“A honey tongue, a heart of gall, is fancy’s spring, but sorrow’s fall”

THE NYMPH’S REPLY TO THE SHEPHERD
~ by Sir Walter Raleigh

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 complain 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 bed 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 ivory 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 might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

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No sooner had Christopher Marlowe written The Passionate Shepherd To His Love than others were in the game parodying it, as here with Sir Walter Raleigh’s The Nymph’s Reply To The Shepherd. Also see John Donne’s The Bait. And Cecil Day Lewis’s 20th Century proletarian version in Two Songs. Marlowe even parodied the famous lyric himself, putting very similar rhetoric and figures of speech in the lines of a buffoonish character in The Jew Of Malta, Act IV, Scene IV

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Author: MDM

Michael Dennis Mooney is a student of humor and witticism in verse. At this site he is compiling a selection of the best works using extended metaphor in poetry, with a special interest in satire, parody, and humor. Suggestions are welcome. Send your citations of favorites, by email, to mike.mooney.home@gmail.com He has a site "New Writings" at http://jcbcast.blogspot.com And a site for essays, 'His Epistles To The Philistines" at http://tothephilistines.wordpress.com

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