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The Passionate Shepherd to His Love Summary & Analysis
by Christopher Marlowe

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"The Passionate Shepherd" is a poem written by the English poet Christopher Marlowe, likely in the early 1590s. It was one of the most popular and widely read poems of the English Renaissance; many poets, such as Sir Walter Ralegh, wrote responses praising, criticizing, and poking fun at it. In the poem, the speaker tries to seduce someone whom he refers to simply as his "love." In order to seduce this person, he describes a rural life full of intense sensual pleasure—but unpolluted by sin or sorrow. The resulting tableau is both beautiful and idealized: in his attempt to seduce his "love," the shepherd leaves out much of the complication and sorrow that mark real relationships.

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