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The title identifies the speaker as the “passionate shepherd” and the listener as “his love.” The poem is a speech of persuasion in which the shepherd asks the lady to join him in love. Since the speaker is trying to persuade, we may assume that the lady has resisted previous advances. The shepherd offers the lady a world of “valleys, groves, hills, and fields” where they can watch “shepherds feed their flocks” and listen to “melodious birds sing madrigals.” In this Arcadian, ideal world, young people eternally “dance and sing” each “May morning.” The world being offered is therefore one of total “delights.” In portraying the idealized world, the shepherd almost ignores the reality of everyday life. He slips, however, by mentioning “cold” in line 15—his only concession that spring and May are mutable and impermanent.
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