What is the theme or message of this poem?

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The reply matches stanza for stanza the style and rhythm of the original--The Passionate Shepherd to his Love.  The Nymph has an edge to her reply since in her sarcastic way she says that nothing the shepherd has to offer promises anything of length or commitment.  He does not promise marriage, he only says, "come live with me and be my love."

The Nymph does say that IF the shepherd could make time stand still and all the things that he offers (the flowers, the buttons, belts, and slippers which all dry up, die and fall apart eventually) could actually last for any substantial amount of time she might be tempted.  However, it is all temporary like the Spring, Summer.  Nothing lasts into the Fall or Winter.

renelane's profile pic

renelane | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

This poem, which is in response to Marlowe's poem "Passionate Shepherd to his Love' takes a disbelieving approach to the  promises that have been made by the shepherd.

The casting of doubt, by the nymph, suggests that the shepherd is not being truthful or realistic in his assertions of unending love. The nymph questions the idea that love can overcome anything, and the unlikelihood that the shepherd has considered how time does change things.

Sources:
dark13's profile pic

dark13 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Quite simple, real love may not last, women are more than just an ideal, and love is not Petrarchan or Victorian. Ralegh shows his disgust with Marlowe's original poem.

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