The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

Christopher Marlowe

Edited by Jack Lynch

The poem was first published in 1599. The copytext for this version is the second printing of the poem, in Englands Helicon (1600). The first printing in The Passionate Pilgrim included only the first four stanzas. I have emended sings in line 8 to sing. The spelling is as in the copy-text, but u and v, i and j, are adjusted as in modern usage. The notes are my own.

See also the poem’s companion piece, Ralegh’s “Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.”

The passionate Sheepheard to his love

Come live with mee, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove,° try
That Vallies, groves, hills and fieldes,
Woods, or steepie mountaine yeeldes.
And wee will sit upon the Rocks, [5]
Seeing the Sheepheards feede theyr flocks,
By shallow Rivers, to whose falls,
Melodious byrds sing Madrigalls.° songs
And I will make thee beds of Roses,
And a thousand fragrant poesies,° [10] bunches of flowers
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle,° long gown
Imbroydred all with leaves of Mirtle.
A gowne made of the finest wooll,
Which from our pretty Lambes we pull,
Fayre lined slippers for the cold: [15]
With buckles of the purest gold.
A belt of straw, and Ivie buds,
With Corall clasps and Amber studs,
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Come live with mee, and be my love. [20]
The Sheepheards Swaines° shall daunce & sing, country people
For thy delight each May-morning,
If these delights thy minde may move;
Then live with mee, and be my love.


Myrtle, an evergreen shrub, often “regarded as a symbol of love, peace, honour, etc.” (OED).