The Nymph’s Reply
The Shepherd had a sincere proposal, offering all the riches in his grasp to give to his love. But the Nymph rejects it for a simple reason, the only reason necessary; the Shepherd only promises materialist possessions and never mentions a serious relationship, let alone actual love. If an honest man is willing to give everything he has to a woman, is this action considered love or is it lust? If a woman falls for this bribery is she considered materialistic and naive? By the Nymph actually putting forth an argument and rejecting the Shepherd’s offer she is taking a stand for all woman. The Nymph is an icon proving that woman cannot be purchased with promises of earthly-minded items and a worry free life, but rather the only gift that is essential, love.
The Shepherd has very sweet and innocent intentions, trying to flatter his love from the start “Come with me and be my love, And we will all the pleasures prove, That valleys groves, hills, and fields…” (1-3). He is promising a happy comfortable life that will consist of them both being able to enjoy all nature has to offer, and is very honest that this is all he has. The Nymph’s reply is bluntly stated, If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd’s tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be they love (1-4).
The world does not work so simply, he is young and has not yet experienced what the world has to offer so how does he know what true love is? The Nymph cannot be persuaded if the Shepherd does not know what love is and only proposing false pretenses.
In the next stanza the Shepherd is sharing his own enjoyment with his love
And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feeding their flocks
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals (5-8).
He believes woman can be won over by the idea of nature, just like he has. What woman would not want to sit and enjoy all the beauty that the landscape...
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