Rather than a simple song, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” is considered an example of Raleigh’s skepticism. “Memento mori,” or recognition of death, and “tempus edax,” or “devouring time,” are important concepts for understanding Raleigh. He questioned everything, including the religious and political ideas of his time and the premises of the courtly love tradition. Many have contrasted Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” with “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.” Jerry Leath Mills has called it a “witty and sardonic”...
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