Jerry's Cruising Poems

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Come live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That valleys, groves, hills, and fields,
Woods or craggy mountain yields.

There we will sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers to whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.

There 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.

Thy dishes shall be filled with meat
Such as the gods do use to eat
Shall one and every table be
Prepared each day for thee and me.

The shepherd 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.

Christopher Marlowe 1564–1593

This poem was written by a highly regarded contemporary of Shakespeare who was certainly not a shepherd. Marlowe was a well-educated member of the privileged class with connections to Queen Elizabeth's court. He wrote several important plays and was responsible for several new features in English literature. His life ended at a young age in somewhat mysterious violence. This particular poem was published in 1600 in “England's Helicon” six years after his death. It has become one of the most famous love poems in the English language and has been “answered” or parodied by many poets (see a few below). Jerry succumbed to the same temptation.

The next-to-last stanza was apparently a later addition and may not have been by Marlowe. It appeared in a manuscript by Thornburgh in the 17th century, and also in Walton's “The Compleat Angler” where it was named “The Milk Maid's Song.” The version in Francis Palgrave's “Golden Treasury” of 1875 reads “Thy silver dishes for thy meat As precious as the gods do eat, Shall on an ivory table be Prepared each day for thee and me.”

Click to read “The Nymph's Reply” perhaps by Sir Walter Raleigh
Click to read “Another of the Same Nature, Made Since” Anonymous
Click to read “The Bait” by John Donne
Click to read “To Phyllis” by Robert Herrick
Click to read “The Passionate Sailor to His Love” by Jerry