Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 648 pages of information about Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama.

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].

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Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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