Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 509 pages of information about Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama.
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 volutta 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.

VI

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.

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