Mar. 6, 2003

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love

by Christopher Marlowe

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Poem: "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love," by Christopher Marlowe.

The Passionate Shepherd to 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 the 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.

Literary Notes:

It's the birthday of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, born near Durham, England (1806). She was the author of the first love poems written from a woman's perspective in English, the sonnets that she wrote for her husband Robert Browning.

It's the birthday of sportswriter Ring W. Lardner born in Niles, Michigan (1885). He became famous for the way he captured the spoken rhythms and diction of the baseball players in his book of stories You Know Me Al (1916). He said, "Most of the successful authors of the short fiction of to-day never went to no kind of a college, or if they did, they studied piano tuning or the barber trade. They could of got just as far in what I call the literary game if they had of stayed home those four years and helped mother carry out the empty bottles."

It's the birthday of journalist and novelist Gabriel García Márquez, born in Aracataca, Colombia (1928). Until he was eight, Márquez was raised by his grandparents, and once said that all his writing had been inspired by the stories they told him. His grandfather was a Colonel and a liberal veteran of one of Columbia's worst civil wars. Gabriel's grandmother told him fantastic legends and tales of witches and ghosts. He became a reporter for the Colombian newspaper El Espectador and later became a foreign correspondent, traveling all over Europe and the Americas. He had published fiction already, but had long wanted to write a novel based loosely on his hometown and his memories of his grandparents. His inspiration for the book came when he realized he had to write it in the same tone of voice his grandmother used when she told stories, describing both supernatural and political events as though there was no difference between them. The style later became known as "magical realism." Once he had the idea for the book he quit his job and wrote for eighteen months, without a break, smoking six packs of cigarettes every day. To support his wife and children, he sold his car and every household appliance, and borrowed money from all his friends. When he tried to sell pieces of his wife's jewelry, many of them wedding gifts, he found out that all the gems were made of glass. By the time the book was finished, he was $10,000 in debt, nearly poisoned by nicotine, and on the edge of a mental collapse. But the book, called One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967), was a best seller, and he never had to worry about money again. The novel tells the story of the Buendía family in the fictional village of Macondo and begins, "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." This was based on a true story that his grandfather told him. Márquez is also the author of Love in the Time of Cholera (1985), a story, based on his own parents, of two old lovers reuniting after 50 years.

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