Unit Five Section D


”When, in Disgrace with Fortune and Men's Eyes”
Sonnet 29 by William Shakespeare

There are times when each of us feels depressed and full of self--pity. What does the speaker in the sonnet do to cheer up during such moments?

When, in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes,
I all alone beweep my outcast state
And trouble deal heaven with my bootless cries
And look upon myself and curse my fate,
Wishing me like to one more rich in hope,
Featured like him, like him with friends possess'd,
Desiring this man's art and that man's scope,
With what I most enjoy contented least;
Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising,
Haply I think on thee, and then my state,
Like to the lark at break of day arising
From sullen earth, sings hymns at heaven's gate;

For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings
That then I scorn to change my state with kings.
Developing Comprehension Skills

1. When does the speaker feel sorry for himself and curse his situation?
2. What does the speaker envy in other people?
3 .What brings about a change of mood in the speaker? To what does he compare the change?
4. Do you think love can make such a drastic difference in a person's mood? What kind of love could accomplish this?

”Let Me Not to the Marriage of True Minds”
Sonnet 116 by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare presents a definition of true love in this sonnet. What type of love does he admire?

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Developing Comprehension Skills

1. What are some of the things that love does not do?
2. How does true love respond to "tempests," or disturbances? What might some of these tempests be?
3. The speaker says love is a star to every wandering bark, or ship. If each ship is a person, what is the speaker saying about love?
4. According to the speaker, love is not "Time's fool." How does time affect people? How does it affect true love?
5. Reread the last two lines. How confident do you think the speaker is of his definition?
6. Do you agree with this definition of love? Are the speaker's standards too high? Explain your answers.

”The Passionate Shepherd and His Love”
by Christopher Marlowe

Christopher Marlowe was a poet and playwright who was born the same year as Shakespeare. This poem is one of the most famous Elizabethan lyrics. What does the shepherd offer 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 steepy mountain yields.

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

And 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 th 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.

The shepherds' 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.

Developing Comprehension Skills

I. What is the shepherd asking of his love?
2. Where will they live? What kind of life will they lead?
3. The shepherd offers his love many gifts. Do you think he can really provide everything he mentions? If not, why do you suppose he mentions them?
4. Does the kind of life that the shepherd describes sound attractive to you? Why?

”The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd”
by Sir Walter Raleigh

Many replies were written to Marlowe's poem. Perhaps the most famous is by Sir Walter Raleigh. Does the nymph accept the shepherd's offer to "be my love"?

If all the world and love were young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Time drives the flocks from field to fold,
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten,--
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
The coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

Developing Comprehension Skills

1. According to the first stanza, will the young girl accept the shepherd's offer?
2. Does she trust the shepherd? What words or phrases support your answer?
3. According to the girl, what will happen to the flowers and fields promised by the shepherd?
4. In the third stanza, she refers to a "honey tongue, a heart of gall." What is she saying about the shepherd?
5. What comment does she make about the gifts the shepherd offers?
6. Does the girl seem to change her attitude in the last stanza? Under what circumstances would she change her mind?
7. What comment about life in general does the girl seem to be making? Do you agree with her view? Explain your reasons.