The Passionate Shepherd to His Love and the Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd: Differing Ideas of Love

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The shepherd in Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" and the nymph in "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" by Sir Walter Raleigh, have very differing ideas of love. Though both speakers have taken different paths down the journey of love, they both are very exaggerated. I like the Raleigh’s poem, due to the fact that she wants more then just beautiful things. The shepherd uses the beauty of nature to describe his love for the nymph, while the nymph uses nature's impermanence to describe how their love would eventually die.

The question is if the love is real or superficial, and also if it’s everlasting true love. The idea that love or infatuation is so strong that it can take man’s emotion and lust to blind him and tool him into believing it’s love is a terrifying thought. Marlowe’s first proposal only offers experiences that can be shown or felt by either lust or lies. He figures he can use his honey-sweet talk, to win her over, then never be held accountable for his promises. The shepherd next moves to complimenting her beauty and by speaking of “coral clasps and amber studs”(line 18), which of course can’t compare to her. Speaking only of gifts that are beautiful alludes to his fascination with her own beauty. Material gifts that can only be used and remembered in the physical world, are sadly ignored by Marlowe, but recognized by Raleigh. Never commenting on anything that is found with in his heart, but only speaking of skin-deep gifts justifies Raleigh’s anger in “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherds.” 
What can you expect if it is only skin-deep and not true love. Recognizing that the Shepherd’s love only remained true with youth, Raleigh asks “But could youth last and love still breed”(line 21). The Nymphs response understands it is only her beauty that had captured his heart. A beauty that will soon disappear as her youth does. They nymph knows that all Marlowe’s words will end when her beauty does, forces Raleigh to refuse the...
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