Study Guide

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love Time

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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?

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