All terms

What is an Eclogue?

A pastoral poem depicting rural life and often concerning shepherds.

Entering the World of Pastoral Poetry: An Introduction to Eclogue

Eclogue, a term derived from the Greek words 'eklogos' meaning selection, and 'logos' meaning speech, is a form of poetry that arose in ancient Greece depicting rural life and often concerning shepherds, and has continued to fascinate artists and poets through the centuries.

In the hands of poets like Theocritus, Virgil, and Dante, the eclogue became a window onto the pastoral countryside; we see the fields, woods, and rivers, hear the bleating sheep, and experience the rhythms of life and death in perfect harmony with the cycle of the seasons. The form allowed for a great deal of experimentation, and over time, the eclogue was adapted to suit the needs of different cultures and periods.

Today, eclogue remains a beloved and versatile form, capable of capturing the beauty and complexity of nature while exploring complex themes like love, death, and faith. Whether you're just starting out in the world of creative writing or are an experienced wordsmith, the eclogue is a great tool for sharpening your skills and exploring new creative territory.

Pastoral Poetry in Full Bloom: Two Eclogue Examples You Should Check Out

Some of the most celebrated poets of all time have left us a legacy of gorgeous eclogues, rich with vivid, mellifluous language and unforgettable imagery. Here are just a couple of examples:

The Eclogues, by Virgil

A collection of ten beautifully-crafted poems, The Eclogues remain the gold standard for this form.

Written in the late 30s BCE, the Eclogues were Virgil's first major work, and they established him as one of the greatest poets of the age.

'The Shepherd's Calendar' by John Clare

'The Shepherd's Calendar' is a fascinating look at rural life in England in the early 19th century.

Clare's eclogues are rich with detail and a keen sense of the rhythms of life on the farm.

The collection has been praised by critics for its naturalistic approach as well as its deep sympathy for the people and places it describes.