The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

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″The Nymph′s Reply to the Shepherd″ (1596), by Sir Walter Raleigh, is a poem that responds to and parodies ″The Passionate Shepherd to His Love″ by Christopher Marlowe (published in 1599 although the author died in 1593), wherein the courted nymph presents her rejection of the shepherd's invitation to pastoral life as perpetual idyll.

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd[edit]

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.

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