The Nymphs Reply to the Shepherd Essay

This essay has a total of 833 words and 4 pages.

The Nymphs Reply to the Shepherd




“ The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”
The poem “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”, is a look into the mind of a realistic (or
some may even say pessimistic) person. It was written as a response to the more
idealistic poem, “ The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”, by Christopher Marlowe. “The
Passionate Shepherd…” is the story of a man trying to convince the lady he loves to spend
the rest of her life with him. He describes the happiness that will surround them and the
beauty they will live with the rest of their lives, “ The shepherd swains shall dance and
sing For thy delight each May morning-”. The theme of the poem is essentially to woo the
shepherd’s love to come live with him. Many responses were written to this poem, but the
most famous came from Sir Walter Raleigh. Raleigh wrote “The Nymph’s Reply to the
Shepherd”. Sir Walter Raleigh actually became famous for colonizing the Americas and for
being the founder of a settlement in Virginia. With this response to Marlowe’s poem he
also became a poet. He wrote the best response to Marlowe’s idealistic shepherd.

In the first stanza the nymph (otherwise known as the shepherd’s love) begins to state an
argument against the shepherd’s views. She says that if their love would always stay
young, and their world would never change then she would gladly spend the rest of her life
with him. After saying this, the nymph explains in detail what the reality of things
would be if they spent their lives together. The second stanza begins by saying that in
time the flocks of sheep would leave the field. The rivers would grow to be more violent
and smash against the rocks, instead of flowing gently. The nightingale would stop
singing, and soon after the complaints in their relationship would start.

Stanzas three through five continue the nymph’s description of what would really occur, if
she lived with him. Eventually, the flowers would wither away, and winter would come.
The spring’s “honey tongue” would appear, but it would only be followed by fall (which
they saw as sorrow-filled season). The gowns, shoes, skirts, and everything else the
shepherd said she would have also would fade and disappear in time. Everything he offered
her such as a belt made of straws and ivy buds, coral clasps, and ivory studs, could not
convince her to spend her life with him. The point she tries to put across in these
stanzas is everything she owned and all that they were surrounded by would change. “The
Passionate Shepherd…” only speaks of the wonderful things, and he only see the beauty and
life of spring. The nymph smartly reminds him that after a beautiful season winter will
eventually arrive.

In the last stanza of the poem, the tone changes a little. The nymph says how her opinion
might change if things were different. If their youth and their youthful stage of love
could last forever, and it was certain that their joy would never die; these offers would
move her to changing her mind. She basically states that she would spend the rest of her
life with him, if all that he said were true. In this last stanza, you see the nymph back
Continues for 2 more pages >>




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