Pope's Pastorals were among his first published poems, appearing in the sixth part of Jacob Tonson's Poetical Miscellanies, on 2 May 1709. Pope originally wrote the Pastorals five years earlier, however, in 1704, when he was only sixteen, and passed them round amongst his friends in manuscript form. Pastoral was an appropriate kind of poetry for a budding young poet to cut his teeth on for not only was it a highly stylised convention in which he could demonstrate his developing skills, but in writing such poems he was emulating Virgil, whose Eclogues had similarly been his first published poems. Pope takes classical names for his shepherds (Alexis, Damon, Lycidas and Thyrsis all appear in Virgil's Eclogues<…
Gordon, Ian. "Pastorals". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 11 March 2003; last revised 30 November -1.
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