The Passionate Shepherd to his Love

This piece of literally work by Christopher Marlowe was produced and published during the late Renaissance era. This particular poem was published originally in 1599, six years after his demise (Riggs, 2005). The Renaissance period was full of innovation, and it brought a lot of enlightenment and self-awareness in most European countries. This enlightenment and knowledgeability were expressed through art, science, technology, and literature among other areas in different parts of Europe. This particular period was marked by several events, which included the rise of Rome to power, which was from the year 1400-1450 (Riggs, 2005). At the time, Italy had been feeling the full effect of the Renaissance because it could be argued that it may have originated from Italy and specifically in Florence.

When the Black Death occurred in 1347, many people perished, and as a result, Florence began to rise (Logan, 2007). This was because many people who died were poor, and in a way after the death of many, the economy began to improve. This led to many people, mostly the wealth, to start investing in the scholarly study of art and display. As a result of this, the de Medici family began to ascend because of their banking system and their physical bank, which the wealthy people used to store their vast wealth (Riggs, 2005). This wealth was invested in art and display of these works of art. There also emerged many sculptors, inventors, painters, linguists, and artists from this venture (Logan, 2007). 

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As the Renaissance arrived in England, it created a brood of literary masters who were able to come up with poetry and literature for this period. Individual personalities such as William Shakespeare, Francis Bacon, Sir Thomas More, Christopher Marlowe, and other writers (Logan, 2007). Marlowe wrote some of the most renowned pieces of poetry to date.

The Passionate Shepherd to His Love is one of his earlier works that were in the simple stylistic form of British poetry, which was mostly associated with the late Renaissance period (Riggs, 2005). The reason as to why it is regarded as pastoral is because it has been composed through the iambic tetrameter, which means that it consists of four feet of stressed/unstressed syllables. On top of this, it has seven stanzas with each comprising of two rhyming couplets (Logan, 2007). This was the stylistic method that was popular at the time and it defined the British poetry. During this period, Mannerism had also taken root in Italy and was beginning to spread across Europe as the new form of producing art (Logan, 2007). 

Marlowe, during his time, had been able to influence some of Shakespeare’s works and literary works heavily. Even after Marlowe’s death, Shakespeare gave a warm tribute to the man who was able to put light into his practice (Riggs, 2005). This was followed by Shakespeare, including in his work Marlovian themes in some of his works such as Macbeth, The Merchant of Venice, Antony and Cleopatra, and Richard II (Logan, 2007). However, there are claims that Marlowe might have faked his owned death and continued to write under the name William Shakespeare. These claims are yet to be confirmed, but many artists from this period have paid homage to Marlowe and his contribution to Literature.


This piece of work was famous among most of his other poems because of the stylistic form, which paved the way for many writers. It created a sort of template that allowed other writers to insert their words without paying attention to the structure and the style.


Logan, Robert A (2007) Shakespeare’s Marlowe: The Influence of Christopher Marlowe on Shakespeare’s Artistry. Aldershot, Hants: AshgateRiggs, David (2005). The World of Christopher Marlowe (1 ed.). Henry Holt and Co. p. 294

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