Though Christopher Marlowe likely wrote “The Passionate Shepherd to His Love” in the early 1590s, it first appeared in print around 1600. This is a lyric poem that draws on the Classical tradition of pastoral poetry, which is a genre that takes place in a highly idealized country landscape. The principal inhabitants of this landscape are shepherds. In addition to idly tending their flocks, shepherds also sing songs and pursue amorous encounters. Though shepherds traditionally lust after nymphs, it isn’t clear who the poem’s “passionate shepherd” is addressing. Marlowe is known to have been queer, which has led some critics to speculate that the shepherd’s “love” could be male—though their gender ultimately remains ambiguous. Marlowe’s shepherd tries to convince his beloved to live with him in the country. He offers them a vision of rural life’s numerous pleasures, along with its promise of leisure. He also entices them with a taste of the pastoral landscape’s material abundance, the fruits of which he promises them in the form of luxurious gifts. The poem ends before the speaker’s beloved can respond, so we have no idea if they’ll agree to stay. This ambiguity has led to amusing poems of reply, such as Sir Walter Raleigh’s 1600 verse, “The Nymph’s Reply to the Shepherd.”