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The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd

This poem is a dialogue between the shepherd and his love the nymph. The shepherd is in love with the nymph but she seems to doubt him. He tries to convince her so that she may come with her but it seems these two are in two different worlds. He affirms that if she allowed him to live with her, then he would have much pleasure and would forever love her. However, the nymph assures him that even flowers fade with their beauty, thus nothing can last forever. Thus his love might end up being wasted since all that she possesses including shoes, gowns and roses may soon wither and be forgotten. Therefore the nymph sees no reasons for loving and living together with the shepherd since her life is a waste.


The author has successful used elements of literature to reinforce the theme of the poem. The poem is mainly focused on the nymph's response to the love invitation by the shepherd.   However, the nymph's reply is that the shepherd's promises are not real because they change with time. Thus the author's main theme is to show that love and all other worldly things will not last forever. Things and beauty will come but will eventually fade like the flowers. Some of the elements used include imagery, rhyme and alliteration among others. In imagery, the author uses lots of images such as roses, shoes, wantons fields and flowers among others so as to help the reader to have a wider meaning of the poem. He compares love with all these objects; things that do not last so as to enlighten the reader that love is something that can be attained but also can be lost anytime.

Another element that the author uses is rhyme. Rhyme is the use of similar sounds at the end of the lines.  The author matches all the consonant sounds of every two consecutive lines in all the stanzas. For instance, in the first stanza, he uses words like "young" and "tongue" and "move" and "love" in the 1st and 2nd , and 3rd and 4th lines respectively. This trend continues throughout the poem; a scenario that gives the reader a feel of a song.  It is this feel that clearly brings the theme of the poem to the reader. The reader develops a systematic reading style that attracts his/her attention as well.

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Alliteration is also another element that he author has successfully used in reinforcing the theme.   This element has been used frequently so as to put emphasis on the theme. For instance, the poet uses rolling sounds such as "flocks from field to fold" on the 5th line and "rivers rage and rocks" on the 6th line. Alliteration is also used on the last stanza, line 25 "my mind might move".  It can therefore be said that the author has been successful in using these elements among to bring to the reader the meaning and theme of the poem.

In this poem, the poet is standing in on the beach in the night. The tides are high and the moon light is fair. He is inviting his love to come to the window of his chalet so that they can together enjoy the sweet aroma of the night. He describes the phenomenon, something that is recurring for several nights. He describes to her the movements of the waves and the pebbles, how they come and go. He refers to Sophocles' passage that he heard and brought into mind the flow of the tides how they move away from the land and move inside again. He also hears this sound and relates it to that which was heard in Sophocles play "Antigone".

 He remembers that the sea was once faithful and would fill the shoes of the earth. However, the sounds now are only notes of depressed since they are long pinched and retreating to the sea by the winds of the night. Finally, the poet appeals to his companion to be faithful with each other since they are living in a world where love, joy and spiritual beliefs do not exist; it is only gorgeous and new from outside. He further comments that mortals live in the dark side of the mind yet the fight for survival is not different from those who are ignorant. The theme of he poem is to show how the old moral and theological aspects have turn human faith.

The poet uses various devices such as imagery. In the first eight lines, he put the reader into a visual image where they can visualize the peace created besides the sea. He describes it as calm, with still waters; and the moon shines fairly. The tides are full and he sees the cliffs from the French coast to England.  He describes it in a romantic way that the reader gets carried away by the scene. Another image that the author creates is when he describes how the ocean once was; full to the shore, but are now retreating.

Another device used is personification. The author gives human characters to the sea. He says "the sea of faith". We know that faith is only practiced by human beings. Thus giving this character to a non living thing is to personify it. He uses this device so as to show how the sea how the was productive then and how it has lost its beasty today.

Similes are also used to liken two things that are totally different. For instance, he likens the world to a "land of dreams". This implies that we are only dreaming of joy, peace and relief when in pain yet all these do not exist. He also likens it to a darkling plain where we all look confused. The poet has used these elements to bring forth the theme of the poem which focused on how the validity of the ancient moral and theological aspects have stunned the faith that human once had on religion and God.

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