Whether these two poems are successful as companion poems is evident from the literary and academic interest still existing.
Christopher Marlowe was best known for play writing and among Elizabethan playwrights he is considered second only to Shakespeare. Sir Walter Ralegh (1552-1618) was a true man of renaissance, capable courtier, able explorer and colonizer, and a talented writer of the Elizabethan Era. (Ralegh). Among the few poems of Ralegh "The Nymph's Reply to the Shepherd" is most popular and often reprinted along with Marlow's "The passionate Shepherd to His Love." In life, Marlow and Ralegh were contemporaries, friends, and are pioneers in team writing, and experimented with companion poem. For creating companion poems artists were working in dialogue with one another to create deep, lasting impressions with their audience, and Marlowe and Ralegh were successful in their effort as their two small poems still attract readers. Pastoral convention, present in ancient Greek poems, "describes life through an image of the idealized existence of literature and artistic shepherds in a lovely landscapes of timeless spring, is the playful wish-fulfillment of a sophisticated and complex culture, an imaginative vision of something like an unspoiled Eden. A Golden Age of simple purity and beauty." (David).
"The passionate Shepherd to His Love" by Christopher Marlow is a dreamy, idealistic poem where a shepherd writes a proposal to his love with all the wonderful offerings of nature. It is written in simple stanza form with rhyming couplets in which the shepherd offers his love the pleasures of living in the countryside, decorated with natural richness. The nature is embellished with rivers, singing birds, and waterfalls and the shepherd asks her to "come live with me and be my love" (Marlowe, 1). He offers his love "beds of roses" (9), a gown in the finest wool", (13) and "Fair lined slippers for the cold, with buckles of the purest gold" (15-16). The shallow rivers and singing birds presents a perfect setting for the noble, optimistic lover, and the gift he offers are fresh and pure objects from nature. The shepherd spends little time announcing the intensity of his love for the nymph and asks her "Then live with me and be my love" in the fist and last lines, but the rest of the lines lets nature make emotional appeal for him. He looks sincere in his claims of love, and draws empathy of readers for his powerful love, which compels him to promise his service and devotion to the nymph.
The poetic response to this poem written by Walter Ralegh, in the same form of Marlow, focuses on the idyllic nature of the shepherd's offer as well as its shortcomings. The focus of Ralegh is unpredictability of love as well as nature, and the woman's view of love as a complicated and turbulent undertaking. The nymph recognizes the offer of the shepherd not feasible "When rivers rage and rocks grow cold" (Ralegh line 6) and stress that nature is brief and material things made from nature withers and become useless over time. Ralegh argues that if nature and love were timeless the Nymph