A Discourse Of Remours For The Amorous

1422 words - 6 pages

The great playwright Christopher Marlowe also wrote one of the most famous lyrical poems in British literature, "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." In this pastoral portrait, Marlowe reveals the shepherd's desire for a certain young lady to be his love. In "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd," Sir Walter Raleigh voices the young lady's answer to this invitation. The two poems share the identical structures of rhyme scheme and meter. Also, the speakers share a similar desire for youthful love. However, these similarities are overshadowed by the differences in the author's backgrounds which, in turn, influence the starkly different characteristics of the speakers of the poems--their view of reality and their motive for love.

One obvious similarity in the two poems is their structure. "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" mimics Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" exactly. Both poems consist of four-line stanzas, or quatrains. Also, each quatrain consists of the fusion of two rhyme couplets. Furthermore, the predominant meter in both poems is iambic tetrameter. This means that each line consists of four iambs, or two-syllable units of rhythm in which the first syllable is unstressed and the second is stressed. It seems quite appropriate and respectful that Raleigh would construct his reply in the same manner as Marlowe's poem. One might speculate, however, that Raleigh is instead subtly mocking Marlowe's strict structure which would serve to reinforce the nymph's subtle mocking of the shepherd. One other similarity lies within the words and feelings of the speakers of the two poems. Nature is a dominant theme throughout both poems and both the shepherd and the nymph share an obvious affection for the natural beauty that surrounds them. Furthermore, when the nymph states "These pretty pleasures might me move to live with thee and be thy love," she shares with the shepherd a level of desire for the fanciful love that he offers.

The few similarities in these two poems, however, are far overshadowed by the differences that exist. When analyzing these differences, it is helpful to first examine the contrasts in the lives of the authors. Christopher Marlowe was born into a lower-class family, but his education enabled him to work for a theatre company in London. From there, he became a dramatist, a poet, and a playwright for the rest of his short life. Marlowe was known for the interesting company that he kept. On the night of his death, he was with three friends--a moneylender, a con artist, and a spy for the Queen's secret service. The four of them were eating and got into an argument which ended with Marlowe being stabbed and killed. Sir Walter Raleigh lived a quite different lifestyle. He was an explorer who led an exhibition to the fabled City of Gold. He also founded several colonies and named the territory of Virginia. This was done in honor of the "virgin queen", Elizabeth I. This was no surprise because Raleigh was a favored...

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