Poems by Michael Drayton

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Couentry, that do'st adorne[1]
The Muse should be sprightly,
A briefe Prologue to the verses following.
Reade heere (sweet Mayd) the story of my wo,
Oft taking pen in hand, with words to cast my woes,
Thine eyes taught mee the Alphabet of loue,
Some Atheist or vile Infidell in loue,
Cleere Ankor, on whose siluer-sanded shore
Looking into the glasse of my youths miseries,
Now, Loue, if thou wilt proue a Conqueror,
Vertues Idea in virginitie,
If euer wonder could report a wonder,
Some, when in ryme they of their Loues doe tell,
If those ten Regions, registred by Fame,
My fayre, if thou wilt register my loue,
Reading sometyme, my sorrowes to beguile,
Letters and lynes, we see, are soone defaced,
My hart, imprisoned in a hopeless Ile,
Wonder of Heauen, glasse of diuinitie,
Our floods-Queene, Thames, for shyps and Swans is crowned,
The glorious sunne went blushing to his bed,
Cupid, dumbe-Idoll, peeuish Saint of loue,
My Loue makes hote the fire whose heat is spent,
Some wits there be which lyke my method well,
O eyes! behold your happy Hesperus,
My thoughts bred vp with Eagle-birds of loue,
Three sorts of serpents doe resemble thee;
Sitting alone, loue bids me goe and write;
Those teares, which quench my hope, still kindle my desire,
Whilst thus mine eyes doe surfet with delight,
My fayre, looke from those turrets of thine eyes,
See, chaste Diana, where my harmles hart,
Sweete, sleepe so arm'd with Beauties arrowes darting,
I euer loue where neuer hope appeares,
If chaste and pure deuotion of my youth,
Die, die, my soule, and neuer taste of ioy,
My faire, had I not erst adorned my Lute
O thou vnkindest fayre! most fayrest shee,
Rare of-spring of my thoughts, my dearest Loue,
Plac'd in the forlorne hope of all dispayre
Why doe I speake of ioy, or write of loue,
My hart the Anuile where my thoughts doe beate,
Blacke pytchy Night, companyon of my woe,
Sweete secrecie, what tongue can tell thy worth?
The golden Sunne vpon his fiery wheeles
Who list to praise the dayes delicious lyght,
Define my loue, and tell the ioyes of heauen,
Since holy Vestall lawes haue been neglected,
When I first ended, then I first began;
Goe you, my lynes, Embassadours of loue,
In one whole world is but one Phoenix found,
Stay, stay, sweet Time; behold, or ere thou passe
Vnto the World, to Learning, and to Heauen,
Beauty sometime, in all her glory crowned,
Most good, most faire,
Must I needes write, who's hee that can refuse,
This while we are abroad,
Douer, to doe thee Right, who will not striue,
O thou fayre siluer Thames: O cleerest chrystall flood,
Tell me fayre flocke, (if so you can conceaue)
Then this great Vniuerse no lesse,
Vppon a bank with roses set about,
Melpomine put on thy mourning Gaberdine,
Motto. Tell me thou skilfull shepheards swayne,
Rowland. Of her pure eyes (that now is seen)
Farre in the countrey of Arden
Now fye vpon thee wayward loue,
Faire Loue rest thee heere,
Such was old Orpheus cunning,
The Ryme nor marres, nor makes,
Letters and lines we see are soon defaced
Wer't granted me to choose,
Olde CHAVCER doth of Topas tell,
Singe wee the Rose
That ten-yeares-trauell'd Greeke return'd from Sea
If in opinion of iudiciall wit,
Chapman; We finde by thy past-prized fraught,
Like as a man, on some aduenture bound
Such men as hold intelligence with Letters,
In new attire (and put most neatly on)
Driue forth thy Flocke, young Pastor, to that Plaine,
The worlds faire Rose, and Henries frosty fire,
Loue in an humor played the prodigall,
Phæbe looke downe, and here behold in mee,
To nothing fitter can I thee compare,
You not alone, when you are still alone,
That learned Father which so firmly proues
Into these loues who but for passion lookes,
You cannot loue my pretty hart, and why?
An euill spirit your beauty haunts me still,
Thou which do'st guide this little world of loue,
Love banish'd heauen, in earth was held in scorne,
O why should nature nigardly restraine,
I gaue my faith to Loue, Loue his to mee,
When conquering loue did first my hart assaile,
Many there be excelling in this kind,
Those Priests, which first the Vestall fire begun,
Me thinks I see some crooked Mimick ieere
Maruaile not Loue, though I thy power admire,
Whilst thus my pen striues to eternize thee,
Muses which sadly sit about my chayre,
Thou leaden braine, which censur'st what I write,
My hart was slaine, and none but you and I,
Truce gentle loue, a parly now I craue,
Eyes with your teares, blind if you bee,
Great Lady, essence of my chiefest good,
Madam, my words cannot expresse my mind,
Nothing but no and I, and I and no,
Loue once would daunce within my Mistres eye,
The Gods delight, the heauens hie spectacle,
Like an aduenturous Sea-farer am I,
As other men, so I my selfe doe muse,
Since to obtaine thee, nothing me will sted,
If hee from heauen that filch'd that liuing fire,
A witlesse Gallant, a young Wench that woo'd,
With fooles and children good discretion beares,
I heare some say, this man is not in loue,
Is not Loue here, as 'tis in other Clymes,
To such as say thy loue I ouer-prize,
Thou purblind Boy, since thou hast been so slacke
Deare, why should you commaund me to my rest
Why should your faire eyes with such soueraine grace,
Plain-path'd Experience the vnlearneds guide,
In pride of wit, when high desire of fame
Cupid, I hate thee, which I'de haue thee know,
As in some Countries far remote from hence,
Calling to minde since first my loue begunne,
What dost thou meane to Cheate me of my Heart,
You best discern'd of my interior eies,
In former times, such as had store of coyne,
As Loue and I, late harbour'd in one Inne,
How many paltry, foolish, painted things,
Since there 's no helpe, Come let vs kisse and part,
Not thy graue Counsells, nor thy Subiects loue,
Bright starre of Beauty, on whose eyelids sit,
There's nothing grieues me, but that Age should haste,
Like an adventurous sea-farer am I,
My heart was slain, and none but you and I;
Taking my pen, with words to cast my woe,
Bright star of beauty, on whose eyelids sit
As other men, so I myself do muse
As in some countries far remote from hence,
Calling to mind since first my love begun,
What dost thou mean to cheat me of my heart,
Clear Ankor, on whose silver-sanded shore,
Yet read at last the story of my woe,
As Love and I late harboured in one inn,
My fair, if thou wilt register my love,
When like an eaglet I first found my love,
You best discerned of my mind's inward eyes,
In former times, such as had store of coin,
Define my weal, and tell the joys of heaven;
Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part,
When first I ended, then I first began;
Truce, gentle Love, a parley now I crave,
Nothing but "No!" and "I!"[A] and "I!" and "No!"
How many paltry, foolish, painted things,
Love, in a humour, played the prodigal,
There's nothing grieves me but that age should haste,
To nothing fitter can I thee compare
You're not alone when you are still alone;
That learned Father which so firmly proves
If he, from heaven that filched that living fire,
You cannot love, my pretty heart, and why?
My heart the anvil where my thoughts do beat,
Why do I speak of joy or write of love,
Some men there be which like my method well,
Why should your fair eyes with such sov'reign grace
Whilst thus my pen strives to eternise thee,
Thou leaden brain, which censur'st what I write,
Muses which sadly sit about my chair,
Plain-pathed experience, the unlearnèd's guide,
In pride of wit, when high desire of fame
Cupid, I hate thee, which I'd have thee know;
Since to obtain thee nothing me will stead,
'Mongst all the creatures in this spacious round
Stay, speedy time! Behold, before thou pass
To this our world, to learning, and to heaven,
An evil spirit, your beauty, haunts me still,
A witless gallant a young wench that wooed--
With fools and children good discretion bears;
Love, banished heaven, in earth was held in scorn,
I hear some say, "This man is not in love!"
When conquering love did first my heart assail,
O, why should nature niggardly restrain
I ever love where never hope appears,
Is not love here as 'tis in other climes,
To such as say thy love I overprize,
Those priests which first the vestal fire begun,
Methinks I see some crooked mimic jeer,
Our floods' queen, Thames, for ships and swans is crowned,
Whilst yet mine eyes do surfeit with delight,
Marvel not, love, though I thy power admire,
Some, when in rhyme they of their loves do tell,
Some misbelieving and profane in love,
Thou purblind boy, since thou hast been so slack
Dear, why should you command me to my rest,
Sitting alone, love bids me go and write;
Good Folke, for Gold or Hyre,
If thus we needs must goe,
The Description of Elizium
What time the groues were clad in greene,
Priests of APOLLO, sacred be the Roome,
DORILVS in sorrowes deepe,
Maydens, why spare ye?
And why not I, as hee
A Canzonet
Her lou'd I most,
Muse, bid the Morne awake,
Friend, if you thinke my Papers may supplie
My noble friend, you challenge me to write
My dearely loued friend how oft haue we,
Deare friend, be silent and with patience see,
Vppon this sinfull earth
I will not striue m' inuention to inforce,
Faire stood the Wind for France,
Vovchsafe to grace these rude vnpolish'd rymes,
Rich Statue, double-faced,
Madame, to shew the smoothnesse of my vaine,
Into these loves who but for passion looks,
You braue Heroique minds,
Could there be words found to expresse my losse,
Accursed Death, what neede was there at all
Canst thou depart and be forgotten so,
I many a time haue greatly marueil'd, why
Light Sonnets hence, and to loose Louers flie,