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Carpe Diem Thinking in Marlowe and Raleigh's Poetry

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Thomas Van Lanen Carpe Diem was a popular wave of thinking throughout Renaissance in literature. Translated from Latin, Carpe Diem means seize the day. The idea represents the idea that one must make most of one's life now, because you don't have forever to live, and if you want something you must push to get it today, not tomorrow. Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepard to His Love, is the epitome of Carpe Diem poetry. The shepard is trying to convince his love to live in the "now", and come live with him, for he could give her a truly wonderful care-free country life. Sir Walter Raleigh's retort, entitled The Nymph's Reply to the Shepard is the antithesis of the Carpe Diem ideology. ...read more.


The shepard would give her all of this in hopes that she will come to live with him, and be his love. The speaker wants his love to seize the day: "If these delights thy mind may move/ Then live with me, and be my love." (Stanza 6, ll 23 & 24) He wants the love of his life to take a leap into his pastoral world, and in return, he will make her happy. The speakers Carpe Diem philosophy is a romantic view of life, but not at all realistic. In Sir Walter Raleigh's retort to Marlowe's poem, The Nymph's Reply to the Shepard, the speaker takes on the contrary view of life, realism. ...read more.


In stanza 4, lines 13-15 "Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of posies/Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies/ Soon break, soon whither, soon forgotten" the speaker is following the same outlook, basically saying that life always won't be as great as he is offering, for flowers die, and clothes fade and eventually turn to tattered rags. The speaker's bleak outlook on life is very realistic and wise. The speakers of Christopher Marlowe's The Passionate Shepard and Sir Walter Raleigh's The Nymph's Reply have entirely contrasting views of the world, the former being adventures, and romantic, following the saying "Carpe Diem", and the latter being realistic and down-to-earth. ...read more.

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