"The Dorian Pipe, The Dorian Strain"

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Last Updated on January 19, 2017, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 169

Context: "Thyrsis" was written to commemorate Arnold's close friend Arthur Hugh Clough. The poem is composed in the traditional pastoral form for elegies; shepherds are brought into it, and references to the Doric past are prominent. Arnold brings in the "Dorian" or "Sicilian" by first reminding the reader that ". . . when Sicilian shepherds lost a mate,/ Some good survivor with his flute would go," and of course lament his friend with lyric music. This lovely music would be played directly to Proserpine, daughter of the goddess of vegetation and growth and queen of the world of the dead, who had often "trod Sicilian fields." The goddess cherished the beauty of the countryside and thus also "She loved the Dorian pipe, the Dorian strain."

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O easy access to the hearer's grace
When Dorian shepherds sang to Proserpine!
For she herself had trod Sicilian fields,
She knew the Dorian water's gush divine,
She knew each lily white which Enna yields,
Each rose with blushing face;
She loved the Dorian pipe, the Dorian strain.

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