The Pastoral Tradition: Representations of a Golden Age in Shakespeare, Marvell and Behn

MIRIAM MAGRO, School of English, University of Sheffield
mmagro1@sheffield.ac.uk

The Golden Age is a common theme in the pastoral works of William Shakespeare, Andrew Marvell and Aphra Behn, and refers to a time at the beginning of human history in which people lived ‘in perfect harmony with nature’ and ideal happiness, centred on Arcadia.[1] The association of the Golden Age with the specific location of Arcadia goes back to the Greek poet Hesiod’s Works and Days (c. 700 BC). Arcadia was then used as a literary device in Virgil’s Eclogues (c. 38 BC), and later adopted as the generic name for ‘the location of all pastoral retreats.’[2] Through his Arcadia, Virgil provided writers with objects, events and characters to represent the blissfulness of rural life, which he himself adopted from Theocritus’s Idylls (c. 275BC); these included shepherds’ songs.

Virgil also adapted the pastoral tradition by adding both mythological and political dimensions, thus introducing tensions between a real and an ideal world to reflect concerns about the harsh conditions of Virgil’s present world set within a rustic landscape. In doing this, Virgil started a tradition in which representations of a Golden Age in pastoral literature also included a social critique of the present world, which was seen as full of suffering, lust, greed, jealousy and social corruption. This view of a corrupted present world was generally linked with the idea of an ‘iron’ age, which comes from Ovid’s account in his Metamorphoses (AD 8) of the four different ages of gold, silver, bronze and iron, with iron being the most ‘wicked age.’[3] Following the growth and spread of Christianity in Medieval Europe, Ovid’s Golden Age gained a religious significance and become associated with Christian periodisation, related to the creation of Adam and the Garden of Eden before the fall of man.[4] Shakespeare, Marvell and Behn’s pastoral works reflect different representations of the Golden Age, which are portrayed in the context of a relationship between a real and an ideal world and set within mythological and Christian perspectives.

Most studies on representations of the Golden Age tend to focus on conventions used in the pastoral, with some attention given to individual authors’ work. One such example is Lawrence Lerner’s The Uses of Nostalgia: Studies in Pastoral Poetry (1972), in which he states that when a critic analyses pastoral works, the myth of the Golden Age must be taken into consideration for any social meanings embedded in the texts to be retrieved. Another example is Cullen’s ‘Imitation and Metamorphosis: The Golden Age in Spencer, Milton, and Marvell’ (1969), which looks at three pastoral works to trace transformations in the texts from the common characteristics attributed to the Golden Age, including those found in Virgil’s Eclogue IV. In addition, there are also historical studies that trace the development of the Golden Age, including Duncan’s Milton’s Earthly Paradise: A Historical Study of Eden (1972), and Marinelli’s ‘The Golden Age’ in his book Pastoral (1971). Despite the various scholarly works found on the Golden Age, it seems, surprisingly, that there has been little systematic discussion of the representations of the Golden Age across the pastoral works of Shakespeare, Marvell and Behn.

In this article, I look at Shakespeare’s As You Like It (1623), Marvell’s ‘The Garden’ (1681), and Behn’s ‘The Golden Age. A Paraphrase on a Translation out of French’ (1684) to explore the theme of the Golden Age across the three texts, examining the similarities and differences between the them. Though the three texts offer different representations of the Golden Age, they share one common motif, and that is in the way they portray the Golden Age in a relationship between a real and an ideal world. It is this relationship that ultimately allows the writers to reflect their feelings about and views of the present ‘iron’ age, characterised by elements such as the tyranny of court life, the vanity of human wishes, and the lack of both gender equality and sexual freedom. The term ‘Golden Age’ here refers to both pagan and Christian dimensions of the Golden Age, since Renaissance and Restoration writers conflated both the Golden Age of Greek mythology and that of Christianity.[5] The terms ‘Golden Age’ and ‘Golden World’ are also used interchangeably.

In Shakespeare’s As You Like It, the dichotomy between country and court is a prominent pastoral convention. In the play, the country referred to as the Forest of Arden becomes a place of refuge as some characters flee from a corrupted court life. Arden can be seen to stand for ‘a remote Golden Age’ taking the form of a pastoral retreat, whereas modern time and the corrupted court have become ‘its antithesis.’[6] Shakespeare’s use of tensions between country and court serves to establish, as well as destabilise, the myth of a Golden Age found in the pastoral. The establishment of a Golden Age is depicted in the first act when Charles, the wrestler, comments on Duke Senior’s whereabouts to Oliver:

They say he [the Duke] is already in the Forest of Arden, and a many merry men with him […] They say many young gentlemen flock to him every day, and fleet the time carelessly, as they did in the golden world.[7]

The connection made between Arden and the Golden World is further reinforced with Duke Fredrick’s jester Touchstone’s direct reference to the Roman poet: ‘I [Touchstone] am here with thee [Audrey] and thy goats, as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths’ (III.iii.7-9). It can be said that the notion of the Golden Age in Ovid’s Metamorphosis provided Shakespeare with a conceptual framework by associating the Forest of Arden with the Golden World.

At the same time, Ovid provided Shakespeare with the concept of an Iron Age, which he also manifests in his play. The envy, ambition and jealousy exposed by Duke Frederick and Oliver, Orlando’s older brother, if read in relation to Ovid’s description of the four ages, reflects characteristics of the Iron Age. In the play, Duke Frederick and Oliver’s evil forces lead Rosalind and Celia to leave the court and find refuge in the forest, which they are willing do, as is evident from Celia’s remarks to her cousin Rosalind: ‘Now go we in content | To liberty and not to banishment’ (I.iii.140-141). What this shows is that both Rosalind and Celia, troubled by the tyranny of the Iron World of Duke Frederick’s court, make a virtue of necessity by seeking their liberty in Arden. Ovid’s Iron Age is again depicted through Oliver’s feelings of hatred towards his younger brother, when he confesses to Duke Frederick that he never loved his brother. Aware of this treachery, Adam, the loyal servant, urges Orlando to find a safer place away from the court: ‘This is no place, this house is but a butchery. | Abhor it, fear it, do not enter it’ (II.iii.27-28). Orlando, aware of Adam’s loyalty as he compares him ‘to the constant service of the antique world | When service sweat for duty, not for meed,’ perceives the necessity to take Adam with him (II.iii.57-58). Thus, similar to Rosalind and Celia, Duke Frederick’s treachery forces Orlando and Adam to seek a better world by moving to Arden. This progression from court to country by the ‘morally’ good characters as they seek a better life away from court continues to reinforce the association of the Golden Age with the Forest of Arden as a place that offers harmony.

The peaceful existence found in Arden, destabilised later in the play, is depicted in Duke Senior’s (Duke Frederick’s older brother) speech to Amiens and the lords:

Now, my co-mates and brothers in exile,
Hath not old custom made this life more sweet
Than that of painted pomp? Are not these woods
More free from peril than the envious court?
Here feel we but the penalty of Adam,
The seasons’ difference; as, the icy fang
And churlish chiding of the winter’s wind,
Which, when it bites and blows upon my body,
Even till I shrink with cold, I smile and say
‘This is no flattery: these are counsellors
That feelingly persuade me what I am. (II.i.1-11)

This speech is important for a number of reasons. One significant factor is its allusion to feeling ‘the penalty of Adam,’ suggesting that the suffering brought about by the fall of man is felt in Arden. At the same time, this speech is also important because through Duke Senior, Shakespeare destabilises the association of Arden with the Golden World and relates it to the real world. This is shown with reference to the cold ‘winter’s wind,’ which is not a characteristic of the Golden Age, as Ovid points out in his Metamorphosis: ‘The Springtime lasted all the year.’[8] Thus Shakespeare’s Arden does not represent a perfect Arcadia, since there is a change of seasons, unlike in the Golden World where Spring was the only season.

Furthermore, even though Duke Senior praises the virtues of life in the forest and contrasts it with the intrigues and jealousy found in court, he is aware that by living the pastoral life he will not attain the bliss found in the Golden Age, as is evident in the pain he suffers from the cold weather. Yet what is important to Duke Senior is that his experiences in the country, as he explains, ‘feelingly persuade me what I am’ (II.i.11). The underlying message is that this shift from court to country allows him and the other exiled characters, as Alpers puts it, ‘to come to terms with reality, and in doing so discover their bonds, their allegiances, and their true selves.’[9] It seems that what is ‘golden’ about Arden is its function as a place of refuge and a healing space before the characters are able to resolve their troubles and move back into reality.

Shakespeare’s portrayal of Arden as a place of redemption is reinforced when the evil characters from court enter the forest in the final scene of the play. During the marriage ceremonies, Jacques De Boys enters the scene, proclaiming that Duke Frederick has changed into a better man. He explains that when the Duke entered the forest to invade the land and fight his brother, he had a change of heart after ‘meeting with an old religious man’ (V.iv.167). Following this incident, Duke Frederick decides not only to abandon his quest, but also to give the crown and the lands back ‘to his banish’d brother [Duke Senior]’ (V. iv.170). With this change of heart taking place at the end of the play, there is an inference that when the exiled characters return to court, they will bring their new restored selves and some of the good qualities of country life with them to court, by becoming more loyal towards others and more respectful towards family members.

In contrast to Shakespeare’s treatment of the Golden World presented through the Forest of Arden as a temporal physical retreat for the exiled characters to find their own allegiances before they return to court, in ‘The Garden’, Marvell portrays his Golden World as attainable when the speaker moves away from social obligations to seek a contemplative life surrounded by nature. Marvell’s poem, therefore, reflects a shift in pastoral conventions from the dichotomy between country and court used by Shakespeare, to one between society and solitude. In Marvell’s poem, solitude is preferred over society, as his speaker is depicted as disturbed by the excessive pride of humans and chooses to retire mentally from the crowd into a private space. It is possible that the speaker’s withdrawal to an ‘innocent’, ‘quiet’ place surrounded by ‘sacred plants’ evokes the Garden of Eden. Frank Kermode remarks in his essay ‘The Argument of Marvell’s “Garden”’, that ‘the [speaker’s] mental activity which Marvell is describing is clear’ and is shown through the speaker’s choice to withdraw to an innocent place surrounded by natural landscape to avoid all social obligations, made possible through ‘the working of the imagination.’[10] Thus, Marvell establishes the Golden Age found in the pastoral as he reflects his speaker’s going on an inward spiritual journey to reach the Golden World.

Marvell’s poem begins with the speaker criticising society and the vain men who work hard to earn prestige and honour to gain a crown.[11] In doing so, Marvell reflects the classical tradition by referring in the second line to the palm, oak or bay leaves that were placed in crowns, and given to men who gained military, political or poetic honours (1.2). However, the speaker feels that he is different from these materialistic people. Although the crown symbolises positions of royalty and power, the speaker is not interested to know what kind of achievements are being rewarded. His remark that these vain men are ‘crowned from some single herb or tree’ (I.4) shows that he is not interested to know in which field these men were honoured, as he does not name the specific type of leaf that was placed in their crowns. He simply states that it was some ‘single herb or tree’ (I.4). It also shows that unlike these men, the speaker’s attention is not on one tree, but on the garden in its entirety. In other words, the speaker’s interest is not related to the materialistic realm, but to his spiritual concerns. Read in the context of Ovid’s account of the four ages, it seems that the speaker wants to do away with the vanity and honour offered by the Iron World. Instead, he opts for a Golden World, which offers him ‘delicious solitude’ (I.16). As a consequence, the speaker renounces society, which for him ‘is all but rude’ (I.15). Following his decision, the speaker falls into a dreamlike state, as he is allegorically depicted moving into the Garden of Eden, evident with his remark in the fifth stanza: ‘What wond’rous life is this I lead […] Casting the body’s vast aside, | My soul into the boughs does glide’ (II. 33, 51-52). Thus, Marvell shows his speaker reaching happiness as he leaves his physical body to gain a transcendental experience as he moves into an ideal world.

The speaker’s transcendental experience comes to an abrupt end in stanza 8 when he finds himself back in an ordinary garden, stating: ‘Such was that happy garden-state’ (I. 57). The fact that this line is written in the past tense reflects a tension between the real and the ideal worlds, while Marvell calls into question whether the ideal nature of the Golden Age can ever be reached in the present world. Furthermore, this move from the real world in stanza 1 to the ideal world in stanza 2 and then back to the real world in the last two stanzas of the poem reinforces Herron’s observation that Marvell’s ‘The Garden’ involves a ‘cyclical movement’ that portrays the speaker moving ‘from the temporal world of struggle to a timeless wild garden and back to a typical English country garden.’[12] It can be said that the speaker’s move to the real world is clearly depicted through the metaphor of the sundial in stanza 9; this stands as a signal of the passing of time, a characteristic that does not comply with the timelessness found in the Golden World as described in Ovid’s Metamorphoses. This move back into reality is also reinforced by the comparison of ‘th’ industrious bee’ who ‘computes its time’ (II. 61-62). This suggests that the ‘industrious’ bee, portrayed as measuring time, is metaphorically compared to humans who also like to keep track of time. The last two verses, ‘How could such sweet and wholesome hours | Be reckon’d but with herbs and flow’rs’ (II. 63-64), imply that even though the speaker finds himself back in the real world, he still finds his solitude in nature more comforting than social life and human companionship.

In fact, Marvell never makes any reference to the importance of human companionship throughout the whole poem. Instead, in stanza 8 when the speaker finds himself back in the real world, he remarks that in the ‘happy garden-state’ of Eden, ‘While man there walk’d without a mate | After a place so pure and sweet, | What other help could yet be meet!’ (II. 57-60). This idea not only reinforces the speaker’s choice of solitude over society as the most important factor in his life, but it also has implications related to human sexuality. The speaker believes that the Garden of Eden was pure before Adam was given a ‘mate’; that is, before Eve was created.[13] Some critics have given contrasting interpretations of what Marvell might be implying in the first lines of stanza 8, with regard to Adam’s refusal of a female companion. For example, John Hollander and Frank Kermode believe that this reflects misogynist views, suggesting that Adam would have managed better without having a woman as a companion.[14] It seems in this case that the speaker has embraced his solitude in nature so much that he is finding it difficult to understand why God, if read in Christian terms, found it necessary to create anything else after he created Adam. Alternatively, Marvell might be suggesting that before the creation of Eve, Adam was free from evil temptation, and if he had remained on his own, the ruin of the pure and innocent ‘golden’ Eden might not have happened.

Another interesting critique is also given by Lawrence H. Hyman, who argues that Adam was androgynous and therefore did not need a female counterpart to produce offspring.[15] Hymen’s consideration of Adam having both sexes does not exclude the possibility of him having sexual encounters with nature, as Hymen justifies through Marvell’s choice of sexual imagery: ‘the luscious clusters of the vine | Upon my mouth do crush their wine’ (II. 35-36). However, he also states that the innocence that Adam was surrounded by in the garden allowed him to have ‘its pleasures and none of its pains.’[16] Aware of such different perspectives, I posit that there is also a deeper underlying message in the poem if the reader looks beyond Adam’s sexuality. What comes out strongly throughout Marvell’s poem is the need for the speaker to hold onto his dream of living alone, even after he finds himself back in reality, as he explains:

After a place so pure and sweet, | What other help could you meet! | But ‘twas a beyond a mortal’s share | To wander solitary there: | Two paradises ‘twere in one | To live in Paradise alone (II. 58-63).

According to the speaker, to live like Adam in Paradise is already remarkable but even greater would be the ability to live in paradise and not have to share it with anyone else. Thus, what is really important for the speaker as he moves from the real to the ideal and back to the real world is to distance himself from society, to search for the ‘lost’ Golden World as his only chance of achieving happiness in his life.

The representations of the Golden Age by Shakespeare and Marvell discussed so far have both been linked to a past age that once offered harmony to humans but is now lost. In contrast to both Shakespeare and Marvell, Behn, in her poem ‘The Golden Age: A Paraphrase on a Translation out of French,’ portrays a Golden Age that, although it is lost at present, may still be retrieved by humanity.[17] In her poem, Behn challenges the othering of women found in her male contemporaries’ pastoral works, including Marvell’s. In doing so, Behn gives women a subjective position in her discussion of the Golden Age, as she voices concerns about how the hierarchical structures of patriarchy, including power systems, gods and the idea of female honour, have undermined women’s lives. Although Behn’s poem might first appear similar to Ovid’s Metamorphosis, her description of the ‘Blest Age’ (the Golden Age) is given from a female perspective, in which the suffering of the present Iron Age is shown as a result of the social, religious and political institutions created by men.[18]

In her poem, Behn challenges the subjection of women instigated by gendered man-made institutions and evokes the return of a Golden Age for women to regain gender equality. Behn begins her poem with a description of a ‘Blest Age’, in which women lived in an ‘Eternal Spring’ surrounded by a beautiful landscape (I. 1, 5), where they were able to reproduce ‘without the Aids of men’ (III.32). This suggests that women in the Golden Age were not constrained by men and could enjoy their sexual desires freely. Thus, Behn, unlike Marvell, portrays a Golden Age that includes women, not just men, who could enjoy human companionship without being subordinate to men. For Behn, however, this all changed when the ‘Arbitrary Rules,’ that is, the laws made by kings and the teaching of the gods, gained power, leading to the destruction of the Golden Age (IV. 52). According to Behn, it was such laws and religious teachings through which gender inequality was constructed, leading to the suppression of women in the present Iron World. In order to reject the patriarchal laws that came to suppress women’s needs and sexual desires, Behn looks back at the Golden World, when the earth itself was characterised as female. Unconstrained by man-made gendered oppositions, women were free to produce their offspring without being forced by men:

The stubborn Plough had then,
Made no rude Rapes upon the Virgin Earth;
Who yielded of her own accord her plenteous Birth […] As of within her Teeming Womb,
All Nature, and all Sexes lay,
Whence new Creations every day
Into the happy World did come (III. 31-33, 35-38).

This shows that women in the Golden Age had the ability to act independently by making the earth fertile, and without the presence of a ‘stubborn Plough’; without any arbitrary power systems controlling their lives, women were so safe on earth that they did not feel threatened by anything in nature. This is shown in the third stanza, where Behn changes the Biblical scene between Adam and Eve and the temptation by the venomous snake in the garden of the Eden. In Behn’s poem, ‘the Snakes securely dwelt, | Not doing harm nor harm from others felt; | With whom the Nymphs did Innocently play’ (III, 44-46), since, ‘No spiteful Venom in the wantons lay; but to the touch were Soft, and to the sight were gay’ (III, 47-48). The snake here carries phallic imagery, suggesting that the shepherdess in the Golden Age was free to express her sexual desires. Thus, unlike the malicious Biblical snake and Eve’s impulse to sin, which, as presented by Christian teaching, are ultimately used to repress women’s sexual desires, Behn transforms this Biblical allegory to reflect the absence of authority found in the Golden World.

Throughout the poem, Behn stresses that in the Golden Age, women were free to enjoy their sexual desires without feelings of shame. However, this idyll came to an end with the intrusions of ‘Kings that made Laws,’ and by religious teachings that depicted natural feelings, particularly in women, as sinful acts (IV, 52-54). Behn rejects such ‘Arbitrary’ patriarchal rules as the cause of women’s suppression, while denouncing the concept of female honour for repressing women’s sexuality: ‘Oh cursed Honour! Thou who first didst damn | A Woman to the Sin of shame’ (II. 157-118). As Guibbory remarks, Behn portrays ‘how private sexuality is bound up with a whole range of practices in the public sphere.’[19] I posit that it is the link between the private and public spheres that Behn urges women to destabilise in order to gain back their subjectivity. Following her attack on female honour, Behn attempts to restore the Golden Age by creating a contrast between country and court. She wants to remove the ideals of female honour, established by men, to reign only in ‘Princes’ Palaces’ and ‘the Trading Court’, where it belongs, and not in the ‘Shepherds’ Cottages’ (II.152-153, 150). In doing so, Behn adopts the pastoral convention of the country/court dichotomy, but also adapts it by making the country her perfect Arcadia for women to regain their freedom.

In the final stanza, Behn extends her discussion of the country/court dichotomy to a discussion of men and women. In doing so, Behn takes the reader from a description of the ideal to present-day reality, as she marks the presence of honour and the need for the Golden Age to ‘Assume its Glorious Reign’ in the real world (I. 167). Behn calls on ‘the young wising Maid [to] confess’ so that ‘the Mystery will be revealed’ (II. 168, 170). The implication here is that Behn urges women to come forward and reveal their secrets about how they wish to be relieved from the oppressions instigated by patriarchal institutions. Interestingly, at the end of the poem there is a change of voice as the speaker becomes male, who questions why such importance has been given to female honour. He then demands that Sylvia seize the moment before her ‘beauties fade’ (I. 184). The fact that a male speaker is urging Sylvia to lose her honour might appear suspicious at first. Also surprising is the fact that Behn chooses a man to challenge the constraints put on women, giving a rather dispiriting sense that the speaker is preaching sexual revolution for his own cynical purposes. However, what becomes clear is that female honour needs to be relegated in order for the Golden Age to become a reality. It might also be the case that Behn uses a male perspective to indicate that some men find female honour restrictive, acting as a barrier to their own sexuality, or perhaps even that the male speaker acknowledges the power honour has to silence and repress women. Thus, a return to the Golden Age signals for Behn a renunciation of honour that gains women their liberation, and a place where women and men are free to love as equals in an eternal spring.

The Golden Age is a fundamental theme in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Marvell’s ‘The Garden’ and Behn’s ‘The Golden Age: A Paraphrase on a Translation out of French’, which depict it in contrast to a wicked Iron Age. Through their different representations of the Golden Age, the three writers share a common motif in the way they portray the Golden Age based on a tension between an ideal and a real world. In doing this, they reflect their concerns about the present world, such as the greed found in court life, the frivolity and ambition of humanity, and the lack of equality between the sexes. For Shakespeare, being in the country is ‘golden’ not for its idealistic qualities, but because it brings a change of personality to the characters. In Marvell’s case, solitude and separation from society are the only means of happiness. In a slightly different manner, Behn calls for the ideal Golden Age to be restored in the real world in order for honour to no longer confine women’s lives, and for discrimination against women to be destroyed. Taken together, Shakespeare, Marvell and Behn’s representations of the Golden Age do not merely establish the myth of the Golden Age in the pastoral, but also destabilise it through its contrast with realistic factors.

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——, ‘The Eclogue Tradition and the Nature of Pastoral’, College English, 34.3 (1972), 352-371.

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[1] P.V. Marinelli, Pastoral (London: Methuen, 1971), p. 15.

[2] Terry Gifford, Pastoral (London: Routledge, 1999), p. 18.

[3] Ovid, Ovid’s Metamorphosis: The Arthur Golding Translation, ed. by John Frederick Nims (Philadelphia: Paul Dry Books, 2000) Book 1, Line 145.

[4] See David C. Alexander Augustine’s Early Theology of the Church (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2008) to understand how the different ages in pagan mythology correspond with Christian theology.

[5] Key differences will be identified when deemed necessary in the following analyses.

[6] Sylvan Barnet, ‘Introduction to As You Like It’ in The Complete Signet Classic Shakespeare (New York: Harcourt Brace Jovaniovich, 1972), p. 841.

[7] William Shakespeare, ‘As You Like It’ in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, ed. by W.J. Craig (London: Oxford University Press, 1964), pp. 217-242, I. i.122-127. All subsequent references to this play are from this edition, and will be indicated by Act, Scene and Line number.

[8] Shakespeare, II.i.7; Ovid, Line 122.

[9] Paul Alpers, ‘The Eclogue Tradition and the Nature of Pastoral’, College English, 34.3 (1972), 352-371 (p. 353).

[10] Frank Kermode, ‘The Argument of Marvell’s “Garden,’” in Seventeenth Century English Poetry: Modern Essays in Criticism ed. by W. R. Keast (New York: Oxford University Press, 1962), pp. 290-304 (p. 300).

[11] Andrew Marvell, ‘The Garden’, in The Poems of Andrew Marvell, ed. by Nigel Smith (London: Pearson Longman, 2007), pp. 155-159, I. I. All subsequent references to this poem are from this edition and will be indicated by Line number.

[12] Dale Herron, ‘Marvel’s “Garden” and the Landscape of Poetry’ The Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 73.3 (1974), 328-337 (p. 328).

[13] Marvell, I. 58.

[14] The Oxford Anthology of English Literature, ed. by John Hollander and Frank Kermode (New York: Oxford University Press, 1973), p. 665.

[15] Lawrence W. Hyman, ‘Marvell’s Garden’, ELH, 25.1 (1958), 13-22 (p.15).

[16] Hyman, p. 19.

[17] Behn’s The Golden Age. A Paraphrase on a Translation out of French is based on the prelude to Torquato Tasso’s pastoral drama ‘Aminta’ (1573).

[18] Aphra Behn, ‘The Golden Age: A Paraphrase on a Translation out of French’, Disposed into Poems upon several occasions, with A voyage to the island of love in Early English Books Online (1684), I.1 < http://eebo. chadwyck.com.sheffield.idm.oclc.org/search/fulltext > [accessed 21 May 2017]. All subsequent references to this poem are from this edition, and will be indicated by Line number.

[19] Guibbory, ‘Sexual Politics / Political Sex: Seventeenth-Century Love Poetry’ in Renaissance Discourses of Desire, ed. by Cloude Summers and Ted-Larry Pebworth (Columbia and London: University of Missouri Press, 1993), pp. 206-222 (p. 220).