REPRESENTATION OF PASTORAL IN
GRAY AND GOLDSMITH
REPRESENTATION OF PASTORAL IN GRAY AND GOLDSMITH
In literature, pastoral refers to rural subjects and aspects of life in the countryside among shepherds and other farm workers that are often romanticized and depicted in a highly unrealistic manner.
The adjective ‘pastoral’ was attributed to the poetry written in the Augustan era, as for the Augustan, “Art was posterior to nature because they considered nature as the art to god.”
Augustan poetry flourished during the reign of Ceasar Agustus (who was the Emperor of Rome) which included the works of Virgil, Horace and Ovid. It is also referred as the poetry of 18th Century. Lonely and uncultivated landscapes untouched by commercial activity began to appeal the artists for picturesque scenes in the late 18th Century. Virgil’s Georgics became a model for the 18th Century poets for its natural descriptions and representation of linkage between such scenes with issues of national importance.
The poets such as Thomas Gray (1716) and Goldsmith (1728) adopted the view of landscape poetry in their works. They stressed on the virtues of retirement to the country, thereby followed the convention of praising the virtues and simplicity of country life in contrast with the luxury and corruption of the city. They showed their sympathies for villagers and rustics.
Gray draws on Horace’s picture of the contented country family for the picture of the rustics in his poem ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ whereas Goldsmith uses the passage of Virgil (Georgics) based on the happiness of the simple country lifestyle in his poem ‘The Deserted Village’. He borrows from Horace’s works the attack on the landowners who decorated their estates at the expense of the poor peasants who are driven off the land. Goldsmith in his poem refers to imagery of the desolate landscape of the brook choked with weed, the solitary marsh birds; the ‘Furze...