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.

All these works resemble one another in their general features.  The characteristics of the genre as found in Spain, in spite of a real feeling for rural life traceable in the national character, are the elements it borrows from the older chivalric tradition, combined with an adherence to the circumstances of actual existence even closer than was the case in Italy.  Sannazzaro was content to transfer certain personages from real life into his imaginary Arcadia, while in the Spanish romances the whole mise en scene consists of the actual surroundings of the author disguised but little under the veil of pastoralism.  Thus the ideal element, the desire to escape from the world, is no less absent from these works than from the Latin eclogues of the renaissance, and the chivalric pastoral in Spain advances far along the road towards the fashionable pastoral of France.  Not only are knightly adventures freely introduced, and the devices of disguise and recognition employed, but the hint of magic in Sannazzaro is developed and made to play a prominent part in the tales, while the nymphs and shepherds display throughout an alarming knowledge of literature, metaphysics, and theology.  The absurdities of the style were patent, and did not escape uncomplimentary notice from the writers of the day, for both Cervantes and Lope de Vega, in spite of their own excursions into this kind, pilloried the fashion in their more serious and enduring works.


In France the interest of pastoralism, from our present point of view, is summed up in the work of one man—­Clement Marot.  It is he who forms the central figure on the stage of French poetry between the final collapse of the medieval tradition and the ceasing of Villon’s song earlier, and later the full burst of the renaissance in the work of the Pleiade.  While belonging ostensibly to the literary circle of Margaret of Navarre, Marot appears to have combined in his own person a strange number of conflicting tendencies.  His patroness followed the pastoral tradition in her imitation of Sannazzaro’s Salices and her lament on the death of her brother Francois I, and rehandled an already favourite theme in her comedie of human and divine love.  Marot, on the other hand, while equally interested in pastoral, betrayed in his verse little direct influence of the Italians, and invariably impressed his own individuality upon his subject.  In his early work he continued the tradition of the Romance of the Rose; later he voiced, somewhat crudely may be, the ideals of the renaissance.  By nature an easy-going bon vivant, his only real affection appears to have been for the faithless mistress of his early years, whom a not very probable tradition identifies with Diane de Poitiers.  He had no higher ambition than to retain unmolested a comfortable post at the court of Francis.  Yet he was destined by a strange irony of fate to pass

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