by Walter Raleigh, Sir (1552? - 1618)

If all the world and love were young
Language: English 
If [all]1 the world [and love were]2 young,
And truth in every shepherd's tongue,
These pretty pleasures might me move
To live with thee and be thy love.

[Time drives the flocks]3 from field to fold
When rivers rage and rocks grow cold,
And Philomel becometh dumb;
The rest complains of cares to come.

The flowers do fade, and wanton fields
To wayward winter reckoning yields;
A honey tongue, a heart of gall,
Is fancy's spring, but sorrow's fall.

Thy gowns, thy shoes, thy beds of roses,
Thy cap, thy kirtle, and thy posies
Soon break, soon wither, soon forgotten-
In folly ripe, in reason rotten.

Thy belt of straw and ivy buds,
Thy coral clasps and amber studs,
All these in me no means can move
To come to thee and be thy love.

But could youth last and love still breed,
Had joys no date nor age no need,
Then these delights my mind might move
To live with thee and be thy love.

W. Mayer sets stanzas 1-2, 6
G. Barker sets stanza 1
V. Fine sets stanzas 1, 3-6

About the headline (FAQ)

View original text (without footnotes)
A response to Marlowe's The passionate shepherd to his love
Note: the first stanza was published in The Passionate Pilgrim after no. 20.
1 In The Passionate Pilgrim and Barker: "that"
2 Mayer: "were gay and"
3 Mayer: "But Time drives flocks"


Musical settings (art songs, Lieder, mélodies, (etc.), choral pieces, and other vocal works set to this text), listed by composer (not necessarily exhaustive)

Settings in other languages, adaptations, or excerpts:

  • Also set in English, a translation ; composed by Samuel Webbe.

Other available translations, adaptations or excerpts, and transliterations (if applicable):

Researcher for this text: Emily Ezust [Administrator]

This text was added to the website: 2011-01-23
Line count: 24
Word count: 166