About the Poem: This page will get you acquainted with the first known printing of Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.”
The Passionate Pilgrim
The earliest version we have of Christopher Marlowe’s “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” is the 1599 print in The Passionate Pilgrim by W. Shakespeare. The Passionate Pilgrim is an anthology of 20 poems collected and published by William Jaggard, an Elizabethan and Jacobean printer and publisher, and is attributed to William Shakespeare. Only a few of the poems were actually written by Shakespeare. The book was published in octavo—a book or pamphlet made up of one or more full sheets on which 16 pages of text are printed, which are then folded three times to produce eight leaves.
The printing of the poem in The Passionate Pilgrim is without title but is referred to by its first line “Live With Me and Be My Love.” This printing only has 4 stanzas and 1 additional “Loves Answer” stanza. The last stanza, or “Loves Answer,” matches the first stanza of “The Nymphs Reply to the Shepherd,” attributed to Sir Walter Raleigh. The “full reply” by Raleigh is then printed in the England’s Helicon along with Marlowe’s—it and the version of Marlowe’s poem in the Helicon both have 6 stanzas.
We might ask whether the version in The Passionate Pilgrim is the complete poem that Marlowe wrote and whether the last stanza in that version was his as well, or whether it is a shorter version edited by William Jaggard, who mistakenly added the first stanza of Raleigh’s to the end. However, as William Jaggard believed that all these were by William Shakespeare, it is fair to assume that he did believe that the poem and the “Loves Answer” were written by the same man. It was common form at the time to have a “Loves Answer” response to a pastoral love lyric such as this.
1 Titian, The Concert, 1509. © Le Concert Champetre (Open-Air Concert), c.1510 (oil on canvas), Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) (c.1488-1576) / Louvre, Paris, France / Bridgeman Images, number: XIR267673.
2 Shakespeare, William. The Passionate Pilgrim. London, 1599, Early English Books Online.