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The Passionate Shepherd To His Love

Published in 1599, six years after the poet's death

In addition to being one of the most well-known love poems in the English language, it is considered one of the earliest examples of the pastoral style of British poetry in the late Renaissance period. It is composed in iambic tetrameter (four feet of unstressed/stressed syllables), with seven (sometimes six, depending on the version) stanzas each composed of two rhyming couplets. It is often used for scholastic purposes for its regular meter and rhythm.

COME live with me, and be my love;
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
Woods or steepy mountain yields.

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

And I will 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-lined slippers for the cold,
With buckles of the purest gold;

A belt of straw and ivy-buds,
With coral clasps and amber studs:
An if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

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.

 

Christopher Marlowe