The Passionate Shepherd to His Love Questions and Answers
by Christopher Marlowe

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Is "The Passionate Shepherd To His Love" a lyric or narrative poem?

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Stephanie Gregg eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Specifically, this poem is considered a pastoral poem because of its idyllic setting.  However, since that isn't one of your options, your better choice here is lyric.  The second link I am providing gives the characteristics of both lyric and narrative poems, and as you will see, lyric is the better fit.  Here's why:

Lyric poetry is highly emotional.  Check--this poem is brimming with emotion, although it is debatable whether that emotion is beautiful love or just old-fashioned lust.  It also has a musical quality, not meaning necessarily that it should be sung, but that it has a distinguishable rhythm.  Marlowe's choice of rhyming couplets assures this quality.  Lyric poems have a first-person narrator who idealizes the situation being described. The Shepherd, of course, speaks in the first-person and only tells his Love of all the wonderful benefits of coming to live with him; he leaves out all of the hardships that will come with the lifestyle of a shepherd.

Since a narrative poem should tell a story, and we don't get the other side of this tale until we read "The Nymph's Reply," you must classify this poem as lyric.

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