Get an answer for ‘Examine Lycidas by Milton as a pastoral elegy.’ and find homework help for other Lycidas questions at eNotes. It is a critical commonplace to say that the death of Edward King is less the subject of Lycidasthan the possible death ‘ere his prime’ of Milton himself, or, more. Milton’s ‘Lycidas’ is one of the greatest pastoral elegies in English literature. Pastoralism in literature is an attitude in which the writer looks at life from the view .

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Lycidas first appeared in a collection of elegies entitled Justa Edouardo King Naufrago.

This collection commemorated the death of Edward King, ad collegemate of Milton’s at Cambridge who drowned when his ship sank off the coast of Wales in August, Milton volunteered or was asked to make a contribution to the collection.

The present edition follows the copy of Poems of Mr. Milton made a few significant revisions to Lycidas after These revisions are noted as they occur.


The structure of Lycidas remains somewhat mysterious. Martin Evans argues that there are two movements with six sections each that seem to mirror each other.

Pastoral elegy

Arthur Barker believes that elfgy body of Lycidas is composed of three movements that run parallel in pattern. That is, each movement begins with an invocation, then explores the conventions of the pastoral, and ends with a conclusion to Milton’s “emotional problem” quoted in Womack.

Milton’s epigram labels Lycidas a “monody”: But the poem has several voices or personae, including the “uncouth swain” the main narratorwho is “interrupted” first by Phoebus Apollothen Camus the river Cam, and thus Cambridge University personifiedand the “Pilot of the Galilean lake” St. Finally, a second narrator appears for only flegy last eight lines to bring a conclusion in ottava rima see F.

Before the second narrator enters, the poem contains the irregular rhyme and meter characteristic of the Italian canzone form. Canzone is essentially a polyphonic lyrical form, hence creating a serious conflict with the “monody. This person would presumably be the final narrator, who seemingly masks himself as the “uncouth swain.


Lycidas is a pastoral elegy, a genre initiated by Theocritus, also put to famous use by Virgil and Spenser. Christopher Kendrick asserts that lycidsa reading of Lycidas would be improved by treating the poem anachronistically, that is, as if it was one of the most original pastoral elegies.

Lycidas – Wikipedia

Also, as already stated, it employs the irregular rhyme and meter of an Xs canzone. Stella Revard suggests that Lycidas also exhibits the influence of Pindaric odes, especially in its allusions to Orpheus, Alpheus, and Arethusa. The poem’s arrangement in verse paragraphs and its introduction of various voices and personae are also features that anticipate epic structures.

Introduction Background and Text. James Sitar and Thomas H.