Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.


(sometimes US), idyl
1. a poem or prose work describing an idealized rural life, pastoral scenes, etc.
2. any simple narrative or descriptive piece in poetry or prose
3. a piece of music with a calm or pastoral character



one of the main literary forms of bucolic poetry. The term “idyll” was first applied in the scholia to the short poems of the ancient Greek poet Theocritus, which were written primarily in hexameter and in different literary forms (the mime, epyllion, and lyric monologue). The poems are linked by an interest in the daily life of simple people, in personal feelings, and in nature, and the images are presented with a deliberate lack of artifice and a marked nonsocial context. Vergil followed Theocritus’ lead.

In modern European literature the term “idyll” is broadly applied to all bucolic poetry, including the idyll proper, all varieties of pastoral poetry, and works with idyllic strains and motifs. In the narrow sense of the word, an idyll is a form of the lyric and the epic—a short poem depicting a tranquil existence in harmony with nature, which focuses on the poet’s or hero’s inner feelings (the idyll proper). It became a favorite genre of such sentimentalists as I. H. Voss, F. Miiller, and Jean Paul (Germany) and S. Gessner (Switzerland). Examples of the idyll in Russian literature are found in the works of A. A. Del’vig, N. I. Gnedich, and V. I. Panaev.


Panaev, V. I. Idillii. St. Petersburg, 1820.
Feokril, Moskh, i Bion: Idillii i epigrammy. Translation, commentary, and afterword by M. E. Grabar’-Passek. Moscow, 1958.


References in periodicals archive ?
He is the main character in Idyll 4 where KopuSrav is a cowherd with musical ambition (Id.
First, we should look at the definitions of pastoral and idyll, and how "urban" applies to both.
Wagner wrote the Siegfried Idyll as a birthday present for his wife.
So hide the Wii and the Lazy Town DVDs and show them a gentler, more innocent time where a short-sighted ginger chap getting into mail-orientated scrapes in a quiet, rural idyll was more than enough to keep our little darlings happy.
Alfred Tennyson's prefatory manuscript note to "The Coming of Arthur," the first of his Idylls of the King, (1) remarks that its "form"--the next sentence implicitly indicates verse form--is "purposely more archaic than that of the other Idylls" (2) An earlier note to the same Idyll quotes eighteen lines on Arthur's nativity and infancy from Layamon's Brut, a vast thirteenth-century Middle English verse chronicle recounting the history of Britain from its founding by the mythical Brutus of Troy to its final conquest by the English.
But I have been to Puerto Banus, the Spanish idyll where he died.
Soon afterwards he wrote another work for string orchestra; the seven-movement Idyll of 1878 was literally christened by Antonin Dvorak, who attended the premiere conducted by Janacek himself.
Canadian/Norwegian duo Todd Saunders and Tommie Wilhelmsen's winning proposal combines a viewing platform with obligatory lavatories and parking, but separates the various elements so that the mess and fuss of parking is at some remove from the idyll of the viewpoint.
In a nutshell: Both director and lead actor are miscast in this whimsical adaptation of Peter Mayle's south of France idyll.
Their Green Mountain idyll was thrown into a tailspin earlier this year when Sam was diagnosed with stage III-B Hodgkin's lymphoma.
From this chronological stringing, though, a comprehensive context emerges that reveals the South American idyll as a colonialist construct.
The semitropical rainforest idyll witnessed by von Guerard in Illawarra repeats itself in tropical and subtropical regions around the globe.