Study Guide

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love Quotes

  • Love

    Come live with me, and be my love (1)

    This line can be scanned two ways: as regular iambic tetrameter (come live with me, and be my love), but also using spondees as the first and third feet (come live with me, and be my love). Does this shift in emphasis change your reading of love's role in the poem?

    And I will make thee beds of roses,
    And a thousand fragrant posies (9-10)

    The mention of "beds" and "Roses" in line 9 is a dead giveaway that something with a romantic, somewhat steamy charge is going on in this poem. We mean, you don't go talking about beds unless you want to use one.

    And if these pleasures may thee move,
    Come live with me, and be my love (19-20)

    Serious question: How does the use of the word "if" in this line change the speaker's offer of love?

  • Man and the Natural World

    And we will all the pleasures prove,
    That valleys, groves, hills and fields,
    Woods, or steepy mountain yield. (2-4)

    The speaker lists multiple country landscapes in quick succession to emphasize the variety of scenery and activities available in the countryside. And no matter where they go, if it's green, the two of them will be happy.

    By shallow rivers, to whose falls,
    Melodious birds sing madrigals (7-8)

    Nature is literally and figuratively in harmony in the pastoral world. This is like one of those cheesy scenes from a Disney princess movie, when she prances through the forest and all the birds and trees sing with her.

    A gown made of the finest wool,
    Which form our pretty lambs we pull (13-14)

    Nature is not only in harmony with itself, it's willing and able to provide everything two people would need to survive. Of course, we're getting this through the speaker's eyes, so it's entirely possible that the picture we're getting of nature here is—shall we say?—less than accurate.

    Fair lined slippers for the cold,
    With buckles of the purest gold

    A belt of straw, and Ivy buds,
    With coral clasps and Amber studs (15-18)

    The pastoral mode shifts up a gear when the speaker not only perfects what's readily found in nature but starts promising things from nature that it cannot deliver, like gold buckles, coral clasps, and amber studs.

  • Persuasion

    Come live with me, and be my love (1)

    This line is the only phrase that is repeated in the poem, and it is also the first and last lines of the lyric. Hmm. Sounds an awful lot like a refrain to Shmoop. The emphasis placed on this line by the text should alert us that it's very important to Marlowe's overall intentions for the poem. This is what he wants—now he just has to convince you to give it to him.

    And I will make thee beds of roses (9)

    The speaker uses nature to be both seductive and persuasive in this poem. Why do you think he goes that route? Why not, "Come live with me and be my love and I'll set you up in a nice mansion with surround sound and a Jacuzzi?"

    The shepherds's swains shall dance and sing,
    For thy delight each May-morning (21-22)

    As the speaker's promises become increasingly grand, does he gain or lose persuasiveness? We mean, does any woman actually want shepherds to sing to her every morning? We imagine that would get pretty annoying after a while.

  • Time

    Come live with me, and be my love (1)

    The impulsiveness that many see underlying this initial request is one of the main reasons this poem is associated with the carpe diem tradition. He doesn't start with, "Well, I've thought a lot about it, and if you feel the same way, maybe it's a good idea for you to keep a spare toothbrush in my medicine cabinet." Dude just jumps right in, and phooey the rest.

    And I will make thee beds of roses,
    And a thousand fragrant posies
    A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
    Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle (9-12)

    In his response to Marlowe, Sir Walter Ralegh seizes upon the temporality of flowers and other beauties of springtime to reject the speaker's offer. Spring, like the speaker's love, is fleeting and all too temporary.

    The shepherds' swains shall dance and sing
    For thy delight each May-morning (21-22)

    Sounds great, but what about the other eleven months of the year?