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Friday, 26 August 2011

Stuart's Daily Word Spot: Pastoral

Pastoral: noun - a book about the care of souls (now obsolete); Christian: a pastoral staff, letter, epistles; a pastoral poem, play or picture (now rare); in music, equivalent to ‘pastorale’; pastoral poetry as a style of literary composition.
Adjective - relating to shepherds or their occupation; relating to sheep or cattle farming; land used for pasture; in scenery, a landscape with the natural charm associated with pastureland; in literature, music, or works of art, showing rural life or the life of shepherds in a romantic way; relating to a pastor or the spiritual care of a congregation; relating to a teacher’s duty to give moral care and guidance.

We rarely use the noun form now but I suspect most are familiar with its use in music; e.g. Beethoven’s Sixth Symphony.

The adjectival use is more common however:

‘The paintings of John Constable can be described as pastoral, in that they often exclude the less attractive elements of the landscape in which he lived and worked.’

‘All the mothers were devastated to discover that the Catholic father who’d been expressly appointed to supervise the pastoral care of their children had turned out to be a paedophile.’

Pic: A pastoral landscape.
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