The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

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 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.

Summary of The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

  • Popularity of “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”: This poem was written by Christopher Marlowe, a famous English poet and playwright. It is a famous pastoral poem about love and was first published in 1599. The young shepherd expresses his profound love and intense feelings for his mistress. Since its publication, it has won widespread popularity on account of its everlasting description of love.
  • “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”, As a Representative of Love: 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.
  • Major Themes in “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”: 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.

Analysis of Literary Devices in “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”

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. Christopher Marlowe has also used some literary elements in this poem. The analysis of a few literary devices used in this poem has been analyzed below.

“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.”

Analysis of Poetic Devices in “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”

Poetic and literary devices are the same, but a few are used only in poetry. Here is the analysis of some of the poetic devices used in this poem.

  • Stanza: A stanza is a poetic form of some lines. There are six stanzas in this poem, each having four lines in it.
  • Quatrain: A quatrain is a four-lined stanza borrowed from Persian poetry.
  • Feminine Rhyme: It is a type of rhyme in which one or more unstressed syllables follow the stressed syllables. The examples of feminine rhyme are, “love/prove” and “fields/yields.”
  • Repetition: There is a repetition of the line, “Come live with me, and be my love” which has created musical quality in the poem.
  • Rhyme Scheme: The poem follows the ABAB rhyme scheme.
  • Iambic Tetrameter: It is a type of meter having four iambs per line. The poem follows iambic tetrameter such as, “come live with me and be my

Quotes to be Used

The lines stated below can be used by anyone to express deep love and pure emotions for each other.

“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.”

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