Analysis of the poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe

Poem Explication

The poem “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” by Christopher Marlowe is generally a pastoral lyric. It generally addresses the harmony and peaceful life experienced by shepherds who are used to live in idyllic societies. Based on the lines used in the poem, it is clear that the love poem is addressed to a beloved. The title itself expresses the theme of love in a countryside setting and a passionate atmosphere. The paper explicates the poem mainly based on themes, stylistic devices used are tone, speaker and other poetic techniques.
The speaker of the poem is a shepherd addressing his beloved devoting his love affectionate urging her to go and stay with him. Therefore, the main subject in the poem is all about the love between the shepherd and his beloved which is mainly expressed in a persuasive and loving tone “Come live with me and be my love” (stanza 1, line 1) The tone helps to bring out the affectionate and to convince the beloved to accept to stay with the shepherd. The poem has four lines each with six stanzas which celebrates the theme of love among youths in a traditional setting. It represents a typical shepherd addressing his beloved and inviting her to his simple and idyllic world which he lives in the pastoral environment. The setting of the poem most probably is the natural setting characterized by idyllic nature as illustrated by the lines “That valleys, groves, hills, and fields” (Stanza 1, line 3).
The poet uses several poetic techniques to convey his message. Firstly, there is the use of a blazon technique. This device is mainly used in love songs to praise one for her beauty by mentioning her body parts and shape to bring out a melodious and romantic tone. For instance, the speaker says “A belt of straw, and ivy buds” Stanza 5, line 1″. There is also the use of poetic sounds such as meter and enjambment in the poem. Meter and beat are used to develop the rhythm of the poem which gives it a musical rhythm that has been achieved through the iambic writing of the lines. Enjambment is further used to illustrate the description of the pretty lams as presented in the poem.
Sound devices are also used in the poem to achieve the rhyme scheme of the poem. Use of alliteration is evident, “And we will all the pleasures prove” as well as the use of assonance, “And if these pleasures may thee move”. Rhyme has also been used at the end of the lines such as “love and proves, fields and yields, roses and posies” among others. Anaphora is also evident in the poem through repetition of words such as “and, pleasures, love” this also shows the technique of repetition in the poem which has been significantly used.
Metaphors are also used in the poem to shows abstract ideas and represent love emotions and affectionate hat the shepherd has for his beloved. The title itself contains a metaphor of a passionate shepherd which describes the wealth status of the shepherd. He is not a wealthy ma and comes from a traditional setting characterized by pure nature and love which describes the kind of le he is willing to give to his beloved. The term “melodious words” which are characterized to come from birds also signifies the personification of birds as they sing which shows how the love which the shepherd has which glows.
Imagery has also been largely used in the poem. Nature imagery has been well displayed in the poem which exposes how nature looks. E nature gives the setting of the poem as the persona shows his beloved where he will take her to stay with him. “The valleys, groves, hills and fields, woods, or steep mountain yields” (stanza 1, line 3 and 4). The use of synecdoche s also illustrated in e poem, “A belt of straw and ivy buds” which represents the words used but e persona to praise his beloved.

References
Marlowe, C., Librivox, & Raleigh, W. (1902). The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (p. 168). BiblioBytes.

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