Poets of the Elizabethan age used poetry as a way to express their wit and talent.
It is likely that Marlowe's poem would have been passed around among his friends long before its publication in 1599 in England, six years after the poet's death.
The imagery appeals to senses of sight ("Seeing the shepherds feed their flocks"), hearing ("Melodious birds sing madrigals","swains shall dance and sing"), smell ("fragrant posies") and even touch ("slippers for the cold") and it evokes the atmposphere of country life with its blissfull unawareness and admiration for nature.
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love Christopher Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love is, on the surface, a romantic poem told from the perspective of a shepherd calling out to a nymph who he hopes will be enticed to living with him.
Over the centuries, Marlowes little poem has enjoyed widespread popularity because it captures the joy of simple, uncomplicated love.
The shepherd does not worry whether his status makes him acceptable to the girl; nor does he appear concerned about money or education. Pastoral is derived from the Latin word pastor, meaning shepherd.suggests that the time is the sixteenth century, when madrigals were highly popular in England and elsewhere in Europe.However, the poem could be about any shepherd of any age in any country, for such is the universality of its theme.Among these responses was Sir Walter Raleigh's "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" (date unknown, but thought to be about 1592), which provides the woman's response to Marlowe's shepherd.Marlowe's poem also inspired several other notable works that were similar in tone and content, including John Donne's "The Bait" (1633), which also relies upon wit and sexuality to entertain the reader.It is not explicit but the shepherd is likely trying to evoke pleasant, romantic images of the space they will share as lovers.“A cap of flowers, and a kirtle/Embroidered all with leaves of myrtle;” (Marlowe lines 11-12) This suggests that the bed will have a drapery of sorts surrounding its mattress of roses, which is a rather thinly veiled suggestion of sexual promise.The poem then shifts to a stanza regarding clothing, one in which I think the rhyme itself is most effective.“A gown made of the finest wool/Which from our pretty lambs we pull;” (Marlowe lines 13-14) Gowns, though not typically, can be made of wool.Few Elizabethan poets published their own work, especially one as young as Marlowe, and so it is fairly certain that the poem was well-known long before its publication.The composition date is thought to be about 1588, and probably it generated many responses well before its publication nearly a dozen years later.