"Pastoral" (from pastor, Latin for "shepherd") refers to a literary work dealing with shepherds and rustic life. Pastoral poetry is highly conventionalized. Poets as early as Theocritus, Hesiod, and Virgil wrote pastoral poems, as well as writers like Shakespeare. It is interesting to note that most poets who wrote pastoral poems were not really from the country. Their point of view was more idealistic than realistic. The pastoral poem presents an idealistic, almost Utopian view of rural life. The artificiality of pastoral poetry is most explicit in the courtly language and dress of the "shepherds," which better fit the drawing rooms of polite society than the hills, swamps and sheepfolds of real rustic life. Shepherds and shepherdesses are innocent, pure and free from corruption of the city or even the court. Some common topics of these poems were death, love, the mockery of politics, and the ideal life of the country. Shepherds and shepherdesses would sing love songs to each other. Sometimes pastoral poetry is elegiac, mourning the deceased shepherd, for instance.
FANNY BRAWNE In a letter to his brother George in the autumn of 1818, John Keats wrote, “Mrs Brawne…still resides in Hampstead…her daughter senior is I think beautiful and elegant, graceful, silly, fashionable and strange we have a little tiff now and then.” The daughter who caught Keats’s attention was Fanny Brawne, Keats’s neighbor. Fanny Brawne was born on August 9, 1800 near Hampstead. After her father died in 1810, Brawne, her mother, and her two younger siblings lived in a series of rented houses. Throughout her youth, Brawne was interested fashion, was an expert on historical costume, and was skilled at sewing, knitting and embroidery. Fanny had witnessed the growth of Keats's reputation; perhaps she had read the numerous books which eulogized him. But she never revealed herself, nor took a noteworthy interest in his life. Keats writes his lovely sonnet to Fanny, Bright Star. He wrote his most accomplished works - the "Eves", the Odes and "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" - while courting her.They became engaged, but the onset of his tuberculosis kept them apart. Keats knew that he was finished. His letters to her are full of clear-eyed realism and desperate yearning. When he died in Italy in 1821 (aged 25), Fanny's final letters to him were buried with him unopened. He had