Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Shepherds and Nymphs

If you take a look at some of my favourite poems written by other people, it’s easy to see how I ended up with such a strong sense of rhyme and rhythm. I cut my poetry teeth on the classics. To be honest, while most kids in my English classes struggled to understand classic poetry, I struggled to understand modern poetry.

This week I’d like to share one of my very first favourite poems. I love the rhyme and rhythm of it, as well as the story it tells.

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 shepherd'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.

~ Christopher Marlowe

And of course what would the shepherd’s plea be without his lady love’s reply?

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

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 complain 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 bed 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.

~ Sir Walter Raleigh


Ann Bennett said...

We be but kindred souls

I love same poetry and still do. If I can get my mind to slow with my pace, I would like to read all of Shakespeare.

C R Ward said...

You don't know how happy I am to find such a kindred spirit! :-)

I've read Tennyson's Idylls of the King, and Spencer's The Fairy Queen, but reading Shakespeare's complete works is still on my bucket list.