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.

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

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