The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

by Christopher Marlowe

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What pleasure awaits the shepherd's love if she agrees, according to the poem?

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If his beloved agrees to run away to nature and be his lover, the passionate shepherd promises her an idyllic life in the countryside, full of simple pleasures. These will include sitting on rocks and watching shepherds tend their flocks, listening to the birds sing, lying on beds of roses and posies, and wearing a cap and kirtle (gown) embroidered with myrtle leaves.

The passionate shepherd will also make his beloved a wool gown and a belt of straw, ivy, coral, and amber. They will sing and dance with the shepherds in May.

This is an idyllic picture of nature, where it is always warm and flowers are always in bloom, a place of eternal spring and pleasure.

In an answer to this poem called "The Nymph's Response to the Shepherd" by Sir Walter Raleigh, the beloved reminds her passionate lover of the downside of his plan: fall and cold weather will come, natural items like flowers will rot, and everything can't always remain an idyll.

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According to the shepherd, if his love agrees, they will enjoy all the pleasures of nature, including valleys, woods, hills, fields, and mountains. While they are enjoying nature, they will sit on rocks and watch shepherds tending to their sheep, and they will sit by rivers where birds will serenade them. The shepherd will make his beloved a bed of roses, a hat of flowers, and a gown (or "kirtle") sewn with myrtle leaves. The shepherd will also make his lover a gown made of the best wool from his sheep, and he will make his beloved slippers and a gold belt buckle. He will give his lover a belt of straw with decorations made of amber and coral, and they will be serenaded by swains, or young people in the country. The delights that Marlowe describes are pastoral and represent the idyllic aspect of nature. 

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