Interpretation of "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd"

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Regina DeSandro Daigle ENG 125 December 17, 2008 The poem “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd,” by Sir Walter Raleigh reflects a women’s view of love toward the shepherd. The poem is written with imagery and vivid speech to enable the reader to envision the outlook of love throughout life’s changes. The poem reflects the seasons of the world and the physical changes made during the changing of the seasons. Love is like a season, forever changing with happiness and sorrow. The poem is a response to the offering the shepherd made to the nymph is she agreed to be his lover. The shepherd offered to give the nymph beautiful blankets of flowers in the spring and gowns made from the wool of sheep he sheared and wove with his own hands. All items offered to the nymph are used to entice her to become his mistress of love and asks her to accept his gifts and live with him as his love. The first four lines of the poem describe the desire of the nymph to be with the shepherd in a new and exciting love affair. The next four lines of the poem describe the love as changing to cold or unyielding care for the nymph and the shepherd. The autumn of the relationship begins to change the love to something less spirited and a familiar chill begins to overcome the couple. Line six of the poem reads, “When rivers rage and rocks grow cold, “describes the feeling of love as time swiftly makes a mark on the relationship (Barnet, Burto and Cain, 2007). The nymph is responding to the shepherd’s wishful thoughts of sitting together with the nymph in the summer and watching lazily as the sheep and other shepherds walk in meadows. Lines 9 through 12 describe the world as shrouded in a blanket of frost, which fades the flowers of spring and leaving fields empty of wondering sheep and void of fruit (Barnet, Burto and Cain, 2007). The imagery of the flowers and field describe the

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