Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Nymph's Reply To the Shepherd

By: ~ Florian Imgrund

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 thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When Rivers rage and Rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb,
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields,
To wayward winter reckoning yields,
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy’s spring, but sorrow’s fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of Roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten:
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and Ivy buds,
The Coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last, and love still breed,
Had joys no date, nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee, and be thy love.


Raleigh was responding to another poem, The Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe, 1599.  When Raleigh wrote his poem, nymph was essentially the same as saying girl/woman but with a mythical context.  In my opinion, the nymph or female is in essence replying to the 'Passionate Shepherd' from Marlowe's poem by being a bit cynical in the first 4 stanzas particularly setting the mood in the first stanza by utilizing the word "if".... Raleigh is setting up the "IF"/"THEN" argument (whether implied or stated.  IF this is true, THEN that must be true. If all things were perfect, if no man (Shepherd) betrayed his love, if flowers never died, if clothing and shoes did not fade or wear, ect. THEN love would be possible... Happiness, joy, delight would be possible.....

In the last stanza the nymph, girl, upon pronouncing all these things she likely finds joy, happiness, and even love in softens her blows and perhaps she realizes that these things are superficial - flowers, spring, fruit, silk for clothing, and leather for shoes but they all have their time.... and IF "...joys no date, nor age no need, THEN these delights my mind might move / To live with thee, and be they love."  

Time After Time, by, Roland Guballa aka ROLOFOTO who wrote on this photograph, "Love is truly an amazing thing to have; especially if it can withstand the test of time.  I saw this old couple on Younge street and couldn’t help but take a photograph of them. Not only are they adorable, but their genuine love is something truly to be admired! I can already hear Adam Sandler’s “I want to grow old with you” song playing on top of my head as I write this." Please see more of this artist's work at and at

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