illustration of the Nymph standing opposite the Shepherd with flowers surrounding them

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

by Sir Walter Raleigh

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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 184

In the last stanza of the poem, what does the Nymph mean by age having need? How does this stand in the way of her relationship with the shepherd?

In this poem, the Nymph counters the shepherd’s request to live with him and be his love. Rewrite the argument in prose, in modern language, so that it could be used by any young person today as a defense against pressure from a lover.

Compare the style of this poem to Christopher Marlowe’s style in writing “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.” In what ways has Raleigh matched Marlowe’s style exactly? What clues can you find to indicate that the two works are by separate authors?

William Shakespeare wrote at the same time that Raleigh did. Choose a character from Shakespeare’s plays that you think is most like the Nymph portrayed here. Why do you think so?

Write a short story about the Nymph in her old age. Would she be satisfied with her decision to refuse the shepherd’s offer, or would she regret having let him get away? Why?

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