In The Nymph’s Reply, the nymph’s idea of the shepherd’s ever-lasting gifts is comical. In other words, the nymph shuts him down and even if the shepherds gifts where ever-lasting then it would still Just be a maybe. While both “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” and “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” use the same writing style, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” uses different poetic elements such as tone, imagery and diction to spoof “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love. Imagery is used in literature in order to describe or enhance sensory experiences to the text. The imagery in both “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” and “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” is of the country life. Both poems provide the reader with imagery of fields of flock, flowers, rivers, and material things made from nature. However, the imagery of these two poems may be of the same thing, but their views on what it may look like are entirely different. “The Passionate Shepherd to His
Love” by Christopher Marlowe provides imagery of the beautiful pleasures the shepherd has to offer; he says “And I will make thee bed of roses and a thousand fragrant poses, a cap of flowers, and a kirtle embroidered all with leaves of myrtle” (Marlowe 914). In other words, the imagery of the materialistic items illustrates what the shepherd is willing to offer if this lady will be his love. On the contrary, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” Sir Walter Raleigh says, “Thy gown, thy shoes, thy beds of roses, thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy poses soon break, soon wither, oon forgotten; in folly ripe, in reason rotten”(Raleigh 914).
In other words, the imagery is still of the gifts offered by the shepherd but the nymph uses imagery such as “wither,” and “rotten” to show the pleasures of having these gifts will not last forever. All in all, both poems use similar imagery to describe a pastoral lifestyle but their diction is what sets these two poems apart. Diction can be defined as a style of writing determined by the choice of words the author uses. In both “The Passionate Shepherd to His love” and “The Nymph’s Reply o the Shepherd” the authors use such words as: flocks, gowns, roses, love, and other words to make a distinct connection between the two poems.
However, the diction used in “The Passionate Shepherd to His love” is different because Marlowe uses words such as, “we” and “delight” to make his poem sound more cheerful in hope winning the love of his lady (Marlowe 914). In contrast, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” uses words such as: If, break, fade, fall, forgotten and might to show the nymph’s uncertainty in the shepherd’s words (Raleigh 914-915). Therefore, not only is then again a reader can also analyze through tone. Through tone, the reader is able to learn about a character’s personality and disposition.
The tone the shepherd uses in “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” is hopeful and optimistic because he offers all the pleasures of his rural lifestyle in hope of love returned by the lady. Marlowe says, “Come live with me and be my love, and we will all the pleasures prove that valleys, groves, hills, and fields, woods or steepy mountain yields” (Marlowe 913). In other words, the shepherds tone is ptimistic because he hopes the pleasures of experiencing the beauty in nature will win thy ladys love.
While the shepherds tone is hopeful, the tone in “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” is pessimistic and cold; perhaps the nymph is even realistic. Raleigh provides the reader with the nymphs cold tone is the opening stanza, “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” (Raleigh 914). For instance, the nymph’s tone is doubtful because she uses words such as: “if” and might. In addition, to the nymphs tone being doubtful she is also comical knowing what the shepherd says is Just a lie to get her to be thy love. All in all, tone helps the reader better analyze the similarities and differences between “The Passionate Shepherd to His love” and “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd. ” To conclude, a reader can better analyze “The Passionate Shepherd to His love” and “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” by comparing and contrasting poetic elements such as tone, diction, and imagery.