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.

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

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