Study Guide

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love Love

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What's love got to do with it? In "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," it's hard to tell. The opening line encourages us to think of the poem in terms of romantic interest, but it's not like these two are headed to the marriage altar anytime soon. In fact, we can't even tell if this guy has any intention to drop down on one knee. The poem undoubtedly plays upon romantic ideals, but to what ends? Does the speaker genuinely want love? Or does he just want a roll in the bed of roses?

Questions About Love

  1. Do you think the speaker loves the person to whom the poem is addressed? Why or why not?
  2. Is there any evidence that the speaker wants a serious, romantic relationship in the poem? If yes, does this imply love? If not, what do you see as evidence that he doesn't?
  3. Do poetic devices (as opposed to content) do anything to bolster or debunk love as a theme of this poem?

Chew on This

The speaker is not interested in a long-term relationship. Not to be crass about it, but he's, shall we say, not interested in her soul.

Love plays a central role in "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." He totally loves her, no matter what the cynics say.

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