they will experience all the pleasures of love in the natural setting. There is sexual innuendo in this invitation.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. The rest of the poem outlines in great detail all the country pleasures they will see and hear. The shepherd makes a number of rather laughable promises. For example, a bed of roses might look pretty, but with the thorns of the roses digging in, it's hardly a great bed. He says he will make her a gown embroidered with myrtle leaves. How will he do this out in the country with no needle, thread, or material? Not to mention that it isn’t at all likely that he knows how to sew. He would make her little slippers for the cold by pulling off lamb’s wool. In reality, sheep have to be properly sheared before wool can be made, let alone shoes.
Lesson 15 English ENG3U-BCopyright © 2009 The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. All rights reserved.12Why does the speaker make these amusing and even ridiculous promises? On one level, the answer is simple: he paints a beautiful picture of their future life together so he can seduce the young woman. On another level, the poet is showing off—Marlowe is indicating that he knows the conventions or traditions of pastoral poetry. Marlowe is having fun with the idealization of nature. He is perhaps showing thatthings are not what they seem: nature may look beautiful, but having an ideal life there wouldn’t be easy, but the shepherd’s only purpose is to win over the young lady with these exaggerated offers.Structure The pastoral poem is much simpler than the sonnet. It’s composed of several stanzas,but requires no specific number. There’s no specific number of lines in a stanza, but allstanzas of a given poem have the same number of lines. This poem has six stanzas of fourlines each.Rhyming Scheme The rhyming scheme of this pastoral is simple as well—rhyming couplets only. Pronunciation has changed since Marlowe’s time, so some rhymes may seem odd to you, such as “love” and “prove” in the first two lines of the poem. Diction "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” is a very descriptive poem. Almost every noun has a descriptive adjective connected with it: for example, “coral clasps and amber studs” and “shallow rivers and melodious birds.” The shepherd is painting a beautiful portrait in the hope of winning the lady to his vision of their life together. The poem includes words that are no longer familiar to us. In the sixteenth century, the word “kirtle” referred to a long gown and the word “prove” meant experience.The word “steepy” in the fourth line was created by Marlowe for poetic effect. He wanted to avoid using the phrase “steep mountains,” which sounds a bit clipped, as both words end in consonants. Instead, he softened the sound by adding “y” to “steep” to create a flowing phrase that suggests climbing will be easy.
English ENG3U-B Lesson 15Copyright © 2009 The Ontario Educational Communications Authority. All rights reserved.
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