Treasure Island

Sir Walter Raleigh

(1552 - 1618 / Devon / England)

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Her Reply


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.

But Time drives 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.

Thy 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.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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Read poems about / on: winter, sorrow, spring, truth, world, love, time, heart, joy, river, flower, rose

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Comments about this poem (Her Reply by Sir Walter Raleigh )

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  • Carlos Echeverria (5/29/2012 10:30:00 AM)

    In the context of a response to Marlowe's poem, Raleigh eschews an idealized version of love for a realist model. Not that he's bereft of passion, as the rhyme scheme and meter flow with the pronounced heartbeat of a man in love. (Report) Reply

  • Jamie Griffith (5/29/2012 12:55:00 AM)

    The name of this poem isn't Her Reply. It is The Nymph's Reply To The Shepard. I have studied it in two of my classes and it was listed under that name in both books for the classes. (Report) Reply

  • Thomas Farquhar (3/22/2012 8:09:00 AM)

    This poem, if I remember my school days correctly, is in fact a response to another poets work and is intended to be tongue in cheek. Nonetheless, on its own it is an excellent piece of work. (Report) Reply

  • Kevin Straw (5/29/2010 5:25:00 AM)

    What an impressive figure Raleigh was: to write as well as this, and be a great warrior and courtier. How many modern day soldiers or sailors could turn out such polished art? (Report) Reply

  • Ramesh T A (5/29/2010 3:05:00 AM)

    He makes a clever proposition to be in love with his lady! It is all wonderful to read the description in small stanzas from the beginning to the end! Indeed a very nice poem to read! (Report) Reply

  • Michael Pruchnicki (5/29/2009 3:58:00 PM)

    Her Reply is a practical answer to all the moonbeams and malarkey spewed by male shepherds (not real shepherds, of course, but the cocky young courtiers playing at being shepherds) in the heat of passion. The young lady responds with mother wit - 'Sure, lad, don't you know that as time passes, so does your passion! Winter and age come on with a vengeance that puts the lie to all your charming promises! The gown you made of posies for me withers as the season changes, don't you know? That damn rock you put me on will freeze my tush off if I sit on it when jack frost nips at me. All that malarkey of youth won't stop my hair from graying either! If life and youth were forever, I might come and live with you as we sport in green fields! But social security and medicare are what I forseen for both of us as we suffer the indignity of old age! Get a grip on reality, bucko! '

    And Her Reply is universal! (Report) Reply

  • Taylah Watson (5/29/2009 5:40:00 AM)

    My poem goes like this
    It's called 'It's still loading'





    please load for me and my friends
    please load and load until the end
    please load quick and please load fast
    before my time has past
    please load,
    please load for me and my family
    please load please load before I send this (Report) Reply

  • Caro Smith (8/9/2007 9:46:00 AM)

    This is a reply to Christopher Marlowe's 'The Passionate Shepherd to His Love'. I like reading the poems together.

    http: //www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-passionate-shepherd-to-his-love/ (Report) Reply

  • Nakole Rodgers (5/29/2007 7:09:00 PM)

    well i think it's a well written poem. it's not rubbish, i am a very good judge and when i read this poem my life was filled with light. (Report) Reply

Read all 14 comments »

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