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In biblical usage, the image of the shepherd caring for his flock is a strong one; God is seen as the shepherd of his people, and in Luke 2:8 the shepherds to whom the announcement of the Nativity is made are described as ‘abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night’.

In pastoral poetry, shepherd is a designation of one of the rustic characters; from this, in 16th-century poetry adopting the pastoral convention, the name is often used for the writer and his friends and fellow poets.

Subjects: Literature.

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