The Shepherd's Description of Love


"Shepherd, what's love? I pray thee tell!"--
It is that fountain, and that well,
Where pleasure and repentance dwell;
It is, perhaps, that passing bell
That tolls us all to heaven or hell;
And this is love, as I heard tell.

"Yet, what is love? good shepherd, saine!"--
It is a sunshine mix'd with rain;
It is a toothache, or like pain;
It is a game where none doth gain:
The lass saith No, and would full fain!
And this is love, as I hear saine.

"Yet, shepherd, what is love, I pray?"--
It is a "Yea," it is a "Nay,"
A pretty kind of sporting fray;
It is a thing will soon away;
Then, nymphs, take vantage while ye may,
And this is love, as I hear say.

"Yet what is love? good shepherd, show!"--
A thing that creeps, it cannot go,
A prize that passeth to and fro,
A thing for one, a thing for moe;
And he that proves shall find it so;
And, shepherd, this is love, I trow.

Sir Walter Raleigh (1552 – 1618)