by Christopher Marlowe
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will sit upon the rocks,
And I will make thee beds of roses
A gown made of the finest wool
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
by Sir Walter Raleigh
If all the world and love were young,
Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy bed of roses,
Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
But could youth last and love still breed,
The themes of the poem - carpe diem
and the immediate gratification of their sexual passions.
Love in the May countryside will be like a return to the Garden of Eden. There is a tradition that our problems are caused by having too many restrictions, by society. If we could get away from these rules, we could return to a prisitine condition of happiness. The "free love" movement of the 1960's was a recent manifestation of this utopian belief. If the nymph would go a-maying with the shepherd, they would have a perfect life.
In quatrains (4 line stanzas) of iambic tetrameter (8 syllables per line, 4 measures per line with 2 syllables in each measure), the shepherd invites his beloved to experience the joys of nature.
He hopes to return with the nymph to a Edenic life of free love in nature.
The world is NOT young--we are not in Eden, but in this old fallen world - a world in which shepherds have actually been known to lie to their nymphs.
This poem by Sir Walter Raleigh uses the same meter and references to present "mirror images" of Marlowe's poem. The feminine persona (the nymph) of the poem sets up a hypothetical set of questions that undermine the intelligence of the man's offer because all that he offers is transitory. She reverses his images into negative ones:
We live in a fallen world. Free love in the grass in impossible now because the world is not in some eternal spring. The seasons pass, as does time. Nymphs grow old, and shepherds grow cold.