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The Nymphs Reply to the Shepherd

“ The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” The poem “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”, is a look into the mind of a realistic (or some may even say pessimistic) person. It was written as a response to the more idealistic poem, “ The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”, by Christopher Marlowe. “The Passionate Shepherd…” is the story of a man trying to convince the lady he loves to spend the rest of her life with him. He describes the happiness that will surround them and the beauty they will live with the rest of their lives, “ The shepherd swains shall dance and sing For thy delight each May morning-”. The theme of the poem is essentially to woo the shepherd’s love to come live with him. Many responses were written to this poem, but the most famous came from Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh wrote “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”. Sir Walter Raleigh actually became famous for colonizing the Americas and for being the founder of a settlement in Virginia. With this response to Marlowe’s poem he also became a poet. He wrote the best response to Marlowe’s idealistic shepherd. In the first stanza the nymph (otherwise known as the shepherd’s love) begins to state an argument against the shepherd’s views. She says that if their love would always stay young, and their world would never change then she would gladly spend the rest of her life with him. After saying this, the nymph explains in detail what the reality of things would be if they spent their lives together. The second stanza begins by saying that in time the flocks of sheep would leave the field. The rivers would grow to be more violent and smash against the rocks, instead of flowing gently. The nightingale would stop singing, and soon after the complaints in their relationship would start. Stanzas three through five continue the nymph’s description of what would really ...

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The Nymphs Reply to the Shepherd. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 15:03, January 30, 2015, from