1. having the simplicity, charm, serenity, or other characteristics generally attributed to rural areas: pastoral scenery; the pastoral life. 2. pertaining to the country or to life in the country; rural; rustic. 3. portraying or suggesting idyllically the life of shepherds or of the country, as a work of literature, art, or music: pastoral poetry; a pastoral symphony. 4. of, pertaining to, or consisting of shepherds. 5. of or pertaining to a pastor or the duties of a pastor: pastoral visits to a hospital. 6. used for pasture, as land.
7. a poem, play, or the like, dealing with the life of shepherds, commonly in a conventional or artificial manner, or with simple rural life generally; a bucolic. 8. a picture or work of art representing the shepherds’ life. 9. Music . pastorale. 10. a treatise on the duties of a pastor. 11. a letter to the people from their spiritual pastor. 12. a letter to the clergy or people of an ecclesiastical district from its bishop.
because i don’t have access to the oed from my laptop, i had to settle for the dictionary.com definition and honestly, actually knowing the multiple definitions of a word really does help you further your understanding of poetry. unfortunately, i’m super lazy. but before i took the time to look it up, i had no idea how the title word related to the shepherdess or lamb in the poem.