“Money can’t buy you love, but it improves your bargaining position.”
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
By Christopher Marlowe
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.
Christopher Marlowe was the foremost playwright of his day, who preceded Shakespeare’s success, having both been born in the same year. Marlowe died young, a death shrouded in mystery and intrigue, with rumors of him being a spy, an atheist and a homosexual, in short all the worst things that British society could think to call someone in the narrow halls of the gossipy elite. The truth of his death may be a case of just good old stupidity, but everyone much prefers to think of death as a grand conspiracy rather than drunken tomfoolery. Marlowe’s premature mysterious death left a void in London theater, which Shakespeare immediately filled. Shakespeare was heavily influenced by Marlowe’s style and intelligence and wit and gave several shout out’s to his compatriot’s finest work, including in As You Like It, where he quotes a line from Marlowe’s Hero and Leander – “Dead Shepherd, now I find thy saw of might, ‘Who ever lov’d that lov’d not at first sight?” Marlowe’s iambic pentameter is a thing of marvel, that rolls off an English speaker’s lips like sweet wine. Marlowe’s poem above a thing to savor when reading aloud.
Spring is slowly finding its way to Minneapolis, with the birds returning, singing and flitting about in courtship. The cardinals making their presence known with daily recitals from the tops of trees, calling to potential mates: “come live with me and be my love…”
The Face That Launch’D a Thousand Ships
By Christopher Marlowe
Was this the face that launch’d a thousand ships,
And burnt the topless towers of Ilium?
Sweet Helen, make me immortal with a kiss.
Her lips suck forth my soul: see where it flies!
Come, Helen, come, give me my soul again.
Here will I dwell, for heaven is in these lips,
And all is dross that is not Helena.
I will be Paris, and for love of thee,
Instead of Troy, shall Wittenberg be sack’d;
And I will combat with weak Menelaus,
And wear thy colours on my plumed crest;
Yea, I will wound Achilles in the heel,
And then return to Helen for a kiss.
O, thou art fairer than the evening air
Clad in the beauty of a thousand stars;
Brighter art thou than flaming Jupiter
When he appear’d to hapless Semele;
More lovely than the monarch of the sky
In wanton Arethusa’s azur’d arms;
And none but thou shalt be my paramour!