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The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd
by Sir Walter Ralegh

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd Analysis

Symbols, Imagery, Wordplay

Form and Meter

Form and Meter: Iambic Tetrameter—Most of the TimeCopycat alert! Ralegh uses the exact same meter (iambic tetrameter—more on that below) and form (six quatrains, or four-line stanzas) in "The N...

Speaker

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...

Setting

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

Horse-Drawn CartWhoa 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 a...

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

CynicismSir 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...

Tough-o-Meter

(3) Base Camp 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, do...

Trivia

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

GThere 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...

Allusions

Literary and Philosophical ReferencesChristopher 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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