1635
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Shepheards Holy-Day.

The Shepheards Holy-Day. A Pastorall Tragi-Comaedie. Acted before both their Majesties at White-Hall, by the Queenes Servants. With an Elegie on the Death of the most Noble Lady, the Lady Venetia Digby. Written by J. R.

Joseph Rutter


A pastoral drama signed "J. R."

E. Felix Schelling: "It seems not unlikely that The Shepherd's Holiday, assigned to Joseph Rutter, and acted about 1634, was written in emulation, if not in imitation of Amyntas [by Thomas Randolph]. Here, too, a complicated and original plot involving the fortunes of three pairs of lovers is made to depend on two oracles of the customary obscurity; but a motive involving lost children, as in The Winter's Tale, — a prince here being reared a shepherd and the oracle fulfilled by his discovery, — is interwoven with the prevailing pastoral motive. Rutter was a member of Jonson's latest circle of wits and poets. Jonson prefixed the seal of his approval in a few commendatory lines to this play, and Rutter was among the many poets to join in that ample tribute to Jonson's memory, Jonsonus Viribus. As to The Shepherd's Holiday, it is an estimable piece of work not wanting in dramatic power or poetic embellishment; and it enjoyed some popularity in its day, being acted not only at Whitehall before their majesties, but likewise 'at the Cockpit'" Elizabethan Drama (1908) 2:175-76.

Dorothy E. Mason: "the influence of Spenser may be felt throughout this play. SC is reflected in various pastoral characters as, for example, the shepherd complaining of his love. No lines are exactly parallel with Spenser's, but the general Spenserian spirit is illustrated" Wells, Spenser Allusions (1972) 196.

Henry John Todd compares Rutter's "Thyrsis, a Pastorall Elegie in the person of Sir Kenelme Digby," printed at the conclusion of Shepheards Holy-Day, to Spenser's November.



All as the shepherd is, such be his flocks,
So pine and languish they, as in despair
He pines and languishes; their fleecy locks
Let hang disorder'd, as their master's hair,
Since she is gone that deck'd both him and them.
And now what beauty can there be to live,
When she is lost that did all beauty give?

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