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Pastoral Poetry


Christopher Marlowe | Sir Walter Raleigh | The Passionate Shepherd To His Love | The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd | Works Cited
The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd

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10 Step Poetry Explication Process

1) Title

A nymph's reply to a statement made by a shepherd.

2)Dramatic Situtaion

Speaker is the nymph (the young girl)
The addressee is the shepherd


The nymph is responding to the proposal made by the shepherd. She contrasts the hypothetical world presented by the shepherd with reality. The nymph says that what makes the shepeherd's vision false is time and attacks his assumption that love and lovers will remain young.

4) Images, Figures of Speech, Literary Devices

Raleigh uses the poetic devices that give Marowe's poem it's musicality. (as mockery)

*alliteration- ex: "flocks from field to fold"
*repition of intial consonant sounds- ex: "flowers" and "fade", "wayward" and "winter", "spring" and "sorrow", "fancy" and "fall"

5) Tone

In Stanza 6 the tone changes to wishful with the word "but".
The nymp wished the world could be immortal.

6) Structurial Divisions

Six four line stanza containing two rhymed couplets
Predominant meter is iambic tetrameter
ex: If all/ the world/ and love/ were young...
The speaker contasts the shepherd's vision with realities introduced by the word "but" -Point by point shows how everything withers and dies.
****Parody-parallels The Passionate Shepherd to His Love in both form and content
Rejects shepherd by stanza 5- "All these in me no means can move"
In Stanza 6 a twist occurs. She says if the world were as the shepherd has promised.

7) Rhyme Scheme

aabb ccdd eeff gghh iibb jjbb

8) Title

The nymph's reply to the promises made by the shepherd

9) Theme

The poem is centrally concerned with responding to the invitation by the Shepherd in The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.
The poet wishes to addressee to know that his promises are not possible because time changes them.

10) Diction

Formal- ex: "thee", "thy"
Connotative- The images are real, but are taken from the Passionate Shepherd to His love, and go beyond their meaning. The effect of time on these objects is representative of all change.
Concrete- The words are specific and give a mental picture
ex: "coral claps", "rivers rage"
Cacophonous-ex: "rage", "gall", "sorrow", "forgotten", "rotten"
Although there are many pleasant sounding words in the poem they are all dervied from the shepherd's promises.