Puer Eternus:

The Pastoral of Youth

Ambo florentes aetatibus, Arcades ambo 1

Though pastoral presents itself as a celebration of rural over urban, the bucolic fiction of another, better world has always served as a vehicle to glorify more than country life. The very persistence of this fiction results largely from its ability to disguise longings too subversive of dominant social values to be straight-forwardly expressed. The most prevalent of such Arcadian aspirations is the ideal of innocence. In the words of Alexander Pope:

The first rule of pastoral [is] that its idea should be taken from the manners of the Golden Age and the moral be formed upon the representation of innocence.2

Itself a charged and problematic notion, "innocence" has inspired painters, musicians and poets, as well as preachers, hucksters and pornographers to depict worlds that "represent" its meaning. The Arcadian realm overlaps with the Garden of Eden, the Golden Age, the Elysian Fields and with many early accounts of the New World as an elaboration of that ideal, a vision of a natural utopia free of the corruption of historical civilization. Whether or not they are inhabited by shepherds, all these places are pastoral in that they project a world of innocence.

The representation of innocence invokes the spectre of a lost past. Eden and the Golden Age lie buried in prehistory. The happy savages of the New World preserve the departed way of life of the ancestors of Europeans. The atmosphere of bittersweet longing which suffuses the groves and meadows of Arcadia conveys a sense of former beauty destroyed by the passage of time. The landscape and the type of culture that pastoral memorializes has suffered the encroachment of ruthless historical forces: war, urbanization, economic development, exploitation, enclosure, absentee landlordism and ecological disaster. In this respect the mode expresses a valid social concern for the decline of rural values and the destruction of


nature. But in fact, the good old days before the demise of country life elegaically recalled by the pastoralists usually turn out to be the days of their own youth-whether they transpired in the twentieth, the sixteenth or the first century.3

Until the present era, many writers and readers of pastoral grew up in rural areas before moving to cosmopolitan centers to find colleagues, stimulation and non-rustic means of support. They therefore tended to equate their sense of the golden years of childhood with idealized memories of country life:

Whilome in youth, when flowrd my ioy full spring Like Swallow swift I wandred here and there: For heate of heedlesse lust me so did sting, That I of doubted daunger had no feare. I went the wastefull woodes and forest wyde Withouten dreade of Wolues to bene espyed... For ylike to me was libertee and lyfe.4

The lost past celebrated and mourned in pastoral is in fact what Renaissance writers often called the Golden Age: "the Worldes Childhoode."5 For, as Sir Walter Ralegh noted in his History of the World:

... our younger yeares are our golden Age; which being eaten up by time, we praise those seasons which our vouth accompanied: and (indeede) the grievous alternations in our selves, and the paines and diseases which never part from us but at the grave, make the times seeme so differing and displeasing: especially the qualitie of man's nature being also such, as it adoreth and extooleth the passages of the former, and condemneth the present state how just soever.6

Following Ralegh's observation, this chapter argues that pastoralists' idealizing of innocence-their exaltation of rural over urban, nature over art, simple over sophisticated-expresses a preference for the life stages of childhood and youth and a consequent antipathy toward the condition of adulthood. The pastoralists' revolt against civilization is largely a rejection of the demands and the compromises of maturity; their utopian counterculture is in fact a youth culture; and their nostalgia for


a more primitive state of society often disguises a longing for their own lost childhood. This thesis implies a corollary interpretation of the most common pastoral conventions. The shepherd swain represents the figure of youth itself, the central theme of love represents specifically young love, and the dominant pastoral setting of the locus amoenus, the pleasant spot of eternal springtime, represents a vision of childhood that will never pass.

Assertions similar to these have been made before. Other writers have observed the convergence between the pastoral ideal of innocence and the glorification of childhood. However, no one has proposed, as I do here, to use the Protean concept of "youth" to illuminate the web of relations connecting pastoral conventions with various systems of thought-systems of literary genre, psychic archetypes, developmental stages and social stratification. Perceiving that web can deepen an understanding of what pastoral is all about and can enrich readings of many individual works. It can also refine knowledge of cultural history. During the last twenty five years, interest in the ideals of youth and childhood has flourished among researchers in a variety of fields. A historian of ideas has written a book on The Cult of Childhood as one strain of philosophical primitivism; a social historian has written about Childhood and Cultural Despair, and a large bibliography of work by psychohistorians has analyzed changing conceptions and roles of youth during the period 1500 to 1800. And yet, among all these writers, mention of the pastoral mode remains conspicuously absent.

Perhaps the overlooked connection is attributable to the tendency to exaggerate periodization and discontinuity in both social and literary history. Like the author of The Image of Childhood, most people associate the apotheosis of childhood exclusively with the Romantics and their descendants:

Until the last decades of the eighteenth century, the child did not exist

as an important and continuous theme in English Literature . . . With

Blake's "Chimney Sweeper" and Wordsworth's Ode on "Intimations of


Immortality," we are confronted with something essentially new, the phenomenon of major poets expressing something they considered of great significance through the image of the child.7

It is true, as George Boas points out, that the primitivism that equates the artist with the child and sets both in opposition to the philistine bourgeois adult is a leitmotif from Blake to Lawrence, from Schiller to Rilke:

Die Kindheit ist das Reich der grossen Gerechtigkeit und der tiefen Liebe ... Entweder es bleibt jene Fuelle der Bilder unberuehrt hinter dem Eindringen der neuen Erkenntnisse, oder die alte Liebe versinkt wie eine sterbende Stadt in dem Aschenregen dieser unerwarteten Vulkane. Entweder das Neue wird der Wall, der ein Stueck Kindsein umschirmt, oder es wird die Flut, die es ruecksichtslos vernichtet, d.h. das Kind wird entweder aelter und verstaendiger im buergerlichen Sinn, als Keim eines brauchbaren Staatsbuergers, es tritt in den Orden seiner Zeit ein und empfaengt ihre Weihen, oder es reift einfach ruhig weiter von tiefinnen, aus seinem eigensten Kindsein heraus und das bedeutet, es wird Mensch im Geiste aller Zeiten: Kuenstler.8

But both Coveny and Boas ignore the fact that pastoralists have expressed ideas like these since the time of Theocritus. Most of his herdsmen are youths, and the sensibility in all the Idylls is pointedly childlike.9 Many of the singers of Vergil's eclogues are adolescents, and even his old shepherds are referred to as pueri-boys. During earlier times, "The Cult of Childhood" has in fact a literal as well as figurative meaning, since the puer eternus-the boy god-often dominates fertility rituals which identify his eternal rejuvenation with the rebirth of the spring.10 The central pastoral themes of youth and vegetation combine to draw this literary tradition within the orbit of initiation rites, occult symbols and millenarianism. The orbit extends from the Eleusinian predecessors of Theocritus' Daphnis to the medieval mystic, Joachim of Flora's vision of the end of history as the transfiguration of all humanity into the state of boyhood." It also includes Renaissance neoplatonists who used the figure of the young swain to represent an initiate into spiritual-erotic mysteries.12 The shepherd boy is the child


of the imagination that the Romantics and the moderns equate with the spirit of the artist. As David Wagenknecht has insisted, "...pastoralism is the great unexplored link between Romantic and Renaissance ideas."13 It is largely through the vision of innocence that this link is forged.

In what follows, I expand that vision of innocence by plaiting the three thematic strands mentioned in the introduction: a) recurrent pastoral motifs, b) primitivistic ideals of the good life in a better world, and c) concepts of childhood or youth as an admirable human state. Beginning with customs extrinsic to the poetry itself, I show how literary tradition stipulates pastoral to be the poet's youth-work, while the pastoral theme of rustic festivity coincides with the social practise of rural youth groups in Renaissance England. Then, moving into the texts, I delineate the essential conventions of bucolic character, theme and setting which project ethical, aesthetic and erotic ideals associated with childhood. I conclude the chapter by demonstrating that when adult writers include pastoral interludes in the larger context of epic or drama, they are generally portraying a regressive return to the state of childhood innocence-a return regarded as both solace and threat.

Within the overall plan of my study, this exploration of pastoral innocence supplies thematic background for my later examination of the pastoral debate of youth and age-a literary convention which provides a key to interpret Spenser's The Shepheardes Calender, The present chapter therefore leads into the next chapter's parallel treatment of the contrary ideals of experience in the pastoral of old age. But the pastoral of youth also rewards attention for its own sake, not only as a link between the Renaissance and Romanticism, but as a universal strain of sensibility. The ideal of childhood remains an archetypal theme, as timeless as the celebration of the garden. The holy child, in the words of C.G. Jung, is "bigger than big, smaller than small." It appears in the earliest and most widespread of religious myths as the bearer of special powers and as


the symbol of the transition between the secular world of the conscious adult self and the unknown but intuited world that lies beyond:

The "child" is therefore renatus in novam infantiam. It is thus both beginning and end, an initial and a terminal creature. The initial creature existed before man was, and the terminal creature will be when man is not. Psychologically speaking, this means that the "child" symbolizes the preconscious and the post-conscious essence of man. His preconscious essence is an anticipation by analogy of life after death ... The child had a psychic life before it had consciousness. Even the adult still says and does things whose significance he realizes only later, if ever. And yet he said them and did them as if he knew what they meant. Our dreams are continually saying things beyond our conscious comprehension . . . We have intimations and intuitions from unknown sources. Fears, moods, plans, and hopes come to us with no visible causation. These concrete experiences are at the bottom of our feeling that we know ourselves very little; at the bottom too, of the painful conjecture that we might have suprises in store for ourselves. 14

The young Elizabethan poet started his career by writing pastorals. He did so not only because his grammar school study of Latin and his first exposure to literature was by way of the Eclogues of Mantuan and the Bucolics of Vergil.15 Any writer who aspired to join the illustrious company on the heights of Parnassus knew that his ascent should start in the vales of Arcady. An ancient decorum demanded that the first fruits of literary labor take the form of pastoral. In the introduction to his first published work, Spenser thus addresses The Shepheardes Calender:

Goe little booke: they selfe present,

As child whose parent is unkent...

And asked who thee forth did bring

A shepheards swaine say did thee sing ... 16

The humble pose of shepherd swain symbolized both rusticity and youth. The budding poet, "who for that he is


Unkouthe ... is unkist, and unknowne to most men. affects the diffidence equally appropriate to bumpkin and debutant. In the commendatory epistle, E.K., Spenser's apologist and commentator, provides a full explanation of the connection:

Which moved him rather in Aeglogues, then otherwise to write doubting perhaps his habilitie ... following the example of the best and most ancient of Poetes, which deuised this kind of wryting, being both so base for the matter, and homely for the manner, at the first to trye theyr habilities; and as young birdes, that be newly crept out of the nest, by little first to prove theyr tender wyngs, before they make a greater flyght. 17

The posture of rustic humility displays the prudence and caution of the petitioner and at the same time the young man's anything but humble claim to a noble lineage:

So flew Virgile, as not yet well feeling his winges. So flew Mantuane being not full somd. So Petrarque. So Bocace; so Marot, Sanazarus, and also diuers other excellent both Italian and French Poetes, whose footing this Author euery where followeth, ...So finally flyeth this our new Poete, as a bird whose principals be scarce growen out, but yet as that in time shall be able to keepe wing with the best. 18

By adhering to the Vergilian "Perfecte Pattern" of a poet's career, the pastoralist undertakes the youthful apprenticeship that may eventually permit him entry into the guild. Following the generic models established by past masters, his first work falls within strict limitations of scope, length, subject matter, diction and tone. Implicitly, however, the writing of pastoral expresses the poet's intention to address himself to some "higher argument" at a future time. The pastoral product itself can be regarded as a kindof "inaugural dissertation"--a proof of ability to proceed.

In this sense, pastoral Juveniles form the literary equivalent of their creator's youth. Once the initial offering is accepted, the writer sloughs off the bucolic role like a snakeskin and looks back upon it as an earlier phase of his own development:


And even as up to this point you have fruitlessly spent the beginnings of your adolescence among the simple and rustic songs of shepherds, so hereafter you will pass your fortunate young manhood among the sounding trumpets of the most famous poets of your century, not without hope of eternal fame.19

Thus predicts the seer in Sannazaro's Arcadia, though its author never did go on to write epic or drama. Spenser, on the other hand, like Milton, Pope, Blake and Wordsworth followed the curriculum faithfully. At the end of The Shepheardes Calender, Spenser's pastoral persona, Colin Clout, hangs up his oaten reed and bids the herdsman's world adieu. At the opening of The Faerie Queene-the major accomplishment of his majoritySpenser announces his own metamorphosis:

Lo I the man, whose Muse whilome did maske,

As time her taught, in lowly Shepheards weeds,

Am now enforst a far vnfitter taske,

For trumpets sterne to chaunge mine Oaten reeds,

And sing of Knights and Ladies gentle deeds.20

Though the writer at this point still feels himself "unfit" for the task ahead, he accepts his Muse's command to renounce the pastoral role "enforst" by his youth, and resolutely steps forward to accept the part of courtier and epic poet.

The "Knights and Ladies' gentle deeds" that the adult poet will sing are performed in a broader and more consequential arena than the rural landscape of the shepherd swain. Rather than the natural world of cyclical recurrence or the private world of thoughts and feelings, it is the public sphere of grand personages, heroic acts and cataclysmic events. The distinction between the setting and subject matter of the major genres and the world of pastoral corresponds to a difference in the actual

concerns and experiences of maturity and youth. By its very nature the public, active life is adult, while the private, natural world is a protected domain of the young.

Pastoral's affirmation of nature and rustic life also converges with youth in the social institutions of holiday festivity. Among


the features of rural existence eroded by the growth of mercantile civilization, the decline of seasonal celebrations evoked some of the strongest nostalgia from the poets and their audiences:

Happy the age and harmelesse were the dayes For then true love and amity was found

When every village did a May Pole raise And Whitson-ales and MAY-GAMES did abound.21

The urban readers of Elizabethan poetry went back to the country for holiday escape from the rigors or the boredom of everyday routines.

Hey ho, to the green wood now let us go

Sing heigh and hey ho.22

Come away, come sweet love, the golden morning brekes

All the earth, all the ayre

of love and pleasure speaks.23

The "other world" to which they came away for a feeling of rejuvenation lay beyond the city walls, outside civilized matrices of order and meaning. The natural wilderness teemed with the vitality of youth:

Every bush now springing

Every bird now singing,

Merily sate poore Nico

Chanting tro li lo

Lo lilo li lo

Till her he had espide,

On whome his hope relide

Down a down a down

Down with a frown

Oh she pulled him down.14

The poetic motif of reverdie, or regreening, which introduces so much Middle English poetry and retains its popularity in Tudor


pastorals, expresses the unity of natural and human rhythms. The flowing of the water and warming of the earth in the mineral world correspond to the movement of sap and swelling of buds in the vegetal world and to the stirring of the animal spirits in the creatures of the field and in the hearts of "Yonge folke":

The merrymakers took to the woods as foresters, returning thence with the May Pole. A King and Queen of the Forest, or Lord and Lady of the May, were chosen to impersonate Robin Hood and Maid Marion. This couple presided over the pastimes on the village green ... The sportsthe archery contests, bouts at quarterstaff, wrestling for the ramculminated in a ritual of initiation. To join the band of merry men and to wear Lincoln green was to renew one's contact with nature. To give a lass "a green gown" was to tumble her in the grass. The may-games, with their morris dances and hobby horses could be not only rough but frankly carnal. 2-1

In European peasant societies of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, adolescents were designated as the custodians of these rural festivities.26 People of all ages who participated in the revels of May were permitted to act childishly, but the young folk were in charge:

Is not thilke the very moneth of May

When love lads masken in fresh aray?...

For thilke same season, when all is ycladd

With pleasaunce; the grownd with grasse, the Woods

With greene leaves, the bushes with bloosming Buds.

Yougthes folke now flocken in every where,

To gather may buskets and smelling brere.27

The organization was carried out by institutionalized youth groups known as Charivari or Abbeys of Misrule .28 Such parish institutions sponsored the rituals which expressed unruly youthful instincts-on the one hand giving them vent and allowing them to kindle and energize the rest of the community, and on the other, containing and restricting them within broadly acceptable limits.


The rural festive periods were characterized by Saturnalian reversals of all sorts. Masters would exchange authority with their servants and youth would take dominance over age.29 In Spenser's "May" eclogue, Palinode describes how the Church hosted pagan ceremonials and the saints themselves got slightly tipsy:

And home they hasten the postes to dight, And all the Kirke pillours eare day light, With hawthorne buds, and swete Eglantine, And girlonds of roses and Sopps of wine. Such merimake holy Saints doth queme (11-16)

These festivities did not elicit universal admiration, however. Piers replies to this invitation with a dose of cold water and tells his crony to grow up:

For Younkers, Palinode, such folies fitte But we be men of elder witt.


In rebuking his friend's nostalgia for the unrestrained liberty of the revellers, Piers helps define the pastoral of youth by arguing the contrary perspective of age. The conflict between the two observers exemplifies a continuing public controversy about holiday festivity during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Piers' reply reflects a widespread Puritan disapproval of such Maying practises:

Against May, Whitsunday, or other time all the young men and maids, old men and wives, run gadding over night to the woods, groves, hills, and mountains, where they spend all the night in pleasant pastimes ... And no marvel, for there is a great Lord present amongst them, as superintendent and Lord over their pastimes and sports, namely Satan, prince of Hell... I have heard it credibly reported (and that viva voce) by men of great gravity and reputation, that of forty,


three score, or a hundred maids going to the wood over night, there have scarcely the third part of them returned home again undefiled. These be the fruits which these cursed pastimes bring forth.30

The Puritan attitude rested partly on objections to the release of animal instincts and partly on their aversion against the playful and hence childlike elements of both pagan and Catholic ritualism.31 The Puritans also objected because such regressive ventures into pastoral otium-holiday leisure-took valuable time away from the dutiful conduct of every-day business. Piers continues his invective:

Those faytours little regarden their charge...

Passen their time that should be sparely spent,

In lustyhede and wanton meryment...

I muse what account both these will make.

When great Pan account of shepherds shall aske.


He prefers the sensible, modern and adult routine of the urban merchant.

By the late sixteenth century, the youth groups that organized holiday misrule and regreening festivals were already an archaic country phenomenon. In the city, their social function died out with the rise of professional and guild associations structured along class and status, but not age-grade lines. According to N.Z. Davis, this persistence in the countryside of youth groups which united people across the borders of economic and social rank helps explain "how the peasant community defended its identity against the outside world."32 Thus, during the Tudor period, pastoral's vision of the country took on connotations of holiday escape and the aura of a declining way of life preserved in youth and by youth. But the association of the bucolic herdsmen with the child runs deeper than this historical circumstance; it permeates the texture of the poetry. The protagonist of English pastoral, who, in Sidney's words, "pipes as though he should never be old," invariably carries the epithet of "swain."33 The multiple denotations of


this word-"rustic," "shepherd," "young suitor," and "boy," build the identification of rural life and youth into the very language of the poet. For Vergil, whose eclogues Viktor Poeschl characterized as the expression of "a pure, childlike poet's soul," the equivalent term to "swain" is puer.34 This word signifies "herdsman," "menial laborer," and "boy." The shepherd thus represents the eternal boy, a stereotype of youth itself, which in other contexts has become known as the puer eternus.

This term originated with Ovid's address to lacchus, the child-god of the Eleusinian mysteries. C.G. Jung and his disciples used it to name an indispensable and compelling "archetype of the collective unconscious":

The child personifies the transcendant powers of the collective unconscious itself ... (it is) an avatar of the self's spiritual aspect ... The puer eternus figure is the vision of our first nature, our primordial golden shadow, our affinity to beauty, our angelic essence as messenger of the divine, as divine message.31

James Hillman expands this definition of the puer ideal by adducing the analogy of horizontal and vertical axes. The puer's prospensity is for flying and falling. Like E.K.'s poet-bird, or Icaros or Phaethon, he oscillates between the heights and depths of his "labile moods":

He is weak on earth, for he is not at home on earth or the horizontal space-time continuum we call reality. The puer understands little of work, of moving back and forth, left and right, in and out, which makes for subtlety in proceeding step by step through the labyrinthine complexity of the horizontal world.36

This account of the puer's emotional volatility, his alienation from "the world," and his capacity for spiritual transcendance complements descriptions of the figure of the pastoral swain. In his essay on Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland as nineteenth century versions of pastoral, William Empson identifies the herdsman with a similar conception of the child, the human


being as yet uncorrupted by the repressive and distorting influences of custom and culture. The pastoral swain as child is also, according to Empson, the poet, the artist, the original genius whose access to natural instincts and to unconscious fertility provides a steady flow of creative inspiration. The notion is based on a feeling

... that no way of building up character, no intellectual system, can bring out all that is inherent in the human spirit and therefore there is more in the child than any man has been able to keep . . . the world of the adult made it hard to be an artist . . . they kept a taproot going down to experience as children...

The child, according to this line of thought, "possesses the right relation to nature which poetry and philosophy seek to regain."37

The constellation of shepherd and child plays a central role in traditional Christian iconography. In the gospels, the good shepherd Jesus portrays the innocence of his flock as an analogue for grace: those who would enter the kingdom of heaven must become like little children. Medieval mystics like Joachim of Flora, Meister Eckhart and St. Francis of Assisi described their own transfigured consciousness as that of a babe's at the breast, a milennial return to the Edenic garden. As the cult of childhood gained popularity in devotional literature during the seventeenth century, Nativity songs like Milton's "Ode," emphasized the traditional juxtaposition of baby Jesus, shepherds and livestock, and adopted the tone, imagery and diction of literary pastoral. In the poetry of Marvell, Crashaw, Traherne and even Robert Herrick, the lamb, the good shepherd, the Edenic Adam, and the puer eternus are superimposed in the figure of the bucolic swain playing his oaten flute:

Go prettie child, and beare this Flower

Unto thy little Saviour;

And tell Him, by that Bud now blown,

He is the Rose of Sharon known:

When thou hast said so, stick it there


Upon his Bibb, or Stomacher:

And tell Him, (For good hadsell too)

That thou hast brought a Whistle new,

Made of a clean straight oaten reed,

To charme his cries, (at time of need:)38

Once again, this pastoral of youth is set into relief by the response of the Puritans. Just as they opposed the ideal of innocence in holiday festivity, they had little patience with the notion of a holy primitive state. Like Calvin, who condemned unbaptized babies not to Purgatory or Limbo, but to Hell, and like Augustine, who dwelt on the malice of the newborn child, they believed more in original sin than original innocence. To Jesus' invitation, "Come little ones," the Puritans preferred St. Paul's injunction: "When I was a child I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."39

Renaissance Neoplatonists also idolized youth in the figure of the shepherd, but they found in him an adolescent rather than an infantile quality of innocence: "It is the mentality of this age, the so-called aesthetic stage of life, that pastoral celebrates. Socrates calls it the 'beauty of the young, over whom the god of love watches'."40 Under the influence of the school of Ficino, Italian writers like Poliziano and Tasso used bucolic conventions to symbolize membership in an esoteric brotherhood of initiates. Whether or not, as Richard Cody claims, most Renaissance pastoral is really a cipher of hermetic doctrines of transcendance, the idealistic, passionate and agonizingly sensitive adolescent heroes of Aminta, Orphee, Sannazaro's Arcadia, and Garcilaso's Eclogues see the world from the puer's "Aesthetic point of view ... the world as beautiful images or as a vast scenario ... life become literature."41 Their home in the Woods represents no rustic crudeness, but a higher refinement, a world of feelings and ideas displaced from city and court. In their aetherial vulnerability, their humorless sincerity, and their cultivated alienation, these characters prefigure the Sturm und Drang heroes of nineteenth century romanticism.


Many of the spiritual ideals of the pastoral of youth reappear in Wordsworth's "Immortality Ode." As part of the narrator's meditation on the meaning of his own life cycle, the poem alludes to most of the themes considered thus far: the pattern of the poet's growth, nostalgia for a lost past, rural festivity, Christian devotion and Neoplatonism. The speaker begins with recollections of his early childhood as the pastoral stage of his life:

There was a time when meadow, grove and stream

The earth, and every common sight,

To me did seem

Apparelled in celestial light,

The glory and the freshness of a dream...

And all the earth is gay;

Land and sea

Give themselves up to jollity

And with the heart of May

Doth every Beast keep holiday;

Thou child of Joy

Shout round me, let me hear thy shouts, thou happy


There follow the recognitions that he must leave this paradise behind as he takes roles on the "humorous stage" of adult social life, that he must travel inland from the immortal sea that brought him hither, that he must bear the earthly freight that custom loads on his soul. These recognitions bring on depression, which is then relieved by another episode of bucolic nostalgia. But after revelling in the fantasy of young lambs, the sound of pipes and the rejoicing of the Maying, the speaker concludes by affirming, or at least asserting, his faith in the value of adulthood. The mature person's "philosophic mind," he insists, not altogether convincingly, will console him for losing the childhood vision of "splendor in the grass and glory in the flower."

In "Auguries of Innocence," Blake also speaks of the capacity "To see a world in a Grain of Sand/And a Heaven in a wild


Flower." He attributes childhood's heightened power of sensation to the cleansed doors of perception that have been the gift of the shepherd since Theocritus:

Come sit we under this elm tree, facing The nymphs and Priapus there by the rustics' seat and the oaks. if you sing as once

I'll give you to milk three times a she-goat with twins; although she's two kids, she fills up two pails Plus an ivywood bowl fragrant with wax, two-handled, new made: you can still smell the chisel . . . 43

According to Thomas Rosenmeyer, Theocritus' herdsmen if not children, are protected by the same patterns that make the child's world familiar and pleasureable. The shepherd's range of understanding and reason is limited ... he is a perceiver of concrete sensations and beautiful things."44 This freshness of perception graces the Renaissance bucolic song:

And we will set upon the Rocks Seeing the shepheardes feede theyr flocks By shallow Rivers, to whose Falls Melodious birds sing Madrigalls.

And I will make thee beds of Roses, And a thousand fragrant poesies, A cap of flowers, and a kirtle, Enbroydred all with leaues of Mirtle.

A gowne made of the finest wooll,

Which from our pretty Lambes we pull,

Fayre lined slippers for the cold:

With buckles of the purest gold

A belt of straw, and luie buds

With corall clasps and Amber studs ... 45

Theocritus invented the inventory genre, "the single most effective and congenial device in the pastoral lyric. in order


to "document the discreteness of the herdsman's sensory experience and his detachment-in pleasure."46 The primitive pleasure of the senses associated with childhood presents as significant a pastoral ideal as the spiritual innocence ascribed to it by Christians and Platonists. Arcadia is a landscape of the body as well as of the mind.

Renaissance writers and painters found a favorite mythological motif in the Judgement of Paris. They depicted the future abductor of Helen of Troy in the guise of a shepherd awarding the golden apple to Aphrodite and turning his back on Hera and Athena. Mythographers saw in this motif a symbol of pastoral's identification with the vita voluptatis, the life of erotic pleasure, and its rejection of the lives of action and contemplation.47 In fact, sensual love comprises the most common of bucolic themes.

It is appropriate that the poetic mode which praises nature over art celebrates the biological drive that human beings share with plants and animals. The Renaissance critic Julius Caesar Scaliger theorized that herdsmen made love their chief occupation because of their scanty dress, their healthy and plentiful food and their proximity to beasts.48 Others have attributed pastoral's emphasis on love to the absence of competing concerns. In a world like the shepherd's, free from want, war, politics and social climbing, there is not much else to do. Pastoral amor, as Greg observed, is love in vacuo, love removed from its usual social context.49 Poggioli saw Arcadia itself as an erotic utopia projected and ruled by the Freudian Pleasure Principle, and W.H. Auden spoke of "Arcadian Cults of Carnal Perfection."50

As the expression of an outlook on life that is characteristically adolescent, the pastoral ideal exalts a particular kind of eroticism: Young Love. It excludes the complexities of social courtship, the domesticated and exploratory love of long-term relationships, the contractual-sacramental love of marriage, and the procreative, nurturing love of parenthood. Instead, it proposes the pleasure of the body as the state of innocence-a natural, simple condition of salvation that is itself childlike. The


pastoral ideal of young love takes a number of contradictory forms: a utopia of licentiousness, or one of chastity or a paradoxical combination of the two. But all the varieties of the ideal share the faith that such pleasure once existed in the

iginal unfallen condition of humanity remembered with or nostalgia and regret. This reading of pastoral relies upon the modern psycholo ical tenet that erotic pleasure itself is a type of release from th-~ constraint of civilization achieved only through a tempora

reversion to an earlier state of consciousness:

The proper carrying out of the sexual act and the enjoyment of it involves an ability to give way to the irrational, the timeless, the purely animal in one: it includes loss of individuality in a temporary fusion with another. it contains the potentiality of leaving behind the tensions of civilization as one loosens the bonds of reality to float again in the purely sensuous . . . The sexual act contains a definite and direct relationship to infantile relatedness to the mother, with a renewed interest in sucking, in odor, in skin eroticism and a reawakening of old forbidden desires to explore and play with orifices. So very much that has been forbidden and kept unconscious ... needs to be released. The very good sexual adjustment demands such abilities to reverse the socialization process-and yet to permit the individual to be secure in the feeling that the regression and reversal will be only temporary and not reclaim the self.51

A number of pre-Freudian precendents substantiate this vie of sexuality. From Hellenistic and Roman times, the god of lo was pictured in Cupid as a wanton and fleshly baby; ai paintings of the Golden Age show the dalliance of nak couples encouraged by the ministrations of teasing put "Know that love is a careless child," says the narrator

Ralegh's "Walsingham."

However, most earlier writers thought of the erotic age not infancy but as adolescence. Medieval preachers, noting t correspondence between the seven ages of man and the sev


deadly sins, equated lust with youth. In the seven acts Jaques' pageant in As You Like It, the lover, "Sighing lik furnace, with a woeful ballad/Made to his mistress' eyebrov


takes his part between schoolboy and soldier (11, vii, 148-9) "In youth is pleasure/In youth is pleasure," repeats the refrain of a popular Elizabethan ballad.53 The categorization rests largely on physiological fact: puberty heightens the differences between the sexes and brings on an acute increase of desire.54

As much as the intensity, it is the aesthetic quality of adolescent sexuality that makes it an ideal of the pastoral youth. This quality of freshness, delicacy and wonder distinguishes Fruelingserwachen, the spring awakening of the erotic, from the more familiar, self-aware and bounded sexuality of the adult. Spenser illustrates the distinction in his description of the beauty of the flower, the sexual organ of the plant:

Ah see who so faire thing does faine to see

In springing flowre the image of thy day

Ah see the Virgin Rose, how sweetly shee

Doth first peepe forth with bashfulf modestee

That fairer seemes, the lesse ye see her may

Lo see soone after, how more bold and free

Her bared bosom she doth broad display

Loe see soone after, how she fades, and falles away.55

In the curl of its unfolding but still involuted shape resides the particular beauty of the closed rose. Its perceptible form reveals loveliness, yet hides an imminent mystery. To the beholder, the early stage conveys an experience of pure potentiality in the promise of even greater pleasure. This is the aesthetic of pastoral innocence, and it can be translated into one of the meanings of the archetype of the puer: "an anticipation of something desired and hoped for."56 Once the flower opens and "bold and free/Her bared bosom she doth broad display," that particular quality is lost. The complete revelation reaches a limit; mystery and wonder dissipate; in sets decay. From the perspective of the pastoral of youth, it is irrelevant that the fall of the petals brings on the ripening of the fruit.

The aesthetic of youthful eroticism dominated the culture of the Renaissance, which often defined itself as a period of freshness and rebirth.57 It is manifest in painting: Botticelli's


Primavera and Birth of Venus; in music: the song books of Dowland, Campion and Morley; as well as in the lingering adoration of youthful bodies that permeates pastoral literature:

I saw one that I judged among these beauties the most beautiful. Her tresses were covered with a veil most subtly thin, from under which two bright and beautiful eyes were flashing, not otherwise that the clear stars are wont to burn in the serene and cloudless sky. Her features ... fill with desire the eyes that looked upon them. Her lips were such that they surpassed the morning rose; betwixt them, every time that she spoke or smiled, she showed some part of the teeth, of such an exotic and wondrous beauty that I would not have known how to liken them to anything other than orient pearls. From there descending to the delicate throat as smooth as marble, I saw on her tender bosom the small girlish breasts that like two round apples were thrusting forth the thin material; midway of these could be seen a little

path, most lovely and immoderately pleasing to look upon, which inasmuch as it terminated in the secret paths was the cause of my thinking about those parts with the greater efficacy.58

Inventories like this one from Sannazaro's Arcadia were often condemned by British moralists as typical Italianate lasciviousness. But most English poets embraced the southern influence. Hallett Smith notes that the quasi-pastoral genre of "Eroticmythological" Elizabethan poetry gains much of its appeal from similar highly charged pictorial descriptions of adolescent beauty.59 The opening passage of Marlowe's Hero and Leander blasons the bodily charms of its heroine, "Venus' Nun," and concludes with an evocation of infantile bliss:

Some say for her the fairest Cupid pyn'd

And looking in her face, was strooken blind.

But this is true, so like was one the other.

As he imagyn'd Hero was his mother

And oftentimes into her bosome flew,

About her naked necke his bare armes threw.

And laid his childlish head upon her brest,

And with still panting rockt, ther tooke his rest.60

(1, 37-44)


The most precious jewell of Hero's beauty resides in her maidenhead, the badge of innocence. Though wholly in love, she hesitates to surrender the instrument of restraint:

Ne're king more sought to keepe his diademe, than Hero this inestimable gemme. No marvel] then, though Hero would not yeeld So soone to part from that she deerly held. Jewels being lost are found againe, this never, 'Tis lost but once lost, lost for ever.

(11, 77-86)

This rhetoric of adoration doesn't discriminate between the erotic attraction of girls and boys. Instead it plays on the distinctly hermaphroditic flavor of young love:

Amorous Leander, beautiful and yoong,


His dangling tresses that were never shorne, Had they beene cut, and unto Colchos borne, Would have allur'd the vent'rous youth of Greece, To hazard more, than for the golden Fleece... His bodie was as straight as Circes wand, love might have sipt out Nectar from his hand Even as delicious meat is to the tast, So was his necke in touching, and surpast The white of Pelops shoulder. I could tell ye, How smooth his brest was, and how white his bellie, And whose immortal fingars did imprint, That heavenly path, with many a curious dint, That runs along his backe, but my rude pen, Can hardly blazon foorth the loves of men, Much lesse of powerfull gods...

(1, 51-71)

Such descriptions place the reader in a position of a voyeur, who, reminiscent of the guests at Pelops' feast, figuratively devours flesh with his hungry eyes. The emotional distance between observed and observer accentuates the contrast between innocence and experience, ignorance and knowledge. The watcher's pleasure is that of King Neptune, the senex


amans, whose aged coldness is inflamed by the heat of Leander's passion and who steals delight from watery contact with the helpless youth:

The god...

... clapt his plumpe cheekes, with his tresses played,

And smiling wantonly, his love bewrayed.

He watch his armes, and as they opend wide,

At every stroke, betwixt them would he slide,

And steale a kisse, and then run out and daunce,

And as he turnd, cast many a lustfull glaunce,

And throw his gawdie toies to please his eie

And dive into the water, and there prie

Upon his brest, his thights, and everie lim,

And up againe, and close beside him swim,.

(11, 181-90)

Pastoral often exhibits young bodies bathing-in the sea, in a fountain, or in a stream-to extend that contrast between the sensual cleanliness of the child and the degeneracy of the dirty old man peeking from the bushes. Sannazaro, for instance introduced this description of bathing sherpherdesses between the blason of the young girl and an account of the old god Priapus' rape of a nymph:

But seeing the sun mounted high and heat grown every intense, they (the group of shepherdesses) turned their steps toward a cool hollow, pleasantly chattering and jesting amongst themselves. Being arrived there shortly and finding living springs so clear that they seemed of purest crystal, they began to refresh with the chill water their beautiful faces, that shone with no ingenious artifice. By pushing their trim sleeves back to the elbow they displayed all bare the whiteness of their arms, which added no little beauty to their tender and delicate hands. For this reason we, grown yet more desirous of seeing them, without much delay drew near to the place where they were, and there at the foot of a great tall oak we took our seats in no determined order.61

The vision of innocent sexuality not only governs the aesthetic sensibility of the pastoral of youth, it generates a set of ideologies. The most common of these is the ideology of Free


Love-the theory that the good life is achieved in a utopia of unrepressed libido, a golden age of liberated pleasure when, in Tasso's words, "S'ei piace ei lice"-whatever felt good was right.62 This is a juvenile philosophy in a number of senses. It expresses a desire for sexual freedom typical of the frustrated adolescent shackled by taboos on premarital sex or by lack of a willing partner. His desire tends to be more generalized than individualized, and he has yet to experience any bitter consequence of promiscuity.

Pastoral's advocacy of free love is also youth-oriented insofar

as it locates sexual contentment in the social arrangments of the

childhood of the race. For the sexual primitivist, the develop

ment of civilization is a Fall from Paradise, a history of

suppression of the native desires of the body. He finds a

prelapsarian state in the archaic ways of non-urban societies

where natural instinct is allowed to rule. The medieval eclog

form of Pastourelle is plotted on the assumption that any

peasant lass by definition is receptive to the proposal of country

pleasures.63 The Elizabethan lyric that celebrates the outriding

to the green world reflects actual Maying practises but also


gives vent to the fantasy of rural licence:

Come shepherds, come!

Come away

Without delay, Whilst the gentle time doth stay. Green woods are dumb, And will never tell to any Those dear kisses, and those many Sweet embraces that are given; Dainty pleasures, that would even Raise in coldest age a fire, And give virgin-blood desire.

Then, if ever

Now or never,

Come and have it: Think not I Dare deny

If you crave it.64



In the "quest for Paradise" that Renaissance adventurer embarked upon in their voyages of discovery to the New World, they found primitive societies whose apparent sexul freedom confirmed the myth of Edenic innocence.65 FrOD Montaigne's "Essay on Cannibals" to Diderot's Supplement a Voyage de Bougainville, old world commentators perceived in native cultures a way of life where love was unhampered by guilt or restraint:

... au moment oU le mSle a pris toute sa force, oU les sympt6mes virils

ont de la continuite ... au moment oU la jeune fille se fane s'ennuie, et

d'une maturite propre a concevoir des desirs, A en inspirer et A les

satisfaire avec utilite, ... L'un peut solliciter une femme et en etre

sollicite; l'autre se promener publiquement le visage decouvert et la

gorge nue, accepter ou refue les caresses d'un homme; . . . C'est une

grande fete . . . Si c'est une fille, de la cabane, et I'air retentit pendant

toute la nuit du chant des voix et du son des instrumens ...On deploie

l'homme un devant elle sous toutes les faces et dans toutes les attitude.

Si c'est un garqon, ce sont les jeunes filles qui font en sa presence les

frais et les honneurs de la fete et exposent A ses regards la femme nue

sans reserve et sans secret. Le reste de la ceremonie s'acheve sur un lit

de feuilles ...66

This dream of an original condition wherein what Blake called "an improvement in sensual enjoyment" brings a restoration of the state of innocence has repeatedly been translate(. from pastoral myth into the reality of chiliastic social and religious movements. From the twelfth until the eighteenth century, the "Brethren of the Free Spirit" established secrer pantheist congregations throughout Europe whose member claimed literally to return to Eden through the practise of nudism and promiscuous sex.67 Wilhelm Fraenger has convincingly argued that the vision of le ions of blissful orgiasts cavorting in the groves, pools and watercourses of Hieronymus Bosch's painting known popularly as "The Garden of Earthly Delights," illustrates the doctrine of this Arcadian cult.68 At the center of the garden flows the Fountain of Youth.

The pastoral ideology of free love has also found expression in a more secular libertinism. In what Frank Kermode refers to


as "Jouissance poetry,"69 seventeenth century writers like St. Amant, Thomas Stanley, John Wilmont and Thomas Carew uttered their nostalgia from the primitive state "when all women were for all men, and all men were for all women" with an undertone of rakish cynicism:

Thrice happy was that Golden Age

When compliment was constru'd Rage,

And fine words in the Center hid; When cursed NO stain'd no Maids Blisse, And all discourse was summ'd in Yes

And nought forbad, but to forbid.

The cavalier poet inverts the ideal of natural purity with a self-ironic sarcasm. But no matter how sophisticated his tone, the sexual adventurer too is driven by the thirst for innocence, for a resting place that will satisfy the infantile yearnings of the puer inside him. Witness the title and the selling points of a publication like Playboy, it is evident the fantasies of Arcadia and of pornotopia often overlap. Members of Fanny Hill's Swinger's club called themselves "restorers of the Golden Age," and many a present day "adult entertainment center" goes by the name of "Garden of Eden."

The most effective and influential statement of the ideology of free love occurs as a chorus in Tasso's pastoral drama Aminta:

0 happy Age of Gould; happy houres;

Not for with milke the rivers ranne,

And hunny dropt from ev'ry tree;

Nor that the Earth bore fruits, and flowres,

Without the toyle or care of Man...

But therefore only happy Dayes,

Because that vaine and ydle name, That couzning Idoll of unrest, Whom the madd vulgar first did raize, And call'd it Honour, whence it came To tyrannize oe'r ev'ry brest,

Was not then suffred to molest


Poore lovers hearts with new debate;

More happy they, by these his hard

And cruell lawes, were not debarr'd

Their innate freedome; happy state;

The goulden lawes of Nature, they

Found in the brests; and them they did obey,

Amidd the silver streames and floures,

The winged Genii then would daunce,

Without their bowe, without their brande;

The Nymphes sate by their Paramours,

Whispring love-sports, and dalliance,

And joyning lips, and hand to hand;

The fairest Virgin in the land

Nor scornede, nor flor'yed to displaye

Her cheekes fresh roses to the eye,

Or ope her faire brests to the day,

(Which now adayes so vailed lye,)

But men and maydens spent free houres

In running River, Lakes, or shady Bowres.71

To symbolize sexual innocence, Tasso here uses the same cluster of metaphors-Virgin/Rose/Breast-that Spenser later adapted to convey the aesthetic attraction of youthful eroticism. But there is a discrepancy between the two rhetorical figures. The veiled, suggestive beauty of the budding rose, whose allure Spenser's singer heightens to the detriment of the exposed bloom, represents teasing sexual decadence to the speakers of Tasso's chorus. Their ethos finds healthy, carnal affirmation in a bosom bared to the sunshine and nothing

positive in coyness, withdrawal, and hesitancy.

This descrepancy reflects a difference between the aesthetics of primitivism and its ideology. The beauty of sexual innocence depends on unfulfilled desire. It is born, as Plato said of love itself, from the union of Poverty and Plenty. The liberation of Free Love, on the other hand, postulates a Gratified Desire that tends to disappear by very virtue of its fulfillment. Indeed, by the end of the Aminta, Tasso's protagonist has grown up enough to learn the value of the honor and the chastity that was earlier rejected.


The pastoralist often conflates the diverging aesthetic and ideological affirmations of sexual innocence into a logically unstable but nevertheless compelling ideal: the free love of youth itself. Such an ideal superimposes the dichotomy of nature and civilization upon the dichotomy of youth and age, assuming no distinction whatever between the stages of adulthood and old age, treating them both as a single "other," hostile to youthful energy. The Age of Gold becomes the perfect state when the awakening sexuality of youth is neither controlled nor exploited by adults and their social order, but instead is allowed to flower freely in its own natural setting:

A Little GIRL Lost

Children of the future Age Reading this indignant page; Know that in a former time, Love! sweet Love! was thought a crime.

In the Age of Gold They agree to meet,

Free from winters cold: Tired with kisses sweet

Youth and maiden bright, When the silent sleep

To the holy light, Waves o'er heavens deep;

Naked in the sunny beams And the weary tired wanderers

delight. weep.

Once a youthful pair To her father white

Fill'd with softest care: Came the maiden bright:

Met in garden bright, But his loving look,

Where the holy light, Like the holy book,

Had just removed the curtains All her tender limbs with terror

of the night. shook.

There in rising day, Ona! pale and weak!

On the grass they play: To thy father speak:

Parents were afar: 0 the trembling fear!

Strangers came not near: 0 the dismal care!

And the maiden soon forgot That shakes the blossoms of my

her fear. hoary hair.72

Blake's version of the Golden Age includes both the attraction of purity and the release of freedom. Free love is the innocence


of the child. Freedom and innocence are destroyed together by the aged man whose holy book signifies the repressive law of civilization-a law which in other Songs of Experience takes the form of chartered streets, urban blight, and whip-wielding schoolmasters. Tasso's "Honore" here has become the greybeard father and the priests who turn the garden of love into a cemetery.

I went to the Garden of Love And saw what I never had seen: A Chapel was built in the midst, Where I used to play on the green.

And the gates of this Chapel were shut,

And Thou shalt not, writ over the door;

So I turned to the Garden of Love,

That so many sweet flowers bore,

And I saw it was filled with graves,

And tomb-stones where flowers should be:

And Priests in black gowns, were walking their rounds,

And binding with briars, my joys and desires.73

In setting lusty youth against crabbed age, Blake adopts the convention of pastoral debate which he is likely to have first discovered in his reading of The Sherpheardes Calender, but

which originates in the medieval conflictus.74 In his later prophetic

writings, affected by the experience of the American and French

revolutions, Blake extended the debate over sexuality to a larger

mythical framework. The young figure of Orc, representing

revolutionary energy itself, grows out of the pastoral motifs of child, sex

and nature. Orc wars perpetually against the aged Urizen, who

represents the Priests and Beadles of Civilization and their

authoritarian, rationalistic Newtonian order. The ultimately epic struggle

between innocence and experience, puer and senex, energy and order,

eros and civilization germinates as the central drama in the garden of



One might expect longing for the past and sexual attraction for innocence to appeal primarily to older people whose youth has left them. But in fact, this kind of pastoral has always been most popular among "the younger sort," as Gabriel Harvey observed in his report of the immense interest shown in Hero and Leander and Venus and Adnonis at the beginning of the seventeenth century.75 Indeed, adolescence is the most nostalgic of ages. The young man in his teens and early twenties has the greatest appreciation for innocence because he is in the midst of losing it. At one moment he may feel like the victim, at the next like the mourner; he is both pristine maiden and dirty old man, both coltish stud and prudish parson. This ambivalence stems from the developmental process itself, especially the process of sexual maturation. On the one hand desire signals growing up: aggressiveness, self-confidence, status, the power to beget children. On the other, the emergent sexual drive stimulates regressive longings for dependence, passivity, and all-enfolding bodily pleasure, for it reopens the possibility of infantile gratification forgotten during the latency period of late childhood.

And yet the nostalgia for a state of untrammelled sexual freedom can modulate abruptly into its opposite: a nostalgia for asexuality, for the very departing condition of childhood which prevailed before desire ever reared its seductive and threatening head. To the adolescent, the prepubertal age also appears as a lost paradise, for it is free of the emotional and moral conflicts of sexual maturity and because it antedates the coarsening of the skin, the growth of the beard and the deepening of the voice. The pastoral of youth projects a green Edenic world to signify chastity as well as liberty. From the perspective of adolescence, either provides a "better world"--an innocent alternative to its own dilemmas.

The same garden of love that Blake's speaker sees spolied by a thorny hedge and a barricaded chapel, according to Christian iconography, betokens the ideal of the Hortus Conclusus or "Enclosed Garden" of the Virgin Mary's pristine body:


I speake not of the Garden of Hesperides ... nor yet of Tempe, or the Elizian fields. I speake not of Eden, the Earthlie Paradice . . . But I speake of Thee, that GARDEN so knowne by the name of HORTUS CONCLUSUS, wherein are al things mysteriously and spiritually to be found, delicious in winter, then in Summer, in Autumne, then in the Spring ... where are al kinds of delights in great abundance... where are Arbours to shadow her from the heats of concupiscence; flowrie Beds to repose in, with heavenlie Contemplations; Mounts to ascend to, with the studie of Perfections.76

But the bond between pastoral nature and virginity is broader and more ancient than this; it goes back to priesthoods, vestals and fertility rituals. By the time of Ovid, the literary association of the pastoral Golden Age with the virgin goddess Astraea had become firmly established. In Vergil's apocalyptic fourth eclogue, Astraea ushers in the return of the Golden Age, and in Spenser's fourth eclogue, Astraea is identified with the Virgin Queen Elizabeth, "The queen of shepheardes all":

Ye shepherds daughters, that dwell on the greene, Hye you there apace: Let none come there but that Virgins bene, To adorne her grace And when you come, whereas shee is in place See that your rudenesse doe not you disgrace: Bind your fillets faste And gird in your waste, For more finesse, with a tawdrie lace.


The tight-laced virgin rose remains closed, self-protecting, immune from time, thereby retaining her integrity, her power over herself and her eternal youth. Artemis, the virgin sister and rival of Aphrodite, ranges the woodlands but also protects childbirth and childhood:

Whatever is coming to be and is not yet mature is under the care of this virgin Goddess. In Greece, young girls nine years of age were consecrated to her, and young men too, prayed for her protection. The very virginal intactness of the psyche protects what is immature and unripe,


Artemis takes care of the puer, for the young man is an image for the defenselessness and vulnerability of incipient developments in the psyche.78

Virginity is not exclusively a female attribute. For the young male, freedom from sexual desire itself appears like a pastoral condition, while its onset is experienced as a fall:

How happie were a harmless Shepherd's life

If he had never known what love did meane;

But now fond love in every place is rife

Staining the purest soule with spots uncleane79

Like Richard Barnefield's Shepherd, Spenser's Thomalin is a devotee of Artemis, out on a playful holiday hunt, delighting in the woods and the early springtime: "It was upon a holiday/When shepheardes groomes han leaue to playe,/l cast to go a shooting. Unknowingly, he comes upon Cupid disguised as a brilliant peacock, and suddenly the childishness of the shepherd boy's playing turns to earnest:

So long I shott, that al was spent:

Tho pumie stones I hastly hent,

And threwe: but nought availed:

He was so wimble and so wight,

From bough to bough he lepped light,

And oft the pumies latched.

Therewith affrayd I ran away:

But he that earst seemd but to playe,

A shaft in earnest snatched, And hit me running in the heele: For then I little smart did feele:

But soone it sore encreased. And now it ranckleth more and more, And inwardly it festreth sore Ne wote I how to cease it.

("March," 61 ff.)

The male adolescent experiences puberty as an encounter with an infantile energy in the guise of a splendid male sexuality. He


assumes that he can both conquer and play heedlessly with this force, but it quickly overwhelms him. Androgens spread through his body like poison. First they affect his physical and emotional equilibrium; then they begin to change his intellectual awareness and to pervert his social relationships.

Shakespeare presents the same idea of puberty as a fall in The Winter's Tale:

Hermione: you were pretty lordings then

Polixenes: We were, fair Queen,

Two lads that thought there was no more behind

But such a day to-morrow as to-day,

And to be boy eternal.

Her.: Was not my lord

The verier wag of the two?

Pol.: We were as twinn'd lambs that did frisk i'th' sun

And bleat the one at th' other. What we chang'd

Was innocence for innocence; we knew not

The doctine of ill-doing, (no) nor dream'd

That any did. Had we pursu'd that life,

And our weak spirits ne'er been higher rear'd

With stronger blood, we should have answer'd Heaven

Boldly, "not guilty"; the imposition clear'd

Hereditary ours.

Her.: By this we gather

You have tripp'd since.

Pol.: 0 my most sacred lady,

Temptations have since then been born to's; for

In those unfledg'd days was my wife a girl;

Your precious self had then not cross'd the eyes

Of my young play-fellow.

(I, ii, 63-68)

This anti-sexual attitude belongs to the rabbinical and patristic tradition of virulent mysogyny which identifies all women with Eve and sees them as the agency by which sin, guilt, mortality and time itself were introduced into a previously perfect and static world. Only in the happy prepubescent garden state was


true friendship possible; or, as Marvell would have it, only before the advent of women could boys maintain their intimate communion with mother nature.

In the series of "Mower" poems, Marvell chronicles the process of sexual maturation as the alienation from the green world of childhood innocence. Damon is first discovered in perfect sensual rapport with the rural environment:

I am Damon the Mower known

Through all the meadows I have mown.

On me the corn her dew distills

Before her darling daffodils:

And, if at noon my toil me heat,

The sun himself licks off my sweat;

While going home, the evening sweet

In cowslip-water bathes my feet.80

The first encounter with Juliana and with the pangs of heterosexual passion spoils the idyllic sensuousness of his joyful solitude by introducting desire, jealousy and despair:

How happy mought I still have mowed,

Had not Love here his thistles sowed!

But now I all the day complain,

Joining my labor to my pain...


Juliana not only pollutes the Mower's happiness by summoning desire in the first place, she then has the audacity not to respond to his advances: "How long wilt thou, fair Shepherdess/Esteem me and my presents less?/ ... thou ungrateful hast not sought/Nor what they are, nor who them brought." However, the fault ultimately resides not in the woman, but in the fated course of the Mower's own aging. Juliana is July, the hottest month of the dogstar's raging, the fever in the blood of life's summer season. Though he blames his hurt on her, Damon inflicts his wound and his fall upon himself:


The edged steel by careless chance

Did into his own ankle glance;

And there among the grass fell down,

By his own scythe, the mower mown.


Like Spenser's in "March," Marvell's satirical tone here underscores both comic and tragic implications of the theme: the adolescent male's helpless confusion in the face of his extreme and oscillating feelings toward women who appear threatening and desireable at the same time.

The erotic ideals of free love and chastity projected in pastoral provide escape from two evils attendant upon sexual pleasure: frustration and guilt. But there is another variety of the pastoral ideal of innocence which provides an alternative for the limitation and inadequacy of sexual intercourse itself. From the adult point of view-that is, one integrating the erotic into a larger texture of human relationships-the notion of an insufficiency in sexual intercourse itself may seem odd. But for the youth, whose bodily desire promises entry into a different world, the act of coitus often terminates in cosmic disappointment. As Renaissance poets never tire of warning:

Desire himself runs out of breath

And getting, cloth but gaine his death

Desire attained is not desire

But as the sinders of the fire.81

Some pastoralists think of "young love" as a release from this trap in the human condition. They envision practises which can combine the carnal joys of liberty with the protective shield of chastity, and which thereby can triumph over the defect in desire itself-its enslavement to time. Though this particular ideal finds explicit articulation less frequently than either free love or chastity, it is latent in much pastoral imagery, tone and allusion.

A suggestion of the contrast between innocent and fallen sexuality occurs in one of the Blake poems considered earlier,


"The Little Girl Lost." Suspending the standard interpretation of its theme as the conflict between youth and age, a second reading reveals that the children's free pleasure is spoiled not by the aged priests of civilization, but by the dynamic of desire itself. Before the girl encounters her father and her chilling guilt, she and her companion become "tired" of their daytime play in the grass and agree to a secret rendezvous under the cover of darkness. The father, in fact, tries to comfort rather than reprimand his daughter, for he recognizes the pain of her loss in the memory of his own. What "moral on the representation of Innocence" is Blake thus setting forth? I believe he is drawing the same distinction between the innocent love of sexual play and the guilty, time-bound quality of orgasmic sex that Ben Johnson elaborates in this unfamiliar version of the invitation to love:

Doing a filthy pleasure is and short

And done, we straight repent us of the sport.

Let us not then rush blindly on unto it

Like lustful beasts, that onely know to doe it

For lust will languish, and that heat decay.

But thus, thus, keeping endless Holy-day

Let us together closely lie and kisse,

There is no labour, nor no shame in this;

This hath pleas'd, cloth please, and long will please; never

Can this decay, but is beginning ever.82


In striking this contrast between the lustful sexuality

of "Doing" and the innocent pleasure of lying and

kissing, the narrator alludes to a number of pastoral

motifs. He renounces the "labour" that makes the act as

nasty, brutish and short as life in Hobbes' state of

nature. In its stead he advocates the endless holiday

otium of polymorphous petting. He emphasizes the

difference with a carefully orchestrated shift in tone

and rhythm. The anxious throbbing pulse of the first

part gives way to a leisurely meandering flow,

especially effective in the attenuated metrical pattern of

the penultimate line. And he expands the meaning of

the poem by suggesting that the


"filthy pleasure" of orgasm is subject to time and decay, while the chaste touching of foreplay can lead to the experience of eternity.

Andrew Marvell develops the same "metaphysical" conceit through another pastoral invitation. In "Young Love," he connects the prospect of unconsummated sexual pleasure to the ideals of childhood and the evasion of mutability:

Come little infant, love me now, Now then love me: time may take

While thine unsuspected years Thee before thy time away:

Clear thine aged father's brow Of this need we'll virtue make,

From cold jealousy and fears. And learn love before we may.

Pretty surely 'twere to see So we win or doubtful fate;

By young love old time beguiled: And, if good she to us meant,

While our sportings are as free We that good shall antedate;

As the nurse's with the child. Or, if ill, that ill prevent.

Common beauties stay fifteen; Thus as kingdoms frustrating

Such as yours should swifter move; Other titles to their crown,

Whose fair blossoms are too green In the cradle crown their king,

Yet for lust, but not for love. So all foreign claims to drown;

Love as much the snowy lamb So, to make all rivals vain,

Or the wanton kid does prize, Now I crown thee with my love:

As the lusty bull or ram, Crown me with thy love again,

For his morning sacrifice. And we both shall monarchs prove.

Critics have been reluctant to discuss this poem because of its ambiguous suggestions of radical sexual perversion.84 However, the children's play that the narrator proposes reflects a common Renaissance enjoyment of infantile sexuality:

The practise of playing with children's privy parts formed part of a

widespread tradition, which is still operative in Moslem circles. These

have remained aloof not only from scientific progress but also from the

great moral reformation at first Christian, later secular, which disci

plined 18th and 19th century society in England and France.85


The nurse's "sportings" with the child that Marvell alludes to are reported by Heroard, the court physician to Louis XIII of France, in a journal widely quoted by historians of childhood:

"He laughed uproariously when his nanny waggled his cock with her fingers," an amusing trick which the child soon copied. Calling a page, "he shouted, 'Hey there!' and pulled up his robe, showing him his cock."... The Marquise often put her hand under his coat; he got his nanny to lay him on her bed where she played with him, putting her hand under his coat . . . 86

Marvell is not as explicit as Heroard, but like Ben Jonson he states his preference by invidious comparisons with "Common" sexuality. Better than the lust of the bull or the ram, which engenders babies and diseases as well as "cold jealousies and fears," is the "wantonness" of kid or lamb. Such ideal love will antedate time by combining the erotic potentialities of young and old and by avoiding the temporal fall of orgasm.

The ambivalence about orgasm which fuels the longing for an innocent kind of sex permeates Renaissance psychology. Not only does "to die" have the secondary meaning of "come to orgasm" during the Elizabethan period, but popular physiology also held that each ejaculation was an "expense of spirit" that literally brought a man close to death during the experience, and shortened his life as well. Marvell alludes to the associations among orgasm, violent death and the constriction of time in the last section of "To His Coy Mistress," when he urges the lady to grow up and abandon her childish restraint:

Now let us sport us while we may;

And now, like am'rous birds of prey,

Rather at once our time devour,

Than languish in his slow-chapt power.

Let us roll all our strength, and all

Our sweetness, up into one ball:

And tear our pleasures with rough strife,

Thorough the iron gates of life.87



This call to experience functions as a 'Reply" to the pastoral Invitation of the poem's opening. There the speaker spins out a nostalgic vision of the ideal of polymorphous play:

Had we but world enough and time

This coyness, Lady, were no crime.

We would sit down, and think which way

To walk, and pass our long love's day.

Thou by the Indian Ganges side

Shoulds't rubies find: I by the tide

Of Humber would complain. I would

Love you ten years before the Flood

And you should, if you please, refuse

Till the Conversion of the Jews.

My vegetable love should grow

Vaster then Empires and more slow.

An hundred years should go to praise

Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze:

Two hundred to adore each breast:

But thirty thousand to the rest

An age at least to every part

And the last age should show your heart

For, Lady, you deserve this state

Nor would I love at lower rate.


The hypothetical "vegetable love" native to the green world conflates landscape with the erogenous zones of the beloved's body. By a kind of universal tumescence, both body and pleasure gradually enlarge to encompass all space and time. This is the final projection of the pleasure principle: the same infantile paradise of floating in the purely sensuous described by the Freudian psychologist as fundamental to all sexuality.

Several cults of carnal perfection have emphasized this ideal and have pursued the millenium in the form of an unending extension of sexual foreplay. Their practises are intended to provide escape from the temporal processes of individual aging and of human history and to be steps on the path back to the Garden of Eden. Known as "Karezza" in the love courts of Provence, Maithuna among adepts of Tantric Yoga, and Coitus


reservatus to the followers of J.H. Noyes in the 19th century utopian community at Oneida, all these disciplines have in common with pastoral's celebration of innocence a zeal to sublimate sex from its involvement with the cycle of copulation, birth and death. In doing so they neutralize its functions as the chief bonding force of worldly social relationships: marriage and the family.

The preference of premarital juvenile petting over adult consummated and procreative sex emerges clearly in one of the most popular of pastoral works, Longus' Daphnis and Chloe. Widely translated and imitated during the Renaissance, this late Greek romance chronicles the flowering of love between two foundling children of noble birth raised by Arcadian herdsmen. The story begins with descriptions of the infants suckling goats and sheep:

He saw the ewe behaving just like a human being-offering her teats to the baby so that it could drink all the milk it wanted, while the baby, which was not even crying, greedily applied first to one teat and then to another a mouth shining with cleanliness, for the ewe was in the habit of licking its face with her tongue when it had had enough.89

It ends with consummation of the wedding night:

Now, when night fell, all the guests escorted them to the bridal chamber, some playing Pan-pipes and some playing flutes, and some holding up great torches. When they were near the door, the peasants began to sing in harsh grating voices as if they were breaking the soil with hoes instead of singing a wedding song. But Daphnis and Chloe lay down naked together, and began to embrace and kiss one another; and for all the sleep they got that night they might as well have been owls ... then for the first time Chloe realized what had taken place on the edge of the wood had been nothing but childish play. (p. 121)

The beauty of this "childish play" is the subject of lengthy pictorial descriptions which fill the book:

So he went off with Chloe to the sanctuary of the Nymphs, where he gave her his shirt and knapsack to look after, while he stood in front of


the spring and started washing his hair and his whole body. His hair was black and thick, and his body was slightly sunburnt-it looked as though it was darkened by the shadow of his hair. It seemed to Chloe, as she watched him, that Daphnis was beautiful; and as he had never seemed beautiful to her before, she thought that this beauty must be the result of washing. Moreover, when she washed his back, she found that the flesh was soft and yielding; so she secretly touched her own body several times to see if it was any softer...

When they got to the pasture next day, Daphnis sat down under the usual oak and began to play his pipe. At the same time he kept an eye on the goats, which were lying down and apparently listening to the music. Chloe sat beside his and kept watch over her flock of sheep; but most of the time she was looking at Daphnis. While he was piping he

again seemed to her beautiful, and this time she thought that the beauty was caused by the music; so when he had finished she picked up the pipe herself, in the hope that she too might become beautiful. She also persuaded him to have another wash; and while he was washing she looked at him and after looking at him she touched him. And again she went away full of admiration, and this admiration was the beginning of love. (pp. 26-7).

The children's continuously heightening arousal is intensified by their ignorance. Their feelings have no foreseeable limits; their momentary sensations remains unencoded into words, unmediated by patterns.

Such innocent ignorance disappears with the advent of carnal knowledge. After the wedding night has passed, Chloe's fascination with Daphnis' body and her delight in nature give way to the concern of the prospective mother. Daphnis' change occurs earlier, when the older woman, Lycaenion, shows him how to make love "like a man." From that moment on, he will no longer pet with Chloe for fear of getting carried away and "wounding" her. At the loss of virginity, he changes role from lover to suitor, and even before being accepted as the groom, he busies himself with activity relating to offspring and lineage. Though the two principals may not recognize their loss as they pass out of youth, an intense sense of mutability tempers the reader's response to the idyllic


sweetness of the tale. But in typical pastoral fashion, the author's sophisticated tone of voice also mocks the naivete of the lovers and mixes longing with laughter.90

Whether it represents promiscuity, highly charged chastity or unconsummated petting, pastoral's central theme of childish Eros is not only stated in what herdsmen do or say; young love is also projected in the description of their surroundings. In bucolic poetry, setting does not merely furnish a backdrop; it functions as an essential foreground element. Indeed a good portion of pastoral consists of pure landscape, free of people but nevertheless redolent with meaning and feeling. The typical pastoral scene has been equated by E.R. Curtius with the rhetorical topos of the locus amoenus-the pleasureable spot-which he describes as follows: "The place of heart's desire, beautiful with perpetual spring ... the lovely miniature landscape which combines tree, spring, and grass; the wood with various species of trees; the carpet of flowers. ...". He states that "from the Roman Empire to the sixteenth century" evocations of this setting "constituted the principal motif of all nature description," and he reads the whole bucolic tradition as an embellishment of this one device.91 Though not relevant to the rough and rugged landscape of the pastoral of old age, Curtius' description evokes the world of innocence, where, in the words of Claudianus, surrounded by flowers, trees, nymphs and cupids, "...wanton Youth with haughty neck shuts out Age from the grove."92

So strong was the association of the natural pleasance with the pleasures of making love that medieval rhetoricians uncovered a false etymological similarity between locus amoenus and locus amor.93 The pretty landscape is aphrodisiac for many reasons. Nature arouses the senses directly and also inspires by example:

If the young and amorous are placed in a delightful grove, reeling on beds of flowers, in the midst of a happy country and under a bright and serene sky, these beauties of nature will increase the pleasing sensations that arise from representations of love.94


Thus writes an eighteenth century theorist of pastoral in the Edinburgh Monthly Review. The same agency operates in Daphnis and Chloe:

What enflamed them even more was the time of year. It was now the end of spring and the beginning of summer and everything was at its best. There was fruit on the trees and corn in the fields; there was ... a

pleasant sound of grasshopper, a sweet smell of fruit, and a cheerful

bleating of sheep. You would have thought that the very streams were

singing as they gently flowed along, that the winds were making music

as they breathed among the pines, that the apples were dropping on to

the ground because they were in love, and that the sun was making

everybody undress because he loved to see beauty.95


To complement such coltish exuberance, the landscape also

offers a warm, moist, sweet and nourishing embrace. The locus

amoenus provides a haven not only from spying eyes of the

righteous but also from the demands of adult selfhood-

negotium. Within its enfolding security a man can let down his

guard, allow himself to be tender, passive and infantile:

Cheerfully we stretched out on beddings of sweet

Rushes and of the freshly cut vine leaves.

Poplars and elms, tree upon tree, murmured

Above our heads; the sacred water of the Nymphs

Was splashing downward from a cave nearby.

Tawny cicadas, on their shaded branches,

Were busy with their chirping; the tree frog

Was croaking on his distant perch in the thorns:

The larks and finches sang, the dove was sighing

They yellow bees circled the springs in flight

There was a smell of harvest, of ripe fruits picking;

Pears in profusion rolled at our feet

And apples at our sides: branches hung down

Heavy, dark plums touching the ground.96

The Keatsian sumptuousness of image and sound in the

language of this passage from Theocritus engulfs and over

whelms the reader, so that he experiences directly a sense of

passive release. One critic has named this lavish expansion of



the locus amoenus the locus uberrimus, alluding to the double meaning of uber as copiousness and breast.97 Similar passages appearing at the opening of Sannazaro's Arcadia, in Book IV of Paradise Lost, in Marvell's "The Garden," and in Spenser's description of the Bower of Bliss evoke the luxury of a specifically oral form of infantile sensual gratification:

Thus being entred they behold around

A large and spacious plaine, on euery side

Strowed with pleasauns, whose faire grassy ground

Mantled with greene, and goodly beautifide

With all the ornaments of Floraes pride...

So fashioned a porch with rare deuice,

Archt ouer head with an embracing wine,

Whose bounches hanging downe, seemed to entice

All passers-by, to tast their luschious wine,

And did themselues into their hands incline,

As freely offering to be gathered:

Some deepe empurpled as the Hyacint,

Some as the Rubine, laughing sweetly red,

Some like faire Emeraudes, not yet well ripened.98

The pleasure of this state has in some ways an even more elemental, primitivistic and unconscious quality than that of infantile oral passivity. It is literally a vegetative mode of being-one that Herrick summoned up in his dream of "The Vine:"

I Dream'd this mortal part of mine Was metamorphse'd to a Vine; Which crawling one and every way, Enthrall'd my dainty Lucia. Me thought, her long small legs and thighs I with my Tendrils did surpirze Her Belly, Buttocks, and her Waste By my short Nerv'lits were embrac'd About her head I writhing hung, And with rich clusters (hid among The leaves) her temples I behung:99


Another fantasy of "vegetable love" appears as a prevalent motif in Bosch's "Garden of Delights." Flowering vines entangle the bodies of lovers and emerge from every conceivable orifice. Nude revellers dine on gigantic strawberries; couples sit petting inside crystalline flowers; the topography itself takes shapes of plantlike sexual organs. In this vision of the resurrection of the body, as Fraenger observes, Bosch pictures an ideal of tenderness stipulated in the Adamite doctrine of sexuality: "A striving to regain a plantlike innocence in sexuality ... expression is confined to a silent dreaminess and mute gazing. There is a stillness as of vegetation, so that the fine drawn groping hands appear like tendrils..."100 Any reference to the green world of pastoral innocence at least hints at this vegetal eroticism.

One of the most striking features of Bosch's painting is the number of its plantlike people whose heads are lowered or buried and whose feet and buttocks are elevated skyward. This anatomical reversal of top and bottom mirrors the familiar inversion of pastoral, which raises the peasant over king, child over adult and vegetative over animal and rational souls. The pastoralist descends even lower on the great chain of being when he projects the ideal of unfallen pleasure, "the place of heart's desire," onto the world of minerals. Leonardo da Vinci wrote of the body's intrinsic desire to return to the first state of chaos, to the elements of matter imprisoned by the soul.101

Marvell dramatized that longing in "Dialogue Between the Soul and Body":

Oh who shall deliver me whole

From the bonds of this tyrannic soul...

A body that could never rest

Since this ill spirit it possesst.102

Purified of spirit, the body itself yearns to realize its essence"to find its resting place"-in the repose of a stone. Marvell color-codes this yearning for stasis as another extension of pastoral's search for innocence:


What but a soul could have the wit

To build me up for sin so fit?

So architects do square and hew

Green trees that in the forest grew.103

Mineral lethargy is natural, sylvan, green, while the activity of thought and emotion is an artificial, courtly imposition.

This rejection of soul and affirmation of the mineral character of body verges closely on the perception of the earth itself as a beautiful human body and on the sensual enjoyment of its contour, texture and shape. With its mounds of Venus and grassy banks, its rifts and caves, its fountains and waterfalls, the locus amoenus contains "Lineaments of Gratified Desire" that are simultaneously topographical and anatomical. In a sonnet from Amoretti, Spenser, for example, refers to The Bower of Bliss as a garden within his beloved's body:

Fayre bosome, fraught with vertues richest treasure

The nest of love, the lodging of delight:

The bower of blisse, the paradice of pleasure,

The sacred harbour of that heuenly spright.

How was I rauisht with your louely sight,

And my frayle thoughts too rashly led astray.104

An analogous motif depicts the whole of the beloved's body as a park through whose flowering banks and meandering paths the lover is free to wander:

But who those ruddie lippes can misse?

Which blessed still themselves do kisse.

Rubies, Cherries, and Roses new,

In worth in taste, in perfitte hewe:.

So good a say invites the eye,

A little downward to espie,

The lovely clusters of her breasts,

Of Venus'babe the wanton nests:

Like pomels round of Marble cleere:

Where azurde veines will mixt appeere.

With dearest tops of porphyrie.

Betwixt these two a way cloth lie,


A way more worthie beautie's fame,

Then that which beares the mylken name.

This leades unto the joyous field,

Which only still doth Lillies yeeld:

But Lillies such whose native smell

The Indian odours doth excell. . . 105

Sidney's Philisides tours the Arcadian countryside for 150 lines. His mode of apprehension, which thus dilates the beloved's body to a Brobdignagian scale, implicitly shrinks the beholder to the size of a baby, thereby emphasizing once more the regressive, infantile quality of the desire he expresses with such witty elegance.106 Just as Marvell's vegetable love englarged the domain of the Pleasure Principle "vaster than Empires and more slow," so the pastoral landscape expands from the enclosed garden to global proportions in other "enflamed" Renaissance imaginations. In "Elegy XIX,- after undressing her verse by verse, John Donne exclaims at the sight of his naked mistress: "0 my America, my new-found-land.107

It may be objected that this is all mere conceit. The locus amoenus, is after all, more a "place" of rhetoric-a topos-than an actual geographical location or an erogenous zone. These visions of vegetables and parks are flights of fancy, displays of intellectual virtuosity, hyperbolical compliments, instruments of seduction, expressed in a light, ironic tone. This perception, however, does not negate the intensity of longing that energizes the fantasies. The motive of seductive rhetoric, no matter how artful or self-conscious, is real desire. The locus amoenus is a mythic rather than a merely rhetorical place. Like all myths, it means more than any interpretation can articulate, and whether consciously believed in or not, it shapes people's sense of the world and it motivates their behavior. Even in its ultimate forms of exaggeration, the vision of the place of heart's delight was taken as a physical as well as imaginary reality. Men of the Age of Exploration thought of the Brave New Worlds of the Western Hemisphere not only as Edenic gardens but as pastoral landscapes of the body. In 1498, following the


directions of the geographer Pierre D'Ailly, Christopher Columbus himself went looking for the locus amoenissimus at the mouth of the Orinoco river:

Believing that fateful tract could not be entered without God's permission, he did not investigate further; but in an eloquent letter to his royal patrons, Ferdinand and Isabella, he . . . (stated)... that the earth was pear-shaped rather that round, that the newly discovered hemisphere was shaped like a woman's breast, and that the Earthly Paradise was located at a high point corresponding to the nipple.108

From this explorer's literal search for a landscape of the body to the cavalier's disingenuous invitation to country pleasures; from simple evocations of Maying festivals to surreal fantasies of vegetable love, pastoral's "representation of innocence" issues in a rich variety of Utopian projections. What they share in common is an appeal to the memory of an ideal once possessed and then lost-a kind of Platonic anamnesis. All these visions of paradise tap the psychic energy of nostalgia-the motive force of the Recherche de temps perdu. Whether manifested as the locus amoenus, the Garden of Eden, the Golden Age, or the land of Arcadia, the ideal of innocence is itself a metaphor for another world in the past that all people have inhabited: the world of adolescence, childhood and infancythe world of their own youth recollected as different and dislocated from their present selves.

The poets observing pastoral conventions have, as I have shown, repeatedly made explicit the connection between the ideals of rusticity and youth. Many, in fact, have gone one step further, and drawn upon bucolic motifs not only to indulge and express the sentiments of nostalgia, but to test, judge and even purge those sentiments in the light of changing perceptions of their own pasts. Once they have advanced to the major genre of epic, mature writers often return to the setting and literary mode of their youth by interrupting their hero's quest with bucolic interludes-episodes that one critic has referred to as "pastoral oases."109 In these interludes, the poet employs the


conventions of the pastoral of youth with a kind of retrospective cast which often includes an encounter with the puer figure of his previous self. Spenser, for example, in Book VI of The Faerie Queene, has the knight, Sir Calidore, discover Colin Clout in the locus amoenus at the top of Mount Acidale. Though the adult has passed out of youth, a portion of the child remains within his personality. The epic hero's entry into the oasis represents the resurgence of that residual child.

The pastoral interludes follow a similar pattern in many epics, Odyssey, Aeneid, Divine Comedy, Orlando Furioso, Gerusalemma Liberata, to name a few. In the midst of his strenuous ordeal, the hero's attention is diverted by the allure of a green world. His infantile longings are stirred by its promise of security and pleasure. He wishes to remain there, free of tension and responsibility, in a timeless, nameless state. But the dangers of such retreat soon become apparent: it dissolves personal identity, blurs purpose and direction, and leads ultimately to listlessness and despair. A.B. Giamatti has shown that the recognition of this danger typifies epic's ambivalent attitudes toward pastoral ideals:

Exercising great attraction, those paradises offer satisfaction for deep almost buried needs. The gardens are therefore most dangerous precisely in the area they are most appealing . . . a man is tempted . . . to succumb to the desire for security and female domination which the garden promises.110

Seen from this perspective, the figure of the puer eternus no longer represents an ideal toward which to aspire, but rather a figure of maladjustment and sickness. Indeed, some psychologists use the term to diagnose a specific nuerotic syndrome, applying it to the young man who "won't grow up," who scorns the reality of adult society, shelters himself with escapist fantasies, and who ultimately suffers from a "provisional life," troubled, according to Marie-Louis von Franz, by Don Juanism and homosexuality."' Like the domineering parent of the


"mother-complex" associated with this malady, the hostess of the garden of delight-whether Circe, Alcina or Acrasiaentraps her visitors and drains the virile life force from them. 112

The remedies for the black magic of the oasis require rejection of bucolic ideals and of residual childishness. The hero may assert a violent masculine force over the sinister female and her seductive lodgings. Odysseus holds a sword to Circe's throat and brings her to his knees with the scornful question: "...am I a boy, that you should make me soft and doting now?"113 And Spenser's Guyon, after being captivated by its delights, fells the grove and defaces the gardens of Acrasia's Bower of Bliss.114 0n the other hand, the hero may simple take a strong-willed leave from the remote, innocent life of the natural retreat and return to the complex "worldly" reality of the center, accepting, supporting and defending the hierarchy of legal authority and traditional institutions that the adult by nature inherits and transmits.

Such a departure from the pastoral oasis-a second passage from childhood to maturity-often involves the choice of adult marriage over adolescent eroticism. From the perspective of epic, the social regulation of matrimony is positive rather than repressive; it takes sexuality out of the wilderness and includes it within an officially sanctified system of human control and order. Odysseus cruises the Mediterranean from one oasis of young love to another under the pseudonym of "Nobody." But to achieve his life's purpose, he must come home, regain his name and title, and sleep with his wife after the work is done, in a bed of olive wood and not of roses.

The same passage from pastoral's young love to adult marriage takes place in the grandest of Western epics, the Bible. But in this case the protagonist is the reader guided by the interpretive tradition. The Bible's pastoral oasis is Solomon's Song of Songs. In the preface to his seventeeth century translation, Gervase Markham refers to its eight chapters as "eight eclogues."115 Solomon's song includes a number


of conventions of the pastoral of youth, among them the invitation to delight, with its invocation of holiday escape and reverdie:

My beloved spake and said unto me, Rise up my love, my fair

one, and come away.

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of

birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in

the land:

The fig tree putteth forth her green figs, and the vines

with the tender grape give a good smell. Arise my love,

my fair one, and come away. (Chapter 2, 10-13)

It also celebrates the landscape of the body:

I am the Rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.

As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste... (Chapter 2, 1-3)

Awake, 0 north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out, Let my beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits (Chapter 4, 11-16)

And the blazons uttered by both lovers express the heightened intensity of innocent erotic perception:

How beautiful are thy feet with shoes, 0 prince's daughter!

the joints of thy thighs are like jewels, the work of the hands of a cunning workman.

Thy navel is like a round goblet, which wanteth not liquor:

thy belly is like an heap of wheat set about with lillies.

Thy two breasts are like two roes that are twins.

Thy neck is as a tower of ivory... (Chapter 7, 1-4)

For milennia, adolescents delightedly pored over this book, while Jewish and Christian theologians were made uncomfort


able by its sensuality. According to one Hebrew tradition, a man is not allowed to read The Song of Songs until he reaches the age of thirty and is presumably beyond temptation. 116 But resisting the wishes of their more puritannical colleagues, the elders of the church have never seen fit to expunge the book from the canon. Instead, as Renaissance Neoplatonists did with pastoral itself, they elevated Solomon's poem to the status of allegory and tried thereby to excise its literal meaning altogether. The commentators channelled the pastoral eroticism of the original into devotional and conjugal passion--"the spirit's lust for Union with its Spouse."117 The Douay version of the Old Testament prefaces the Song with the following explanation:

This Book is called the Canticle of Canticles, that is to say the most excellent of all canticles concerning the Union of God and his people, and particularly of Christ and his spouse... The spouse of Christ is the Church: more especially as to the happiest part of it, the perfect soul, of which every one is His Beloved, but above all other, the Immaculate and ever blessed Virgin Mother." 8

By thus redefining the way the Song of Songs was read, the interpreters reversed the direction of its emotional pull, converting it from a pastoral of youth, an adoration of the body as landscape, to a hymn in celebration of the marriage of God and man. To prepare for such a marriage, the person must become a "perfect soul"--a completed and purified human being. This goal was to be achieved only through antiprimitivist struggle against the material body and through adult aspiration to transcend the natural world.

It was by way of St. Bernard's Sermons on the Song of Songs that Dante adapted the imagery and the ardor of Canticles to the metaphor of spiritual marriage in the Paradiso of the Divine Comedy. 119 This is not the place to expand that metaphor. But it is appropriate, I think, given the recurrence of the pastoral of


youth in the major literary texts of the Western tradition, to conclude this study with a mention of the way Dante locates that ideal within his vision of the totality of existence.

Dante depicts the same Garden of Eden at the top of Mount Purgatory that Columbus sought in the Antipodes of the Carribean as a bucolic landscape to which the earthly body always seeks to return:

Eager now to explore in and about the luxuriant holy forest evergreen that softened the new light, I started out

without delaying longer, from the stair and took my lingering way into the plain on ground that breathed a fragrance to the air.

With no least variation in itself and with no greater force than a mild wind, the sweet air stroked my face on that sweet shelf,

My feet stopped, but my eyes pursued their way across that stream, to wander in delight the variousness of everblooming May...

... I saw come into view

a lady all alone, who wandered there singing, and picking flowers from the profusion with which her path was painted everywhere. 120

During what Vergil refers to as an interlude in the pilgrim's epic quest, Dante will rest in the oasis and prepare to reunite with Beatrice, the girl of his adolescent dreams. At the apex of the natural world-the green place where both time and space contract and converge-in a setting described as "the nest of human kind" and the scene of man's "innocent first laughter and sweet play," Dante's body is fulfilled and resurrected, so that the promptings of pleasure will conform perfectly with the dictates of reason and with the attraction of divine love.121


But though he yearns toward her like Leander toward Hero, the lady in the landscape of "love when love is free of pain," (XXIX, 3) is not the Beatrice whom Dante expects. She is a lovely Nymph named Mathilda, who represents his nostalgic memory of the Beatrice of his youth.122 The distinction between the pastoral ideal of young love and the adult love that Beatrice now embodies is one that Dante has yet to grasp. Because, as the opening words of the Divine Comedy tell us, Dante lost his direction in the wilderness of middle age, he has, at age thirty five, gone through Hell to make his way back to the garden he left at age eighteen when Beatrice died. To gain his bearings on his life's path, he must be rejuvenated and cleansed by the apprehension of youth's pastoral innocence. But he is not meant to remain in Eden. At the moment Beatrice surprises him there with her entourage of twenty four elders, he recognizes the insufficiency of the locus amoenus. And at the same moment, it dawns upon him that he is no longer led by Vergil. With her appearance, the mentor of his youth whom Dante has known as "the singer of the Eclogues" and as the representative of the Golden Age of classical culture, has wordlessly withdrawn. 123 For a naturalist of the old dispensation like Vergil, the final destination lies in the green fields of Elyzium. But as Dante now discovers, for those of a higher faith, the pastoral landscape marks the end only of spiritual apprenticeship. He experiences the loss of Vergil as a second departure from childhood, a parting as painful as a boy's separation from his parents, as Eve's separation from the garden:

I turned left with the same assured belief that makes a child run to its mother's arms when it is frightened or has come to grief,

to say to Virgil: "There is not within me one drop of blood unstirred. I recognize the tokens of the ancient flame." But he

he had taken his light from us. He had gone. Virgil had gone. Virgil, the gentle Father to whom I gave my soul for its salvation!


Not all the sight of Eden lost to view by our First Mother could hold back the tears that stained my cheeks so lately washed with dew.

Purgatory, XXX, 43-54

The Spouse herself appears, neither to charm nor to comfort, but instead to rebuke. The substance of Beatrice's accusation is that Dante has failed to grow up. Instead of learning the transience of youthful values from the experience of her early death, instead of gaining from it the awareness to escape the nets and arrows of folly, he remained the childish target of fleshly desire:

The fledgling waits a second shaft, a third:

But nets are spread and the arrow sped in vain

In sight or hearing of the full-grown bird. (XXXI, 61-63)

"Like a scolded child, tongue-tied for shame," he listens to her reprimand with bowed head, but she insists that he confront the full extent of his guilt: "If to hear me/Grieves you, now raise your beard and let your eyes/Show you a greater cause for misery." In the reference to his beard, Dante "sensed too well the venom of her phrase," for it is his childishness that constitutes his guilt, his callowness that the "thorn of repentance" must purge.

Indeed Purgatory itself is a kind of coming of age-all of Purgatory, including the Garden of Eden. For the fully conscious person, the oasis at the top presented as a pastoral of youth is neither a respite from striving nor "the place of heart's desire" that Vergil thinks it is. Instead it is the scene of testing and rigorous penance: for Dante the most difficult passage in the whole of his route. His penance is not complete until the pain of departure is transformed into the pain of understanding. Finally capable of lifting his beard and looking into Beatrice's eyes, he encounters the infinite love and wisdom that his immaturity has barred him from for the last seventeen years. At this point he swoons from an anguish that arises not from the loss of childhood innocence but from the awareness of


what he has missed as an adult. Now he is ready to cross through the waters of Lethe and be washed of the nostalgic burden of the past.

Once he awakens on the other side and ventures from the shade of the locus amoenus into the blaze of the noonday sun, Dante leaves the landscape of the body and enters the orbit of the spheres. In transit from the Earthly to the Celestial paradise, he emerges from the protection of mother nature's bosom to the exposure of Beatrice's eyes, from pastoral courtship to spiritual marriage.

Dante gains an understanding of his past from a vantage point that has some similarities to Wordsworth's in "The Immortality Ode," similarities which locate the pastoral of youth in a system coordinating generic conventions, ethical ideals, and stages of the life cycle. At the confused midpoint in their journeys-Wordsworth was also about thirty five when he completed his poem-both men return briefly to the pastoral world of their departed youths and abandon themselves to flowered meadows, Maying festivity and songs of tabor and flute. Seen retrospectively, through the template of bucolic topoi, their early years appear to them as a utopian landscape, a condition out of time, free from its ravages and demands. But the fantasy is too fragile to last. Both writers come back to themselves in the discovery that the ideal of youth depends on adulthood, that the conception of childhood as a timeless state of innocence is a creation of time, which contains and elevates the past by putting distance between it and the present. The release and gratification they enjoy in the pastoral oasis blends with a typical Arcadian bereavement, for as Proust said, "les vraies paradies sont les paradis qu'on a perdus"-"the real paradise is paradise lost."124

Following both speakers' painful recognition that adulthood means departure from "the good place" of innocence comes the positive realization that such departure is not only necessary but desireable. Like many utopian visions, the pastoral of youth proceeds from praises of an ideal, to a dialectical perception of the ideal's limits. Making a garden of youth the first


chapter of individual life history and of collective human history demonstrates the poverty of a world of perfect pleasure, security and stasis. For it renders that ideal merely childish in comparison to the larger world of choice, mystery and challenge that demands the fullest range of human response. For Dante and for Wordsworth, as well as for most other writers who follow "the Perfect Patterne of the Poete," epic and adulthood answer the pastoral of youth by justifying the ways of God to man with the moral of the fortunate fall.

There is within Arcadia itself, however, another vantage point from which to reply to youth's invitation to delight. This perspective forms the topic of the chapter that follows. Its response is uttered not by the active voice that leaves the grove to engage in an epic quest of larger scope within "the world" or beyond it, but rather by the passive voice that returns to the country at the end of life's journey. To the descant of innocence, "come hider love to me," the pastoral of old age bears the burden of experience.


(Both in the flower of youth, Arcadians both) Vergil, Eclogue 7, 1.4, translated by Paul Alpers, The Singer of Eclogues: A Study in Virgilian Pastoral (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979), pp. 42-3. All later references to Vergil are to this edition and translation.

I Guardian #40, (1713).

3 Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), pp. 10-12.

1 "December," lines 19-36 in The Works of Edmund Spenser: A Variorum Edition: The Minor Poems, eds. Charles Grosvenor Osgood and Henry Gibbons Lotspeich (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1943), 1, 114. All later references to this edition.

5 Thomas Heywood, "An Apology for Actors," in Early Treatises on the Stage (London, 1853), pp. 52-3, cited in Harry Levin, The Myth of the Golden Age in the Renaissance (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1969), p. 117.

6 (London, 1614), p. 183, cited by Harry Levin, p. 148.

7 Peter Conveney, The Image of Childhood: The Individual and Society: A Study of the Theme in English Literature (Baltimore: Penguin Books, rev. ed. 1967), p. 29.

8 Rainer Maria Rilke, Ueber Kunst, in Verse und Prosa, aus dem Nachlass (Lepizig, 1929) cited in George Boas, The Cult of Childhood (London: The Warburg Institute, 1966), pp. 77-8.

Childhood is the realm of great fairness and deep love ... Either the child'sfullness of images remains undisturbed by new experiences, or the old love sinks like a dying city under the rain of ash from this unexpected eruption. Either the new becomes the rampart that protects a portion of his child-being, or it becomes the flood that denies it without a backward glance; i.e. the child becomes either older and smarter in the bourgeois sense, as a seed of a serviceable citizen he takes his place and receives his initiation; or he simply ripens quietly from within, from his own child-being outward, which is to say, he becomes a person in the spirit of all times: an artist. (my translation)

I Thomas Rosenmeyer, The Green Cabinet (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1969), p. 57-8.

10 Sir J.G. Frazer, The New Golden Bough, ed. Theordore Gaster (New York: Criterion Books, 1959), pp. 208-302; Marie-Louise von Franz, The Probem of the Puer Eternus (Zurich: Spring Publications, 1970), p. 1.

Norman Cohn, The Pursuit of the Milennium: Revolutionary Messianism in Medieval and Reformation Europe and its Bearing on Modern Totalitarian Movements, (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 2nd ed., 1961), p. 99.

12 The Landscape of the Mind; Pastoralism and Platonic Theory in Tasso's Aminta and Shakespeare's Early Comedies (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969), p, 58.

13 Blake's Night: William Blake and the Idea of Pastoral (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973), p. 7.

11 C.G. Jung, "The Psychology of the Child Archetype," in Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious (New York: Pantheon, 1959), pp. 177-78.

15 Wilfred P. Mustard, Introduction to The Eclogues of Baptista Mantuanus (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1911), pp. 36-40.

16 "To His Booke," The Minor Poems: 1, 7.

17 E.K., "Dedicatory Epistle" The Minor Poems, 1, 7, 10.

18 The Minor Poems, 1, 10.

11 Jacopo Sannazaro, Arcadia and Piscatorial Eclogues, trans. Ralph Nash (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1960), p. 74.

20 Edwin Greenlaw, et. al. eds., The Works of Edmund Spenser: A Variorum Edition (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1932), vol. 1 (1, i, 1-5).

21 Richard Edwards, A Paradise of Dainty Devices, ed. H.E. Rollins, (Cambridge Press, 1927), p. 10.

22 A round by David Melvill in W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, An Elizabethan Song Book (London: Faber and Faber, 1957), p. 220.

21 Words and music by John Dowland; W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, p. 98.

21 W.H. Auden and Chester Kallman, p. 72.

25 C. L. Barber, Shakespeare's Festive Comedy: A Study of Dramatic Form and its Relation to Social Custom (1959); rpt. Cleveland: Meridan, 1966), pp. 10 ff.

26 Andre Varagnac, Civilisation Traditionelle et Genres de Vie (Paris: Albin Michel, 1948), pp. 138-152.

27 Edmund Spenser, "May," lines 1-10.

28 N.Z. Davis, "Youth Groups and Charivaris in 16th Century France," Past and Present, 50 (1971), pp. 50-55.

29 N.Z. Davis, p. 54. The anthropologist Victor Turner sees an analogy between these Saturnalian role reversals involved in seasonal festivals and the paradoxical role


alterations that take place in the rites of passage from childhood to maturity. Both exemplify what he calls "liminal" phenomena. "Variations on a Theme of Liminality," in Secular Ritual, ed. S. Moore and B. Meyerhoff, (Amsterdam, 1977), pp. 36-52.

30 Phillip Stubbes, The Anatomic of Abuses, cited by C.L. Barber, pp. 21-2.

31 Leah Sinanoglou Marcus, Childhood and Cultural Despair; A Theme and Variations in Seventeenth Century Literature (Pittsburgh: U. Pittsburgh Press, 1978), p. 79. She quotes Luther: "if these things had been kept as play for youth and for young pupils so that they would have had a childish game of Christian doctrine and life ... if it were left at that, the palm-ass, the ascension and many things of the kind could be tolerated ... But for us old fools to go about in mitres and finery, and take it seriously, ... that is the very devil."

32 N.Z. Davis, p. 74.

33 Prose Works of Sir Phillip Sidney, ed. Albert Feuillerat. 4 Vols. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1962), 1, p. 13.

34 Cited by William Berg, Early Vergil (London: The Athlone Press, 1974), p. 115.

35 "Puer and Senex" in Puer Papers, ed. Cynthia Giles (Irving, Texas: Spring Publications, 1979), p. 23.

36 p. 24.

37 William Empson, Some Versions of Pastoral (London, 1935; rpt. Norfolk, Conn.: New Directions, 1960), p. 241-9.

38 Robert Herrick, "To his Saviour, A Child; a Present, by a Child," in The Complete Poems of Robert Herrick, ed. J. Max Patrick (New York: Doubleday-Anchor, 1963), p. 469.

39 L.S. Marcus, pp. 58 ff.

41) Richard Cody, p. 59.

41 James Hillman, p. 26.

42 Stanzas I and 111, "Ode on the Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood," The Poetical Works of William Wordsworth, ed. Thomas Hutchinson and Ernest de Selincourt (London: Oxford University Press, 1959), p. 460.

43 Theocritus, "Idyll 1," 11. 21-29 in The Poems of Theocritus, trans. Anna Rist (Chapel Hill, N.C., University of North Carolina Press, 1978), pp. 28-29.

44 Thomas Rosenmeyer, The Green Cabinet: Theocritus and the European Pastoral Lyric (Berkeley: Univ. of Cal. Press, 1969), p. 57.

4-9 Christopher Marlowe, "The Passionate Shepheard to His Love," England's Helicon, p. 186.

46 Rosenmeyer, p. 57. Precise and detailed description of this sort has been regarded largely as a rhetorical formula rather than as an expression of freshened perception by most modern scholars. But the fact that certain kinds of observations of the physical world are conventional doesn't detract from their immediacy. The pastoral inventory often conveys the clear spareness of the Imagist poem and the nuance of oriental lyric. See: R.H. Blyth, Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics (rpt; New York: Dutton, 1960; first ed. Tokyo, 1942).

47 Hallett Smith, Elizabethan Poetry (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1952), pp. 4-5.

411 Rosenmeyer, p. 201.

41 W.W. Greg, Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (London: Sidgewick and Jackson, 1906), pp. 400-401.


50 Renato Poggioli, The Oaten Flute: Essays on Pastoral Poetry and the Pastoral Ideal (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1975), pp. 13-14; W.H. Auden, The Age of Anxiety (New York, 1947), p. 85.

11 Theodore Lidz, The Person: His or Her Development Throughout the Life Cycle (rev. ed. New York: Basic Books, 1976), p. 450.

51 Morton Bloomfield, The Seven Deadly Sins (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1952), p. 76.

53 Elizabethan Lyrics edited by Norman Ault (New York: Sloane Associates, 1949), p. 25.

11 One disclaimer before I proceed. The concept of youth in this chapter relates largely to the male of the species and often excludes the experience of the female. The puer is a boy child; the ideal pattern of career is the man's; the basic pastoral dichotomy of nature vs. civilization is a particularly male outlook. This limitation of perspective to that of half the human race is primarily due to the male authorship of all our texts, but it is exaggerated in this case because of the emphasis that pastoral places on male sexual attitudes.

The Faerie Queene, 11, xii, 74.

C.G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation, trans. R.F.C. Hull, Collected Works Vol. 5. Bollingen Series XX (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2nd ed. 1967), p. 249.

17 Aby Warburg, "Sandro Botticellis 'Geburt der Venus' and 'Frueling,' " Gesammelte Schriften (Leipzig, 1923), 1, 1-45.

11 Sannazaro, p. 43.

59 "Pastoral poetry was often erotic, and the distinction between goddesses, nymphs and shepherdesses, or between beautiful young men of myth and the feigned shepherds of pastoral was often not clear." p. 93.

60 The Complete Works of Christopher Marlowe, ed. Fredson Bowers (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1973), 11, 432.

61 Sannazaro, p. 50-51.

62 Aminta, 1, ii, 343, cited by Poggioli, p. 13.

13 William Paden, "The Medieval Pastourelle," Diss. Yale, 1971.

64 Elizabethan Lyrics, p. 405.

61 Charles L. Sanford, The Quest for Paradise: Europe and the American Moral Imagination (Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1961).

66 Denis Diderot, Supplement au Voyage de Bougainville, ed. Gilbert Chinard (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1935), pp, 151-2.

At the moment that the male reaches full strength, that his sexual development reaches full maturity ... at the moment that the young girl is tired of the fading stage of childhood and reaches the ripeness to conceive desire, to inspire it and to satisfy it fruitfully ... he is permitted to approach a woman and be ap

proached; she displays herself publicly, face uncovered and bare-breasted,

either to accept or refuse the caresses of a man ... it is a great festival ... If it is

a girl, in the evening the boys assemble in a great crowd around the hut and the

air resounds all night with the sound of voices and instruments ... the man is

exhibited before her naked from all angles, in all postures. If it is a boy, it is the

young girls who set out to please him with all the honors of the festival and

expose to his gaze the naked woman without reserve and without secrets. The

remainder of the ceremony takes place on a bed of leaves... (translation mine)


67 Norman Cohn, pp. 149-191.

61, The Milennium of Hieronymus Bosch: Outlines of a New Interpretation, translated by Esther Wilkins and Ernst Kaiser (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1951). This painting has generated controversy among interpreters at least since 1599 when the Spanish inquisitor, Siguenca saw in it the "apotheosis of sin" and the "flourishing of lust." Fraenger is one of the only writers willing to regard it as a celebration rather than a condemnation of the pleasures of the flesh. Despite the dubiousness of his more extreme claims-that Bosch was illustrating an esoteric program dictated to him by one Johannes Aegidius, the leader of an Adamite congregation-Fraenger's description of the overall atmosphere of the scene, as well as his explication of many specific details is far more persuasive to me than the orthodox explanations of the work. E.H. Gombrich's conjecture that the picture portrays the condition of the earth before the flood has been much more widely accepted, The Heritage of Apelles, Studies in the Art of the Renaissance (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1976). This acceptance probably rests on his previous reputation. His argument here depends largely on the presence of the Ark on Mt. Ararat, which in fact does not appear where it belongs on the enclosing panels of the tryptich, and which Gombrich argues most probably was covered by the panel's frame. Although Gombrich dismisses Fraenger's work as a "fantastic reading," the latter's interpretation does not depend on absent elements of the work and gives a better account of what is present in it. Gombrich (p. 87) admits that Fraenger's "wild hypothesis" does "discern something essential: the sense of joy rather than revulsion that pervades the painting." Gombrich explains this sense of joy by asserting, "the real sin of man before the flood was the absence of sin." Whatever the doctrinal intentions behind the painting, there is agreement that it sets forth a vision of ecstatic prelapsarian sexuality.

69 "The Argument of Marvell's Garden," in William Keast, editor, Seventeenth Century English Poetry (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962), pp. 292-296.

70 Richard Lovelace, Poems, ed. C.H. Wilkinson (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1925), p. 146.

11 Translated by Henry Reynolds, 1628. Cited in Frank Kermode, English Pastoral Poetry: From the Beginnings to Marvell (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1952), pp. 82-3.

72 William Blake, Songs of Innocence and Experience: Showing the Two Contrary States Of the Soul, facsimile edition by Geoffrey Keynes (New York: Orion Press, 1925), plate 51.

73 Blake, plate 44.

74 On Blake's debt to Spenser, see David Wagenknecht, Blake's Night: William Blake and The Ideal of Pastoral, pp. 1-8. On the genre of pastoral debate, see chapter four, below.

75 Hallett Smith, pp. 89-90.

76 Henry Hawkins, Parthenia Sacra (Rouen, 1633), p. 11, cited in Stanley Stewart, The Enclosed Garden (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1966), p. 44.

77 Muriel Segal, Virgins, Reluctant, Dubious and Avowed (New York: Macmillan, 1977), also John Layard, The Virgin Archetype (New York and Zurich: Spring Publications, 1972).

78 Tom Moore, "Artemis and the Puer," Puer Papers (Irving Texas: Spring Publications, 1979), p. 190.

79 Richard Barnefield, "The Shepheardes Content," in Kermode, English Pastoral Poetry, p. 179.


10 Andrew Marvell, Poems and Letters, ed. H.M. Margoliouth, revised by Pierre Legouis, 2 Vols. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1971), 1, 41-44, 11. 41-8.

11 Sir Walter Ralegh, "A Poesie to prove Affection is not Love," in The Poems of Sir Walter Ralegh, ed. Agnes Latham (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), p. 17. Perhaps the strongest expression of these sentiments is found in Shakespeare's sonnet 129, beginning: "Th'expense of spirit in a waste of shame/Is lust in action..."

81 The Complete Poetry of Ben Johnson, edited by William B. Hunter Jr. (New York: Anchor Seventeenth century series, 1963), p. 260.

83 Marvell, 1, p. 25.

84 An exception to this reticence is Leah Singangoulou Marcus' chapter on Marvell, "Beyond Child's Play," in her recent Childhood and Cultural Despair, pp. 201-232. Her interpretation of Marbvell's concern with sexual innocence runs parallel to mine, but she makes no reference to either pastoral or to seventeenth century sexual attitudes to supply a context for his stance.

85 Phillipe Aries, Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life, trans. Robert Baldick (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1962), p. 102.

86 p. 100.

17 Marvell, 1, 26.

"I See: Mircea Eliade, Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, trans. Willard R. Trask (Princeton: Bollingen Series LVI, Princeton University Press, 2nd ed., 1969), pp. 249-267 and Maren Lockwood, "Experimental Utopia in America," in Utopias and Utopian Thought, ed. Frank E. Manuel (Cambridge: Houghton Mifflin, 1966) pp. 183-200. Also N. Bishop, "The Great Oneida Love-In," in American Heritage, 20, 1969, pp. 14-17, 86-92. In Life Against Death: The Psychoanalytical Meaning of History (New York: Modern Library Paperback, 1959), Norman 0. Brown's interpretation of Freud's discussion of the organization of the sexual drive parallels the pastoral motif discussed here. Brown states that the sexual and social organization of adulthood are interconnected: the pattern of "normal" adult sexuality or "genital organization is a tyranny which supresses some of the other components of sex altogether and subordinates the rest to itself. On the other hand, "...children explore in indiscriminate and anarchistic fashion all the erotic possibilities of the human body ... From the Freudian point of view, the subordination of forepleasure to endpleasure in sexual intercourse is a compromise concealing a conflict between the desire of the immortal child in us for pure polymorphous play and the reality principle which imposes genital organization on us ... the immortal child in us is frustrated even in the sexual act, by the tyranny of genital organization. Hence the attempt to overthrow genital organization in certain practises of mysticism ... The heretical Christian sect of Adamites, who sought to recapture in this life the innocent eroticism of Adam before the Fall, practised coitus reservatus ... Freud's doctrine of infantile sex ... is a scientific reformulation of the theme of the innocence of chilhood ... childhood remains man's indestructible goal..." pp. 28-30. Though Brown doesn't discuss pastoral ideals, their overlap with his theme is apparent. Indeed, Life Against Death, though it made no mention of goats or gardens, was an important intellectual inspiration for the "back to the land" movement of young people in the 1960' and '70's. See Theodore Roszak, The Making of a Counter Culture: Reflections on the Technocratic Society and its Youthful Opposition (Garden City: Doubleday, 1969).

89 Longus Daphnis and Chloe, translated by Paul Turner (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1968), pp. 12-13. All references to this edition.


90 Free Love, virginity and sexual play, the three varieties of innocent love idealized in pastoral, correspond closely to the normal forms of adolescent sexual behavior categorized by Erik Erikson: "sex without commitment," "disciplined and devoted delay," and "erotic states without consummation." (Youth: Change and Challenge [New York: W.W. Norton, 1963], p. 9.) The contradictory appeals, demands and justifications of all three are likely to swirl in the young person's mind. The dominant culture providing the adolescent's models tends to reinforce either one or both extreme alternatives, extolling virginal chastity and promiscuous free love. It rarely advocates or even recognizes the important advantages of the middle way of "erotic states without consummation." This is unfortunate, for as Theodore Lidz has observed, "childish play" has an important developmental role in providing a young person shelter against the frightening urgency of awakening desire:

Most adolescents, before they can feel free to enjoy sexual intercourse must slowly build up their security and confidence in their abilities to cope with the sexual drives, gain standards to protect themselves realistically, test their own limits of tolerating anxiety and guilt, ...and learn in actuality that sexual expression will not lead to dissolution of the self. (p. 355)

Robert Sorenson, the author of Adolescent Sexuality in Contemporary America (New York: World, 1973) concludes his work with an exhortation that such "free sportings" be given their due by those whose salad days have passed:

Our study has shown what we consider an unfortunate tendency toward premature intercourse among adolescents. (About 50% in 1973.) Most adolescents are giving themselves little time for beginning sexual activites and move directly to sexual intercourse. One reason for this may be that in our society sexual intercourse is widely considered the only valid expression of sexual love. Another reason may be the unwillingness of many parents to consider advanced sexual beginning activities as morally different from sexual intercourse.

We feel strongly that beginning sexual activities should be encouraged. These activities enable a person to learn much about his and her values in sexual matters ... In the petting process, all manner of experimentation is both permitted and possible in contrast to early adolescent sexual intercourse, when momentum, thrust and male orgasm seem to be the dominant elements of the process... (p. 355)

91 Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages, trans. W.R. Trask (New York: Pantheon Books, Bollingen Series, XXXVI, 1953), p. 192.

92 Claudian, "Epithalamium de Nuptiis Honorii Augustin," 11. 94-96. Cited by A.B. Giamatti, The Earthly Paradise and the Renaissance Epic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), p. 51.

93 Curtius, p. 192.

94 J.F. de St. Lambert, "Discours Preliminaire" to his Saisons, trans. in The Monthly Review, 41 (1769), 496; cf. J.E. Congleton, Theories of Pastoral Poetry in England, 1684-1798 (Gainesville, Fla.: U. of Florida Press, 1952), p. 191.

95 Daphnis and Chloe, pp. 34-5.

96 Theocritus, "Idyll VII," translated by Thomas Rosenmeyer in The Green Cabinet, pp. 190-1.


97 Rosenmeyer, p. 190.

98 FQ, 11, xii, 50, 51.

99 The Complete Poetry of Robert Herrick, p. 26.

100 Wilhelm Fraenger, p. 127. The Adamites claimed to have a special mode of sexuality: "modum specialem coendi, non tamen contra naturam quali decit Adam in paradiso fuisse usum." (p. 129).

"I Leonard Barkan, Nature's Work of Art: The Human Body as an Image of the World (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1975), p. 43.

10, Marvell, p. 48.

103 Marvell, p. 21.

104 Amoretti, LXXXVI, The Minor Poems, If, 137.

105 The Poems of Sir Phillip Sidney, ed. Wm. Ringler (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962), p. 87.

106 See also: Carew's "A Rapture," The Poems of Thomas Carew, ed. ed. Rhodes Dunlap (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1949), pp. 49-53.

107 The Selected Poetry of John Donne, ed. Marius Bewley (New York: Signet, 196), p. 145,1.27.

108 Harry Levin, pp. 183-184.

109 Poggioli, P. 10.

110 A. Bartlett Giamatti, The Earthly Paradise and the Renaissance Epic (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1966), p. 126.

111 Marie-Louise von Franz, p. 2.

112 Marie-Louise von Franz, p. 111, 10 ff.

"I Homer, The Odyssey, trans. Robert Fitzgerald (New York: Anchor-Doubleday, 1963), X, 336-7, p. 175. The restoration of adult identity after such regression is invariably painful. Odysseus' companions make a great moan when they are transformed back from animals into men.

114 Faerie Queene, II, xii, 83.

115 Stanley Stewart, p. 122.

116 Janet Howell Marx, "The Marriage of Man and God: Solomon's Song of Songs and Resurrection in The Divine Comedy," Thesis, Columbia University, 1969, p. 12.

117 Stanley Stewart, p. 26.

118 Holy Bible, Douay Version (Maryland, 1914), p. 691.

119 E.G. Gardner, Dante and the Mystics (London, 1913), p. 112, and J.H. Marx, pp. 5, 13, 15, 49-50, 55.

120 The Purgatorio, trans. John Ciardi (New York: New American Library, 1961), pp. 283-4, Canto XXVIII, 11. 1-18; 34-42.

12, A.B. Giamatti, p. 105.

122 A.B. Giamatti, p. 109.

123 In the title and introductory chapter of his book on Vergillian pastoral, Paul Alpers observes that Dante thinks of him as a bucolic poet. The Singer of the Eclogues (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).

124 Cited by Levin, p. 186.