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Sir Walter Raleigh
The poem is written in the first person from the point of view of an unnamed speaker who is the "nymph" identified in the title. In classical mythology, a nymph is a minor deity often personified as a beautiful young woman associated with natural features such as forests, mountains, or streams.
The poem is mostly in the present tense, although stretches are written in the conditional future tense as the speaker considers potential and unrealistic futures.
The title has two meanings. The poem is a response to English author Christopher Marlowe's famous 1599 poem "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." The poem's speaker, identified as a nymph, is also replying to the shepherd's unrealistic promises with a more realistic point of view.
This study guide for Sir Walter Raleigh's The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.