Sir Walter Raleigh’s poem, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd,” is one of the most celebrated companion poems in all of English literature as it responds to and challenges Christopher Marlowe’s poem, “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.” Raleigh’s poem engages the earlier poem in a dialogue that challenges the validity of the Elizabethan romantics’ preoccupation for the pastoral, or the idyllic, simple life. Raleigh points toward a more complex and realistic understanding of life that is subject to darkness and the inevitable progression of time. Raleigh uses the...
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