Like Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe was both a playwright and a poet. Unlike Shakespeare, he didn't live long enough to influence the English language, or British culture, in quite the same way Shakespeare did. But he had a vast influence on his fellow writers...not the least of which was William Shakespeare.
Christopher Marlowe was a contemporary of Shakespeare, Jonson, and the like. In his day, he was considered the best at what he did, and is credited with writing the first blank verse play in the English language. His influence was enormous. Everyone, including Shakespeare, "borrowed" from Christopher Marlowe. Among his most famous plays are Tamburlaine, The Jew of Malta and Doctor Faustus. He also wrote an historical play on the life of Edward II. Marlowe, who is truly history's man of mystery (more on that later), died young in a dispute of unknown reasons. He was stabbed to death at the age of 29. His was truly a life ended too early and a talent cut short. Fortunately, some of Marlowe's work has been preserved, both his plays and his poetry. Here, as our final honoree of National Poetry Month, is Marlowe's The Passionate Shepherd to His Love.
The Passionate Shepherd to His Love
Come live with me, and be my love:
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales 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
With 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 lvie with me and be my love.
The shepherd-swains shall dance and sing
For they delight each May morning:
If these delights thy mind may move,
Then live with me, and be my love.
by Christopher Marlowe