Why might someone prefer "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"?

One might prefer "The Nymph's Response to the Shepherd" by Sir Walter Raleigh to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" because it is more realistic than the latter, to which it is responding.

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The context of "The Nymph's Response to the Shepherd" by Sir Walter Raleigh is Christopher Marlowe's poem "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." I prefer Raleigh's poem because it is a realistic response to an unrealistic fantasy.

In "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," the "shepherd" is really a palace courtier who knows very little about living in nature. He is, however, trying to persuade his beloved to run away with him to a natural setting. He promises to make her "beds of roses ... and posies" and items such as caps made of flowers. He promises her "fair lined slippers" for cold weather, but primarily focuses on the happiness they will experience in a warm-weather climate:

The Shepherds’ Swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning.
For the response poem, Raleigh imagines what the practical, realistic woman is thinking. This woman points out the various downsides to the dream of a pastoral idyll. She reminds her lover that eventually the fine weather will end: "Rivers rage and Rocks grow cold," while flowers "fade" and winter comes. Beds of roses and posies "wither," while the coral and amber the "shepherd" promises mean little to her. She says she would go with him if they could freeze time:
But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee, and be thy love.
However, since this is not how the real world operates, she is not going to join him in a fantasy land.
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on

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