George Puttenham: Arte of English Poesie (1589): the "Eglogue" is not the most ancient form of "artificiall Poesie" but follows after the the "other drammatick poems"
Sir Philip Sidney: The Defence of Poesie (1589): "Sometimes under the prettie tales of Woolves and sheepe, can enclude the whole considerations of wrong doing and patience"
Michael Drayton: To the Reader of his Pastorals (1619): "The subject of Pastorals, as the language of it ought to be poor, silly, & and of the coursest Woofe in appearance."
René Rapin: A Treatise de carmine Pastorale (engl. 1684): Pastorals should "not recede one jot from its proper matter", "Rustick affairs; such are mean and humble in themselves;" Pastoral should be "pure and innocent", avoid jealousy, rapes, quarrelling. It must be "without the polishing of Art".
Bernard Bovier de Fontenelle: Of Pastorals (engl. 1695): the rise of towns and cities has deteriorated the ways of the countryside.
Jean-FranÃ§ois Saint-Lambert: Monthly Review, 1769): science has "aggrandized and adorned the universe"; "Poems may be written which require a very considerable knowledge of nature, and their authors may, not withstanding, hope to find readers."
Samuel Johnson: The Rambler (1750): Virgil doesn`t mention the idea of the Golden Age in his writings, hence Johnson says that he "cannot indeed easily discover why it is thought necessary to refer descriptions of a rural state to remote times".
John Aikin: Essay on Ballads and Pastoral Songs (1772): "original pastoral poetry" consisting of "the village tale, the dialogue of rustic courtship, the description of natural objects, and the incidents of rural life." Language: "Their language is the language of nature, simple and unadorned; "¦". Plot: "their story is not the wild off-spring of fancy, but the probable adventures of the cottage; "¦". Sentiments: "their sentiments are the unstudied expressions of passion and emotions common to all mankind."
Hugh Blair: Pastoral Poetry (1783): "topics of description" are now "worn threadbare by incessant imitation"; that`s why the poet must "study variety" and "diversify his face of nature, by presenting to us new images".