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The Passionate Shepherd was first printed in The Passionate Pilgrim (1599), and again in a slightly longer version in England’s Helicon (1600). The poem is quoted in The Jew of Malta, (IV iv 95-105), and Sir Hugh Evans sings a garbled version of one stanza in The Merry Wives of Windsor, (III i 17-26). Also a setting appears in William Corkine’s Second Book of Airs (1612).

This poem was among the best known of Elizabethan lyrics and was endlessly imitated, parodied and answered well into the seventeenth century. In this poem, speaker tries to seduce his ‘love’, thus it is called the poem of seduction. He describes countryside as a sensual place and rural life with full of intense sensual pleasure. This poem begins with an invitation “Come live with me”, therefore, let’s come together to feel the intensity of poetry written by Kit 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 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

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’ 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.


The speaker invites his love to come and live with him and to be his lover. So that they can enjoy all the pleasures found in the valleys, groves, hills, fields, woods, and steep mountains. He wants to sit above the solid rock with his Love and view the site of shepherds feeding their sheep, close by shallow water courses near a shoreline. While being there they both will listen to the bird’s short lyrical songs intoning for the rivers waterfall. He is saying that he will decorate the bed with roses and thousands of aromatic small flowers. He will make a cap of flowers to his love, and also dress (Kirtle) fashioned with myrtle leaves embroidery. He will make a gown with the finest wool, which will shear from their beautiful lambs and also make slippers that are lined, to use when it is cold outside. These slippers buckles will be made out of the purest gold. He says that he will make a belt intertwined by straw and ivy buds and also its clasps (belt buckle) made of coral and its stud made of amber. If all these pleasure attracts her, he is calling her to come and live with him and to be his valentine. Each morning young shepherds will dance and sing for her. Therefore, he is asking her that If all these happiness strike a chord on you, then come live with me and be my lover”.


The Complete Poems and Translations by Christopher Marlowe, 1564-1593: Orgela Stephen,ed: Chapman, George, 1559?-1634, Petowe, Henry

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