Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" is a response to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." Both involve a debate between a "shepherd"—a young man—and a "nymph"—the woman he is in love with. In Marlowe's poem, the shepherd tries to persuade the nymph to come away with him and live a pastoral life. In Raleigh's poem, the nymph makes her response to the shepherd.
The poems are both written in iambic tetrameter and consist of six quatrains with a regular scheme: abab in Marlowe and rhyming couplets in Raleigh. Raleigh also uses Marlowe's imagery, speaking of roses, posies, and coral clasps. Both deal centrally with pastoral mythology—the idea of the escape to a simple life in the country as an idyllic response to the pressures of sophisticated urban life.
The poems differ in that Marlowe's shepherd focuses wholly on the imagined perfections of a simple life in nature with his beloved. In his poem, the world lives in an eternal spring and summer, life is full of...
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