Colin Clout, a shepherd who falls in love with Rosalinde, who treats his affection rudely and thus causes him to become depressed and melancholy. Frustrated by Rosalinde’s lack of response, Colin breaks his pipe, on which he had sought to play songs of love that would win her approval. His friend Hobbinoll notices his distress and composes a song about Colin’s plight, recalling to his friend Thenot a song that Colin composed in honor of the queen. Colin’s poetic gifts are celebrated by Hobbinoll, and at the urging of his friend, Colin seeks to fulfill his lyric potential, especially because he is nearing the age of thirty and sees his window of opportunity vanishing. Colin also feels the pull of more sedate and conventional pastoral moods. Colin’s love continues to plague him, especially because he is no longer physically even in contact with Rosalinde. His poetry continues to excite the admiration of his fellow shepherds, who see his as the one truly talented voice among them. As the seasons pass and the year comes to a close, Colin transcends the personal limits of his feelings for Rosalinde. He gives voice to the collective desires and sorrows of his fellow men, especially in his great elegy for the mysterious lady Dido. Colin, close to death himself, has matured into a poet of true magnitude.
Rosalinde, a country girl beloved by Colin. Rosalinde is disdainful of Colin. She becomes the...
(The entire section is 573 words.)