He was ultimately arrested and executed in 161 8 to appease the Spanish government for some ransacking that his men did on one of their voyages wrought America. His works are everything from plain to somber and that is one of the main things that made him a great poet. The Nymph’s Reply “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd” by Sir Walter Raleigh has many themes and interpretations. The poem describes love and time, but the most important thing that I think It describes Is “Carper Diem” or selling the day. The poem Is a response to Christopher Marlowe “The Passionate Shepherd to HIS Love”.
Marlowe poem describes a shepherd trying to win over the one he loves by promising her all of these earthly things, but Raleigh poem is the woman seemingly denying the hopper’s advances and saying that all of the earthly things that he promised will all eventually pass away and be forgotten. The Nymph says that the only way we can be together is if youth lasted forever and their passionate love knew no time. I believe that the theme of this poem is carper diem and the poetic elements that support that are alliteration, visual imagery, and situational irony.
The first element that helps describes Carper Diem is in the poem is alliteration. Raleigh use of alliteration really helps get his points across to the reader and helps the transactions be smoother. Like in the line, “These pretty pleasures might me move” (1224), Raleigh uses alliteration to almost mock the shepherd’s advances on the nymph. And also In the line, “Time drives the flocks from field to fold” (1224), Raleigh uses alliteration to help to say that time changes everything. That is the reason why alliteration supports the theme of Carper Diem.
The only way the Nymph will accept the shepherd’s love is if they forever live in the present where they are young and passionate. The nymph does not want earthly things that will wither or sour throughout time, but rather she wants things to be eternal and stay fresh. These examples are a perfect form of Carper Diem, and that is why alliteration helps get the main point across to the reader. The next poetic element that helps represent Carper Diem in the poem is the imagery, more specifically the visual imagery.
Raleigh uses Imagery to help support Carper Diem by showing the disadvantages of time. He shows the readers how moods change with the seasons, flowers will wither, and things grow old all through Imagery. Like In the lines, “Thy cap, thy Keller, and thy posies Soon break, soon wither, soon time. He even does so well as to put images in the reader’s mind of things fading way and being forgotten. When Raleigh uses imagery to diminish time he is also using it to uplift Carper Diem at the same time. And that is how imagery helps support the theme of Carper Diem.
The final poetic element that helps support the theme of Carper Diem is irony. And the specific irony used in the poem is situational irony. The sense of helplessness by the shepherd is apparent throughout the poem. The shepherd has to listen to the nymph deny all the things he promised her, and tell him that the only way that they can be together forever is if they can stay young forever. This is why it is situational irony because there is nothing the shepherd can do so that he and the nymph can live young forever.
The best he can give her is Carper Diem and try to live in the now while the passion is still fresh, but ultimately they could never be together forever. This sense of situational irony is why it is a perfect example of Carper Diem. In conclusion the poem itself really displayed strong cultural values of its time period. It showed that during the time of romanticism Carper Diem was a big thing back then. It was a great poem with many key points and I enjoyed reading it.