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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 Passionate Shepherd To His Love

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Vase of Roses

10 Step Explication Process


Seems like a shepherd's proclamation of love to his beloved.

2.Dramatic Situation

The speaker is a shepherd.
The audience is the shepherd's love.
The occasion is spring.


The subject of the poem is a young man who is courting a young lady. He is trying to persuade her to be his love by promising her eternal bliss

4.Images, Figures of Speech, Literary Devices

The poem appeals to the senses of sight, sound, smell, and touch.
ex. "seeing the shepherds feed their flocks" -sight
"melodious birds sing madrigals" -sound
"a thousand fragrant poises, a cap of flowers"- smell
"sit upon the rocks"- touch
Images of "shallow rivers", "melodious birds", "roses", "pretty lambs", and "ivy buds" evoke a nature that is pure and blooming.
The poem combines alliteration (The shepherd's swains shall dance and sing), rhythm, and rhyme to create a song-like lyric.
ex. the "l" sound is repeated in the words "live", "love", "all", "hills", "shallow", "flocks", "falls" and "myrtle"
the "m" sound occurs in "mountain", "madrigals", "myrtle",
"lambs", and "amber"
the "s" sound appears in the words "seeing", "shepherds",
"shallow", "roses", "sing", and "swains"


The tone is blissful and optimistic

6. Structural Divisions

The poem is written in six four-line stanzas. Each stanza is comprised of two rhymed couplets. The predominant meter of the poem is iambic tetrameter.
Ex: Come live/ with me/and be/ my love.
The first quatrain is the invitation to "Come with me and be my love" Next, the speaker describes the pleasant setting which they will dwell.
In the third stanza, the shepherd's focus shifts from the "pleasures" nature can offer to the ones he himself can promise his beloved.

7.Rhyme Scheme

aabb ccdd eeff gghh iiaa jjaa


A young man's pursuit of his love.


The poem is a celebration of youth, innocence, love, and poetry.
It casts the lovers as the shepherds and shepherdesses who are at home in a beneficent setting.


Connotative- ex:"The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing", "For thy delight each May morning" These are things the shephered can not physically promise. However, they represent the way he would treat the younf maiden if she was his love.
Concrete- ex: "steepy mountains", "bed of roses", "a belt of straw and ivy buds". The images are specific. While reading teh poem a mental picture can be formed.
Euphonius- ex: "love", "melodious", "madrigals", "roses"
Pleasant sounding words are used throughout the poem to woe the maiden.