291. The Passionate Shepherd to his Love, by Christopher Marlowe, c. 1589.

“Come live with me, and be my love,

and we will all the pleasures prove ….”

The opening lines of this pastoral love poem are well known, but did you know it was written by Marlowe? I certainly didn’t, and after a raft of anti-heroes like Faustus, Tamburlaine and Barabas, it came as a bit of a shock.

The shepherd’s call to his lover was answered over the years by other poets writing replies, including Sir Walter Raleigh, John Donne, Dorothy Parker and Ogden Nash to name a few.

It’s only a short poem, so here it is copied below for you to bask in:

Come live with me, and be my love;
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, 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 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;
Fair linèd slippers 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.

I hope you too were moved. No mention of swiping right on Tinder.

Source :  The Norton Anthology of English Literature, 7th ed., volume 1, pp. 989-990.

Personal rating:  Another but very different 7/10

Kimmy’s rating: Would enjoy frolicking with lambs and pulling their wool.

Meanwhile, in the years 1581-1589:

1581 : Ivan the Terrible murders his heir in a fit of fury (probably incensed over failing to have a play written about him by Marlowe) ; Galileo discovers the law of the pendulum

1582 : The Gregorian Calendar is adopted by most Roman Catholic countries in Europe, but probably not England, where conversion to Catholicism is treasonable.

1583 :  Francis Throgmorton is put to the rack and confesses his part in a plot to overthrow Queen Elizabeth I in favour of Mary, Queen of Scots.

1584 : Walter Raleigh establishes a short-lived colony in Virginia

1586 : Another plot against Elizabeth leads to Mary being tried at Fotheringay Castle and convicted of treason (she is executed the following year) ; Francis Drake is plundering his way through the West Indies

1588 : The Spanish Armada is defeated in their attempt to invade England, partly by the faster, more agile English fleet, and partly by the storms that ravaged the remainder of the Spanish ships.

Hey nonny-nonny, we’re up to 1590!





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