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The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd


Sir Walter Ralegh

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Copycat alert! Ralegh uses the exact same meter (iambic tetrameter—more on that below) and form (six quatrains, or four-line stanzas) in "The Nymph's Reply" that Marlowe uses in "The Passionate S...


The title tells us that the speaker of this poem is "the nymph," but they don't mean "nymph" in the mythological sense. Back in the day, "nymph" was actually another word for girl, although it gene...


If you hang out with enough English nerds, you'll probably hear the word "edenic" thrown around every now and then. This basically means that something is "like the Garden of Eden" (in its perfecti...

Sound Check

Whoa Nelly! We at Shmoop think that this poem sounds exactly like a horse pulling a cart over an old country road. And, lucky you, we're going to show you why.The meter is regular and predictable,...

What's Up With the Title?

"The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" is exactly what it says it is: a poem from a girl to a boy who likes sheep, written in response to a poem said girl originally received from the aforementioned b...

Calling Card

Sir Walter Ralegh was a guy who lived large. He took big risks and those occasionally reaped big rewards. The ones that didn't work out, though, really didn't work out and ended up getting him into...


This is a no-nonsense kind of poem that doesn't waste time bogging you down with complicated language or confusing syntax. A truly thorough reading of "The Nymph's Reply," however, does involve hav...


Sir Walter Ralegh was the founder of an American colony on Roanoke Island. It didn't succeed, but you've still probably heard of it. After everyone disappeared without a trace, it earned the nickna...

Steaminess Rating

There is not much going on here in the sexiness department, folks. In fact, this poem is so devoid of steaminess that it's hard to believe that it's a response to a very lusty love poem. Mixed in w...


Christopher Marlowe, "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" (2-6, 13-14, 17-20, 23-24)Ovid, Metamorphoses. The Story of Philomela and Procne (7)

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