Sir Walter Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" is a satiric reply to Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." The irony of this satire is that a mythological spirit depicted as a maiden is more realistic than the shepherd. The flaw in the shepherd's pastoral lyric of invitation ironically pointed out by this maiden is that the idyllic life that he and the nymph will share is limited by its temporality.
That the nymph finds the shepherd unrealistic is indicated by the beginning line which begins with "If," an indication that all else that follows is set upon the "world and love" remaining "young." This anti-pastoral presents the argument that time works against youth; the verse moves quickly through the use of rhyming couplets and alliteration, the repetition of initial consonant sounds, as in the following examples:
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.
Time drives the flocks from field to fold
Where rivers rage and rocks grow cold...
The rest complains of cares to come.
In the third stanza, there is also personification in lines 9 and 10 as "fields" and "winter" are attributed human characteristics,
The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields,