The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

by Christopher Marlowe

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"Come Live With Me, And Be My Love"

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Context: This quotation is from one of the romantic pastoral poems which became a convention in the sixteenth century. The familiar elements are all present: the idealized life of the shepherd in a make-believe world where shepherds feed their flocks to the sound of the birds' madrigals. The poet will make for his beloved "beds of roses," a gown of the "finest wool," slippers with gold buckles, while the shepherds dance and sing for her delight in the eternal springtime. If these pleasures prove attractive, then let her be his love. Sir Walter Raleigh in 1600 wrote a satirical reply to Marlowe, beginning "If all the world and love were young," and John Donne in "The Bait" (1633) used Marlowe's opening line as the start of a very different kind of poem. Marlowe's opening stanza is as follows:

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

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