The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

by Christopher Marlowe

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In "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," what does the shepherd ask of his beloved in the first stanza? What does he tell her they will do if she agrees to his request?

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The shepherd simply wants his beloved to come away with him, but he seems to think she'll take some convincing. So in the first stanza, the lusty young swain begins to paint a lovely picture of the idyllic rural life he and his lover will enjoy together if she graciously accedes to his request. The shepherd promises to take his beloved away to an Edenic paradise full of valleys, groves, fields and hills, woods and steep mountains. He knows that if he's going to seal the deal, he needs to make the prospect of being with him so tempting that his beloved will find it hard to resist. And the shepherd clearly thinks that by painting such a pretty picture of pastoral bliss, the object of his affections will have no hesitation in accepting his offer.

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In the first stanza, the shepherd asks his beloved to come and live with him. If she does, he promises to make living with him worthwhile. He tells her that they will sit on rocks to watch shepherds feed their flocks and that they will sit by rivers to listen to birds making beautiful music.

He also promises that he will make her beds of roses and a "thousand fragrant posies," a cap of flowers, and a kirtle embroidered with myrtle leaves. Next, he begins to paint a picture of how pretty she will look in the way he means to dress her. She will have a fine, wool gown; gold-buckled, lined shoes; and a "belt of straw and Ivy buds, / With Coral clasps and Amber studs." Furthermore, he promises that the young shepherd lads will sing and dance for her delight every summer morning. The shepherd lays out all these inducements to encourage his lady love to come and live with him.

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