Come Away With Me

Posted in Musings by mcarmen5 on 03/06/2010

One of my favorite poems for many years was the lovely Passionate Shepherd to His Love by Christopher Marlowe.  I was 17 and a hopeless romantic.  I lived and breathed idealism and wore rose-tinted glasses like a true Pollyanna.  And true to form, I swooned over this poem — so much that I kept the print-out of it and stuck it on my inspiration board for years.  To me, this vision of love was perfect: I imagined a golden, idyllic pastoral fantasy come true, and peaceful, happy years lived out with my true love.

This is not to say that I’ve completely grown out of my Pollyanna ways or stopped having pastoral daydreams (I still do, which is why I still daydream about owning a small farm in Napa Valley one day).  But over the years, wisdom and experience have helped me cultivate a more mature appreciation for Sir Walter Raleigh’s witty reply to this Shepherd’s woo.   I have to admit, I initially disliked Raleigh’s version, I thought it was cynical and mean.  But really, the nymph’s just keepin’ it real.  :-)

I hope you enjoy these two classics, side-by-side, as they were meant to be.

{Passionate Shepherd to His Love}

COME live with me and be my Love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dale and field,
And all the craggy mountains yield.

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

There will I make thee beds of roses
And a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider’d 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.

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.

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.


{The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd}

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,
Thy 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 may move
To live with thee and be thy love.


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