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To What Extent Is Pastoral Poetry a Lamentation for a Changing Landscape or Ways of Life?

  • Date Submitted: 10/15/2013 01:42 AM
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To what extent is pastoral poetry a lamentation for a changing landscape and disappearing ways of life? Draw on the work of three poets

To lament is to feel sorrow for something. To an extent, it could be said that pastoral poetry is indeed a lament for a changing landscape and ways of life; however, I think it can be nostalgic and remember the past fondly, or even not provide a positive or negative outlook at all. Elizabeth Jennings is a pastoral poet who’s work does seem to lament for the past and the way things have changed. Dylan Thomas also displays this in his works, however, it could be debated that he actually provides a positive outlook. Larkin however, is different to both of the previous poets as he seems to provide an in difference in the tone of his poetry.
Elizabeth Jennings’ work is an example of pastoral poetry that does lament for a changing landscape and ways of life. In her poem ‘’In a Garden’’ Jennings’ seems to lament for a time where man was closer to nature, which in pastoral poetry is often synonymous or very closely related to God, this time specifically being in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man. The narrator of the poem says ‘’I still felt lost and I wonder why.’’ This shows that she knows something is missing, however she is not sure why, but the general lexis of the poem seems to suggest that she misses (or laments) a time for when Man was still in Eden and closer to God. This can be supported by the last line which says ‘’Sickness for Eden was so strong.’’ Furthermore, in her poem ‘’A Chorus’’ She seems to lament for a time before the world became more modernised and industrial. In lines 2 and 3 it says ‘’Over the pastoral valleys and meadows/Over the cities with their factory darkness./’’ The choice of the word ‘darkness’ connotes a negative image, and one that juxtaposes the typical pastoral utopia which often consists of natural, green and ‘innocent’ imagery. From these two poems from Jennings’ works we can see that to...


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