THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE By Christopher Marlowe
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THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE
By Christopher Marlowe
Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
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 flowers, 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 Passionate Shepherd” is a poem written by the English poet Christopher Marlowe, likely in the early 1590s. It was one of the most popular and widely read poems of the English Renaissance in which many poets, such as Sir Walter Raleigh, wrote responses praising, criticizing, and poking fun at it. The poem is both beautiful and idealized in which the young shepherd expresses his profound love and intense feelings for his love through describing a rural life full of intense sensual pleasure and promises. And also as this poem is about love, the speaker describes his feelings of the blissfulness of his love. The poet, very skillfully, sketches a picture of his love and paints it with his heartfelt emotions and hope. As a desperate shepherd, he tries to win the heart of his lady with materialistic objects and details the things he can provide to give her an ideal life. He also promises that he will treat her like a queen and provides an idyllic picture of what her life could be if she comes with him. Beauty, hope, and nature are the major themes in the poem. The poet expresses his true love for his significant other. The love, which he describes, offers merriment, joys, and excitement. The choice of words, however, suggests that he hopes to spend his entire life with his beloved in the lap of nature.
Literary devices are tools that enable the writers to enhance their simple texts to bring richness and uniqueness in the texts and open multiple interpretations. And in this poem, the author successfully used literary elements.
• Enjambment: Enjambment refers to the continuation of a line or a verse without the pause in a couplet or stanza. For Example,
“By shallow Rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing Madrigals.”
• Assonance: Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds in the same line such as the sound of /a/ in “With Coral clasps and Amber studs”.
• Symbolism: Symbolism is using symbols to signify ideas and qualities, giving them symbolic meanings different from literal meanings. “Roses” are symbols of love, beauty, and desire. The country referred by the shepherd symbolizes the peace, tranquility and never-ending hope.
• Alliteration: Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds in the same line such as the sound of /p/ in “And we will all the pleasures prove” and the sound of /sh/ and /s/ in “The Shepherds’ Swains shall dance and sing.”
• Imagery: Imagery is used to make the readers perceive things involving their five senses. For example, “That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields”; “A gown made of the finest wool” and “A belt of straw and Ivy buds.”
• Metaphor: It is a figure of speech when comparing between different objects. For example, in the eighth line, “Melodious birds sing Madrigals” the speaker compares songs of the birds to poems that are set to music.
• Hyperbole: Hyperbole is a device used to exaggerate a statement for the sake of emphasis. The poet has used hyperbole in lines nine and ten to show how far he can go for his love. For example,
“And I will make thee beds of Roses
And a thousand fragrant posies.”