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The Pastourelle is a poetic genre that was popular throughout France in the 12th and 13th Centuries. Pastourelle is the French spelling of the Occitan word Pastorella.

The definition used by William D. Paden for the genre is:

  1. The mode is pastoral, commonly realised in a counttry setting and in the description of the heroine as a shepherdess.
  2. The cast includes a man and a young woman.
  3. The plot comprises a discovery and an attempted seduction.
  4. The rhetoric involves both narrative and dialogue.
  5. The point of view is that of the man.

This turns the song of courtly love on its head, by having the object of desire being not a noble lady where social constraints dictate events, but a commoner, with the less refined associations that would be drawn by the listener.