The Comparison of the Pastoral Landscape in Poetry

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Pastoral landscape provides a glimpse into the narrator's mind in the lyrical poems “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" by Christopher Marlowe, “The Nymph’s Reply” by Sir Walter Ralegh, and “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost. The thoughts presented by the narrator allow the reader to judge the narrator's level of maturity. Each narrator within these poems shows more advanced maturity than the narrator of the previous poem. Marlowe's shepherd, for example, shows unsound judgment and simplemindedness through his impractical promises and unrealistic imagery. His naivety becomes painfully clear when Ralegh's nymph responds to him: her practical outlook on life shows her to be of a more superior maturity. Her contemptuous and patronizing attitude, however, shows her to still lack in maturity. Frost's narrator- the traveler- lacks the naive imagery and scornful attitude; his introspective reflection shows his superior maturity and practicality. The shepherd’s simplicity is revealed through his depiction of the romantic scene through the use of the pastoral landscape in “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love." The shepherd invites his love to sit with him on the rocks, where they would watch the “shepherds feed their flocks/ by shallow rivers, to whose falls/ melodious birds sing madrigals” (6 – 8). In this scene, the season is of spring, with young, fresh land, bright and sunny weather, singing birds, and gentle rivers. The narrator's “aa, bb” rhyming scheme suggests a uniformity that he expects the weather to follow: the narrator here believes that the weather would always remain this well for he and his love to enjoy. The rather consistent stressing pattern in lines seven and eight ( { stressed, stressed|| un, u... ... middle of paper ... yet to finish his life’s journey- only when he finishes his “miles” can he rest. The narrators of Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love,” Sir Walter Ralegh’s “The Nymph’s Reply,” and Robert Frost’s “Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening” each exhibit different levels of maturity. The bright landscape and imagery used by Marlowe’s shepherd demonstrate his simplistic view of the world through his naïve thoughts. The rebellious and scornful tone of Ralegh’s nymph proves her to be a pessimistic person; although her imagery and landscape are not impossibly bright, like the shepherd’s, the nymph proves herself to be lacking in maturity as well. Frost’s traveler has the most mature thoughts- his understanding of duties, the beautifully subdued landscape he finds himself in, and his awareness of his responsibilities proves his experience in life.

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