Corydon (character)

Corydon (Greek Κορύδων Korúdōn, probably related to κόρυδος kórudos "lark") is a stock name for a shepherd in ancient Greek pastoral poems and fables, such as the one in Idyll 4 of the Syracusan poet Theocritus (c. 300 – c. 250 BC). The name was also used by the Latin poets Siculus and, more significantly, Virgil. In the second of Virgil's Eclogues, it is used for a shepherd whose love for the boy Alexis is described therein.[1] Virgil's Corydon gives his name to the modern book Corydon.

Corydon is the name of a character that features heavily in the Eclogues of Calpurnius Siculus. Some scholars believe that Calpurnius represents himself, or at least his "poetic voice"[2] through Corydon,

Corydon is mentioned in Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen as a shepherd in Book VI, Canto X. In this section he is portrayed as a coward who fails to come to the aid of Pastorell when she is being pursued by a tiger.

The name also appears in poem number 17 ("My flocks feed not, my ewes breed not") of The Passionate Pilgrim, an anthology of poetry first published in 1599 and attributed on the title page of the collection to Shakespeare. This poem appeared the following year in another collection, England's Helicon, where it was attributed to "Ignoto" (Latin for "Unknown"). Circumstantial evidence points to a possible authorship by Richard Barnfield, whose first published work, The Affectionate Shepherd, though dealing with the unrequited love of Daphnis for Ganymede, was in fact, as Barnfield stated later, an expansion of Virgil's second Eclogue which dealt with the love of Corydon for Alexis.

The name is again used for a shepherd boy in an English children's trilogy (Corydon and the Island of Monsters, Corydon and the Fall of Atlantis and Corydon and the Siege of Troy) by Tobias Druitt. [1]

Corydon is also the name of a shepherd in a Christian hymn entitled Pastoral Elegy. The town of Corydon, Indiana is named after the shepherd of that hymn.

Corydon and Thyrsis are a pair of shepherds in Edna St. Vincent Millay's 1920 play, "Aria da Capo". [2]

Corydon is also the name of a 1924 Dialogue by André Gide, in which the discussion of the naturalness and morality of homosexuality and pederasty are linked to the character Corydon, inspired by Virgil.


  1. ^ Virgil. "Eclogues II". Project Gutenberg. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  2. ^ Hubbard, T.K. The Pipes of Pan (1996) pp 152