The Passionate Shepherd And To His Coy

Mistress Essay, Research Paper

The first of two poems that I will be studying in this essay

is Christopher Marlowe?s The Passionate

Shepherd. This poem was written at some point in the 16th

century. The poem is part of what is known as the Court Pastoral Tradition; it was written for aristocrats and the

rich. It is sophisticated poetry for sophisticated people fanaticising about a

simple life and gives the reader the idea of a rural paradise, depicting the

aristocrat as leading a simple, rural life, creating a deliberately artificial

world, combining natural goods and riches from the town. The second of the two poems that I will be studying in this

essay is Andrew Marvell?s To His Coy

Mistress. This poem was written in the 17th? century, later than the first poem. The poem uses three

methods of speech so as to persuade the writer?s coy mistress, reluctant girlfriend, to make love to him. The first

uses the Court Pastoral Tradition of

writing in a sarcastic, humorous way, putting down Marlowe?s style of writing.

The next uses shocking imagery and the final part uses positive imagery. As already mentioned, Christopher

Marlowe?s The Passionate Shepherd gives a very unrealistic, simple, almost

dream-like view of life in the countryside. This simplicity is further seen in

the simplicity of form used throughout the poem, using stanzas and simple

rhyming couplets throughout:?And we will sit upon

the rocks, And see the shepherds

feed their flocks By shallow rivers, to

whose falls Melodious birds sing madrigals.? It is important to note that the writer of this poem, Christopher

Marlowe, a Cambridge taught writer, was a homosexual. The lack and absence of

sexual form in the poem is shown in how he is unable to properly portray a

heterosexual relationship. The title ?The

Passionate Shepherd to his Love?, through the use of Passionate identifies that the relationship is full of feeling and

is not just at a sexual level. The first line of the poem, ?Come live with me and be my Love,? uses totally mono-syllabic

words showing simplicity in the offer being made, thus showing how simple the

act of love is and how simple it is to give up all you have for the one you

have. The next three lines of this verse are:?And we will all the pleasures prove That hills and

valleys, dales and fields, Or woods or steepy

mountain yields.?This depicts, incorrectly, that all the riches and pleasures

of high quality living can be found in nature. This reinforces a dream-like

world where nature is perfect and is a simple luxury. This is further shown in

the next verse. In the first line, ?And we

will sit upon the rocks,? something that is meant to be uncomfortable is

made out to be nice and comfortable, reinforces the falseness of this poem. The next line, ?And

see the shepherds feed their flocks? shows benefits without input,

depicting the writer isn?t even a shepherd but a rich man pretending to be

poor. The third line, ?By

shallow rivers, to whose falls? is once again showing in a false statement

that nature is safe, shown in the fact that the river is made out to be shallow

and safe. Finally, in the fourth line ?Melodious birds sing madrigals.? Madrigals are complicated songs

sung by aristocrats at court, not by birds in the country. These first two

paragraphs have created an obviously fake, almost dream-like depiction of ?rural paradise?. This is very

traditional of the Court Pastoral

Tradition of writing as it gives the reader, mainly aristocrats a type of

sophisticated poetry fanaticising a simple life, something that most

aristocrats liked the idea of as it allowed them to experience the simplicity

of rural life without the removal of the creature comforts they are used to.The third, fourth and fifth verses combine this idea of

natural perfection with the riches of an aristocratic way of life, combining

the simple and sophisticated, embellishing the natural with riches from the

countryside:?A cap of flowers, and

a kirtle (a type of shirt/gown) Embroidered with

leaves of myrtle.? ?A belt of straw and ivy-buds With coral clasps and

amber studs:? ?At the end of the

paragraph, the writer asks:?And if these

pleasures thee may move, Come live with me and

be my Love.?This states that if she lives with him, he will be able to

give her everything to make her live perfect. The repetition of the final line

and the simplicity of it are used to show how easy it is to give up all she has

for love. On first inspection of the final verse:?The shepherds swain shall dance and swing For thy delights each

May morning: If these delights thy mind may move, Then live with me and

be my love.?It seems that it will be happy day when the writer?s love

decides to live with him, the May morning historically being a day to declare

ones love. On closer inspection, in the third sentence, the word mind is very important. This word shows

that the whole persuasion of the poem is actually conceived and imaginary,

possibly even a deliberately conceived dream to show off and manipulate the

writer?s lover, the gender unknown due to the homosexual nature of the writer.The poem, even though it may seem so far-fetched and

imaginary, would have been very successful. It was aimed at aristocrats, the

main readers at the time (education still meant most common people could not

read or write), using Court Pastoral

Tradition, very popular amongst aristocrats as it combined sophisticated

living with the simplicity of the country. Andrew Marvell?s To

His Coy Mistress is also trying to convince his reluctant girlfriend, ?His Coy Mistress?, to love him, this

time in the act of having sex. It uses a heavily different style than the first

poem, although it keeps rhyming couplets:?Had we but world

enough, and time, This coyness, lady,

were no crime.? But it uses irregular sentence length. The writer uses a

metaphysical combination of strong ideals and complex intellectual ideas to bring

across his strong feelings, very different to Marlowe?s poem that was very simple and unemotional. The writer

uses three irregular sections using different methods to woo his mistress.The first section starts at ?Had we but the world? on line one and ends at ?Nor would I love at lower rate.? on line 20. The method employed

in this section uses the Court Pastoral

Tradition in a sarcastic and humorous way. The first two lines: ?Had we but world

enough, or time, This coyness, lady,

were no crime.? Stated that if the writer had enough time then it would not

matter that his girlfriend is reluctant as he could spend forever convincing

her to love him. ?We would sit down, and think which way To walk, and pass our

long love?s day.This uses the Court

Pastoral Tradition, exaggerating it and making the surroundings idyllic and

dream-like as in Marlowe?s poems, making the act of love seem very easy and

casual.?Thou by the Indian Ganges side Shoust rubies find: I

by the tide? This uses the typical clichÉ that you can be miles apart but

the love for each other keeps them together. Also, it uses another typical idea

of the Court Pastoral Tradition, that

nature is perfect and beautiful, identified in how the writer is able to find

rubies by the sea, exaggerating it so as to make the idea of wasting time to

see if love will grow pointless. The rest of the section insults the ideals of the other

poets that use the Court Pastoral

Tradition, stating that if he lived forever, he could spend forever gazing

upon his lovers? beauty and could spend forever before revealing his love:?Of Humber would complain. I would Love you ten years before the flood, And you should, if you please, refuse Till the conversion of

the Jews;? This states that he would not complain about waiting to

reveal his love and would even wait until the conversion of the Jews implying in a very anti-Semitic view, that

this would never happen. In this section, he uses the values of ten years to imply how long he would

wait before he would reveal his love. The use of numbers, is continual for the

rest of this section, ?Two hundred to

adore each breast? and ?But thirty

thousand to the rest?, showing how he would not care how long he would have

to wait to reveal his love as he could spend forever gazing upon his lovers?

beauty, ?Nor would I love at lower rate.? The final thing to notice in this section is the implicit

phallic (sexual) joke, ?My vegetable love

should grow? showing this idea of teasing and humour throughout the first

section.The second section begins at ?But at my back I always hear? and ends at ?But none, I think, do these embrace.? The first two lines:?But at my back I always hear Times winged chariot

hurrying hear? Immediately the first section is reversed and inverted,

stating that this is not reality and that death, times winged chariot, is catching up with them. And that after

death, ?And yonder all before us lie,

Deserts of vast eternity.? There is nothing, giving an agnostic view that

there is no heaven or hell. ?The next line, ?Thy beauty shall no more be found?,

saying that you will be beautiful when alive but when dead no one would be able

to see that beauty. On line 26, there is a caesura, (short pause)? halfway through the line just after ?My echoing song?? as the next section

uses even greater shocking imagery:??then worms shall try

That long-preserved

virginity, And your greater

honour turn to dust, And into ashes all my lust:?He is saying that after death no one will be able to get to

you but the worms and that her honour in preserving her virginity is going to

be worth nothing when she?s dead. Through use of penetrating words and

displeasing imagery, he is able to shock his lover. And that, even though,

death may be peaceful, ?The grave?s a

fine and private place, But none, I think do these embrace.? no one will be

able to love her when she?s dead. So as to remove the seriousness from the last section, the

final section uses delicate ironic understanding to persuade her that love is a

positive thing. In the final section the word therefore is used to make the act of love seem logical and right. The first two lines state that: ?Now therefore, while the youthful hue Sits on my skin like

morning dew,?This shows that, through the definition of fresh moist skin,

that the soul wants to come out. This is further shown in the next lines:?And while thy willing soul transpires With every pore with

instant fires,? Again stating that inside her, her soul is burning for her

to lose her virginity. In the next line, ?Now

let us sport us while we may,? the writer is stating that they should not

wait to make love, but go for it now. The line, ?Our

sweetness up into one ball,? defines

the ball as a perfect shape showing the perfection of love. The penultimate lines, ?And

tear our pleasures like rough strife Through the iron gates of life;? shows

that he will break through any barriers to get to what they want. And in the final line, ?Thus,

though we can not make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run.? once

again stating that even though you can not stop time, you can make it race, and

commit to love as quickly as possible. In conclusion, I prefer Andrew

Marvell?s poem as it uses far more complex imagery and emotions, choosing

three different methods of persuasion rather than one. It also uses strong

satire to put down the method of Court

Pastoral Tradition employed in Marlowe?s

poems make it controversial at the time.


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