicalities of the craft were unfamiliar to readers--but are we to suppose that the learned author of the Rambler was competent to tend a flock?

32. They were at least the first to appear in print. The contributors were Girolamo Benivieni, of Florence, and Francesco Arsocchi and Fiorino Boninsegni, of Siena. The first possibly deserves mention as having introduced Pico della Mirandola as a character in his eclogues: some of the poems of the last are noteworthy as having been composed as early as 1468. There exists a poem by Luca Pulci on the story of Polyphemus and Galatea in the form of an eclogue. Luca died in 1470. Leo Battista Alberti, the famous architect, who died in 1472, also left a poem, which was published from MS. in 1850, with the heading 'Egloga.' This, however, proves not to be strictly pastoral. Among other early ventures were ten Italian eclogues in terza rima, by Boiardo. These, and also his ten Latin eclogues, will be found printed from MS. in his Poesie volgari e latine (ed. A. Solerti, Bologna, 1894), while full accounts of both will be found in the essays contributed by G. Mazzoni and A. Campani to the Studi su M. M. Boiardo, edited by N. Campanini (Bologna, 1894). There can be no doubt that the court of Lorenzo was full of pastoral experiments in the vernacular for some time before the publication mentioned above.

33. Having regard to the general character of the Ameto, I am not sure that it might not be possible to find some hidden meaning in the poem in question, if one were challenged to do so. The allegory is, however, mostly of the abstract kind, and the eclogue can hardly conceal allusions to any actual events.

34. A very useful and representative, though of course by no means complete, collection is that by G. Ferrario, in the 'Classici italiani.'

35. Castiglione also figured among the Latin eclogists of his day, and the influence of his Alcon is even traced by Saintsbury in Lycidas (Earlier Renaissance, p. 34).

36. It is said to have been by way of penance for having written the Vendemmiatore that he later undertook the composition of the Lagrime di San Pietro, a lengthy religious poem, which remained unfinished at his death in 1568.

37. La Beca is ascribed by mistake to Luca Pulci in the first edition of Symonds' Renaissance.

38. The best imitation is said to be the Lamento di Cecco da Varlungo by Francesco Baldovini (1643-1700), which is graceful, though rather more satiric in tone than its model.

39. It differs, however, from most poems of the sort, in that the langnage of the fisher craft in Italy was capable of the same wantonly double meaning as was suggested to English writers by the name and terms of the noble art of venery. This serves to differentiate it from the style of pastoral, and suggests that we should rather class it along with such works as Berni's Caccia d'amore.

40. It is occasionally traceable in the French pastourelles, but that form of courtly composition never became popular south of the Alps. Its vogue passed completely with the decline of Provençal tradition. D'Ancona quotes one Italian example of the thirteenth century, the work of a Florentine, Ciacco dell' Anguillaja. It begins gracefully enough:

O gemma leziosa,
Adorna villanella,
Che se' più virtudiosa
Che non se ne favella,
Per la virtude ch' hai
Per grazia del Signore,
Aiutami, che sai
Che son tuo servo, amore.

41. Further evidence of the popularity of this poem will be found in the existence of a religious parody beginning:

O vaghe di Gesù, o verginelle,
Dove n' andate si leggiadre e belle?

(Laude spirituali di Feo Belcari, &c., Firenze, 1863, p. 105.) It is founded on the fourteenth ceutury, not on the popular, version.

42. The foregoing remarks follow very closely Symonds' treatment in the third chapter of his Italian Literature. In point of fact, I lit on Donati's poem quite accidentally, before reading the chapter in question, but I have made no scruple of availing myself of his guidance wherever it was to be had.

43. Symonds has some very severe strictures on these songs from the moral point of view. Judging from the actual songs themselves his remarks would appear somewhat exaggerated, but if we take into consideration the historical circumstances they are probably amply justified.

44. It is perhaps worth putting in a word of warning against the possible confusion of this poem with Politian's Latin composition bearing the same title. Ambra was a rustic resort in the neighbourhood of Florence, to which Lorenzo was much attached. By the lover Lauro the author seems to have meant himself. At least this is rendered probable by some lines near the end of Politian's poem, in which the villa is again personified as a nymph:

Et nos ergo illi grata pietate dicamus
Hanc de Pierio contextam flore coronam,
Quam mihi Caianas inter pulcherrima nymphas
Ambra dedit patriae lectam de gramine ripae:
Ambra mei Laurentis amor, quam corniger Vmbro,
Vmbro senex genuit domino gratissimus Arno:
Vmbro suo tandem non erupturus ab alneo.
  (Opera, Basel, 1553, p. 581.)

45. He was born at Montepulciano in 1454, and died, at the age of forty, two years after Lorenzo.

46. Symonds, Renaissance, iv. p. 232, note 3.

47. It has been sometimes thought that the description of Mars in the lap of Venus, in stanzas 122-3, suggested Botticelli's picture in the National Gallery; but, though the lines are worthy of having inspired even a more successful example of the painter's art, the resemblance is in this case too general to warrant any such conclusion.

48. A favourite phrase of his. 'What has been well called la voluttà idillica--the sensuous sensibility to beauty, finding fit expression in the Idyll--formed a marked characteristic of Renaissance art and literature.' Renaissance, v. p. 170.

49. The similar alternation of verse and prose found in the French and Provençal cante-fables, notably in Aucassin et Nicolette, is of a different nature, for in them the prose served properly to explain and connect the verse-passages which contained the actual story, and it probably formed no part of the original composition.

50. I quote from the handy edition of Boccaccio's Opere minori in the 'Biblioteca classica economica.' The passages cited above will be found on pp. 246 and 250, or in the Opere volgari, 1827-34. xv. pp. 186 and 194.

51. It is probably no accident that, like Dante's poem, Boccaccio's romance is styled a 'comedy.' Both represent, in allegorical form, the ascent of the human soul from sin, through purgation, to the presence of God.

52. It has been suggested that there is a gradual spiritualization in the motives of the tales; but this would appear to be a somewhat fanciful view.

53. Proemio, Opere minori, p. 145; Opere volgari, xv. p. 4.

54. Opere minori, p. 176, Opere volgari, xv. p. 60.

55. While greatly shortening the passage, and taking considerable liberties in the way of paraphrase, I have endeavoured, as far as possible, to preserve the style and diction of the original. This will be found in the Opere minori, pp. 213, &c., Opere volgari, xv. pp. 126, &c.

56. The description of the spring is from Ovid, Metamorphoses, III, 407, &c. No doubt a great deal more could be traced to Latin sources.

57. For details concerning tree-lists see Moorman's William Brown, p. 154.

58. Dunlop's notion of the verse being the important part, and the prose only written to connect the varions eclogues, is clearly wrong. Verse started by being subordinate in Boccaccio's romance, and remained so in all subsequent examples.

59. Prosa VIII. The whole passage was versified in Spanish by Garcilaso, whence a portion found its way into Googe's eclogues. Among other ingenions devices Sannazzaro mentions that of pinning down a crow by the extremity of its wings and waiting for it to entangle its fellows in its claws. If any reader should be tempted to imagine that the author has been drawing on a fertile imagination, let him turn to the adventures of one Morrowbie Jukes, as related by Mr. Rudyard Kipling, for a description of this identical method of crow-catching as practised on the banks of an Indian stream.

60. It may be well to point out that at times, as in Carino's invocation to the Dryads, Symonds has infused into his version a beauty of diction of which Sannazzaro appears to be innocent.

61. The Arcadia must have been extant in its original form as early as 1481, when it served as model for the eclogues of Pietro Jacopo de Jennaro. The earliest known MS. dates from 1489, and contains the first ten Prose and Ecloghe. In this form it was surreptitiously printed in 1502; the complete work first appeared in 1504. The earliest commentary, that of Tommaso Porcacchi, appeared in 1558, and went through several editions. An elaborate variorum edition was printed at Padua in 1723. I have followed the text in the 'Classici italiani.'

62. Arcadia had been called 'the mother of flocks' in the Homeric Hymn to Pan, and Polybius had described the softening effects of music upon its rude inhabitants. See some interesting remarks on the snbject by J. E. Sandys, in his lectures on the Revival of Learning, Cambridge, 1905; also J. P. Mahaffy, Rambles and Studies, ch. xii.

63. Having had occasion in the course of the following pages to call attention to certain inaccuracies of Ticknor's, I should like in this place to record my indebtedness to what still remains the standard history of Spanish literature. I have likewise made free use of Fitzmaurice-Kelly's admirable monograph.

64. Don Quixote, pt. ii. ch. 62.

65. Calderon wrote an early play on the tale of Cephalus and Procris, which met, it is said, with success. It was entitled Celos aun del aire matan, and was styled a 'fiesta cantada.' Later in life he parodied it in the 'comedia burlesca' entitled Cefalo y Pocris (sic). Neither play appears to have any connexion with the Cefalo of Niccolò da Correggio (v. post, ch. iii). Both are printed in the third volume of Calderon's comedies in the 'Biblioteca de autores españoles,' 1848-50. The Pastor fido will be found in vol. iv.

66. Mr. Gosse has protested against the use of such terms as 'exotic' in connexion with products of literary art, and no doubt the word has been not a little abused. I employ it in its strict sense of 'introduced from abroad, not indigenons,' and without implying any critical censure.

67. Though a Portuguese, and one of the most notable poets in his own dialect, much of his poetical work is in Castillan.

68. So, at least, Theophilo Braga interprets what he calls 'o drama amoroso das Eclogas,' in his monograph on Bernardim Ribeiro e o bucolismo. Porto, 1897.

69. Ticknor is responsible for an unfortunate error, and much consequent confusion, respecting this date. Some one had cited an imaginary edition of 1545. Of this Ticknor confessed ignorance, but stated that he had in his possession a copy consisting of 112 quarto leaves, printed at Valencia in 1542. This description applies exactly to the earliest edition extant in the British Museum, except in the matter of the date. There can be no doubt that this is a mistake. The date 1542 is intrinsically impossible. Fitzmaurice-Kelly, who himself dates the work 1558-9, points out that one of the songs refers to events which took place in 1554. The sudden crop of reprints, dated 1561 and 1562, proves the Diana to have been then a new book, and inclines me to place the actual publication somewhat after the date suggested by Kelly. I may mention that Ticknor is also in error over the date of Ribeiro's work, which he assigns to 1557.

70. See the collection of Latin student songs, Gaudeamus! Carmina uagorum selecta in usum laetitiae, Leipzig, 1879, p. 124.

71. The novels alluded to will be found in the Ecatommiti, I. i, Cent Nouvelles nouvelles, No. 82, and Novelle de' Novizi, No. 12.

72. Knight of the Burning Pestle, II. viii. (Dyce, ii. p. 172), and The Pilgrim, IV. ii. (Dyce, viii. p. 66).

73. B. M., Roxburghe, III. 160, also II. 30.

74. References are best given to F. J. Child's monumental collection, in five volumes, where all variants are printed. Cowdenknows and the Bonny May are No. 217; The Knight and the Shepherd's Daughter 110, the Bonny Ilynd 50, Child Waters 63, The Laird of Drum 236, Lizie Lindsay 226, Lizie Baillie 227, Glasgow Peggie 228, and Johnie Faa 200. No doubt further examples might be collected.

75. Similar shepherd-scenes are found not only in French but even in Italian miracle plays. The tendency they indicate, however, is not traceable in later pastoral, as it is with us. That such representations as those of the Sienese 'Rozzi' formed no exception to this general statement I shall have to show later.

76. For the literary history of the Wakefield cycle, see A. W. Pollard's admirable introduction to the edition published by the Early English Text Society.

77. They also criticize the angels' singing in curiously technical language.

78. Towneley Plays, XII. l. 377, &c., and l. 386, &c., cf. Vergil, Bucolics, IV. 6.

79. It is perhaps necessary to define the above use of 'idealization' as that modification of photographie reality observable in all true art. It is only when the methods of art have become self-conscious that realism can become an end in itself.

80. An English Garner: Fifteenth Century Prose and Verse, ed. A. W. Pollard, 1903, p. 87. The carol is from a MS. at Balliol College.

81. The poem will be found in Arber's edition of the 'Miscellany,' p. 138, and in A. H. Bullen's reprint of England's Helicon, p. 56. In dealing with isolated poems I have quoted, wherever possible, from Bullen's reprints of the song books, &c.

82. Forst = cared for.

83. It first appeared as 'The Ploughman's Song' in the 'Entertainment at Elvetham' in 1591. This has been recently claimed for Lyly. Without expressing any opinion in this place as to the likelihood of such an ascription for the bulk of the piece, it may be remarked that the song in question is as like the rest of Breton's work in style as it is unlike anything to be found in Lyly's writings.

84. Of all pedestrian, not to say reptilian, metres, this is perhaps the most intolerable; indeed, it was not until touched to new life by the genius of Blake that it deserved to be called a metre at all.

85. See R. B. McKerrow's articles on the Elizabethan 'classical metres' in the Modern Language Quarterly for December, 1901, and April, 1902, iv. p. 172, and v. p. 6.

86. Eclogues i-iv were printed by Pynson, and the fifth by Wynkyn de Worde early in the century; i-iii were twice reprinted about 1550. Barclay died in 1552.

87. Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini, afterwards Pope Pius II. I suppose that it is on account of this statement of Barclay's that English critics have constantly referred to the work as pastoral. It is nothing but a prose invective against court life.

88. See Dyce's Skelton, Introduction, p. xxxvi.

89. 'Eglogs Epytaphes, and Sonettes. Newly written by Barnabe Googe: 1563. 15. Marche.' Reprinted by Professer Arber from the Huth copy.

90. The title of the collection as originally published is obviously ambiguous--is Shepheardes' to be considered as singular or plural? There is a tendency among modern critics to evade the difficulty in such cases by quoting titles in the original spelling. I confess that this practice seems to me both clumsy and pedantic. In the present case there can be little doubt that the title of Spenser's work was suggested by the Calender of Shepherds. On the other hand, I think it is likewise clear that the poet, in adopting it, was thinking particularly of Colin Clout--that he intended, that is, to call his poems 'the calender of the shepherd' (see first line of postscript), rather than 'the calender for shepherds.' I have therefore adopted the singular form. 'Calender' is, I think, a defensible spelling.

91. The alternative view, which would make Spenser his own commentator, is not without supporters both in Germany and in