"The Sheepheard's Sorrow":

Anti Pastorals of Youth and Age


The preceding chapters have explored the pastoral world as a vision of the good life, a utopia whose rustic features represent an array of ethical, aesthetic and psychological ideals appropriate to the stages of youth and old age. Though some of these ideals contradict others, all of them affirm an alternate existence peripheral to the dominant social order; and they envision non-urban, non-adult phases of life as a "golden world" or a "better world." In the form of invitations, exhortations and enticing descriptions, the pastorals thus far cited advertise the herdsman's life as happy--a life that feels joyful and content and at the same time fulfills an abstract ethical principle. They convey the message that simply to "come away" from thi's world, wherever it is, and to enter the other world is to attain some longed-for felicity. By relocating to the good place, they imply, one loses individuality and becomes identified with the ideal the environment embodies.

But evident and fruitful as this notion of pastoral may be, it is challenged by an abundance of counter-examples. A large body of bucolic poetry complains rather than celebrates, complains not only about the abandoned life of city and adulthood, but about the country and the conditions of youth and age as well. In collections by Vergil, Sannazaro, Garcilaso, Sidney and Spenser, what E. K. categorizes as "plaintive" eclogues alternate with those that are "recreative." Anthologies of lyrics with titles like Bower of Delights or Pills to Purge Melancholy contain more sad songs than happy ones. "The Second Dayes Lamentation of the Affectionate Shepheard" is as popular as "The Shepheardes Content."

This phenomenon of pastoral melancholy seems to contradict the assertion that the pastoral mode is based on the projection of ideals of happiness. The present chapter attempts to resolve that contradiction by showing how this large exception in fact proves the rule. In it I trace the psychological processes and the philosophical arguments by which negations of pastoral ideals are generated out of their affirmation. I show how the three elements by which I have defined the modemotifs of rustic life and landscape, primitivistic values, and


conceptions of youth and age as ideal states-are reversed and rejected within the mode itself. I demonstrate that the pastoral complaint is a species of "counter-genre," an "anti-pastoral" convention that transforms the landscape of innocence into a hostile desert, transforms young love into neurotic frustration and transforms the harvest of experience into the famine of despair. I show that by repudiating peripheral styles and stages of life, the sad shepherd asserts himself as an alienated, unlocated individual, and thereby violates the conventional expectations of his generic setting-but in a manner that is itself governed by convention. As Eleanor Winston Leach has noted, "the pastoral is the only mode that contains the image of its own dissolution."1

There are a number of ways that a theory of pastoral can account for this "self-consuming" dialectic. Bucolic poetry's oscillations of mood from gay to gloomy and back, at the most minute as well as at the largest levels of structure, are typical of the lyric in general, for the emotion it musically expresses is itself a form of motion, a wave-like progression between poles of dissonance and harmony. And this undulatory characteristic is especially typical of lyric associated with natural process. In the words of Wallace Stevens:

Passions of rain, or moods in falling snow

Grievings in loneliness, or unsubdued

Elations when the forest blooms; gusty

Emotions on wet roads on autumn nights;

All pleasures and all pains remembering

The bough of summer and the winter branch.2

Or as Theocritus' herdsman says to his grieving companion: "Zeus sends blue skies sometimes, and sometimes he sends rain."3

But the presence of anti-pastoral melancholy and counterutopian attitudes in a world of projected ideals also has more specific explanations, explanations that follow from that world's claims to embody a happier, better life. First, there is a



need to maintain interest. A fiction that portrayed only perfection would soon turn boring or run out of subject matter. Second, the idea of a land of heart's desire by definition invites argumentative challenge. Plato and More both realized that their utopian visions would inevitably attract objections, so they included attacks on the value and feasibility of their ideals within the works themselves. Indeed by anticipating and articulating sceptical responses, they could partially disarm criticism and gain more of their audience's sympathies. Likewise in Arcadia, anti-pastoral elements show the author's awareness of the limitations of wish fulfillment, but at the same time strengthen visions of a better life. Ralegh's nymph unveils the deceptions and fallacies of the world she has been invited to come away to:

The flowers doe fade and wanton fieldes,

To wayward winter reckoning yeeldes,

A honny tongue, a hart of gall

Is fancies spring, but sorrowes fall.

Thy gownes, thy shooes, thy beds of Roses,

Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy poesies,

Soone breake, soone wither, soone forgotten

In follie ripe, in reason rotten.

But after such bitter rebuttal, the speaker-and the reader-can affirm the longings that the intellect rejects:

But could youth last, and loue still breede

Had ioyes no date, nor age no neede,

Then these delights my minde might moue,

To liue with thee, and be thy loue.

Having proven the illusory nature of pastoral ideals of both youth and age, she modulates her tone from sarcasm back to nostalgia.

A final explanation for the anti-pastoral reversal of mood and attitude lies in the psychological makeup of the person who has gone to live "under the green wood tree"--the fictional or real


follower of the pastoralist impulse. Having committed himself to the notion that he has arrived in a better world, such a person is likely to find that any disappointment he encounters there causes him to question his own choice, and hence the value of the whole place. Thus melancholy Jaques adds a verse to Amiens' invitation:

If it do come to pass That any man turn ass,

Leaving his wealth and ease,

A stubborn will to please:

Ducdame, ducdame, ducdame.

Here shall he see Gross fools as he,

an if he will come to me.5

A large frustration of inflated utopian expectations may well grow into a violent reaction against the pastoral world as such:

K: I that was once delighted every morning. Hunting the wilde inhabiters of forrests, I that was once the musique of these vallies, So darkened am, that all my day is evening, Hart-broken so, that molehilles seeme high mountaines, And fill the vales with cries in steed of musique.

I wish to fire the trees of all these forrests;

I give the Sunne a last farewell each evening;

I curse the fidling finders out of Musicke:

With envie I doo hate the loftie mountaines;

And with despite despise the humble vallies:

I doo detest night, evening, day and morning.6

Such intemperate revolt against the other world resembles the kind of wholesale disillusionment with the status quo that motivated the escape to Arcadia in the first place.7 People fed up with society often seek the good life by taking up residence in the outback, but after a brief sojourn, some of them discover that the same inner sources of discontent that drew them away


are heightened in what had seemed from afar to be the ideal place. In such cases, the rural utopia becomes even more constricting than the world they originally fled.

These general principles of anti-pastoral reversal manifest themselves in the utterances of typical herdsmen. The young singers of love-laments and pastoral elegies correspond to what modern psychologists have called "negative puer" or "sick youth."8 C. G. Jung has diagnosed their afflictions:

If we try to extract this common and essential factor from the almost

inexhaustible variety of individual problems found in the period of

youth, we meet in all cases with one particular failure: a more or less

patent clinging to the childhood level of consciousness, a resistance to

the fateful forces in and around us which would involve us in the

world. Something in us wishes to remain a child-to do nothing, or else

indulge our own craving for pleasure or power. . . 9

This diagnosis suggests that the melancholy youth feels the same yearning for childhood expressed in the pastoral of innocence, but at the same time knows that yearning's futility. That is to say, the vision of innocence is really only the wish fulfillment of the sad young man, whereas the sorrowful shepherd is the image of the actual youth who entertains those wishes.9a

The speaker of the largely ignored pastoral subgenre of old-age elegy portrays the archetype of "negative senex" as another diametric reversal of pastoral ideals: those of experience. His complaints about his bodily and mental degeneration violate the assumption of natural harmony and express the absence of those gifts reserved for the wise old shepherd: humble content, stoic fortitude, philosophic understanding and access to the divine.

The double aspect of the figure of old age as positive and negative senex accounts for some of the confusion that is likely to arise between the pastoral of age and the anti-pastoral of melancholy. Both contradict youthful ideals of innocence, but they do so from different points of view. The positive senex bases his opposition on the affirmation of old age and on the


whole cycle of life that includes summer as well as winter; the negative senex rejects youth because the hopelessness of his own condition makes him reject the life cycle as a whole. Distinguishing among positive and negative senex and puer helps the reader track the variations, paradoxes and inversions of basic pastoral formulae that may not be obvious in the surface texture of a work.

The themes of youth and age often determine the resolution of anti-pastoral melancholy. Such resolution emerges at the end of many works, when negations of pastoral ideals give way to a more positive mood and a change of outlook. In some conclusions, the solace afforded by "placing sorrow" in the natural setting appears as a recognition and acceptance of one's fate-an acceptance commonly characterized as the wisdom of age. In other conclusions, departure from the pastoral world to yet another "better world" suggests forms of metamorphic passage from old age to rebirth and from youth to adulthood.

In addition to completing the case for the identification of pastoral ideals with the stages of youth and age by showing them all subject to the same negations, this chapter lays the groundwork for the formal study of the genre of the pastoral debate of youth and age that follows. The polarities it distinguishes-Innocence vs. Experience and positive vs. negative attitudes toward each-are articulated in the structure of poetic disputation. Puer and senex and their negative counterparts correspond to the four basic debate positions: proposal, counterproposal and the rebuttals to each. Seeing the correspondence clarifies the way writers like Henrysson, Sidney, Lodge, Shakespeare and Drayton apply the rhetorical principles of debate to dramatize the themes of generational conflict and of nature vs. art in the setting of Arcadia.

The better world of pastoral is not the best of all possible worlds. Its joys are always relative, validated by invidious comparisons. The most common of these praises the virtues of the countryside to the detriment of the town:


I, synce I sawe suche synfull syghts, dyd never lyke the Towne,

But thought it best to take my sheepe and dwell upon the downe.

Whereas I lyve a plesaunt lyfe, and free from cruell handes;

I wolde not leave the pleasaunt fyelde for all the Townysh Landes.

For syth that Pryde is placed thus, and Vice get us so hye,

And Crueltie doth rage so sore, and men lyve all awrye.

Thynkste thou that God will long forbere his scourge and plague to sende

To suche as hym do styll despyse, and never seke to mende?10

But sorrow also appears within the land of heart's desire as a foil to define and intensify the shepherd's happiness. Completely absorbed in their lovely springtime setting, the carefree innocent boys of Theocritus' first Idyll entertain themselves by singing songs of woe. The sweet music of their pipes, which mingles with the sweet music of the whispering pine, accompanies a recital of the passion, despair and death of the shepherd-singer, Daphnis. Their distance from his suffering heightens their own enjoyment of nature and their freedom from care.

The grand passion expressed in Daphnis' complaint is itself an emotion as alien to the idyllic rapport of boys, goats, wind and pine as the world of courtly intrigue and adult sophistication. As Paul Alpers observes, "Theocritus' Daphnis is heroic precisely to the extent of his defiant isolation from the pastoral world."" Though kindled by youthful erotic energy, Daphnis' anti-pastoral aspiration is frustrated rather than fulfilled by the rustic environment. The precise cause of his suffering is never specified; it has to do with young love, but it cannot be assuaged by the many nymphs who would pursue him. For the wound inflicted by beauty itself is one that beautiful landscapes and beautiful bodies cannot heal. In those who would strive for the highest, the loveliness of the pastoral world stimulates longings that it can never fulfill.

Anti-pastoral aspiration is the cause of the bucolic melancholy that plagues young Daphnis and his later progeny--Aminta, Sincero, Phillisides and Colin Clout-to name but a




few of the romantic adolescents who roam the woods and fields, in the setting but not of it. For them, April is indeed "the cruelest month":

Tho while his flocke went feeding on the greene

And wantonly for joy of Summer plaid

All in despight as if he Would be seene

He cast himself to gound full ill appayed.

Should seem their pleasance made him more complaine

For joy in sight not felt, is double paine."11a

Such double pain transforms the shepherd's landscape of heart's desire into its own opposite, a remote world not better than the one of everyday but worse--a "desart place," a waste land.

The transformation of garden utopia to wilderness dystopia is a familiar pastoral motif, one whose sources can also be traced to Theocritus' first Idyll. As Daphnis sinks under the waters of morbid passion, he utters a final curse of the natural environment he once loved:

Now briars bear violets! Violets spring on thorns! Junipers blossom with narcissus flowers, and all things be confounded: pines grow pears! Since Daphnis is dying, the hart may harry the hounds, And mountain owls find tongue of nightingale!12

His prayer that the order of nature be so confounded employs a series of rhetorical formulae known as adynata-images of impossible couplings and reversals of normal processes. 13 Such adynata, which sprinkle the utterance of all later melancholy shepherds, supply a concentrated instance of the diametric negation of ideals signified by the term "anti-pastoral."

Vergil's tenth eclogue includes another example of this transformation. The urban poet Gallus enters the Arcadian landscape longing for the ideal of innocence and inviting his unfaithful mistress, Lycoris, to join him "here" in a world of love free from violence and political jealousy:


Had only I been one of you-the one To tend your flocks or cultivate your vines! Whether it's Phyllis or Amyntas by me... We'd lie by willows, under pliant vines; Phyllis would bind me wreathes, Amyntas sing. Here are cool springs, Lycoris, meadows soft And groves: here time alone would use us up.14

But Gallus finds that neither this ideal nor the consolation of sheep, herdsmen and rustic gods will suffice to calm the "passion that keeps him under arms of cruel Mars." Infuriated by the inability of the pastoral world to satisfy his needs, he rages incoherently:

I'll go, and all my witty compositions Pipe as a shepherd to Sicilian measures. In woods and lairs of beasts I choose to languish, Carve my love sufferings on the tender trees.

His stormy passion drowns out the elegaic serenity of the bucolic singer, while the landscape itself changes from the enfolding locus amoenus to a hostile and dangerous forest.

These dialectical reversals also appear frequently in Sidney's pastorals. His melancholy shepherds "reply" to another herdsman's expression of bucolic ideals with a purely negating response, one that offers no counter-values but simply expresses a stubborn, despondent individualism and a refusal to enter the landscape. To Dorus' sonnet beginning,

Feede on my sheepe, my chardge my comforte feede,

With sonne's approache your pasture fertill growes,

0 only sonne that suche a fruite can breede,

Phillisides answers,

Leave off my sheepe: it is not time to feede

My sonne is gonne, your pasture barrein growes

O cruell sonne thy hate this harme dothe breede.15


Nature cannot heal the troubled mind; instead the mind's affliction pollutes the pastoral world:

The restfull Caves, now restlesse visions giue,

In dales I see each way a hard assent:

Like late mowne Meades, late cut from ioy I liue

Alas sweet Brookes, doe in my teares augment.

Rocks, woods, hills, caues, dales, meades, brookes aunswer mee:

Infected mindes infect each things they see.16

In a later dialog, the old man, Geron, attributes such sufferings to the excessive passion of youth: "If that thy face were hid, or I were blinde,/ I yet would know a young man speaketh now, Such wandring reasons in thy speech I finde ... Fondlings fonde know not your owne desire. . ."17 By the same process of reversal that transforms the landscape, the pastoral ideal of youth becomes an antitype. Daphnis' melancholy may be heroic, but it also fits a typical pattern of youthful neurosis.

In addition to youthful passion, another source of pastoral melancholy is the presence of death. "Et in Arcadia Ego" proclaims the inscription on the tomb in the famous paintings by Poussin, making the familiar bucolic admission that the golden world is not exempt from mortal reckoning. 18 Death's ironic triumph over youth's promise supplies the occasion for one of the most compelling of pastoral subgenres--the pastoral elegy. Like the love lament, this convention of complaint also hinges on a negation of the ideals of innocence. Caused by a specifically anti-pastoral emotion-the despair that accompanies bereavement-that negation likewise drains vitality from the idyllic landscape youth inhabits and turns it to a wilderness.

Theocritus' first Idyll again supplies the original model for this convention. In their imitations of his lament for Daphnis, many later writers-among them Vergil, Spenser, Sidney and Milton-exhibit the horror of death and meditate upon its


meaning by focussing upon the destruction of youth, since all the living seem innocent in death's shadow and since all life appears like a green world before the final sunset. 19

While the young swain complains about the destruction of the ideals of innocence, the old herdsman often sings sad songs mourning rather than celebrating the condition of experience. Vergil's first eclogue opens with another imitation of Theocritus--a landscape that contains, enfolds and absorbs its inhabitants: "You, Tityrus, under the spreading, sheltering beech,/ Tune woodland musings on a delicate reed."20 But a sorrowful, antipastoral movement follows immediately, as old Meliboeus contrasts his friend's good fortune with his own impending exile. The beauty of home makes it all the more painful to take leave of. Meliboeus says farewell to the land with a Wordsworthian sadness "that lies too deep for tears":21

Go now, my goats; once happy flock, move on.

No more shall I, stretched out in a cavern green,

Watch you, far off, on brambly hillsides hang.

I'll sing no songs, nor shepherd you when you

Browse on the flowering shrubs and bitter Willows.22

This passage once again imitates Theocritus: the place in the first Idyll where Daphnis takes leave of his homeland:

0 wolves! 0 jackals! 0 bears that lie in the mountains!

Farewell! No more will you see Daphnis the cowherd in the coppices, in the glades ... no more. Farewell Arethusa, and streams that pour your waters clear down Thybris ... This is I! This is Daphnis! Here I pastured my herds. Daphnis, who here watered my bulls and heifers!

The motifs and the sentence structure are similar, but the tone is very different. Instead of the boy's rebellious self-assertion in face of his fate, the old man's song of departure is passive and muted. The fault of Meliboeus' better world lies in its contingency, not its limits. The old man is alienated from the pastoral landscape not by restless inner aspirations to go beyond it, for


his years have taught him to love life just as it is in Arcadia. The sources of chaos that create the gulf now come from without. Meliboeus is wrenched from the land by forces originating in the great world of Rome, influences of the vita activa over which as rustic and old man he has no control. In the aftermath of civil war his land has been appropriated and awarded to a veteran of the victorious army. His predicament resembles that of many an old dispossessed Renaissance rustic like Spenser's Melibee or Corin in AYLL The mean estate's ideal of security is shattered. Politics rather than love is the anti-pastoral threat to the pastoral of age.

However, the old man's loss of pastoral felicity is caused not only by external civilization. It is also a function of nature itself. There is no mention of aging in Eclogue 1, but Vergil introduces the melancholy motif of senescence in his portrait of another old man on the verge of exile, Moeris of Eclogue IX:

Age steals all, even my wits. Oft I recall my boyish music set the lingering sun. Now all those songs forgotten! and my voice itself is gone-the wolves saw Moeris first.24

Political exile here is identified with the impending biological exile of death. The process of aging is symbolized by the traveller's approach to the tomb of Bianor. The road's bleakness, the gathering storm and the decay of memory intensify the beauty of half-forgotten snatches of youthful songs and of the landscape left behind.

Like the love complaint and the death elegy, the old man's complaint is also a distinct pastoral genre. The late latin poet Nemesianus expands Moeris' lament, and he in turn is imitated by Maximian and later by Sannazaro .25 One scholar claims that Moeris' speech is the original inspiration of Colin Clout's lengthy elegy in the "December" eclogue of The Shepheardes Calender:26


So now my yeare drawes to his latter terme,

My spring is spent, my sommer burnt up quite:

My harueste hasts to stirre vp winter sterne,

And bids him clayme with rigorous rage hys right.

So nowe he stormes with many a sturdy stoure,

So nowe his blustring blast eche coste cloth scoure.

The carefull cold hath nypt my rugged rynde,

And in my face deepe furrowes eld hath pight:

My head with hoary frost I fynd,

And by myne eie the Crow his clawe dooth wright.

Delight is layd abedde, and pleasure past,

No sunne now shines, cloudes han all ouercast.

Now leave ye shepheards boys your merry glee

My muse is hoarse and weary of thys stounde

Here will I hang my pipe upon this tree

Was never pype of reede did better sounde.

Winter is come that blowes the bitter blaste

And after Winter dreerie death does hast.

Adieu delights, that lulled me asleepe,

Adieu my deare, whose loue I bought so deare

Adieu my little Lambes and loued sheepe

Adieu ye Woodes that oft my witnesse were,

Adieu good Hobbinoll, that was so true,

Tell Rosalind her Colin bides her adieu.27

Spenser was indeed imitating Vergil in this passage-not only Moeris' speech but also the one of Moeliboeus cited earlier. But here, as well as in many other descriptions of old age in the Calender, he was combining traditional pastoral themes with the persistent English convention of old age elegy, a form equally popular among Renaissance and medieval poets. Thomas, Lord Vaux's "I Loathe that I did Love" is a typical example:

My lusts they do me leave,

My francies all be fled

And tract of time begins to weave

Grey hairs upon my head.


For age with stealing steps

Hath clawed me with his clutch,

And lusty life away she leaps,

As there had been none such.

My muse cloth not delight

Me as she did before;

My hand and pen are not in plight

As they have been of yore.

The wrinkles in my brow

The furrows in my face,

Say, limping age will hedge him now

Where youth must give him place.28

just as the ideal of youth has dual, negative and positive aspects, so does the archetype of old age. The astrological figure of Saturn, the wise old god identified with pastoral's Golden Age, is also represented by Kronos, or Father Timethe castrated and castrating ogre fiercely jealous of youth who consumes all that he has created.29 Erikson alludes to the same dual aspect of the archetype when he defines the condition of old age as "a state of mind governed by struggle for Integrity versus a sense of Despair and Disgust.

The negative traits of old age--Despair, Disgust, Disdain and Dread--come to the fore in the anti-pastoral complaint of Wynken in the second eclogue of Drayton's The Shepheardes Garland. He replies to youth's mirth not by affirming the values of age but by regretting his own demise:

Indeed my Boy, my wits been all forlorne,

My flowers decayd, with winter-withered frost,

My clowdy set eclips'd my cherefull morne,

That Jewell gone wherein I joyed most.

My dreadful thoughts been drawen upon my face,

In blotted lines with ages iron pen,

The lothlie morpheu saffroned the place,

Where beuties damaske daz'd the eies of men. . . 31


The negative, "saturnine" mood of this passage recalls the medieval poetry and inconography picturing old age as a gruesome momento mori. According to the theory of correspondances that dominated physiology and psychology until the seventeenth century, old age itself was identified with the melancholy disposition, since it was governed by the cold, dry melancholy humours of the body.32 A person's outlook in the final stage of life could be assumed to be gloomy-at best one of pessimistic wisdom, but more likely an attitude of enfeebled despair:

Elde was paynted after this,

That shorter was a foot, iwys,

Than she was wont in her yonghede.

Unneth herself she mighte fede;

So feble and eke so old was she

That faded was al her beaute.

Ful salowe was waxen her colour; ...

A fould, forwelked thyng was she

That whilom round and softe had be...

The tyme that eldeth our auncessours,

And eldith kynges and emperours,

And that us alle shal overcomen,

Er that deth us shal have nomen;

The time, that hath al in welde

To elden folk, had maad hir eelde...

These olde folk have alwey cold;

Her kynde is sich, whan they ben old.33

Traditional schemes of interpreting allegory attributed a specific eschatological meaning to such negative images of old age. They characterized the vetus homo or "old Adam" as the unregenerate human being who must undergo guilt and punishment for original sin until redeemed by Christ's sacrifice and rebirth. 34 Renaissance writers often exploited these negative connotations of old age with elaborate metaphorical paradoxes expressing anti-pastoral feelings of alienation in youth.


A typical design fitting this pattern is the multiple adynata in which positive youth is transformed into negative old age, while the garden is blasted into desert. Originally published in 1573, Phillipe Desportes' sonnet, "Je me veux rendre hermite et faire penitence," was translated by a number of English poets, including Sir Walter Ralegh. It expresses the passionate youth's intention to become a penitent hermit, but one who will gain neither peace, forgiveness nor wisdom:

Like to a Hermite poore in place obscure, I meane to spend my daies of endles doubt, To waile such woes as time cannot recure, Where none but Loue shall euer finde me out.

My foode shall be of care and sorow made, My drink nought else but teares falne from mine eies, And for my light in such obscured shade, The flames shal serue, which from my hart arise.

A gowne of graie, my bodie shall attire,

My staffe of broken hope whereon Ile Staie,

Of late repentance linckt with long desire

The couch is fram'de whereon my limbs Ile lay.

And at my gate dispaire shall linger still,

To let in death when Loue and Fortune Will.36

The ideal of the old hermit's contemplative solitude here becomes a self-inflicted punishment, a symbol of the young man's saturnine desolation, guilt and despair. The negative hermit of this poem has a schematic relationship to the ideal of Milton's "Il Penseroso," discussed earlier. There the young man coming away to the hermitage finds a place which combines both pastoral ideals of youth and age in the neoplatonic concordia discors of the puer senex. But in Desportes' discordia concors, the same coupling of opposites expresses an amplified dissonance. I shall call this figure the senex puer. The young man, old before his time, rotten before he ripens, joins


the negative aspects of both extreme stages of life into a logically and psychologically disturbing image that turns pastoral nature upside down:37

As if my yeare were waste, and woxen old

And yet alas, but now my spring begonne,

And yet alas, yt is already donne.

All so my lustfull leafe is drye and sere

My timely buds with wayling all are wasted:

The blossome, which my braunch of youth did beare,

With breathed sighes is blowne away and blasted.

My bloosmes that crowned were at firste,

and promised of timely fruite such store,

Are left both bare and barrein now at erst

The flattering fruite is fallen to grownd before,

And rotten, ere they were halfe mellow ripe

My harvest wast, my hope away dyd wipe.38

It is with this conceit that Spenser opens The Shepheardes Calender. He uses the schematic reversal of rhetorical topoi, the double adynaton of senex puer. As I shall show in the final chapter of this book, this device not only portrays the protagonist's feeling of dislocation in the world, it also conveys to the reader a sense of time moving in two directions at once. 39

The despair expressed by much pastoral poetry in reaction to its own utopian assumptions rarely sets the final tone of the Arcadian lyric, the eclogue or the collection. Even the most unrelenting of complaints usually ends on a note of resigned acceptance or future hope. The same natural rhythm that dictates "sun one day, rain the next," insures the eventual return of clear skies. Pastoral melancholy leads to two kinds of outcome, two ways the youthful or aged person alienated from his condition or environment can go. He can expend his lament and become reconciled to his place, or he can take counsel from


grief and head elsewhere. Anti-pastoral sorrow is the prelude either to adjustment or to departure from the alternate world of Arcadia.

There are two basic phases to the emotional progression recently designated "the grief cycle."40 First comes the sufferer's growing sensation of pain and isolation. The climax of that sensation issues in the expression of lamentation and mourning. Such expression often provides a feeling of release that allows for a sufferer's reverse movement of reintegration into his previous social and physical surroundings. Though the natural landscape of pastoral can neither supply the absolute nor undo the losses of amorous frustration' bereavement and the decline of powers in old age, it does provide a context in which the grief cycle can work itself out. As a setting of consolation that includes and absorbs sorrow, it regains the qualities of a chosen place, the virtues of a better world.

Ellen Zetzel Lambert has written about this process in a recent study of the genre of pastoral elegy:

"The pastoral elegy . . . proposes no one solution to the questions raised by death, but rather a setting in which those questions may be posed, or better, "placed." It offers us a landscape. . At remains a concrete, palpable world, a world in which the elegist can place diffuse, intangible feelings of grief and thereby win his release from suffering ... it is the setting, the rural scene as it is composed by the poet and experienced by the herdsmen that consoles us."41

Death may assert its prerogatives in Arcadia, placing a tombstone upon the greensward, but the meadow surrounds it, and if not removing death's sting, at least can neutralize its venom. In his lament for Lycidas, Milton's speaker recites the traditional catalogue of flowers, and it is still the custom to lay bouquets on graves in expensively maintained parks. So appropriate is the natural landscape for mourning that the pastoral poet brings to it the most alien of beings, the apex of the vita activa: the king. And he dresses the royal corpse in shepherd's weeds to remind us of his common bond with all men and with the grass that withers.


The sorrow "placed" in the pastoral world is not only funereal, however. The herdsman's setting also consoles the pains of youth-love pangs, frustrated ambition, disillusionment; and the griefs of old age: exile, poverty, abuse and the approach of death. What about the landscape of rocks and trees and streams provides such solace? First, it is an escape from familiar reality-in Baudelaire's phrase, an "anywhere out of this world" where the distressed person constricted by pent-up feelings can find freedom to deliver his anguish. Since the worldly world clothes the nakedness of pain as well as pleasure with the garb of shame, grief, like erotic love, withdraws from the busy haunts of men to the privacy of the forest:

Oh Woods unto your walks my body hies,

To loose the trayterous bonds of tyring Loue

Where trees wher hearbs where flowers

Their native moisture poures

From foorth their tender stalks, to help mine eyes...

Thus weary in my walke, and wofull too,

I spend the day, fore-spent with daily greefe:

Each object of distresse

My sorrow doth expresse...42

And in addition to listening without offense, the natural setting, like a therapist or a friend, echoes back tormented feelings and assures the afflicted one he has been heard. Often such echoing goes further than mere passive reflection; it expresses total empathy, as nature joins the lament with its own display of turbulence:

Ah trees why fall your leaues so fast?

Ah Rocks, where are your roabes of mosse?

Ah Flocks, why stand you all agast?

Trees, Rocks, and Flocks, what, are ye pensive for my losse?

Floods weepe their springs aboue their bounds,

And Eccho wailes to see my woe:

The roabe of ruthe dooth cloath the grounds,

Floods, Eccho, grounds, why doo ye all these teares bestow?


The trees, the Rocks and Flocks replie,

The birds, the winds, the beasts report:

Floods, Eccho, grounds for sorrow crie,

We grieve since Phillis nill kinde Damons loue consort.43

Pastoral's pathetic fallacy also gives solace to the elderly shepherd. The fading of light and warmth so often evoked at the end of pastorals of old age has the effect of a lullaby, changing fear of the dark into a welcoming of rest:

Still, you could take your rest with me tonight,

Couched on green leaves: there will be apples ripe,

Soft roasted chestnuts, plenty of pressed cheese.

Already roof tops in the distance smoke,

And lofty hills let fall their lengthening shade.44

This typical Vergillian conclusion, with its "surgamus" or invitation, "let us arise and go now," becomes the conventional manner of closing all later eclogues. Though the speakers have found no solution to their sufferings and conflicts, their encounter ends with a provisional reconciliation, a recognition of human contact in creature comfort .45 By making the reader's point of view quickly recede from foreground to setting, this same device "places" the characters in a larger prospect like figures in a Chinese or Flemish landscape, reducing both their hopes and torments into proportion with the vast panorama that surrounds them .46

The pastoral setting consoles with instruction as well as sympathy. The pains of youth and age are due as much to the mental discomfort of disappointment and disorientation as to the actual deprivations of love, vigor or homeland. The sorrow of intellectual disillusionment is compensated by an awakened awareness of the necessity of cyclical change in the surrounding landscape. In observing the proportion between his own misfortunes and nature's decline, the sufferer learns the inevitability of loss, and hence is relieved of an accompanying sense of guilt or incongruity. Such relief can be equated with the familiar "consolation of philosophy." But pastoral solace itself


is not so much a Boethian sense of the futility of all earthly things as a stoic and epicurean prescription of amor fati: an affirmation of what is inevitable and therefore ordered.

In the passage from "December" quoted earlier, Spenser makes Colin Clout an exemplum of this proportion between the inner life of man and the rhythms of nature. In mourning the decline from youth to age, from initiation to exile, from expectation to disappointment, and in equating these with the seasonal progression from spring to winter, Colin reveals the workings of nature within himself. There is no more obvious yet subtle evidence of the human being's place in nature and nature's place in the human being than the life cycle. An awareness that the states of our bodies, our behavior, our emotions and our ideas are all deeply conditioned by our ages is an awareness of our subjection to fate. The facts of lifebirth, copulation and death-are the facts of the life cycle; and the life cycle, which includes death, is the underlying order of the pastoral world.

The consolatory wisdom of embracing one's fate is traditionally derived from the experience of old age. It emerges in the avoidance of becoming "the foreman of Fortune" that Spenser's Thenot has learned in his "thrice threttie years"; it is the humble "wisdom through suffering" of the old men and women in Aeschylus' and Sophocles' tragic choruses; it is the meagre glimmer of sense that rides out the brutal "natural" storm that swallows old Gloucester and Lear: "Ripeness is all." Erik Erikson arrives at the same notion of amor fati when he uses the word integrity to describe the critical achievement of the final stage of life, wherein "... may gradually ripen the fruit of all these seven stages ... an experience which conveys some world order and spiritual sense, no matter how dearly paid for ... the acceptance of one's one and only life cycle ... as something that had to be and that by necessity permitted no substitutions."47

For those whose pastoral sorrows will not yield to an acceptance of their place in the cosmic order, the only alternatives are despair or departure. If the first and formative


stirrings of the pastoralist's impulse takes expression as a seductive invitation to come away to the natural paradise, the final and most withering statements of antipastoral melancholy are songs of longing for escape from a rustic penal colony. One need not be as emphatic or specific as Eleanor Winston Leach in her assertion that "an ultimate turning back to the great world is the common denominator of pastoral literature," to recognize that forsaking the pastoral world is as conventional as going there.48

The death of youth lamented by the pastoral elegy leads a number of writers to seek an alternative to the natural cycle of generativity. As early as the second century B. C., Bion's "Lament for Moschus" complains that this cycle doesn't provide comfort for human mortality but instead a cruel reminder of the finality of death:

Alas, when in the garden wither the mallows, the green celery, and the luxuriant curled anise, they live again thereafter and spring up another year, but we men, we that are tall and strong, we that are wise, when once we die, unhearing sleep in the hollow earth, a long sleep without end or wakening.49

Bion affirms human strenth and intellect as more precious than anything else in nature, and for that very reason more vulnerable. The perception of nature as inimical to the human leaves the shepherd narrators of neo-Latin pastoral elegies by Petrarch, Boccaccio, Castiglione and Sceve standing as separate, aloof and desolate as Vergil's Gallus in landscapes pictured as barren strands and rocky deserts.50 Disenchanted with life on earth, they find some meagre hope in the prospect of reuniting with the deceased in the promised land beyond the grace:

After he became wearied with the groves and the long toil, he was departed, never to return; with winged course he flies forth through trackless ways to the mountains. Thence from the highest summit he looks down and beholds our cares and our confusion, and how great is the distress of the wood that he once ruled. He speaks with Jove and to him entrusts the bereaved fold. Argus, farewell! Brief the delay, we shall all follow thee.51


But consolation of this sort only broadens the gulf between the good life and the shepherd's life in nature. The one who has departed is fortunate; those who remain behind have learned the lesson of the vanity of any earthly paradise, vanitas, vanitatis.

This is a characteristically medieval Christian application of the anti-pastoral theme. Disillusionment with what once appeared as an ideal place drives home the homiletic prescription not to store up treasures in this world where they are liable to rust and rot. Life in nature, like all mortal life, is fallen and corrupt; the only better world lies not in the peripheries but beyond them. Renaissance pastoral elegies preach the same moral. In both, the direction of movement is toward "the other groves and other streams" of the green pastures of heaven.52

A second destination of escape from the pastoral landscape is the golden eternity of works of art. Sidney proposes this alternative in Dicus' pastoral elegy-#75 in the "Fourth Eclogues" of the Arcadia:

Time ever old, and yonge is still revolved Within it selfe, and never taketh ende: But mankind is for aye to nought resolved. The filthy snake her aged coate can mende, And getting youth againe, in youth cloth flourish: But unto Man, age ever death doth sende. The very trees with grafting we can cherish, So that we can long time produce their time: But Man which helpeth them, helplesse must perish. Thus, thus the mindes, which over all doo clime, When they by yeares' experience get best graces, Must finish then by death's detested crime. We last short while, and build long lasting places;

Ah let us all against foule Nature crie:

We Nature's workes doo helpe, she us defaces.

For how can Nature unto this reply?

That she her child, I say, her best child killeth?

Your doleful tunes sweete Muses now apply.53


Like Bion, Dicus rejects both pastoral ideals and consolations. Time, Nature and the life cycle all name the same malevolent opponent of the trapped human spirit. Not only does youth pass, never to return. Just when we are old enough to harvest the wisdom of experience, Nature steals our lives out from under us. Our only hope lies in the mind's ability to "climb over all" and "build long-lasting places" to compensate for Nature's defects; but she cruelly undermines those efforts. However, through the despair here emerges a set of values more substantial than a passing mood of depression. Counter to the pleasure principle of youth and old age's pastoral of the mean estate, they affirm the high aspiration of art and the monuments of civilization.54

The same sense of the futility of the life cycle coupled with the aspiration to escape from nature into art shapes the conclusion of The Shepheardes Calender. Following the senex puer Colin Clout's despairing farewell to a pastoral world that only disappointed all the hopes it raised in him, Spenser appends to the final eclogue the Horatian affirmation that "... all thinges perish and come to theyr last end, but workes of learned wits and monuments of Poetry abide for euer."55 And Yeats' familiar "Sailing to Byzantium" contains a modern constellation of the same group of anti-pastoral motifs: the speaker forsaking the country of youth and old age in search for an elsewhere that will redeem its failures in the glories of art:

That is no country for old men.The young

In one another's arms, birds in the trees -

Those dying generations-at their song,

The salmon falls, the mackerel crowded seas

Fish, flesh and fowl, commend all summer long

Whatever is begotten, born and dies.

Caught in that sensual music all neglect

Monuments of unaging intellect.


An aged man is but a paltry thing,

A tattered coat upon a stick, unless

Soul clap its hands and louder sing

For every tatter in its mortal dress,


Nor is there singing school but studying

Monuments of its own magnificence

And therefore 1 have sailed the seas and come

To the holy city of Byzantium.56

Thus, we come full circle: after outlining pastoral ideals that identify nature, youth and old age with a utopian good life, here we find the green and golden worlds to be sundered and antithetical-just as they are in the passage from Sidney's "Defense" with which this study opened:

Nature never set forth the earth in so rich tapestry as divers poets have done; neither pleasant rivers, fruitful trees, sweet smelling flowers, nor whatsoever else may make the too-much loved earth more lovely; her world is brazen, the poets only deliver a golden.

The young in one another's arms, the birds in the trees, the pleasant rivers, the sweet smelling flowers as well as the dying generations and the tattered coat upon the stick are all brazen; only the words of the poet deliver the Byzantine golden frieze. And yet the same inescapable ambivalence toward nature and art that permeates the pastoral-antipastoral dialectic manifests itself in both these passages. For green and golden worlds are ultimately interrelated and interdependent: what the poet sets forth in a rich tapestry is "the earth"; and what, "once out of nature" in the holy city, the golden bird sings of is "past, passing and to come."57

To the old man, like Yeats' speaker or Colin Clout, escape from the pastoral world implies transcendance: passage beyond the earth to a city of god or to the enamelled court of an eternal emperor. But the young shepherd has a third alternative. He can leave the countryside and make his way to an actual urban environment. This is the course that old Piers urges upon Cuddie in the "October" eclogue:

Abandon then the base and viler clowne,

Lyft vp thy selfe out of the lowly dust:


And sing of bloody Mars, of wars, of giusts

Turne thee to those, that weld the awful crowne

There may thy Muse display her fluttryng wing,

and stretch herselfe at large from East to West...

As I have shown in chapter two, such departure from the countryside and entry into the central world of the vita activa coincides with youth's passage from childhood to adulthood. Though the transition from young love to adult marriage becomes explicit in the nuptial rites that mark the departure from Arcadia in works like Daphnis and Chloe and As You Like It, for the solitary young artist at the end of his childhood, the nature of the mature state he is about to enter remains undisclosed. The melancholy shepherd does, however, unmistakeably experience discomfort in the rustic environment of youth. The sense of the bucolic world's limitations expressed in anti-pastoral complaints-the frustration with its constriction, fragility and simplicity-may be a product of adolescent growing pains, but those pains are intense enough to feel more like the onset of death than of growth.

Our Muses are perished; withered are our laurels. . shepherds have lost their song; flocks and herds scarcely find pasture among the meadows and with muddying feet for scorn they roil the crystal springs; nor do they deign anymore, seeing themselves to lack of milk, to nourish their own offspring. Likewise the beasts abandon their wonted dens; the birds take flight from their sweet nests; the hard and insensate trees cast down their fruits upon the earth before their due maturity; and the tender flowers all together wither away throughout the saddened countryside.58

Thus at the end of his book, Sannazaro's young narrator leaves the woods on his way back to court, experiencing not so much the exuberance of commencement as the melancholy of valediction.

As Sidney places "Dicus #75" just before his company's final departure from Arcadia, and Spenser places the lament for Dido in the eleventh month, so Sannazaro sets a pastoral elegy


immediately prior to this concluding passage. The repeated juxtaposition of the death of a young person and the withdrawel from the pastoral world suggests their possible ritual equality. Mircea Eliade states that "in scenarios of initiatory rites, 'death' corresponds to the temporary return to chaos; hence it is the paradigmatic expression of the end of a mode of being-the mode of ignorance and the child's irresponsibility." This identification is "... characteristic of archaic mentality: the belief that a state cannot be changed without first being annihilated ... without the child's dying to childhood... In modern terms we could say that initiation puts an end to natural man and introduces the novice to culture."55 Insofar as the eclogues are the product of a writer at the start of his career, the three alternative escapes from Arcadia proposed in bucolic poetry-passages from earth to heaven, from nature to art and from youth to maturity-all are equivalent metaphors for the end of the beginning and the start of the poet's "major phase."

This conclusion of the last three chapters' discussion of the connection among the rustic motifs of pastoral, its primitivistic ideals of happiness and its thematic preoccupation with youth and old age again highlights the importance of the mode's projection of temporal processes onto a spatial map. By postulating two contiguous worlds of city and country, pastoral conventions articulate a set of contraries out of which emerge a range of philosophical definitions and ethical judgements. The idea of human culture-what in the Renaissance was called the "artificial"--takes shape by being physically localized in a place opposite to the green world of nature. Once defined, each world is judged by reference to the other. Civilization is bad because it suppresses natural feeling or is dominated by Fortune; Nature is bad because it violates human aspiration and accomplishments embodied in civilization. The equally conventional pastoral dichotomy of periphery and center of the human life cycle enriches these definitions and judgements. The pastoral stages of youth and old age are distinguished from adulthood by their non-worldly pursuits, which are judged superior or inferior to its active, civilized life.


In addition to delineating opposition, the dichotomy of country and city worlds makes possible a commerce and communication across borders, with the result that a simple dualistic pattern yields to greater complexity. A dissatisfied person can travel from one world to another and thereby change his nature. Insofar as he rejects his home setting and longs for the opposite, he violates the separation between worlds at the same time as emphasizing it. As we have shown in this chapter, such dissatisfaction and leaning over the border is in many ways a consequence of the existence an alternative world where the grass is always greener, the gold always brighter.

The inevitability of movement between the two worlds of city and country suggest that the pastoral-anti-pastoral dichotomy is more than a dichotomy; it is analogous to the opposing extremes of a cycle of changes. Thus the metaphor of spatial separation requires modification. A succession of contraries interlocked with one another is better represented by a metaphor of temporal opposition, like the stages of the cycle. The contrary states of youth, maturity and old age carry their opposites within them; at any moment each is residual with the past, pregnant with the future. Like the other natural processes that provide its backdrop and like the emotional processes which it voices, pastoral's movement is by contraries, and out of its movement contraries emerge. The dialectic of pastoralanti-pastoral conventions and its cycle of conflicting judgements about country and city is congruent with the debate-like retention and rejection of the past that characterizes all human aging and growth.


Vergil's Eclogues: Landscapes of Experience (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1974), p. 37. "Only" in this sentence is a broad exaggeration. In "The Renaissance Imagination: Second World and Green World," Centennial Review 9(1965):36-78, Harry Berger Jr. discusses the way all fictions have a tendency at their conclusions to destroy the "heterocosm" or other world of imaginary reality they create. In Self-Consuming Artifacts (Berkeley: University California Press, 1972), Stanley


Fish sees such dissolution of the poem's reality deliberately employed in seventeenthcentury hieroglyphic and meditational verse. The self-negating dialectic of verse debate is further discussed in the next chapter of this study.

2 "Sunday Morning," in The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1961), p. 66.

3 The Poems of Theocritus, translated by Anna Rist (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1978), Idyll 4.43, p. 59. This passage's significance is pointed out by Ellen Zetzel Lambert in Placing Sorrow: A Study of the Pastoral Elegy Convention from Theocritus to Milton (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1976), p. xvii.

4 "The Nimph's Reply," England's Helicon, ed. Hyder Edward Rollins (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1935) 1, 185.

5 As You Like It, 11, v, 47ff.

6 Sir Phillip Sidney, "Yee Gote-heard Gods, that love the grassie mountaines," The Poems of Sir Phillip Sidney, ed. William A. Ringler, Jr. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1962),

pp. 81, 82.

7 H. R. Patch has shown how the ideal world of pastoral is generated by a "negative formula"--a dialectical reversal of the description of the actual world. Tile Other World According to Descriptions in Medieval Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1950), pp. 12ff.

8 see, for instance, Erik H. Erikson, "Youth: Fidelity and Diversity" in Youth: Change and Challenge, ed. Erik H. Erikson (New York: Basic Books, 1963), pp. 15ff.; Kenneth Kenniston, "Youth as a 'New' Stage of Life," American Scholar, 1970, pp. 636-650; James Hillman, "Senex and Puer," in Puer Papers, ed. Cynthia Giles (Irving, TX: Spring Publications, 1979), p. 23ff.

9 "The Stages of Life," from Modern Man in Search of a Soul (London and New York, 1933) reprinted in The Portable Jung, ed. Joseph Campbell (New York: The Viking Press, 1971 reprinted by Penguin Books, 1976), p. 9.

9a Harry Berger Jr. develops an analogous conceptual approach in "Mode and Diction in SC." He sees "the paradise principle"--the longing for paradise-as the "psychological basis of the pastoral retreat." Corollary to this is the "have-not principle," which accounts for the hostility and depression of those characters who expect to find paradise in the pastoral world and then suffer the frustration of disillusionment. (Modern Philology 67 (1969) p. 145)

11) Barnabe Googe, Eglogs, Epytaphes, and Sonettes, ed. E. A. Arber (London, 1871), "Egloga tertia," p. 42.

11 The Singer of the Eclogues: A Study of Vergilian Pastoral (Berkeley: University of California, 1979), p. 133.

11, Anonymous, "Eclogue intituled Cuddy," in English Pastoral Poetry, ed. Frank Kermode (New York: Barnes and Noble, 1952), p. 165.

11 translation of Anna Rist, p. 33.

13 Ernst Robert Curtius, European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages (New York, 1963), pp. 94-98, discusses the history of the figure's uses.

14 11. 35-43. This and the following passage (11. 50-54) translated by Paul Alpers, The Singer of the Eclogues (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979). All later citations from The Eclogues are from this translation.

The Poems of Sir Phillip Sidney, p. 43.

p. 147.

17 p. 25.


11 Erwin Panofsky, "Et in Arcadia Ego: Poussin and the Elegaic Tradition," in Meaning in the Visual Arts (New York: Anchor, 1955), pp. 295-320.

11 Vergil's Daphnis in Eclogue V has been traditionally supposed to represent Julius Caesar. Marot, Sceve and Ronsard each wrote elegies lamenting the death of royalty. See Lambert, pp. 107-124.

20 Alpers translation, p. 11.

21 Wordsworth took this image of goats hanging on a crag to illustrate the creative powers of the imagination in the Preface to the 1815 edition of his Poetical Works, edited by Ernest de Selincourt, vol. 2 (Oxford, 1944) p. 436. Cited by Alpers, p. 94.

22 Alpers translation, (1, 74-78), p. 15.

13 Idyll 1, 122-128, trans. Anna Rist, p. 32.

24 Alpers translation. (IX, 51-55), p. 57.

21 G. R. Coffman, "Old Age from Horace to Chaucer," Speculum, IX, 1934, pp. 249-278.

26 Paul Alpers, "The Eclogue Tradition and the Nature of Pastoral," CE, 34, 1972, p. 365-366.

27 "December," 11. 127-155 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, 117-8. All later references to this edition.

"I Thomas, Lord Vaux, "The Aged Lover Renounceth Love," The Poems of Lord Vaux, ed. Larry P. Vonalt, (Denver: Alan Swallow, 1960), p. 29.

29 James Hillman, p. 16; also R. Klibansky, E. Panofsky, and F. Saxl, Saturn and Melancholy (London: Nelson and sons, 1964).

10 Erik H. Erikson, "Reflections on Dr. Borg's Life Cycle," in Adulthood (New York, Norton and Co. 1978), p. 16.

31 Works of Michael Drayton, vol. V., ed. Kathleen Tillotson and B. H. Newdigate (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1961), p. 50, 11. 13-20.

32 Lawrence Babb, The Elizabethan Malady: A Study of Melancholia in English Literature from 1580 to 1642 (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1951), pp. 11-13.

33 The Romaunt of the Rose, 11. 349-412, translated by Geoffrey Chaucer in The Works of Geoffrey Chaucer, ed. F. N. Robinson (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1957), pp. 568-9.

-34 Robert P. Miller, "The Scriptural Eunuch and Chaucer's Pardoner," in Schoek and Taylor, Chaucer Criticism (Terre Haute: University of Notre Dame Press, 1960), p. 221.

36 The Poems of Sir Walter Ralegh, edited by Agnes Latham (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1962), p. 11.

37 The reversal of the pastoral of solitude is a traditional bucolic pattern. Sidney's Dorus hints at the possible drawbacks of this perfect place in the refrain to his song of praise quoted earlier: "No danger to thy selfe if be not in thy selfe." Petrarch, who originated "the pastoral of self" in his Life of Solitude later described the morbid self-obsession and hopeless longings for his beloved that invaded the peace of his sheltered retreat. The isolation which at first brought him into closer rapport with God and nature soon turned to sloth and despair:

Why, do you not see that if a man bears his wound with him, a change of scene is but an aggravation of his pain and not a means of healing it?... In whatever place you are, to whatever side you turn, you will behold the face, you will hear the voice of her whom you have left ... do you imagine that love is to be


extinguished by subterfuges like this? Believe me, it will rather burn more fiercely.

Petrarch's Secret or the Soul's conflict with Passion, trans. William H. Draper (London, 1911), pp. 141, 143, cited in Judy Zahler Kronenfeld, "The Treatment of Pastoral Ideals in AYLI," Stanford Diss. 1970., p. 213.

38 "December," 97-108.

39 Studies by Babb, SaxI and Kronenfeld have all shown that the negativity of these melancholy characters was itself a popular Renaissance ideal. The saturnine temperament and mood was often considered a badge of genius, especially in neoplatonic circles. Indeed the melancholy posture became not only an expression of real emotional distress but a fashionable affectation. English observers attributed the trend to the corrupt influence of continental models, and often satirized it, as in this dialogue between Rosalind and Jaques in AYLI:

Ros.: They say you are a melancholy fellow Jaques: I am so: I do love it better than laughing ... ... Why, 'tis good to be sad and say nothing ... ... it is a melancholy of mine own, compounded of many simples, extracted from many objects, and indeed the sundry contemplation of my travels, in which my often rumination wraps me in a most humorous sadness... Ros.: Farewell, Monsieur Traveller. Look you lisp and wear strange suits; disable all the benefits of your own country; be out of love with your nativity, and almost chide God for making you that countenance you are; or I will scare think you have swam in a gondola... (IV, i, 2-34).

In practise then, the contrast between the puer senex and the senex puer was often blurred. By indulging himself as the latter, the young man aspired to reach the heights of the former.

40 See Robert Jay Lifton, The Broken Connection: On Death and the Continuity of Life (New York: Simon and Shuster, 1979), pp. 195-99.

41 Placing Sorrow, pp. xii-xiv.

41 Ignoto, "The Sheepheards sorrow for his Phaebes disdaine," England's Helicon, p. 108.

43 Thomas Lodge, "The Sheepheard Damons Passion," England's Helicon, p. 91.

44 Eclogue 1, conclusion, Alpers translation, p. 15.

41 In Vergil's Pastoral Art: Studies in the Eclogues (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1970), Michael Putnam argues that this consolatory conclusion is to be taken ironically. Putnam claims that the fortunate Tityrus' failure to sincerely commiserate with Meliboeus' suffering forces us to read the first eclogue as bitter satire. (pp. 12, 329). But such a reading is only partial no matter how admirably defended. Our sympathy toward Meliboeus, like our sympathy for other Vergillian victims of historical conflict, does not mean that we take sides. The injustice of the two old men's portions and the inevitability of the approaching doom of one of them adds a poignant intensity to the crepuscular scene-an indifferent beauty like that of nature itself.

46 This is the same tone that concludes Steven's "Sunday Morning," a poem that takes most of its themes and images and Vergillian tone from the pastoral elegy.


17 Childhood and Society (New York: Norton, 2nd ed. 1963), p. 268. This wisdom of age is quite close to the ideals of experience outlined in the previous chapter. Depending on context, it is either a positive affirmation of the special value and prerogative of old age, or, it is, as here a more tentative resignation and acceptance of it.

48 Landscapes of Experience, p. 37.

19 Greek Bucolic Poets, ed. and trans. A. S. F. Gow (Cambridge, Eng., 1953), p. 134.

50 Lambert, Placing Sorrow, pp. 51 ff.

51 Petrarch, Bucolicum Carmen, second eclogue, 11. 115-21, cited and translated by Lambert, p. 59.

11 But they usually conclude with a second reversal of tone which conveys a less pessimistic outlook toward life on earth. In "Lycidas," for example, the apotheosis of the lost friend not only heightens Christian faith in the hereafter, it also redeems the fallen world:

So Lycidas, sunk low, but mounted high Through the dear might of him that walk'd the waves, Where other groves, and other streams along With Nectar pure his oozy Locks he laves... Now Lycidas the Shepherds weep no more; Henceforth thou art the Genius of the shore, In thy large recompense, and shalt be good To all that wander in that perilous flood.

By dissolving the isolation of the mourner, reaffirming the community of survivors, and declaring the continuity between natural and eternal life, this final resolution of his grief allows the mourner to go on living "with eager thoughts ... tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new." And so, once the death of Spenser's Dido has warned the shepherds of "the trustlesse state of earthly things," she becomes the tutelary deity of Arcadia. In the final stanzas of the elegy, her benevolent influence resurrects fallen nature with a new dispensation, transposing the "carefull verse" of complaint into the "ioyfull verse" of celebration.

53 The Poems of Sir Phillip Sidney, p. 127.

-'A This same answer to the aging process is stated by the young-old narrator of Shakespeare's sonnets 63-73.

11 Translated or glossed thus by E. K. The actual text of the final emblem remains conjectural. The Minor Poems, 1, 467.

56 The Collected Poems of William Butler Yeats (New York: MacMillan, 1956), p. 191.

57 Yeats, p. 192

51, Ralph Nash, ed. Arcadia and Piscatorial Eclogues by Jacopo Sannazaro, (Detroit: Wayne State Press, 1960), p. 152-3.

-11 Mircea Eliade, Birth and Rebirth: The Meanings of Initiation in Human Cultures, trans. Willard Trask (New York: Harper Bros. 1958), pp. xiv-xv.