“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.”
Christopher Marlowe, “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love”
One of the most famous poems of English literature, and rightly so for its effervescent and lively meter and rhymes. If nothing else, it points to the versatility of the amazing Kit Marlowe, known at the time for his sweeping and epic tragic dramas. This poem reads more of a song, especially in the cunning clue of a line like “Melodious birds sing madrigals.” Was this a response to a challenge? Is there a horde of lyric poetry that history has hidden from us? What masterpieces might he have written had he not been murdered in his prime? These are questions that bring literature and history to life before our eyes.