78. The Passionate Shepherd to His Love: Christopher Marlowe

Ah, love.

What do middle school students feel when they fall in love? Of course, their love is that that has never been felt. No adult could understand. It is a summer’s day. Timeless. A cliche.

And in three days, it is over.

Of course, the poetry they usually get never captures this great human drama. That is why music fills the void where poetry has receded; songs are ubiquitous and handy when the fall comes. Music is not afraid to be frivolous and disposable, unlike modern poetry. The perfect song seems to always be on the radio when love rears its head, and retreats into a cave.

Marlowe was disposable because poets at his time toss out works for patrons that felt love and loss all of the time. Put poetry in their path. Love. Beauty. Truth.

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Christopher Marlowe

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.

And we will sit upon 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 poises,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroidered 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;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with me, and be my love.

The shepherds’s 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.


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