THE PASSIONATE SHEPHERD TO HIS LOVE [Full Text & Notes]
Time Period: 1564-1593
by Christopher Marlowe
Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
And all the craggy mountains yields.
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sings 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.
This poem sounds like a declaration of love in which the shepherd invited his love to come live with him and promises to offer her all the pleasures that nature offers. The shepherd offers the promise of a life together, on a continuously beautiful and fresh bed of roses and other flowers which he will build himself. If the bed is not enough to lure the woman he loves the shepherd promises more wonders, such as the most beautiful gown and slippers with gold buckles. If the lover finds his offer to be good enough then she can choose to come and live with him and share in his life – the shepherd hopes that his offer is going to be accepted. For the first part of the poem the shepherd presents his offer for his love and in the last two stanzas he just asks her to accept his offer if she finds it pleasant enough.
- Setting -
Setting is imaginary; the reader feels as if reading a popular poem praising the life in a small village.
- Topic -
Love in the purest, family oriented sense because the shepherd proposes building a life together with the woman he love; not the lust-oriented serenades of nobles trying to conquer a lover.
- Speaker -
A shepherd probably proposing marriage.
- Situation -
The reader is not clear as to what the occasion is but it could be used as a marriage proposal.
- Resolution -
Just like the shepherd we are left wondering because this is an open proposal and the woman is the one who should make a decision.
- Tone -
Happy, hopeful and in love.