Walter. Ralegh

(1552-1618)

The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd - Poem by Walter. Ralegh

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.

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.


Comments about The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd by Walter. Ralegh

  • (1/2/2007 12:06:00 AM)


    I love this poem. I also love the poem that it is a companion to ('The Passionate Shepherd to His Love' by Christopher Marlowe- http: //poemhunter.com/poem/the-passionate-shepherd-to-his-love/) . I always feel like they should be read together, even though this poem is by Sir Walter Raleigh. I love that a different poet responded to Marlowe's original poem and did a wonderful job of it too. Both voices in these two poems, the shepherd and the nymph, are so realistic, the shepherd asking the nymph to stay with him and promising her gifts, the nymph refusing, saying that she doesn't only want gifts and that if the timing were better she would stay with him. The last stanza is especially good '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.' (Report) Reply

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  • (10/27/2006 9:42:00 AM)


    i love this poem. how hard men try! These material goods are not what she wants, and she is very clear in that fact. I feel it is rather flirty in places and i love the beginning 'and truth in every shepherd's tongue'. She loves what he has just said (Marlowe 'the passionate shepherd to his love') to her and is teasing him with the notion that these promises doesn't interest her at all. For a man to write this truthfully the thoughts of a woman is very impressive too. (Report) Reply

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



Poem Submitted: Monday, January 20, 2003



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