Macmillan. 195. He also argues that The Hireling Shepherd is, like "Lycidas," a pastoral satire, which he seems to believe is necessarily a more generalized form of this mode. Macmillan claims that Milton added a new earnestness to "the frivolous pastoral tradition" (191), apparently not realizing that bitingly topical satire on politics and religion have been a part of the literary pastoral since the early English and Italian Renaissances. I agree that The Hireling Shepherd is a pastoral satire — in several senses of that term - but such agreement does not make it either less topical or less harshly satirical. I should perhaps point out that although I disagree with a few of Macmillan's points, his essay, which is a model of how to discuss Hunt's works, is one of the most important contributions to our understanding of this painter.
Last modified December 2001