Mina Gorji

The Shepherd's Week opens with a squabble. Two lovesick shepherds, Cuddy and Lobbin Clout, bicker and trade insults:


Hold, witless Lobbin Clout, I thee advise,

Lest Blisters sore on thy own Tongue arise.

The row soon turns into a singing contest in which the rustics quarrel over whose love is truer, and whose sweetheart more beautiful. Each tries to trump the other in similes that are increasingly ridiculous: Cuddy's sweetheart, Blouzelinda, has breath "sweeter than the ripen'd Hay" (l. 76), but Lobbin's Buxoma's airs "excell'd the breathing cows" (l. 82). Cloddipole, the wise "lout" (l. 22) appointed to judge the contest, is soon wearied by these discordant "strains" (l. 129); he declares a draw and calls matters bluntly to a close. The witty and "courteous" reader to whom The Shepherd's Week is addressed would quickly recognize the literary origins of this rustic squabble: Virgil's third eclogue begins with a dispute between two herdsmen, Menalcas and Damoetas, and concludes in a singing competition that ends in a draw. Yet although Gay's lines follow the narrative structure of Eclogue 3, his coarse language is out of key with the simple elegance of its ancient original. The poem is animated by such antipathies, elements of a tonal and generic instability that is characteristic of Gay's best-known work, The Beggar's Opera (1728), which artfully mingles pathos, bathos, and lampoon. Throughout The Shepherd's Week, the vulgar and the sophisticated, the high and the low collide: country matters of fact are juxtaposed with mock-learned references; studied archaisms such as welkin and eftsoons jostle against colloquial banter; and in the poem's footnotes, definitions of uncouth dialect sit awkwardly beside sophisticated Latin and Greek quotations. Gay's swains and shepherdesses have names that yoke rusticity to polish: Hobnelia, Clumsilis, Grubbinol, and Bumkinet sound both

Latinate and rustic, clownish and classical. This artful mingling is also characteristic of the poem's sources: Gay adopts and adapts the classical eclogue form (the eclogue was a short pastoral poem, often structured as a dialogue); but as well as alluding to classical poetry, he also draws on English popular culture — ballads, folk airs, and proverbial phrases — and as a result the poem is an artfully incongruous hotchpotch of popular and polite literature.

It is particularly appropriate that The Shepherd's Week should open with a rustic squabble since it takes its impetus from a dispute between Gay's friend and fellow Scriblerian Alexander Pope and the Whig poet Ambrose Philips over the merits of their respective pastorals. It was, according to Pope, to the "management of Philips that the world owes Mr Gay's pastorals" (Pope 1956: vol. 1, p. 229). As Brean Hammond notes [see ch. 27, "Verse Satire"], pastoral was a genre "coming under serious scrutiny" in the early eighteenth century. Prominent writers argued over the correct bucolic style and debated how ancient pastoral models, Theocritus' Idylls and Virgil's Eclogues, should best be adapted into English. Where should modern pastorals be set — in a real British countryside or in a timeless classical Arcadia? Should poets seek to idealize rural life, or try instead to offer a more faithful account? Should shepherds speak with polished simplicity or adopt more authentic country accents? Gay's The Shepherd's Week, a series of six rural eclogues (one for each day of the working week) engages with and emerges from such contemporary debates.

The pastoral quarrel between Pope and Philips took place in the periodicals and coffee-houses of literary London, public arenas for cultural debate and polite conversation that were emerging at the start of the eighteenth century. The dispute had its origins in the pages of Jacob Tonson's Poetical Miscellanies, The Sixth Part (May 2, 1709), in which both poets had published (very different) sets of pastorals. Pope's eclogues, following the principles he had set out in his "Discourse on Pastoral," idealized bucolic life and presented a "Golden Age" whose pastures were peopled with classical swains allusively styled after Virgil's Daphnis, Alexis, and Strephon. Philips's pastorals are patterned after Spenser's Shepheardes Calender and were firmly rooted in the English countryside. Whereas Pope's shepherds speak with elegant simplicity, Philips's swains have rougher accents, thickened with archaism and dialect.

What might seem to be minor stylistic differences took on wider significance in the increasingly factious literary world of the early eighteenth century. Writers vied for political patronage: Pope's sympathies lay with the Tory party, and his allies included Gay, Swift, and Arbuthnot; those writers who supported the Whig party were known as the "little senate," and regularly gathered at Button's coffee-house in Covent Garden. This coterie, to which Philips himself belonged, included Joseph Addison, Richard Steele, and Thomas Tickell. Philips had dedicated his pastorals to a prominent Whig politician, Lionel Cranfield, Earl of Dorset, and they were puffed by the Whig periodicals: Steele praised Philips's poems in The Tatler, no. 10 (1709), and Addison applauded them in The Spectator, nos. 223, 400, and 523. But it was in the pages of The Guardian that the rumbling pastoral quarrel gathered real momentum.

In the spring of 1713, five essays penned by Tickell, arguing for a revival of the English pastoral tradition, were published anonymously in The Guardian. Careful readers may have noted that the first of these essays (no. 22) opened with exactly the same Virgilian epigraph Pope had used to introduce his series of pastorals. But despite this studied coincidence, Tickell neglected Pope and instead lavished praise on Philips's eclogues; he commended their "authentic" description of rural innocence which let the "Tranquility" of rural life "appear full and plain," but hid its "Meanness," and covered its "Misery" (Guardian 1982: 106; see Nokes 1987: 124).

Angered by Tickell's pointed neglect of his own poems, Pope enlisted Gay's help and penned another "anonymous" essay on pastoral, which he tricked Steele into publishing in no. 40 of The Guardian. In this spoof essay, which appeared in April 1713, Pope impersonated Tickell and paid ironic homage to Philips's rustic authenticity, but his compliments were so extravagant that they appeared ridiculous. Apologizing for having ignored Pope's pastorals in his earlier discussions, he went on to make direct comparisons between his own elegant couplets and the clumsiest passages from Philips. He argued (tongue firmly in cheek) that, judged against the standard set by Philips's pastorals, even Virgil fell short: his third eclogue, for example, contained "Calumny and Railing" which was "not proper to that State of Concord" expected of pastoral. Elsewhere, he explains, Virgil's language was too "perfectly pure," and his style "too Courtly" in comparison with Philips's "beautiful rusticity." "[I]t will appear," he concluded, archly, "that Virgil can only have two of his Eclogues allowed to be [called] such" (Guardian 1982: 160). According to Tickell (no. 30), Philips had artfully adapted ancient models in the light of native scenery and custom, proving that Britain was "a proper Scene for Pastoral" (Guardian 1982: 128). A single detail afforded Pope an opportunity to puncture this claim: although wolves appear in Philips's pastorals, they were no longer native to England (Guardian 1982: 161).

When Philips learned of the attack, he hung up a rod in Button's coffee-house and threatened to use it on Pope if he ever entered the premises. Gay rallied to Pope's defense and composed The Shepherd's Week. But although the poem was ostensibly written to support Pope and parody Philips, it is more complex and subtle than a mere piece of literary burlesque, embodying the tensions between "high" and "low" or "polite" and "impolite" literary culture that were emerging during the early decades of the eighteenth century.

Opening with a squabble, Gay begins on a deliberately discordant note which sets the scene for further skirmishes; but the quarrel begins even before the poem's opening lines. In the mock-archaic "Proeme" to The Shepherd's Week, Gay appears to side with Philips, declaring that he will describe the countryside as it really appears. He assures readers that his shepherdesses will not be found "idly piping on oaten Reeds," but engaged in rural labor — milking cows and driving the hogs to their sties. His shepherds will sleep under hedges rather than beneath myrtle. ("The Proeme to The Courteous Reader," in Gay 1974: i. 90—2). He goes on to distinguish his own realistic and "home-bred" eclogues from the productions of a group of "certain young Men of insipid Delicacy" who preferred to "confine Pastoral" to a "Golden Age." These young men were Gay's Tory allies, Pope and Swift, who had recently formed the Scriblerus Club. Other members included Parnell, Prior, Arbuthnot, Harley, Bishop Atterbury, and Gay himself, who was secretary to the club when The Shepherd's Week was finally published, in April 1714. Gay's concern to expose the falseness of Philips's pastoral was animated by Scriblerian determination to ridicule the age's false taste in learning.

Following Pope's example, Gay repeatedly picks up and amplifies features of Philips's pastoral technique in such a way as to render them ridiculous. Appearing to align himself with Philips's realistic mode, Gay's poem both parodies and exposes the limitations of Philips's claims to rural authenticity. Gay goes even further than Philips in representing an "authentic" picture of rural life: he does not sentimentalize his rural folk, but gives them corns, blisters, blubber'd lips worn with smutty pipes, and stained teeth.

Like Philips, Gay draws on conventional pastoral motifs: the singing contest, a forsaken girl bemoaning her unhappy fate, two swains lamenting the death of the maid they both loved. But throughout the poem his homely treatment of commonplaces brings the artificiality of some modern versions of these classical conventions into sharp focus. In the second eclogue, "Tuesday," Marian speaks of her unrequited love for Colin Clout with an unsentimental bluntness:

To warm thy Broth I burnt my Hands for Haste. When hungry thou stood'st staring, like an Oaf, I slic'd the Luncheon from the Barly Loaf, With crumbled Bread I thicken'd well thy Mess. Ah, love me more, or love thy Pottage less!

Gay draws attention to Marian's clumsiness — both verbal and physical (she burnt her hands "for Haste"). But his perspective combines gentle mockery with tenderness. Marian soon forgets her troubles, and turns, once again, to practical matters, when Goody Dobbins bring her cow to bull:

With Apron blue to dry her Tears she sought, Then saw the Cow well serv'd, and took a Groat.

Although Marian is forsaken, at least the cow has been well served.

Bathos is a keynote throughout the poem, and Gay regularly undermines pathos and punctures sentiment. The singing contest in "Monday" ends bluntly in a draw, with Cloddipole declaring that he and the herds are "weary" (l. 124) of the shepherd's singing. In "Wednesday," a "pensive and forlorn" Sparabella bemoans the loss of her sweetheart, Bumkinet, to her rival Clumsilis. As night falls she resolves to take her own life; but although the scene is a set piece of melancholy, with the onset of weeping dew and the hoarse Owl singing "woeful Dirges," the "prudent Maiden" misses her cue: deeming it "too late" to take any further action, she "defers her Fate" until the morning (ll. 115—20). In "Thursday" another forlorn maid, Hobnelia, complains that her "true-love," Lubberkin, has left her for a town maiden. She casts spells to bring back her stray lover, but at the end of the eclogue, when Lubberkin unexpectedly reappears to claim Hobnelia as his own, rather than falling into his arms she collapses to the ground in shock, undercutting any possibility of a sentimental finale. The final words of the eclogue underline the comic bathos: "adown, adown, adown!" (l. 136). "Friday" finds two swains, Grubbinol and Bumkinet, weeping over Blouzelinda's suicide. But their sorrows are soon forgotten when "bonny Susan," a "willing Maid" appears (ll. 160—2); they follow her to the alehouse where they forget their cares. Finally, "Saturday; or, the Flights," opens with a lofty invocation to the "rustick Muse" to prepare "sublimer strains" and to "raise" "thy homely voice to loftier Numbers" (ll. 1—3), but the poem soon sinks to the homely and uncouth. Susan drops behind the hedge to relieve herself, but is surprised to find a sleeping Bowzybeus lying underneath her. The "snoring Lout" Bowzybeus is woken by her screams, and begins to sing to an assembling crowd:

Of Raree-Shows he sung, and Punch's, Feats,

Of Pockets pick'd in Crowds, and various Cheats.

Then sad he sung the Children in the Wood.

Ah barb'rous Uncle, stain'd with Infant Blood!

He sung of Taffey Welch, and Sawney Scot,

Lilly-bullero and the Irish Trot.

Why should I tell of Bateman or of Shore,

Or Wantley's Dragon slain by valiant Moore,

The Bow'r of Rosamond, or Robin Hood,

And how the Grass now grows where Troy Town stood?

In his "Essay on Laughter and Ludicrous Composition" the eighteenth-century Scottish poet and critic James Beattie noted the comic heterogeneity of Bowzybeus's song, explaining that "Laughter arises from the view of two or more inconsistent, unsuitable, or incongruous parts or circumstances, considered as united in one complex object or assemblage" (Beattie 1776: 347). With their indecorous mingling of Irish and Welsh, jaunty dances rubbing up against tragic tales, and ballads jostling against Trojan epic, these lines display the ludicrous incongruity which appealed to Beattie. This comic caroling ends as abruptly as it began when Bowzybeus drops down onto a wheatsheaf and falls asleep: "The Pow'r that Guards the Drunk, his Sleep attends, / 'Till, ruddy, like his Face, the Sun descends" (ll. 127-8). The simile's comic bathos (comparing the sun to a ruddy face) is emphasized by the unexpected verb "descends," which takes the place of the more conventional "setting" — and it is especially apt that a poem that delights in sinking should end on the word "descends."

Like many poets of the period 1700—50, Gay is fascinated by the tensions between "high" and "low," the polite and the indecorous. In The Shepherd's Week, frequent and nimble shifts of tone and perspective often make it hard to know from which point of view his narrator is speaking. As with Swift, his friend and fellow Scriblerian, it can be difficult to discern whether Gay is mocking or in earnest. Swift's presence can be felt behind these lines from the very first book of The Shepherd's Week:

From Cloddipole we learnt to read the Skies, To know when Hail will fall, or Winds arise. He taught us erst the Heifers Tail to view, When stuck aloft, that Show'rs would strait ensue; He first that useful Secret did explain, That pricking Corns foretold the gath'ring Rain.

Gay's scatology would have delighted Swift. The "Show'rs" which "ensue" might issue from the cow (lifting its tail to urinate) as well as from the clouds, and what appears to be an authentic (and authentically ribald) example of rural folk wisdom couches a witty allusion to a very urban scene. Gay's portentous "Corns" and heifer's "Tail" are not taken from the pages of a country almanac, but lifted out of Swift's "A Description of a City Shower," a town eclogue published in The Tatler, no. 238, on Tuesday, October 17, 1710:

Careful Observers may foretel the Hour, (By sure Prognosticks) when to dread a Shower: While Rain depends, the pensive Cat gives o'er Her Frolicks, and pursues her Tail no more. Returning Home at Night, you'll find the Sink Strike your offended Sense with double Stink; If you be wise, then go not far to dine, You'll spend in Coach-Hire more than save in Wine. A coming Shower your shooting Corns presage, Old Aches throb, your hollow Tooth will rage.

In these lines, Swift sets up a comic disjunction between the lofty and ominously serious tone suggested by words such as "foretel," "dread," and "pensive" and the grotesque and visceral catalogue which ensues - the stink, the shooting Corns, aching limbs, and throbbing tooth, all signs of the coming storm. These vulgar portents, however, were at home not only in popular folk-lore and almanacs, but also in high literature: versions of the ancient "Prognosticks" of changing weather offered in the first book of Virgil's Georgics (i. 351-92).

Swift, like Gay, delights in staging such playful incongruities, mock-heroically attaching the word "rage," usually associated with wars and battles, to a toothache.

Cast in heroic couplets, and drawing on the language of epic, the poem is formally and linguistically at odds with its vulgar subject. When it was first published in The Tatler, Steele drew attention to these mock-heroic tensions in his introduction, citing the epic precedents of the tempest in Aeneid, Book 1, and the flood in Aeneid, Book 4. Swift's poem concludes in a mighty deluge that has its source in Genesis as well as in Virgil: the great Fleet Ditch has swollen and overflows through the filthy streets of eighteenth-century London, carrying all manner of detritus:

Sweepings from Butchers Stalls, Dung, Guts and Blood,

Drown'd Puppies, stinking Sprats, all drench'd in Mud,

Dead Cats and Turnep-Tops come tumbling down the Flood.

The final couplet swells into a triplet rhyme, and the last line is distended with two extra syllables into an alexandrine, forced to expand its bounds by the tide of refuse carried in its wake.

Throughout The Shepherd's Week, Gay, like Swift, sets up tensions between the polite and the vulgar. Sometimes the effect is mock-heroic, but the most insistent comic disjunctions are achieved by bringing the codes and conventions of pastoral, rather than epic, to bear on grotesque subjects. In this, Gay's eclogues can be compared fruitfully with another of Swift's urban pastorals. "A Description of the Morning," a companion piece to "A Description of a City Shower," appeared in The Tatler, no. 9, on April 30, 1709. By coincidence it was published in the same week as the sixth volume of Tonson's Miscellanies containing Pope's and Philips's pastorals, and, like The Shepherd's Week, it contributed to a larger conversation about pastoral conventions taking place in London coffee-houses and on the pages of polite journals in the early decades of the eighteenth century. Introducing the poem, Steele explains how "Mr Humphrey Wagstaff" (Swift's pseudonym) has "described Things exactly as they happen: He never forms Fields, or Nymphs, or Groves where they are not, but makes the Incidents just as they really appear." Repeatedly, pastoral expectations are set up, and then dashed. The conventional "rosy dawn" is rendered "ruddy," and heralded by a hackney coach rather than by Phoebus' chariot. In place of Aurora rising from Tithonus' bed, we have Betty creeping out of her master's bed and stealing home to discompose her own. Instead of rural swains, Swift's urban pastoral is filled with town workers and sleepy schoolboys; a prison turnkey prepares to round up a flock of thieves into prison; shrill notes, screaming, and street cries, rather than birdsong, break the silence; and the landscape is sprinkled not with dew but with dirt. But there remains something engaging in the homely and gross details of Swift's burlesque, because they gesture at an intimacy which was firmly off-limits in the conventional neoclassical pastoral.

Like Swift and his fellow wits, Gay delights in comic collisions between "high" and "low," the "polite" and the "vulgar." In The Shepherd's Week, the mock-learned footnotes provide an early example of what was to become a conventional Scriblerian ploy in The Dunciad. In "Monday," Lobbin Clout describes his sweetheart's taste for the humble turnip:

Leek to the Welch, to Dutchmen Butter's dear, Of Irish Swains Potatoe is the Chear; Oats for their Feasts the Scottish Shepherds grind, Sweet Turnips are the food of Blouzelind. While she loves Turnips, Butter I'll despise, Nor Leeks nor Oatmeal nor Potatoe prize.

Gay's mock-scholarly note to these lines reveals their classical source to be a passage from Virgil's seventh eclogue, in which Corydon describes his beloved Phyllis's fondness for hazel trees:

Corydon: Dearest is the poplar to Alcides, the vine to Bacchus, the myrtle to lovely Venus, and his own laurel to Phoebus. Phyllis loves hazels, and while Phyllis loves them, neither myrtle nor laurel of Phoebus shall outlive the hazels. (Virgil, Eclogues, 73).

There is a comic disjunction here between the homeliness of Corydon's diction and the elevated tenor of Gay's classical source. Gay's Welch, Dutchmen, Irish Swains, and Scottish Shepherds are the humble equivalents of Virgil's divine roll call — Alcides (Hercules' father), Bacchus, Venus, and Phoebus; instead of poetical trees, Gay gives us homely fare — leeks, butter, potatoes, and oats. Where Virgil sinks from laurel and vine and myrtle to the unpoetical hazel tree, Gay descends even lower, to the turnip.

Gay sinks lower still in his note to the following lines from Monday:

As my Buxoma in a Morning fair,

With gentle Finger stroak'd her milky Care

The footnote introduces vulgarity in the semblance of polite scholarship:

'Queint' has various Significations in the ancient English Authors. I have used it in this Place in the same Sense as Chaucer hath done in his Miller's Tale. As clerkes been full subtil and queint, (by which he means Arch or Waggish) and not in that obscene Sense wherein he useth it in the Line immediately following.

Gay corrupts what might have remained innocent by gesturing at the "obscene Sense" of "queint." This scholarly undercurrent draws out the poem's latent innuendo, where the proximity of the words "milky" and "Finger" draws the visceral noun "queint" out of the innocent adjective "queintly." Readers have to be learned as well as knowing to get the joke. Hinting at this lewd Chaucerian sense is at once a sophisticated and a smutty joke, and, coupling carnal and scholarly knowledge, Gay gestures at the biblical narrative of lost innocence. Shame is the burden of a fallen world - it is not until they have eaten from the fruit of the forbidden tree that Adam and Eve feel embarrassed at their nakedness. Gay's poem returns to an age-old problem: Can pastoral innocence be described from a fallen, sophisticated perspective?

The Shepherd's Week is crammed with double entendres and takes on, according to Brean Hammond, a "seaside postcard jocularity." This sauciness is in marked contrast to Philips's urban sentimentalism. For all its wit and deft irony, Gay's poem is more robust and sincere in its descriptions of country life than Philips's pastorals. Pope had complained in his "Discourse on Pastoral" and, more covertly, in The Guardian no. 40, that the awkward use of archaism and the display of learning in Philips's pastorals and Spenser's Shepheardes Calender interfered with their attempted pastoral ease and simplicity. According to Tickell, however, Philips had hit upon "Sincerity and Truth" and depicted "Pastoral life . . . where Nature is not much depraved," and had captured rural "Innocence." But the passages he chose to illustrate these claims, in The Guardian, no. 23, suggested otherwise:

Once Delia slept, on easie Moss reclin'd, Her lovely Limbs half bare, and rude the Wind: I smooth'd her Coats, and stole a silent Kiss; Condemn me, Shepherds, if I did amiss.

Tickell explained that this coy erotic hinting presented a "slight transgression" from pastoral purity, which highlighted the prevailing innocence of the whole. But Philips's lines call the innocent simplicity of country shepherds into question. The "rude wind" suggests the corresponding rudeness of the swain. The apparently gallant gesture of smoothing Delia's coats and covering her modesty enables this lewd swain to touch Delia, so that what appears to be a gesture of modesty actually hides a surreptitious grope.

Like Pope, Gay targeted particular passages in Philips's poem that had been singled out for praise by Tickell. He parodied Philips's voyeurism in these lines in "Monday," where Lobbin boasts:

As Blouzelinda in a gamesome Mood, Behind a Haycock loudly laughing stood, I slily ran, and snatch'd a hasty Kiss, She wip'd her Lips, nor took it much amiss.

The rhyme of "Kiss" and "amiss" echoes Philips's original chime ("silent Kiss / . . . did amiss"), but what was coy in Philips becomes honest and hearty in Gay: Philips's slumbering lass becomes Gay's "gamesome" wench.

Later, in "Monday," Gay returns to the same passage from Philips's pastorals, and once again he exposes and amplifies its latent innuendo:

On two near Elms, the slacken'd Cord I hung, Now high, now low my Blouzelinda swung. With the rude Wind her rumpled garment rose, And show'd her taper Leg, and scarlet Hose.

Much more is revealed in Gay's lines than by Philips's coy suggestions. The "rude Wind" issues from Philips's poem, but in Gay's lines the phrase takes on a more vulgar suggestion; the hidden rump in "rumpled" suggests the source of a cruder wind. This eruption of flatulence is a typical Scriblerian ploy - we find it in Swift and Pope, when they are lampooning enemies, and here it is a sign of Gay's humorous parodic intention.

Straight after this windy flourish, Cuddy, ever keen to surpass his rival Lobbin, boasts:

Across the fallen Oak the Plank I laid, And my self pois'd against the tott'ring Maid, High leapt the Plank; adown Buxoma fell; I spy'd - but faithful Sweethearts never tell.

This bawdy coyness leaves little to the imagination. The word "fell" has acquired force as a rhyme word, and it acquires further emphasis through repetition, echoing the earlier use of "fallen." The lifting plank serves as a comic allegory for Cuddy's rising member, and the fall of this "tott'ring Maid" implies her undoing. The word "laid," with its sexual sense, suggests a further innuendo, ironically at odds with its rhyme word, "Maid."

The occasion for The Shepherd's Week may have been satirical, but its roots are in ancient pastoral. In the "Proeme," Gay praises the Greek poet Theocritus and claims to be his true English heir, and although much of the "Proeme" is spoken in jest, there is some truth in this assertion. Theocritus inaugurated the pastoral poem in the third century bce, and his Idylls were written in a rough Doric dialect. Virgil developed the form after the Theocritan pattern, but his Latin Eclogues did not contain dialect and were more refined and polished than the Greek original. Unlike Virgil's smooth-talking shepherds, Theocritus did not shy away from country matters or evade the cruder aspects of rural life: his swains, as Gay points out, use "foul Language, and behold their Goats at Rut in all their Simplicity." Theocritan eclogues did not labor under the same polite constraints as eighteenth-century pastoral, and they provided Gay with license and authority for writing his own eclogues in a rougher manner.

By the end of the eighteenth century pastoral had shifted ground, and The Shepherd's Week was no longer received as a comic burlesque; the rudeness that had been perceived as an index of scurrilous satire by the poem's first audience was taken as a sign of authenticity by later readers. Oliver Goldsmith claimed that Gay "more resembles Theocritus than any other English pastoral writer whatsoever" (Goldsmith 1767: vol. 1, 133), and in 1815 Wordsworth explained that although Pope and his admirers could perceive in Gay's poem "nothing but what was ridiculous," later readers found it a charming example of rustic authenticity:

though these Poems contain some detestable passages, the effect, as Dr. Johnson well observes, "of reality and truth became conspicuous even when the intention was to show them grovelling and degraded." The Pastorals, ludicrous to such as prided themselves upon their refinement, in spite of those disgusting passages, "became popular, and were read with delight, as just representations of rural manners and occupations." (Wordsworth 1974: vol. 3, l. 72)

The changing reception of The Shepherd's Week marks a shift in pastoral conventions, but it is ironic that a poem that doggedly questions the possibility of an authentic representation of pastoral innocence should itself have become a model of rural authenticity.

See also chs. 15, "Stephen Duck, The Thresher's Labour, and Mary Collier, The Woman's Labour"; 26, "Epic and Mock-Heroic"; 27, "Verse Satire"; 40, "Rural Poetry and the Self-Taught Tradition."

References and Further Reading

Addison,Joseph, and Steele, Richard (1965). TheSpec-tator, 5 vols., ed. Donald F. Bond. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (See nos. 223, 400, 523.)

Beattie, James (1776). "On Laughter and Ludicrous Composition." In Essays. Edinburgh: William Creech.

Empson, William (1935). "The Beggar's Opera: Mock-Pastoral as the Cult of Independence." In Some Versions of Pastoral. London: Chatto & Windus.

Fairer, David (2003). "Pastoral and Georgic." In English Poetry of the Eighteenth Century, 1700— 1789. London: Longman.

Gay, John (1966). The Letters of John Gay, ed. C. F. Burgess. Oxford: Clarendon.

Gay, John (1974). John Gay: Poetry and Prose, 2 vols., ed. Vinton A. Dearing, with the assistance of Charles E. Beckwith. Oxford: Clarendon.

Gay, John (1983). John Gay: Dramatic Works, 2 vols., ed. John Fuller. Oxford: Clarendon.

Goldsmith, Oliver (1767). The Beauties of English Poesy, 2 vols. London: William Griffin.

The Guardian (1982), ed. John Calhoun Stephens. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky. (See nos. 22, 23, 28, 30, 32, 40.)

Lewis, Peter, and Wood, Nigel, eds. (1989). John Gay and the Scriblerians. London: Vision.

Nokes, David (1987). "Shepherds and Chimeras" and "Businessman, Beggar-Man, Thief." In Raillery and Rage: A Study of Eighteenth Century Satire. Brighton: Harvester.

Nokes, David (1995). John Gay: A Profession of Friendship. A Critical Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pope, Alexander (1956). The Correspondence of

Alexander Pope, 5 vols., ed. George Sherburn. Oxford: Clarendon.

Rawson, Claude (1985). Order from Confusion Sprung: Studies in Eighteenth-Century Literature from Swift to Cowper. London: Allen & Unwin.

Rawson, Claude (1994). "Swift, Pope and Others." In Satire and Sentiment 1660—1830. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Rogers, Pat (1985). Literature and Popular Culture in Eighteenth Century England. Brighton: Harvester.

Stallybrass, Peter, and White, Allon (1999). "The Grotesque Satiric Body." In Nigel Wood (ed.), Jonathan Swift, 158—69. London: Longman.

Swift, Jonathan (1983). Jonathan Swife: The Com plete Poems, ed. Pat Rogers. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

Oxford: Clarendon. Virgil (1999). Eclogues, Georgics, Aeneid, trans. H. Rushton Fairclough. Cambridge, Mass., and London: Harvard University Press. Williams, Raymond (1973). "Pastoral and Counter Pastoral." In The Country and the City. New York: Oxford University Press. Wordsworth, William (1974). "Essay, Supplementary to the Preface" (1815). In Prose Works of William Wordsworth, 3 vols., ed. W. J. B. Owen and Jane Worthington Smyser. Oxford: Clarendon.

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