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Christopher Marlowe

(26 February 1564 - 30 May 1593 / Canterbury, England)

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The Passionate Shepherd to his Love


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.
And we will sit upon rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant poises,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds's swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Submitted: Tuesday, December 31, 2002
Edited: Tuesday, December 04, 2012

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  • Veteran Poet - 4,414 Points Kim Barney (12/4/2014 8:59:00 AM)

    I totally agree with everything John Richter said below. Much more than I would have the energy to write, but well worth reading.
    Well done, John! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 846 Points John Richter (12/4/2014 7:20:00 AM)

    It's always refreshing to read poetry from a time when sight rhyme like move and love were commonplace and not lost on the reader... I think it was such an intimate thing between poet and reader. In todays world, where we run at such maddening pace, and are swamped over completely with electronic devices that rule us - it seems such lovely little things have become lost. Sadly. My favorite poets - all of the 18th and 19th centuries - use sight rhyme prolifically. I find it quite endearing, as though the authors themselves were sitting across from me winking as I fall into their worlds. As for the rest of the poem - I find it a beautiful quatrain enticement to win the heart of a young damsel... The meter is near perfect and was most certainly appraised by his contemporaries as immaculate.... With that said - this first poem of his that I have read does not move me in any particular way. Perhaps if I were a starry eyed damsel in 1550 it would have a different effect on me. As a general rule I do not like love poems because love is rarely the cause for them. If you are enticing someone you barely know to be your woman, how could that be love? Love is rarely the cause of such poems. Sounds more like mother nature and hormones to me. What bothers me most about it is not that such human and innate things exists, but rather that so many bards prefer to mask it with flowery speech and hide behind a mistaken label of love. Love is something that comes after courtship.... (Report) Reply

  • Bronze Star - 6,718 Points * Sunprincess * (6/30/2014 5:07:00 PM)

    ..............a beautiful invitation....should definitely be on a valentine's card....loved... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 67 Points Bright Morn (12/4/2013 8:42:00 AM)

    a very beautiful poem. the love is felt deep inside heart and the rhythm with its beats (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 15 Points Becka Rhodes (11/15/2013 7:31:00 AM)

    My response poem!

    You seem so charming
    You seem so strong
    But what you are offering is wrong
    Love to you is only temporary
    Love to me is eternity
    You only want me till flowers die
    Not forever by your side
    With love you cannot forever hide

    You offer a bed of roses to me
    Soon they will wither and die
    Where do I sleep then?
    Outside on the cold ground?

    If this love wasn’t temporary
    If this love was true
    I would have been glad to have met you
    But because it’s temporary
    And not so true,
    I’ll have to pass this time
    I’ll say toodaloo (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Arnav Gogoi (6/6/2013 1:49:00 AM)

    A love poem that can never be forgotten. Marlowe had truly penned down the essence of true love and its feelings in this poem. After all, what's love without passion for your lover....If you go by the flow of the poem, you will find yourself being carried to the heart of the poem which is full of love, desire and the earnest plea of love to be together..... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 130 Points Sidi Mahtrow (12/4/2010 5:23:00 AM)

    Marlowe escaped to France to avoid sure death in England. It is appropriate to quote a few lines from the Kingston Trio's Rasberries, Strawberries...
    'An old man returns to Paris
    as ev'ry old man must
    He finds the winter winds blow cold
    His dreams have turned to dust... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 294 Points Ramesh T A (12/4/2009 1:05:00 AM)

    Head to foot beautification of the lady love by this lover is something naturally beautiful and surely will make any bride accept her lover willingly without fail! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Anjali Mandokhot (12/4/2008 9:21:00 PM)

    Its beautifull and reminds of unearthly promises and vows of bringing stars and moon to one's beloved's feet to woo her.....nicely written lovely poem...thanx (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Michael Pruchnicki (12/4/2008 10:03:00 AM)

    The responses to Marlowe's 'Passionate Shepherd' on this site range from the merely idiotic to the uncomprehending. So one thinks the poem to be 'too long',
    another that's it's not very well-written, and others seem to have missed Marlowe's point entirely. The best remedy is to read this poem in context with Raleigh's poem 'The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd.' Perhaps Sarkis Krikorian would benefit from such a reading, because Raleigh's 'Reply' depends on common sense, a practical woman's response to all the gush of a romantic male intent on achieving his desires. Shakespeare would probably have agreed with Raleigh in the matter of romantic love and its pitfalls. And Keats was a romantic, but one who recognized the dangers inherent in 'passionate love'! Read the 'The Eve of St. Agnes' as contrast to 'Ode on a Grecian Urn'! (Report) Reply

Read all 32 comments »

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