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Poetry by Walter Raleigh

The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

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.

But Time drives flocks from field to fold;

When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;

And Philomel becometh dumb;

The rest complains 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 beds 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 ivy-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.


A soldier, courtier and poet, Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) became a favorite of Queen Elizabeth's and was knighted in 1585, but then was briefly imprisoned for having secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the queen's Maids in Waiting. After James I ascended the throne, Raleigh was imprisoned for a plot against the king's life and spent thirteen years in the Tower of London. After being released he led a disastrous search for El Dorado in Guiana and in 1618, upon his return to England in disgrace, was beheaded. One of the great Elizabethan poets, Raleigh wrote this poem as a witty rejoinder to his friend Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," which was published in the San Diego Reader last week.

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The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

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.

But Time drives flocks from field to fold;

When rivers rage and rocks grow cold;

And Philomel becometh dumb;

The rest complains 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 beds 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 ivy-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.


A soldier, courtier and poet, Walter Raleigh (1552-1618) became a favorite of Queen Elizabeth's and was knighted in 1585, but then was briefly imprisoned for having secretly married Elizabeth Throckmorton, one of the queen's Maids in Waiting. After James I ascended the throne, Raleigh was imprisoned for a plot against the king's life and spent thirteen years in the Tower of London. After being released he led a disastrous search for El Dorado in Guiana and in 1618, upon his return to England in disgrace, was beheaded. One of the great Elizabethan poets, Raleigh wrote this poem as a witty rejoinder to his friend Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," which was published in the San Diego Reader last week.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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