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The Nymph's Reply to The Shepherd

Mara and Ellie's Poetry Analysis
by

Ellie McDonald

on 9 February 2011

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Transcript of The Nymph's Reply to The Shepherd

"The Nymph's Reply to The Sheperd" Sir Walter Raleigh
If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields:
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

The gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,—
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

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.
Historical Context This poem is the antithesis of the Pastoral poem "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" by Christopher Marlowe Pastoral: having the simplicity, charm, serenity, or other characteristics generally attributed to rural areas.
An ideal setting. Vocabulary:
fold: a pen for animals, especially sheep
dumb: mute
Philomel: nightingale
wanton: hard to control; producing abundant crop
gall: something bitter to endure
kirtle: skirt
posies: flowers
date: ending Figurative Language Alliteration: repetition of a consonant soundn at the beginning of a series fo words"flocks from field to fold"
"rivers rage"
"coral clasps"
"my mind might move" Meter: the basic rhythmic structure of a verse or lines in verse.
-creates a mocking tone

Metric Substitution:
-makes poem rougher and less pleasing to the ear than Marlowe's
-also gives the Nymph an anger and irritation to the shepherd's foolish thoughts of love and paradise, knowing that time will come and destroy it all one day.
"Time drives" -- abrupt break from the pleasing, flowing metrics that Marlowe established and Raleigh's first stanza adhered to. Rhyme Scheme:
A A B B

Rhyming Couplets

* Same rhyme scheme as "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" Imagery: a description that appeals to any one or combination of the five senses. Personification: a type of figurative language in which a non-human subject is given human characteristics.
"Time drives"
"rivers rage"
"rocks grow cold"
Full transcript