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idyl(ī`dəl), short poem. The ancient idyls, especially those of Bion and Moschus, were intended as little selections in the style of such longer poems as elegies or epics. There are 10 famous idyls by the Greek TheocritusTheocritus
, fl. c.270 B.C., Hellenistic Greek poet, b. Syracuse. The history of the pastoral begins with him, and in him the form seems to have reached its height. His poetic style is finished and at times artificial, but the bucolic characters in his idyls seem alive.
..... Click the link for more information. , and, since some of them dealt with pastoral or rural scenes, the term idyl came to be restricted to gently flowing, artistic pieces on rural subjects. In the 19th cent., Alfred Tennyson in his Idylls of the King used the term rather in its looser original sense than in the later restricted pastoral meaning. For idyls in their bucolic sense, see pastoralpastoral,
literary work in which the shepherd's life is presented in a conventionalized manner. In this convention the purity and simplicity of shepherd life is contrasted with the corruption and artificiality of the court or the city.
..... Click the link for more information. .
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idyll(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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005