Christopher Marlowe

Feb 1564 - May 30, 1593

 

The Passionate Shepherd To His Love

by Christopher Marlowe

Written maybe 1592, likely mid 1580's

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and vallies, dales and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

And we will sit upon the rocks,
Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cup of flowers and a kirtle
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull;
Fair-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy-buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs;
An if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherd-swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May-morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.

This delightful pastoral song was first published, without the fourth and sixth stanzas, in The Passionate Pilgrim, 1599, by William Shakespeare. It appeared complete in England's Helicon, 1600, with Marlowe's name subscribed. By quoting it in the Complete Angler, 1653, Izaak Walton has made it known to a world of readers. The following stanzas was inserted in the second edition of the Complete Angler:

What should we talk of dainties then,
Of better meat then's fit for men?
These are but vain: that's only good,
Which God hath blest, and sent for food.

Thy silver dishes for thy meat
As precious as the gods do eat,
Shall on an ivory table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

What a compliment it is when a poem is being imitated by some of the worlds finest writers. There are five poems altogether which were framed on this model.

  1. The Passionate Shepherd To His Love, ascribed to Marlow.
  2. The answer, The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd, attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh.
  3. Another Of The Same Nature Made Since, an imitation, also in the English Helicon, signed Ignoto,—and for that reason also attributed to Raleigh.
  4. The Bait by John Donne,
  5. To Phillis To Love And Live With Him by Herrick

The Nymph's Reply To The Shepherd

Attributed to Walter Raleigh, Written about 1596.

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.

Times 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,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these to 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.


Another Of The Same Nature Made Since

Attributed to Walter Raleigh

Come live with me, and be my dear,
And we will revel all the year,
In plains and groves, on hills and dales,
Where fragrant air breathes sweetest gales.

There shall you have the beauteous pine,
The cedar, and the spreading vine;
And all the woods to be a screen,
Lest Phoebus kiss my Summer's Queen.

The seat for your disport shall be
Over some river in a tree,
Where silver sands and pebbles sing
Eternal ditties to the spring.

There shall you see the nymphs at play,
And how the satyrs spend the day;
The fishes gliding on the sands,
Offering their bellies to your hands.

The birds with heavenly tuned throats
Possess woods' echoes with sweet notes,
Which to your senses will impart
A music to enflame the heart.

Upon the bare and leafless oak
The ring-doves' wooings will provoke
A colder blood than you possess
To play with me and do no less.

In bowers of laurel trimly dight
We will out-wear the silent night,
While Flora busy is to spread
Her richest treasure on our bed.

Ten thousand glow-worms shall attend,
And all these sparkling lights shall spend
All to adorn and beautify
Your lodging with most majesty.

Then in mine arms will I enclose
Lilies' fair mixture with the rose,
Whose nice perfection in love's play
Shall tune me to the highest key.

Thus as we pass the welcome night
In sportful pleasures and delight,
The nimble fairies on the grounds,
Shall dance and sing melodious sounds.

If these may serve for to entice
Your presence to Love's Paradise,
Then come with me, and be my dear,
And we will then begin the year.


The Bait

John Donne Version

Come live with me, and be my love,
And we will some new pleasure prove
Of golden sands and christal brooks
With silken lines and silver hooks.

There will the river whispering run,
Warm'd by thine eyes more than the sun;
And there th' enamoured fish will stay
Begging themselves they may betray.

When thou wilt swim in that live bath,
Each fish which every channel hath
Will amorously to thee swim,
Gladder to catch thee than thou him.

If thou to be so seen beest loath
By sun or moon, thou darkenest both ;
And if my self have leave to see,
I heed not their light, having thee.

Let others freeze with angling reeds
And cut their legs with shells and weeds,
Or treacherously poor fish beset
With strangling snare or winding net.

Let coarse bold hands from slimy nest
The bedded fish in banks outwrest,
Or curious traitors, sleave-silk flies,
Bewitch poor fishes' wandering eyes.

For thee, thou need'st no such deceit,
For thou thyself art thine own bait:
That fish that is not catched thereby,
Alas, is wiser far than I.


To Phillis -- To Love, And Live With Him.

by Robert Herrick

Live, live with me, and thou shalt see
The pleasures I'll prepare for thee;
What sweets the country can afford
Shall bless thy bed and bless thy board.

The soft sweet moss shall be thy bed
With crawling woodbine overspread:
By which the silver-shedding streams
Shall gently melt thee into dreams.

Thy clothing next shall be a gown
Made of the fleeces' purest down.
The tongues of kids snail be thy meat;
Their milk thy drink; and thou shall eat.

The paste of filberts for thy bread,
With cream of cowslips buttered.
Thy feasting-tables shall be hills
With daisies spread and daffodils;

Where thou shalt sit, and red-breast by
For meat shall give thee melody.
I'll give thee chains and carkanets
Of primroses and violets.

A bag and bottle thou shalt have,
That richly wrought and this as brave,
So that as either shall express
The wearer's no mean shepherdess.

At shearing-times and yearly wakes,
When Themilis his pastime makes,
There thou shalt be; and be the wit,
Nay more, the feast and grace of it.

On holidays when virgins meet
To dance the hays with nimble feet,
Thou shalt come forth and then appear
The queen of roses for that year;

And having danced ('bove all the best)
Carry the garland from the rest.
In wicker-baskets maids shall bring
To thee, my dearest shepherdling,

The blushing apple, bashful pear,
And shame-faced plum all simp'ring there:
Walk in the groves and thou shalt find
The name of Phillis in the rind.

Of every straight and smooth-skin tree,
Where kissing that I'll twice kiss thee.
To thee a sheep-hook I will send
Be-prankt with ribands to this end,

This, this alluring hook might be
Less for to catch a sheep than me.
Thou shalt have possets, wassails fine,
Not made of ale but spiced wine;

To make thy maids and self free mirth,
All sitting near the glittering hearth.
Thou shalt have ribbands, roses, rings,
Gloves, garters, stockings, shoes and strings,

Of winning colours that shall move
Others to lust but me to love.
These, nay, and more, thine own shall be
If thou wilt love and live with me.


From The Passionate Pilgrim

by William Shakespeare

Live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
And all the craggy mountains yields.

There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, by whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There will I make thee a bed of roses,
With a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.

A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs ;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Then live with me and be my love.

Love's Answer.

If that 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.


The Milk-maid's Song

From The Complete Angler: or, the contemplative man's recreation, By Izaak Walton, 1653

Come live with me, and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleyss, groves, or hills, or fields,
Or woods and steepy mountains yields.

Where we will sit upon the Rocks,
And see the Shepherds feed our flocks,
By shallow rivers, to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

And I will make thee beds of roses,
And then a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers and a kirtle,
Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle.

A gown made of the finest wool
Which from our pretty lambs we pull,
Slippers lin'd choicely for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold.

A belt of straw and ivy buds
With coral clasps, and amber studs:
And if these pleasures may thee move.
Come live with me, and be my love.

The Shepherd swains shall dance and sing
For thy delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my Love.

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherds tongue?
These pretty pleasures might me move,
To live with thee, and be thy love.

The milk-maid's mother's response:

But time drives flocks from field to fold:
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb,
The age 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 sorrows 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 Ivie buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee, and be thy love.

What should we talk of dainties then,
Of better meat than's fit for men?
These are but vain: that's only good
Which God hath blest, and sent for food.

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

 

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