1. Of or pertaining to shepherds; hence, relating to rural life and scenes; as, a pastoral life.

2. Relating to the care of souls, or to the pastor of a church; as, pastoral duties; a pastoral letter. Pastoral staff, a staff, usually of the form of a shepherd's crook, borne as an official emblem by a bishop, abbot, abbess, or other prelate privileged to carry it. See Crook, and Crosier. Pastoral theology, that part of theology which treats of the duties of pastors.

Origin: L. Pastoralis: cf. F. Pastoral. See Pastor.

1. A poem describing the life and manners of shepherds; a poem in which the speakers assume the character of shepherds; an idyl; a bucolic. A pastoral is a poem in which any action or passion is represented by its effects on a country life. (Rambler)

2. A cantata relating to rural life; a composition for instruments characterised by simplicity and sweetness; a lyrical composition the subject of which is taken from rural life.

3., a letter of the house of bishops, to be read in each parish.

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