Matthew Arnold: Thyrsis

(2398 words)

Matthew Arnold’s “Thyrsis”, occasioned by the death of Arnold’s friend and fellow poet Arthur Hugh Clough in Florence in 1861and published in 1866, is one of the last pastoral elegies composed by a major English poet. It has traditionally been grouped with Milton’s “Lycidas” and Shelley “Adonais” as one of the three best pastoral elegies in English poetry. David Riede discusses “Thyrsis” along with “The Scholar Gipsy” under the heading “Pastoral Elegy” in his study of Arnold’s poetry (Riede 147-56), and Patrick Connolly has recently reiterated the poem’s dependence on the “long ancestral line” of pastoral elegy: “As a poem ‘Thyrsis’ falls within the pastoral elegy, though this may not …

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Clausson, Nils. "Thyrsis". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 21 July 2011
[, accessed 26 September 2016.]