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.
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 Belen 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 Cristobal Suarez 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].

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