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To What Extent Is Pastoral Poetry A Lamentation For A Changing Landscape Or Ways Of Life?

1193 words - 5 pages

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 ...view middle of the document...

From these two poems from Jennings’ works we can see that to an extent pastoral poetry is a lament for a changing landscape and a changing way of life in the form of man’s relationship with God or nature.
Another poet that can be used to suggest that the pastoral genre is a lamentation for a changing landscape and disappearing ways of life is Dylan Thomas. In his poem ‘Fern Hill’ we can see that he may have a rather negative view or lament for the past. The first line says ‘’I was young and easy and under the apple boughs.’’ This shows that in the past he remembers it being positive when he was young and therefore innocent. He also says ‘’I was the prince of the apple towns.’’ This shows that in his innocence and perhaps naivety he thought he was much more important than he is, but the tone of the first few stanzas is a positive one. Also, the mentioning of the apples shows his connection with nature from when he was young.. However, as the poem progresses and towards the end specifically the tone becomes more negative, and almost makes the narrator seem like he is not happy, which could be used to suggest that this poem is a lamentation for his childhood. This can be supported contextually as Dylan Thomas visited a family farm when he was older and remembered the time there from when he was younger. In the last line, it says ‘’time held me green and dying’’. This could mean that as time went on, time did not let Thomas go and Thomas saw this as a negative thing, shown by his lexical choices. This could therefore mean that he laments growing older at all, which is of course a changing way of life. Therefore this poem could be used to suggest that to an extent, pastoral poetry is a lamentation for a changing way of life. However, there is also an alternative interpretation that can be made from this poem. When it says ‘’time held me’’ The word ‘held’ may not mean held against his will, but perhaps a calm more gentle hold, softening his course through life. This ambiguity means that the poem is open to interpretation on whether it is positive or negative or not as this last stanza is very important. However the next line suggests that it is a positive one. It says ‘’though I sang in my chains like the...

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