Passionate Shepherd To His Love English Literature Essay


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These anthologies from the Elizabethan are about a lonely shepherd alluring women in any region to come live with him and become his love. Love is the most basic feelings of the human emotion, and as it is the most common emotion, almost everybody is accustomed to the ardour, love. Love, is the most powerful emotion, and it seems to engender in many people an exciting state of mind. Therefore, it is no doubt that the emotion love and its outcomes have inspired plethora of poets to write about their passion to love. The Passionate Shepherd to his love, written by Christopher Marlowe is a poem that shows what the poets are willing to offer the women are to come live with them. Sir Walter Raleigh's The Nymph's reply to the Shepherd is an answer from the women to the shepherd's request.

Marlowe's pastoral poem 'The Passionate Shepherd to his love', also the form of a ballad, and as this kind of poem's tradition is shown by a innocent and romantic love; it portrays a passionate shepherd who is rapturous of springtime love. As being a shepherd is a 'non-city' job, it gives us a rural location where shepherds tend their flocks. Also, the use of the word 'madrigal' in line 8 suggests that the time is about the 16th Century, which is the time when madrigals were favoured in many places in England. Madrigals are song sung by several singers without any musical instruments. However, the poem could be about any shepherds of any age in any country, because the poem does not refer a specific region, or a shepherd.

The mood of the poem is animated by Marlowe's positive, detailed use of language and poetic devices. Marlowe intelligibly described the shepherd's sense of extreme optimism as if he believes everything will work out between him and his love. He also does not have any anxiety whether his condition to the girls, and as all women want to marry a succeful, smart and rich men, he is far away from getting married in reality, however this is the part when he shows his extreme optimism. In addition to this, the shepherd tells the woman to make sure the pleasures they will experience in the entire pastoral environment that nature can supply. Considering the fact that he tells that the the shepherd and the woman will experience these enjoyment in a variety of places, it seems that his hope is that the enjoyment of the world are principally sexual. 'Come live with me, and be my love' has the same allusion it would have for a us; the woman is being allured to come and make love with the man. 'Fields, Valleys and Hills' are some numbers of the locations the shepherd exhorts where the woman might yield to him.

In Marlowe's poem, the shepherd promises to the women the future with him by portraying a joyful, happy and ideal future together, a life filled up with the pleasures they will have in an endless spring. However, in Raleigh's reply, it unveils the shepherd's naïve and absurd hope. When Marlowe's Shepherd assures the beauty of nature and gifts from it, Raleigh's Nymph debunks that those promises can come true if, 'if all the world and love were young.' Raleigh thinks that the shepherd is a fool, liar and arbitrary man who does not care about the reality. Despite that, him offering the pleasures shows that he really loves her.

Raleigh has used the word 'Nymph', instead of 'girl', because nymph has the mythological meaning of a female spirit who is well-trained at avoiding lecher or the greek god called 'Satyr', and therefore it will be more effective to use the word 'Nymph' rather than girl. Raleigh's Nymph breaks the shepherd's dream fast and efficiently. In addition, Raleigh's Nymph opposed to almost every ideas of the shepherd. The poem begins by the Nymph questioning the shepherd's competency to make his promises possible, and she asks the "truth in every shepherd's tongue'(Line 2). For all of the shepherd's romantic ideas about the pleasures they will have in the green, the nymph does not care because the nymph knows that "Time drives the flocks from field to fold"(Line 5) and 'Flowers fade"(Line 9).

Both of the poems are made up of six stanzas, each with four lines. Marlowe and Raleigh have demonstrated a rhyming scheme of AABB, which not only adds an imperceptible musical quality to the poem, but also assist us in reading it with minor amusement. For example, in the first stanza of Marlowe's poem:

'Come live with me and be my love,

And we will all the pleasures prove.

That hills and valleys, dale and fields,

And all the craggy mountains yield'.

And in the second stanza of Raleigh's poem:

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,

When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;

And Philomel becometh dumb;

The rest complains of cares to come.

The varying length of the sentences makes the poem friendlier, and Marlowe's interesting and broad choice of language improve the poem's emotive elements. This rhyming and repetition clearly proves that this is poem typical of the classic ballad. It also contains iambic tetrameter, with eight syllables per line.

Marlowe's poem:

Come | live.|.with | me.|.and be.|.my | LOVE,  

And | we.|.will | all.|.the | plea.|.sures | PROVE   

That | hills.|.and | vall.|.eys, | dale.|.and | FIELD,  

And | all.|.the | crag.|.gy | mount.|.ains | YIELD.

Raleigh's poem:

Time | drives | the | flocks | from | field | to | FOLD,

When | ri | vers | rage | and | rocks | grow | COLD;

And | Phil | o | mel | be | come | th | DUMB;

The | rest | com | plains | of | cares | to | COME.

Besides, alliterations and assonance are used in some of the couplets, contributing to the poem's overriding sense of naivety. For instance in Line 27 and 28,

Marlowe's poem:

'If these delights thy mind may move, then live with me, and be my love'.

Raleigh's poem:

'Then these delights my mind might move, to live with thee and be thy love.'

Both Marlowe and Raleigh have used the emotion 'love' in their poems. Also, they were outstandingly great poets and proved themselves in "The Passionate Shepherd to his love," and "The Nymph's reply to the Shepherd." Raleigh's nymph breaks Marlowe's shepherd's ideas and images into more real and mellow attitude than his immature and idealistic infatuation.

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