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- THEOCRITUS, IDYLLS 1 - 4
I have preferred the method of indicating his character ambulando , in introductions to the individual poems, in the hope that he may emerge rather than be laid down, and that the reader may be in a better position to follow and to judge for himself as the evidence unfolds. The introductions, besides their interpretative function, contain whatever factual material I have thought necessary to the reader's comprehension. I have normally assumed him to have access to a ready-reference work or annotated text such as that.
An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while. No cover image. Read preview. Synopsis The recent surge of interest in ancient pastoral poetry has prompted this first modern English translation of the Idylls of Theocritus, founder of the pastoral genre. Rist's translation captures fully the dignity of Theocritus' hexameters, and her individual prefaces to the Idylls contribute to modern interpretation and are perceptive regarding character analysis, comparisons with other poets, and the intermingling of genres.
The Masque of Queens.
Bryn Mawr Classical Review
The dogs they do bay, and the timbrels play. The spindle is now a-turning. In a note to this passage Jonson mentions Theocritus and alludes to the second Idyll, line 12 of which is imitated in the first line above. In a note to a passage further on in the Masque he quotes line 14 of the Idyll to justify his invocation of Hecate. A Vision on the Muses of his Friend M. Drayton, a. The Sad Shepherd. The reference is understood to be to Theocritus and Bion. The character and speeches of Lorel 2. Compare the following : Deft Mistress! Smoother than cream, and softer than curds!
Why start ye from me? And though my nose be camusied, my lips thick, and And my chin bristled, etc. Twa trilland brooks, each from his spring, doth meet. And make a river to refresh my feet; In which each morning, ere the sun doth rise, I look myself, and clear my pleasant eyes, 6. Before I pipe; for therein I have skill Lord's gifts to his mistress were also suggested by those of Poly- phenms : — This fine Smooth bawson cub, the young griee of a gray, Twa tyny urshins, and this ferret gay. And like Polyphemus, he tells of his trees, and of his solacing shade, which may be taken as corresponding to the Cyclops' cave.
His 'Why scorn you me? Fletcher and Jonson are the only two dramatists of the Eliza- bethan Age in whom I find direct verbal traces of Theocritus. One need but turn to England's Helicon, pub- lished in , to see how greatly the pastoral species was in vogue in Elizabethan times. The years following saw no diminution in their number.
Rviral imagery, therefore, as it existed in the pastoral poetry of the time, had lost much of its freshness. Variety, and power to delight, became impossible to any but the first order of genius. It was natural, therefore, that some one, retaining the type, should turn with its form and apparatus to a new field. Of course, they had for this the authority of Theocritus. Nay, more: he has a" seaside pastoral — he has a shepherd, none other than Polypheme, staging love-lorn ditties to the white sea- nymph Galatea — as no other shepherd ever sang, before or since. Here is warrant enough, as literary departures go, for the Italian and the English innovators.
Both imitated, in a large way, and in details, the Sicilian Idylls : Sannazaro far more than Fletcher, though the English poet will not seldom remind his reader of the same original.
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In the seventh Eclogue, for example, we have the classical amoebean singing-match, between Daphnis the shepherd youth and Thomalin the fisher. As parallels I will cite the follow- ing passages : 1. Farewell, ye streams, which once I loved deare: Farewell, ye boyes, which on your Chame do float; Muses, farewell, if there be Muses here; Farewell, etc.
Tryphon, that know'st a thousand herbs in vain But know'st not one to cure a love-sick heart. Poore master of a poorer boat. See, see, faire Cffilia, seas are calmly laid. The waves their drummes, the winds their trumpets cease; But my sick love ah love full ill apayd Never can hope his storms to be allay'd. So soon I saw my Love, so soon I lov'd and di'd. It is just to remark that Fletcher has nothing Theocritean, so far as I have discovered, which may not be paralleled in his Italian predecessor, who was not slack in his ap- propriations.
A century after Fletcher, — that is, in — Moses Browne again made an experiment in this species of poetry, not without display- ing some genuine touches of the Idylls in the relish for country life, especially such relish as characterizes the Thalysia. He wrote six Piscatory Eclogues. Walton's Complete Angler will also be recalled in this connection, and Hazlitt's comment on it as 'the best pastoral in our language.
Ewphues his Censure of Philantus. Theocritus, an auncient Poet of ours, calletli liberality the theefe that most secretly stealeth away the mindes of men. Penelope's Web. For sayeth Theocritus, a good wife should use the custome in her house that the Persians did in the warres: etc. These are doubtless but feigned quotations, siuce no basis for them appears in the Idylls.
Thomas Nash. To the Gentleman Students. Arber's Reprint. Joseph Hall. A Defiance of Envy. The Anatomy of Melancholy. How sweet a face hath Daphnis, how lovely a voice! Hony it self is not so pleasant in my choice. Theocritus Edyl. Six and a half Latin lines]. Burton also quotes or alludes to Theocritus on the following pages of the edition cited: , , and Henry Peacham. The GompUat Gentleman.
Francis Bacon. De Augmentis Scientiwrum. Ita pronuneiant Epieurei de Fffilieitate Stoicorum in Virtute ooUocata, quod similis sit ftelicitate histrionis in scena. Itidem in voluptate, — grata sub imo Gtaudia corde premens, vultu simulante pudorem. No doubt many Greek authors were known to our early writers only through the Latin. To make a brief summary of this period, it can be said that several of the chief writers, in verse and in prose, of the Elizabethan Age knew Theocritus and were directly indebted to him.
The iirst great poet of that era, Spenser, imitated him in numerous passages and largely modeled his style, particularly his diction, in the Shepheards Calender after the Sicilian pastorals. And Ben Jonson, the last great writer of that era, imitated him in his pastoral play and his Masqxve of Queens, and mentions him in his poems.
And within the period comes a superior translation of six Idylls and a paraphrase of another. Theocritus, directly, therefore, and not merely through Virgil and other imitators, was an appreciable in- fluence in Elizabethan poetry. In essays on the elegy the view is sometimes met with that, in the classic type, which is the pastoral, Bion's Dirge for Adonis has served as a model to all successors.
See Braekett : Jour. The weight of authority, however, is quite against this view. See Todd : Milton's Works, vol. V, Lye. That melodious song of sorrow in the first Idyll is indisputably the first pastoral elegy in literature, the model of Bion's Lament for Adonis, and of Moschus's Lament for Bion. These disciples of the Sicilian master took over, the one into his mythological theme, the other into his threnody for his friend, all that they found in the song of Daphnis's woes capable of being put to the use of art in a purely literary fashion.
Bion's elegy, it is first to be noted, is not pastoral at all; while that of Moschus, therefore, begins what has been called the literary pastoral elegy, as distinguished from the appropriately pastoral song of Theocritus. Milton, therefore, in his Lycidas cries out '0 fountain Arethuse,' and bids the 'Sicilian Muse' return, and calls his lament a 'Doric lny : all this he does because throughout his poem it is not Bion, nor yet Moschus, but Theocritus whom he has in mind.
The 'fountain Arethuse' also as dis- tinctly designates Theocritus as the 'smooth-sliding Mincius' desig- nates Virgil. These will now be considered. But its repetition, in lines 8, 9, and 10, is thoroughly in the manner of Theocritus. Where were ye, Nymphs, etc. The coming of 'the Herald of the Sea' 89 , of Camus , and of 'the Pilot of the Galilean Lake' , and their making enquiry concerning Lyeidas's death are related as the like incidents are by Theocritus.
Where the mild whispers use Of shades, and wanton winds, and gushing brooks. Weep no more, woeful shepherds, weep no more. Finally, the last line of Lycidas is apparently a reminiscence of the last line of Idyll 5. But the last eight lines, as an epilogue, resemble in effect the epilogue — last seven lines — of Idyll 1. The two poems are nearly of the same length. Epitaphium Damonis. Though written in Latin this poem may be regarded as belonging to English literature, especially as it has been several times trans- lated into English.
Virgil's influence, as in Lycidas, is also apparent. The invocation to the!
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N'3rmphs of Himera points with sufficient definiteness to the dirge for Daphnis, for it was with the river Himera that he was associated Id. Daphnis's name in MUton's first line, as well as that of Hylas, both from Theocritus, confirms the inference. Thyrsis,too, the singer of the ode in the first Idyll, is the singer here also. Without attempting a full exploitation I will point out but one or two other allusions, or imitations : Aut sestate, dies medio dum vertitur axe.
Cum Pan sesculea somnum capit abditus umbra. Paradise Lost. Under a tuft of shade that on a green Stood whispering soft, by a fresh fountain-side. Sweet is the breath of Mom. Several Theocritean passages are inevitably suggested. Warton cites Id. The roof Of thickest covert was inwoven shade, Laurel and myrtle, etc. For his enumeration of the sensuous delights of his garden of Eden Milton drew further from the same Idyll. Him first, him last, him midst, and without end. As one long in populous city pent.
It is only in the feeling for nature that the passages are at all alike. I shall know Ere morrow wake, or the low-roosted lark From her thatched pallet rouse. To many critics the spirit of Milton's delight in nature has sug- gested Theocritus. It must have been so to Macaulay when he wrote : Neither Theocritus nor Ariosto had a finer or a more healthful sense of the pleasantness of external objects, or loved better to luxuriate amidst sun-beams and flowers, the songs of nightingales, the juice of sumnwor fruits, and the coolness of shady fountains.
That Milton highly esteemed Theocritus may be inferred from his manner of mentioning him in his Tractate on Education : Then also [after the institution of physic] those poets which are now counted most hard, will be both facile and pleasant, Orpheus, Hesiod, Theocritus, Aratus, etc. SiE Edwaed Sheebukne. Poems and Translations. The heroic couplet is used in the first, and the octosyllabic couplet in the last. This is the second English version of any part of Theocritus. They are devoid of merit.
Essay: Of Agriculture, c. Idyll XXV. SiK Thomas Beowne. Garden of Cyrus, c. The rushy labyrinths of Theocritus. SiE John Denham. The Progress of Learning, c. In this period of our literature one is disappointed in not finding Theocritus where he might well have been expected ; ia such poets, for example, as Marvel and Herrick. But his 'Doric rusticity,' perhaps, hardly seemed to them consistent with their ideal of lyri- cism, in which courtly conceits, turned with the utmost grace and refinement, were obliged to predominate. We frequently enough find the name of Thyrsis and Damon, Phyllis and Chloe, and the rest, and the mention of flocks, fountains, and pastures, and we have the dialogue form, but we do not have Theocritus — rarely indeed even his name.
He seems to have been little known by the poets, except Milton. To the King on His Navy. An imitation of the Encomium of Ptolemy, lines William Soame. Translation of Boileau's L'Art Poetique. Twixt these extremes 'tis hard to keep the right; For guides, take Virgil and read Theocrite. Thomas Creech. The Idylliums of Theocritus.
It contains but 27 of the 30 or 31 Idylls, and none of the Epigrams. It is done in heroic couplets, and is not without merit. It generally goes smoothly and euphoniously, according to the fashion ia verse at that time. It is chiefly subsequent trans- lators — whom Creech has sometimes surpassed, particularly in the point of brevity — who have disparaged his version.
Dryden, how- ever, who is said to have beguiled him into the undertalring, in order that he himself might shine by comparison — foreseeiiig failure for the victim of his flattery — did not disdain to borrow from him. For the faults of Creech's version, see Pawkes and Polwhele in the prefaces to their versions. This is a pastoral elegy written upon the occasion of Creech's death. It contains several reminiscences of the first Idyll. The repetition in the following will be remarked as Theocritean : Daphnis, who from the earth has lately fled: Daphnis be living , lov'd and mourn'd for Daphnis dead.
Allusion to his translations of Lucretius and Theocritus follows : Of chaos first he sung. Another pastoral, entitled the Despairing Shepherd, by the same author, also imitates the first Idyll : The Nymphs and Shepherds round him came, His grief some pity, others blame, The fatal Cause all kindly seek; He mingled his Concern with theirs. He gave 'em back their friendly Tears, He sigh'd but wou'd not speak. Wentworth Dillon, Earl of Eoscommon. An Essay on Translated Verse. Theocritus does now to us belong.
THEOCRITUS, IDYLLS 1 - 4
And Albion's rocks repeat his song. The allusion is to Creech's translation, of that year. John Drtden, Wm. Bowles, E. Dryden's Miscellany. In Dryden's Miscellany of and appeared a series of the Idylls translated by several hands, as follows : Drtden : — Id. Bowles : — Id. Duke : — Id. Anonymous : — Id. There are thus twelve in all, making about two-fifths of the poet's little book. They are done most diffusely, in heroic couplets. Theocritus least of all writers can stand this prolixity. To be sure, smoothness, fluency, and euphony characterize the couplets, but simplicity is gone, and the charm of naturalness.
Dryden's Estimate of Theocritus : — That which distinguishes Theocritus from all other poets, both Greek and Latin, and which raises him even above Virgil in his Eclogues is the inimitable tenderness of his passions and the natural expression of them in words so becoming of a pastoral. Even his Doric dialect has an incomparable sweetness in its clownishness, like a fair shepherdess in her country russet, talking in a Yorkshire tone.
Aphra Behn. The Honey-Stealer of Theocritus. I do not know by whom this version of Id. Behn apparently being the collector. The Mourning Muse of Alexis. George Granville Lord Landsdowne. The Enchantment, c. In general the 'imitation' is a paraphrase of varying closeness. It possesses some spirit. Basil Kennet. Lives and Characters of the Ancient Grecian Poets. Pages of this little book of less than pages are given to Theocritus.
It is the first Life of our poet in English. A part of it runs as follows: Tho' Theocritus passes in common Esteem for no more than a Pastoral Poet, yet he is manifestly robb'd of great part of his Fame if his other Pieces have not their proper Laurels At the same time he ought, no doubt, to lay his Pastorals as the Foundation of his Credit. And upon the Claim he will be admitted for the happy Finisher, as well as for the Inventor of his Art; and will be acknowledg'd to have excell'd all his following Rivals as much as Originals usually do their Copies.
And therefore, as to enumerate the Glories of Heroick Numbers is the same thing as to east up the Summ of Homer's Praises, so to set down all the Beauties of Pastoral Verse is no more than an indirect way of making so many short Panegyricks on Theocritus. Comparing the last two periods, it may be said that the chief poet in each, Milton in the first and Dryden in the second, the one by numerous imitations and reminiscences, the other by translation, show their knowledge and testify to their admiration of our poet.
Poets in the second period as in the first whom one might have expected to reveal his influence fail to do so : even the translators of the Idylls, when they come to write pastorals, reveal nothing of Theocritus's spirit. The pastoral forms, imagery and sentiments, however, such as Virgil, following Theocritus, made common, are here in general use among a multitude of pastoralists.
In the first period there were but two Idylls translated, but in the latter come one entire version and several partial versions. The pastorals have nothing of original observation of rural scenery and rustic life. Drawing-room poetry was in vogue, and an artificial style, the farthest removed from the direct, vivid, and fresh utterance of rustics who have a poetic touch in their natures, was alone thought worthy of cultivation. The re- fined and polished graces of Virgil's Eclogues were therefore vastly preferred to the more genuine poetry, though more homely senti- ments, of the Sicilian Idylls.
The character of the prevalent taste in this era can be shown by a quotation or two which reveal the common judgment upon Theocritus and Virgil. The first is taken from The Critical Review, July vol. With much else of like purport the fol- lowing sentences are sufficiently indicative : Could any writer combine the propriety of Virgil with that irresistible charm found in the Doric dialect of Theocritus, he would then produce a perfect pastoral. It is with pleasure we observe M. Gessner has avoided the faults of his model [Theocritus] without seeming to observe them.
He introduces no reapers and fishermen among his shepherds, like Theocritus. He never suffers his swains to break out into abuse or immodesty, as is observable in the characters of the fourth and fifth idyllia. That way of thinking and that standard for pastoral poetry, as other quotations given later herein will show, was exhibited from Pope to Polwhele.
To emphasize this somewhat further and to mark the change of taste at the beginning of a new era I will make two extracts that are connected by the name of John Aiken. The extract which is to be set against this is taten from an en- cyclopedic work entitled "General Biography," by John Aiken and Wm.
Johnson London, The article on Theocritus is signed by "A" and contains the following judgment: The purely pastoral may still be placed at the head of that species of composition, from the truth and simplicity of the manners, sometimes, indeed, deviating to coarseness, and the pleasing descriptions of natural objects, evidently drawn from the life. In these respects Theocritus greatly excels his imitators; and his poetry in general is highly agreeable to all who have a taste for genuine simplicity and the beauties of nature.
I Vol. But, as in the other periods of our literature, the interested student shall have the opportunity of seeing Just how Theocritus was spoken of, how he was imitated, and how he was translated. All the facts, so far as they are tangible and expressible, are pre- sented according to the method which will best enable the student to judge for himself.
William Walsh. Sicilian Muse, my humble voice inspire. To sing of Daphne's charms and Damon's fire. Oh, could'st thou, fair one, but contented be To tend the sheep and chase the hares with me, etc. Forbear, fond youth, to chase the heedless fair, Seek out some other nymph. Of the best cheese my well-stor'd dairy's full, And my soft sheep produce the finest wool. Walsh is a good example of the class of eclogue-writers who have taken Theocritus at second hand.
The passages quoted above wiU all be recognized as having their ultimate source in Theocritus; but they may have been, and probably were, impressed upon the writer's memory by Ovid and Virgil. Eclogues 3 and 4 were avowedly written in imitation of Virgil's Eclogues 8 and 7 : but the former contains this adapted Theocritean self-description.
While you despise my humble songs, my herd, My shaggy brows, my rugged beard, etc. And the latter has this — which closely follows Virgil's close imi- tation : Strephon and Damon's flocks together fed.
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Two charming swains as e'er Arcadia bred. Both fam'd for wit, and fam'd for beauty both. Both in the lustre of their blooming youth. These comments and illustrations have been offered because they apply with equal force to scores — I might within the limits of mod- eration say hundreds — of authors of eclogues in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
They have a special relevancy to Pope and his contemporaries. One of the notable literary wars of the eighteenth century was that which arose between Philips and Pope in regard to the relative merits of their pastorals. Thereupon Pope sent in his anonymous paper No. The ruse succeeded, and Philips and Pope thereafter lived, as Dr. Johnson characteristically ex- presses it, 'in a perpetual reciprocation of malevolence. Turning, therefore, first to Philips let us see what he knew of Theocritus : Estimate.
The first lines, however, suggest the beginning of the Thalysia : If we, O Dorset, quit the city-throng, To meditate in shades the rural song, 7. This conjecture of a Theocritean influence here is confirmed by the allusion immediately following: [Of the Muse. Eeminiscences of various Idylls follow: Beneath a hoary poplar's whispering boughs.
Thy virgin-bloom will not forever stay. And flowers, though left ungather'd, will decay. From this to the end, Id. She gads where'er her roving fancy leads. Yet still from me. Like Polyphemus, Lobbin says : Two sportive kidlings, both fair-fleck'd, I rear; Whose shooting horns like tender buds appear. He will also cull the flowers 'from early spring to autumn,' for his love Id. The following combines Thou Lobbin's flock and Lobbin shalt possess: And fair my flocks, nor yet uncomely I, If liquid fountains flatter not. Then, returning to The third Pastoral contains an imitation of Theocritus's Encomium of Ptolemy, though it is Virgil's example for 'the higher strain' that he pleads : Since, then, through Anna's cares at ease we live.
And see our cattle unmolested thrive. White from our Albion her victorious arms Drive wasteful warfare, loud in dire alarms, etc. The following also was probably suggested by VirgU's paraphrase Eel. In friendship mutual, and united long. Retire within a mossy cave, etc. And mourning shepherds come in crowds to weep. Young Buckhurst comes — 1. The tender virgins come — The pious mother comes, — The fourth Pastoral also contains reminiscences of Id.
So close these elms inweave their lofty shade, suggests Id. The refrains, one for the first part and another for the last part, are also after the same model. And the singer, as in Id. The hook bestowed is 'richly by the carver's skill adom'd,' like the cup of Idyll 1. The praise of the singing is after the manner of Id. Not half so sweet the midnight winds, which move In drowsy murmurs o'er the waving grove. Nor valley brook that, hid by alders, speeds O'er pebbles warbling, and through whispering reeds. Nor dropping waters, which from rocks distil, And welly grots with tinkling echoes flU.
The sixth is the most Theoeritean of all of Philips's Pastorals. It is a einging-match, in amcebean fashion, between a goatherd and a cowherd, as in the niath Idyll. The singing itself is in stanzas resembling those of Idylls 5 and 8. The singers in 'capping' lines as in those Idylls tell of their amours and sing the beauties of nature. Their invitations one to the other follow hints given by Theocritus. As an instance : Here are cool fountains, and here springing flowers. Both victors are. In the Idyll the judge gave the one singer a syrinx and the other a flute. Here he says : A boxen hautboy, loud, and sweet of sound, All varnished and with brazen ringlets bound, I give to each.
Johnson's Opinion: — The pipe of the pastoral muse is transmitted by lawful inheritance from Theocritus to Virgil, from Virgil to Spenser, and from Spenser to Philips. Alexander Pope. It is impossible with certainty to separate Pope's immediate imitations of Theocritusi from his imitations of imitations found in Virgil, Spenser, and elsewhere.
Doubtless he knew the Eoman better than the Greek poet, and greatly preferred him, and more often directly copied him. Still, it was especially the Theocritean passages in the Eclogues that Pope chose to imitate and paraphrase. Hence, we have in his Pastorals not a few lines that take us, some directly, more indirectly, back to the Arethusan fountain. And the Sicilian model of the whole still persists, despite all the artificiality. The subjects of his Idyllia are purely pastoral; but he is not so exact in his persons, having introduced reapers and fishermen as well as shepherds.
He is apt to be too long in his descriptions, of which that of the Cup in the first pastoral is a remarkable instance. In the manners he seems a little defective, for his swains are sometimes abusive and immodest, and perhaps too much inclining to rusticity; for instance, in his fourth and fifth Idyllia. But 'tis enough that all others learnt their excellencies from him, and that his Dialect alone has a secret charm in it, which no other could ever attain.
Pope's own avowal of study and imitation of Theocritus stands in his Discourse. His remarks on the 'Dorick dialecf are a corroborating evidence of the study which he professes. To his definition of a pastoral he adds this note: 'Heinsius in Theoer. Here the bright crocus and blue violet glow, Here western winda on breathing roses blow.
I'll stake yon lamb. And I this bowl, where wanton ivy twines. And swelling clusters bend the curling vines. Pope's comment 4u his Discourse on the original of this should be noted: 'He [Theocritus] is apt to be too long in his descriptions, of which that of the cup in the first pastoral is a remarkable instance. O'er golden sands let rich Paotolus flow. And trees weep amber on the banks of Po. The opposite effects of the absence and presence of the singing shepherds' mistresses upon nature, as described in lines , correspond to those mentioned by Menalcas and Daphnis in respect to the objects of their passion, Id.
Where stray ye, Muses, in what lawn or grove? Pope quotes Virgil As in the crystal spring I view my face — Pope's note : 'Virgil again, from the Cyclops of Theocritus. O, were I made, by some transforming powier, The captive bird that sings within thy bower! As Fontemelle had censured the original naive wish as an im- probable conceit in a rustic. Come, lovely nymph, and bless the silent hours When swains from shearing seek their nightly bowers. Here bees from blossoms sip the rosy dew. Again, ia lines , the description of the effect of the loved one's presence on natural objects derives a suggestion from Id.
Theocritus says that where the fair one walks there the bees are filling their hives, the oaks become taller, and spring appears everywhere. Walsh, Pastoral 4. Let opening roses knotted oaks adorn. And liquid amber drop from every thorn. Not showers to larks, nor sunshine to the bee Are half so charming, etc. I know thee, Love!
In the last three passages Virgil doubtless stands between the English and the Greek poet. Thyrsis, the music of that murmuring spring Is not so mournful as the strains you sing; Nor rivers winding through the vales below, So sweetly warble, or so smoothly flow. Oh, sing of Daphne's fate. Let nature change, let heaven and earth deplore. Fair Daphne's dead, and love is now no more. Adieu ye vales, ye mountains, streams and groves. Adieu ye Shepherds' rural lays and loves; Adieu my flocks, etc. Thomas Tickell. Essajfs on Pastoral Poetry. The series of papers that appeared in the Guardian in on pastoral poetry are significant as expressing the prevalent taste and judgment of the time as regards this species of literature.
They have been variously ascribed to Addison and to Steele as well as to Tickell. The question of authorship still remains in doubt. They are considered here because the writer, whoever he was, con- stantly refers to the poet we are concerned with. One of the iateresting incidents of the war was Pope's enticement of Gay into it on his side with the most telling of all weapons — burlesque. John Gat. The Shepherd's Weeh. Though the first intention of Gay was burlesque, yet, having a genuine sense of reality, and a true feeling for nature, he produced better pastorals than either Philips or Pope, whose quarrel was their occasion.
He himself, with mock seriousness, speaks thus of his undertaking — suitably affecting the archaic style: [On Theocritus's Language. This idle trumpery [of other pastoralists] unto that ancient Dorick Shepherd Theocritus was never known. Jones, it will be seen later, paraphrased this in verse. As I have shown elsewhere this paper derives its idea and outlines from Saimazaro's Arcadia, Pros. Gay undoubtedly knew Theocritus, but probably for the most part in translation.
Passing by many forms of expression that have their ultimate origin in the Idylls, I will select a few that seem to be directly borrowed. Ludicrous charms, signs, and superstitions are made to take the place of those of solemn import in the Idyll. A refrain, twelve times repeated, carries out the burlesque: Friday.
Albeit thy songs are sweeter to mine ear, Than to the thirsty cattle rivers clear; Or winter porridge to the laboring youth, Or buns and sugar to the damsel's tooth. Dione: A Pastoral Tragedy. Situations and particular lines are derived from Id. Act I. Araminta: An Elegy. Idylls 4 and 5 are laid in the neighborhood of Croton, and we may infer that Theocritus was personally acquainted with Magna Graecia.
Suspicion has been cast upon idylls 8 and 9 on various grounds. An extreme view holds that within "Idyll 9" there exist two genuine Theocritean fragments, ll. On the other hand, it is clear that both poems were in Virgil's Theocritus, and that they passed the scrutiny of the editor who formed the short collection of Theocritean Bucolics. The mimes are three in number: 2, 14, and In the best manuscript 2 comes immediately before 14, an arrangement which is obviously right, since it places the three mimes together. The second place in the manuscripts is occupied by Idyll 7, the "Harvest Feast.
In addition to the Bucolics and Mimes, there are three poems which cannot be brought into any other class:. The genuineness of the last was attacked by Ulrich von Wilamowitz-Moellendorff on account of the crudity of the language, which sometimes degenerates into doggerel. However, Chisholm considered it genuine, arguing that Theocritus had intentionally used realistic language for the sake of dramatic effect and that the manuscript evidence supported its genuineness. Eustathius quotes from it as the work of Theocritus. Three of these are Hymns: 16, 17, and The other poems are 13, the story of Hylas and the Nymphs , and 24 the youthful Heracles.
It cannot be said that Theocritus exhibits signal merit in his Epics. In 13 he shows some skill in word-painting; in 16 there is some delicate fancy in the description of his poems as Charites , and a passage at the end, where he foretells the joys of peace after the enemy have been driven out of Sicily , has the true bucolic ring. The most that can be said of 22 and 24 is that they are very dramatic. Otherwise they differ little from work done by other poets, such as Callimachus and Apollonius Rhodius. From another point of view, however, these two poems 16 and 17 are supremely interesting, since they are the only ones which can be dated.
The encomium upon Hiero II would seem prior to that upon Ptolemy, since in it Theocritus is a hungry poet seeking for a patron, while in the other he is well satisfied with the world. Now Hiero first came to the front in when he was made General: Theocritus speaks of his achievements as still to come, and the silence of the poet would show that Hiero's marriage to Phulistis, his victory over the Mamertines at the Longanus and his election as "King", events which are ascribed to , had not yet taken place. If so, 17 and 15 can only have been written within and Two of these are certainly by Theocritus, 28 and 29, composed in Aeolic verse and in the Aeolic dialect.
The first is a very graceful poem presented together with a distaff to Theugenis, wife of Nicias, a doctor of Miletus, on the occasion of a voyage thither undertaken by the poet. The theme of 29 is similar to that of A very corrupt poem, only found in one very late manuscript, was discovered by Ziegler in As the subject and style very closely resemble that of 29, it is assigned to Theocritus by recent editors. Love stealing Honey.
The poem is anonymous in the manuscripts and the conception of Love is not Theocritean. Herdsman ,