Group Reports/ Members

Wendy, Vickie, Nancy, Tina, Christina, Robyn.


Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"

Thursday, March 23, 2000



About Life of Christopher Marlowe
"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love "
1. Paraphrase
2. Vocabulary
3. Structure
4. Speaker and Listener
5. Tone, Imagery, and Diction
6. Pastoral Poem
7. Personal Opinion
8. Links

photo of Christopher Marlowe

Complied and Designed by BUCK LEE


Christopher Marlowe (1564-1593)

Christopher Marlowe was born in 1564, the year of William Shakespeare's birth. He is the eldest son of a shoemaker. At 23, he went to London and became one of the most important dramatist before William Shakespeare. Marlowe worked on tragedy and he wrote four important plays developing tragedy as a dramatic form. Being an atheist, he was arrested for an unknown offense. Marlowe was killed in 1593 in a tavern fight. He and his friend argued over the bill and then he was killed by his friend with a knife. Some say that it may be an assassination. Marlowe died at the age of twenty-nine, and it is interesting that at this time Shakespeare was just beginning his dramatic career. Marlowe was the first one to use blank verse that encourage Shakespeare to try it. Marlowe was also the first to write a tragedy in English, again paving the way for Shakespeare.

(By Wendy)


"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love"


Come live with me and be my love

And we will all the pleasure prove

That Valleys, groves, hills, and fields,

Woods, or steepy mountain yields.

Come live with me and be my love. We will try all the pleasure offered by valleys, roves, woods and mountains.

And we will sit upon the rocks,

Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks,

By shadow rivers to whose falls

Melodious birds sing madrigals.

I want us to sit upon the rocks with shallow rivers falling under our feet, seeing those shepherds far away feeding their sheep, and hearing birds sing beautifully around us.

And I will make thee beds if roses

And a thousand fragrant posies,

A cap of flowers, and a kirtle

Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;

And I will use roses to make beds decorated with a thousand sweet-smelling posies for you to lie. I will weave a flower cap, and make you kirtle fringed with myrtle leaves.

A gown made of he finest wool

Which from our pretty lambs we pull;

Fair lined slippers for the cold,

With buckles of the purest gold;

We pull out of the finest wool from our lambs to make a pretty gown. And a pair of high-qualited slippers will be made for you, to keep you from being cold. On the slippers I will put buckles, which was made of 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.

Also, I will make you a belt of straw and ivy buds with coral clasps and amber studs. If these pleasure may touch your heart, come live with me and be my love.

The shepherd swains shall dance and sing

For thy delight each May morning;

If these pleasure may thee move,

Then live with me and be my love.

The young shepherd shall dance and sing in each May morning to delight you, and if you may be touched by these delights, then live with me and be my love.

(by Nancy)



Grove (L 3) ~ a group of tree that are closed together

Steepy (L 4) ~ rise at a very sharp angle and is difficult to go up

Madrigal (L 8) a song sung by several singers without any musical instruments

Posy (L 10) ~a small bunch of flowers

Kirtle (L 11) ~ gown

Embroider (L 12) ~ is the activity of stitching designs onto cloth

Gown (L 13) ~ is a dress, usually a long dress

Buckle (L16) ~ is a piece of metal attached to one end of the belt

Ivy (L 17) ~ an evergreen plant that grows up walls or along the ground

Coral (L 18) ~ a hard substance formed from the skeletons of very small sea animals. It is often used to make jewelry

Amber (L 18) ~ is a hard yellowish-brown substance used for making jeweler

Stud (L 18) ~ earring

Swain (L 20) ~ a young man who is in love

By Tina



The poetry started out with a direct initiation. The speaker showed his purpose clearly, which is asking the woman he admired to be his lover. The following stanza showed a picture on what he would promise if she accepts to be his love. There was a heavenly like scene in the picture, he imagined them sitting upon the rocks, watching the other busy shepherd who had to work hard, and they relaxed themselves by listening to the birds' singing, and seeing the river falls. The shepherd also ensured her that he is willing to do whatever it takes to please her. This could be seen from the line 9~18. He made promises on difficult mission such as making bed of roses, thousand fragrant posies, and leaves of myrtle, coral clasps and amber studsíKext. From line 19, it responded to the idea of the first stanza that is to persuade the woman to be his love and to live with him. The repeating sentences "come live with me and be my love," may work as the function of emphasizing, and expression of eagerness.

By Cristina


Speaker and Listener

The speaker is a passionate shepherd. He promises to his love a fanciful, and somehow an unrealistic future. The shepherd does not rank high in the society; he is probably not wealthy at all. However, he is a very poetic person, he that imply possible proposal in the poetry. This statement is seen from words such as bed, slipper, and kirtle. Those daily used subjects in the family. The listener in this poetry is the shepherd's lover. There are no clues on her personality or appearance.

By Cristina



Passionate, eager, desirous, fanciful, dedicatory


Visual images

Stanza1 that valleys, groves, hills, and fields, Woods, or steepy mountain yields.
Stanza2 and we will sit upon the rocks, Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks, By shallow rivers to whose falls
Stanza3, 4, 5 Bed of roses, a cap of flowers, a kirtle embroidered all with leaves of myrtle, a belt of straw and ivy buds, with coral clasps and amber studs.

Sound images:

Melodious birds sing madrigals.

Smell images

A thousand fragrant posies

Touch images:

A gown made of the finest wool, fair lined slippers


Ivy buds --- ivy is a kind of evergreen plant

Myrtle --- it's the tree of Aphrodite (the goddess of love and beauty)

By Robyn


Pastoral Poem

"The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" is a pastoral poem, a poetic kind that concerns itself with the simple life of country folk and describes that life in stylized, idealized terms. The people in a pastoral poem are usually (as here) shepherds, although they may be fisherman or other rustics who lead an outdoor life and are involved in tending to basic human needs in a simplified society, beauty, music, and love. The world always seems timeless in pastoral; people are eternally young, and the season is always spring, usually May. Nature seems endlessly green and the future entirely golden. Difficulty, frustration, disappointment, and obligation do not belong in the golden ideal world at all. The language of pastoral is informal and sophisticated than that of real shepherds with real problems and real sheep. The pastoral poet builds an awareness of artificiality into the whole idea of the poem echoing the Renaissance aesthetic value of artificial design. P.F. "Ode on a Grecian Urn"-"Cold Pastoral"

By Vickie


Personal Opinion







The poem is a love one. The shepherd pursued the girl to be his lover. It is a kind of proposing. The shepherd made a lot of thing by flowers for the girl. People who are in love always buy or make gifts by hand to their lovers. The shepherd was no exception. He gave a lot of presents to please the girl. It is different to woo a woman among John Donne's poems, Andrew Marvell's, and Christopher Marlowe's. If I were the woman in those poems I would chose the shepherd because the love is pure and simple. Everything in this poem is fine and wonderful, like in a fairy tale. ( Tina)








The shepherd shows the fancy world full of delight to get the woman's agreement to live with him. And there is no frustration, tragedy, the part of life, described in his saying. Maybe some women will be deeply touched by the idle world and agree him immediately. But for me, I will hesitate and not to promise right away. Because I want to make sure what he will deal with the reality. In fact, what he talked was just an idle world, however, the life is not so simple. So I will think more about the real life to decide whether I will agree him. But anyway, the shepherd's saying is so attractive and makes not able to resist imaging the life after living with him. ( Vickie)




The shepherd offers the woman the beautiful of nature and a peaceful, care free life with few responsibility. He should describe more how he loves her. Not only offers the beautiful scenery and gorgeous clothes to exchange her love. It is because all the living creatures will change with the time. The followers will fade and the scenery will destroy. Therefore, the shepherd's words seem a little bit unrealistic. (Wendy )






Western culture is different from Chinese culture. Chinese poets wrote pastoral poems because of disappointment about the government or because the emperor did not like them. They wrote poems in a bad mood. They tried to release their sorrow in creating poems and in drinking a lot. Western poets wrote pastoral poems just because they wanted to do it. They enjoyed the beauty of nature and sing for it. Sometimes they wrote fine pastoral poems to present their love toward their lover. The culture background differs, so the atmosphere differs. ( Nancy)

I enjoyed the peaceful mood in this poetry . It gives me the sense of relaxation. I think the shepherd in the poetry is a very romantic person. I do not agree with the critics who believe that his promise is unrealistic. I think he has the right to dream of his ideal future, and I do believe his strong love for his lover would encourage him to achieve the goal. " Miracles do happen when one believe," isn't it?

The poetry has no descriptions on the shepherd's lover, but in my own imagination, she might be a blond hair girl that shines like sunshine. She might have beautiful tan color skin, since she has to work in the field. And living in such relaxing environment, she might always be in a good mood, therefore, I imagine that there would always be a smile on her face (Cristina)



Luminarium 16th Century Renaissance English Literature

Christopher Marlowe