A Comparison and Contrast of Love in Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to his Love and C. Day Lewis's Song

A Comparison and Contrast of Love in Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to his Love and C. Day Lewis's Song

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A Comparison and Contrast of Love in Christopher Marlowe's "The Passionate
Shepherd to his Love" and C. Day Lewis's "Song"

     In the poems "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love" by Christopher
Marlowe and "Song" by C. Day Lewis, the speakers display their individual views
of what can be expected with their love. Both speakers produce invitations to
love with differences in what they have to offer. A list of promised delights
is offered by the speaker in "The Passionate Shepherd," and through persuasion,
is able to influence the emotions of his love. The speaker in "Song" shows the
difficulties of his life, as seen in his economic necessity and lack of
material pleasures, but subsequently offers his love unconditionally in order to
convince his beloved. In comparison the poems expose the speakers' use of
separate methods to influence their loves. Through comparing and contrasting
the context in which the invitations occur, what each speaker offers, and the
tone of each speaker, these differing methods can be understood.
     The "Passionate Shepherd" is set in a romantic, natural backdrop in the
seventeenth century. In this rural setting the Shepherd displays his flock and
pastures to his love while promising her garlands and wool for weaving. Many
material goods are offered by the speaker to the woman he loves in hopes of
receiving her love in return. He also utilizes the power of speech to attempt
to gain the will of his love. In contrast, the poem "Song" is set in what is
indicative of a twentieth century depression, with an urban backdrop that is
characteristically unromantic. The speaker "handle(s) dainties on the docks"
(5) , showing that his work likely consists of moving crates as a dock worker.
He extends his affection through the emphasis of his love and how it has endured
and survived all hardships. He uses the truth of his poor and difficult
situation as a tool to entice his love.
     In the "Passionate Shepherd", the speaker offers his lover a multitude
of delights to persuade her emotions in his favor. At the very beginning of the
poem he states his intention that "we will all the pleasures prove" (2) ,
creating a basis upon which all his promises are centere...

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power of words and objects, and the increasing effect of truthfulness as the
means to achieve true love. By contrasting the poems, the reader is convinced
that truthfulness rather than spoken promises is the most effective means of
achieving true love.

C. Day Lewis

Come, live with me and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
Of peace and plenty, bed and board,
That chance employment may afford.

I'll handle dainties on the docks
And thou shalt read of summer frocks:
At evening by the sour canals
We'll hope to hear some madrigals.

Care on thy maiden brow shall put
A wreath of wrinkles, and thy foot
Be shod with pain: not silken dress
But toil shall tire thy loveliness.

Hunger shall make thy modest zone
And cheat fond death of all but bone -
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me and be my love.


Lewis, C. Day. "Two Songs. (2)" Poems of C. Day Lewis 1925-1972. Ed.
Jonathan Cape. London: Hogarth Press, 1977. 90.

Marlowe, Christopher. "The Passionate Shepherd to his Love." The Broadview
Anthology of Poetry. Eds. Herbert Rosengarten and Amanda Goldrick-Jones.
Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1993. 414.

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