The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
by Christopher Marlowe

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields
Woods or steepy mountain yields

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flower, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me and be my love.

The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
by Sir Walter Raleigh

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complain of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy bed of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies,
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Notes for "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love."

Pastoral lyric: Poetry that expresses emotions  in an idyllic setting.  It is related to the term "pasture," and is associated with shepherds writing music to their flocks.  The tradition goes back to David in the Bible and Hesiod the Greek poet.

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.

Notes for "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd."

Raleigh argues that it is not society that taints sexual love.  We are already tainted before we enter society.  Releigh combines carpe diem with tempus fugit in an unusual way.  Normally we should sieze the day because time flies.  Raleigh argues that because time flies, we should NOT sieze the day.  There will be consequences to their roll in the grass.  Time does not stand still; winter inevitably follows the spring; therefore, we cannot act on impulses until we have examined the consequences.

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.