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In Raleigh's reply to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," the nymph points out the realities of life. The Shepherd had concentrated only on the joys of summer and endless time. He never mentions hard work or threats to safety or the loneliness a shepherd must endure. The nymph simply points out the realities of life. She says winter will come after summer, rivers will overflow their banks, rocks get cold, birds don't always sing and flowers eventually fade. She says she would live with him if youth and happiness lasted, however, she leaves the impression that she is more realistic than the shepherd.
In "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd," the nymph dismisses the shepherd's idyllic vision of their life together by shining a light on the facts of life.
The nymph must doubt the shepherd's promises, as one of her conditions for being the shepherd's lover is if there was "truth in every shepherd’s tongue." In "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," the shepherd promised lovely gifts that a shepherd would not typically be able to afford, such as a belt with coral and amber in it. Therefore, one of the main flaws the nymph points out is that the shepherd is obviously lying to her.
Another fault in the shepherd's logic is that he promises good tidings and happiness that would only be available to them in summer and spring.
And we will sit upon the Rocks,Seeing the Shepherds feed their flocks,By shallow Rivers to whose fallsMelodious birds sing Madrigals.
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