The nymphs reply to the shepherd is a pastoral poem about how a nymph responded to the love being asked by a shepherd. This is in reference to an ideal world which the nymph requires for them to be able to love each other. All throughout the poem, the nymph’s response to the love being given by the shepherd was all about reject. She could have loved the shepherd, if only they’d be in a different situation that what they are in that time. It is a poem about hope, yet in the end, the shepherd would just lose hope, as the nymph requires a very ideal setting for their love to flourish.
One aspect which was emphasized in this poem is the inevitability of change, with reference to aging and death. Here, the nymph tells the shepherd that their love could have been possible if it would be eternal, and would exist all throughout time. However, just like the fading of flowers, the fancy of spring and sorrow of fall, things between them would surely change.
The shepherd would grow old whilst the nymph would remain young with nature. At the end of the poem, the nymph directly stated that if only youth could last and love would still breed, as well as joy would not fade and none of them will age, then the nymph could stay with the shepherd and be his love.
The poem uses the iambic tetrameter, wherein each line contains four iambs or two syllables which are the units of rhythm. The first syllable of this unstressed while the second syllable is stressed. Instead of using metaphors, the poem uses similes to describe one thing or attribute it to another. This is effectively used to describe the constraints why the nymph could not love the shepherd back.