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Best Famous Michael Drayton Poems

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Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet I: Like an Adventrous Seafarer

 Like an advent'rous seafarer am I, 
Who hath some long and dang'rous voyage been, 
And, call'd to tell of his discovery, 
How far he sail'd, what countries he had seen; 
Proceeding from the port whence he put forth, 
Shows by his compass how his course he steer'd, 
When East, when West, when South, and when by North, 
As how the Pole to every place was rear'd, 
What capes he doubled, of what Continent, 
The gulfs and straits that strangely he had past, 
Where most becalm'd, where with foul weather spent, 
And on what rocks in peril to be cast: 
Thus in my love, Time calls me to relate 
My tedious travels and oft-varying fate.
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

To The Virginian Voyage

 You brave heroic minds,
Worthy your country's name,
That honour still pursue,
Go, and subdue,
Whilst loit'ring hinds
Lurke here at home with shame.
Britons, you stay too long, Quickly aboard bestow you; And with a merry gale Swell your stretched sail, With vows as strong As the winds that blow you.
Your course securely steer, West and by South forth keep; Rocks, lee-shores, nor shoals, When Eolus scowls, You need nor fear, So absolute the deep.
And cheerfully at sea, Success you still entice To get the pearl and gold; And ours to hold Virginia, Earth's only Paradise.
Where Nature hath in store Fowl, venison, and fish; And the fruitfull'st soil, Without your toil, Three harvests more, All greater than your wish.
And the ambitious vine Crowns with his purple mass The cedar reaching high To kiss the sky, The cypress, pine, And useful sassafras.
To whom the golden age Still Nature's laws doth give, No other cares attend But them to defend From winter's rage, That long there doth not live.
When as the luscious smell Of that delicious land, Above the sea that flows, The clear wind throws, Your hearts to swell, Approaching the dear strand.
In kenning of the shore, (Thanks to God first given) O you, the happiest men, Be frolic then! Let canons roar, Frighting the wide heaven! And in regions far Such heroes bring ye forth As those from whom we came, And plant our name Under that star Not known unto our North.
And as there plenty grows Of laurel everywhere, Apollo's sacred tree, You may it see A poet's brows To crown, that may sing there.
Thy voyages attend Industrious Hakluit, Whose reading shall inflame Men to seek fame, And much commend To after-times thy wit.
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet XVI: Mongst All the Creatures

 An Allusion to the Phoenix

'Mongst all the creatures in this spacious round 
Of the birds' kind, the Phoenix is alone, 
Which best by you of living things is known; 
None like to that, none like to you is found.
Your beauty is the hot and splend'rous sun, The precious spices be your chaste desire, Which being kindled by that heav'nly fire, Your life so like the Phoenix's begun; Yourself thus burned in that sacred flame, With so rare sweetness all the heav'ns perfuming, Again increasing as you are consuming, Only by dying born the very same; And, wing'd by fame, you to the stars ascend, So you of time shall live beyond the end.
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Endimion and Phoebe (excerpts)

 In Ionia whence sprang old poets' fame,
From whom that sea did first derive her name,
The blessed bed whereon the Muses lay,
Beauty of Greece, the pride of Asia,
Whence Archelaus, whom times historify,
First unto Athens brought philosophy:
In this fair region on a goodly plain,
Stretching her bounds unto the bord'ring main,
The mountain Latmus overlooks the sea,
Smiling to see the ocean billows play:
Latmus, where young Endymion used to keep
His fairest flock of silver-fleeced sheep,
To whom Silvanus often would resort,
At barley-brake to see the Satyrs sport;
And when rude Pan his tabret list to sound,
To see the fair Nymphs foot it in a round,
Under the trees which on this mountain grew,
As yet the like Arabia never knew;
For all the pleasures Nature could devise
Within this plot she did imparadise;
And great Diana of her special grace
With vestal rites had hallowed all the place.
Upon this mount there stood a stately grove, Whose reaching arms to clip the welkin strove, Of tufted cedars, and the branching pine, Whose bushy tops themselves do so entwine, As seem'd, when Nature first this work begun, She then conspir'd against the piercing sun; Under whose covert (thus divinely made) Ph{oe}bus' green laurel flourish'd in the shade, Fair Venus' myrtle, Mars his warlike fir, Minerva's olive, and the weeping myrrh, The patient palm, which thrives in spite of hate, The poplar, to Alcides consecrate; Which Nature in such order had disposed, And therewithal these goodly walks inclosed, As serv'd for hangings and rich tapestry, To beautify this stately gallery.
Embroidering these in curious trails along, The cluster'd grapes, the golden citrons hung, More glorious than the precious fruit were these, Kept by the dragon in Hesperides, Or gorgeous arras in rich colours wrought, With silk from Afric, or from Indy brought.
Out of this soil sweet bubbling fountains crept, As though for joy the senseless stones had wept, With straying channels dancing sundry ways, With often turns, like to a curious maze; Which breaking forth the tender grass bedewed, Whose silver sand with orient pearl was strewed, Shadowed with roses and sweet eglantine, Dipping their sprays into this crystalline; From which the birds the purple berries pruned, And to their loves their small recorders tuned, The nightingale, wood's herald of the spring, The whistling woosel, mavis carolling, Tuning their trebles to the waters' fall, Which made the music more angelical; Whilst gentle Zephyr murmuring among Kept time, and bare the burthen to the song: About whose brims, refresh'd with dainty showers, Grew amaranthus, and sweet gilliflowers, The marigold, Ph{oe}bus' beloved friend, The moly, which from sorcery doth defend, Violet, carnation, balm, and cassia, Idea's primrose, coronet of may.
Above this grove a gentle fair ascent, Which by degrees of milk-white marble went: Upon the top, a paradise was found, With which Nature this miracle had crown'd, Empal'd with rocks of rarest precious stone, Which like the flames of ?tna brightly shone, And served as lanthorns furnished with light, To guide the wand'ring passengers by night: For which fair Ph{oe}be, sliding from her sphere, Used oft times to come and sport her there, And from the azure starry-painted sky Embalm'd the banks with precious lunary: That now her Maenalus she quite forsook, And unto Latmus wholly her betook, And in this place her pleasure us'd to take, And all was for her sweet Endymion's sake; Endymion, the lovely shepherds' boy, Endymion, great Ph{oe}be's only joy, Endymion, in whose pure-shining eyes The naked fairies danced the heydegies.
The shag-hair'd Satyrs' mountain-climbing race Have been made tame by gazing in his face.
For this boy's love, the water-nymphs have wept, Stealing oft times to kiss him whilst he slept, And tasting once the nectar of his breath, Surfeit with sweet, and languish unto death; And Jove oft-times bent to lascivious sport, And coming where Endymion did resort, Hath courted him, inflamed with desire, Thinking some nymph was cloth'd in boy's attire.
And often-times the simple rural swains, Beholding him in crossing o'er the plains, Imagined, Apollo from above Put on this shape, to win some maiden's love.
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Ode to the Cambro-Britons and their Harp His Ballad of Agi

 Fair stood the wind for France,
When we our sails advance;
Nor now to prove our chance
Longer will tarry;
But putting to the main,
At Caux, the mouth of Seine,
With all his martial train
Landed King Harry.
And taking many a fort, Furnish'd in warlike sort, Marcheth towards Agincourt In happy hour; Skirmishing day by day With those that stopp'd his way, Where the French gen'ral lay With all his power.
Which, in his height of pride, King Henry to deride, His ransom to provide To the King sending; Which he neglects the while, As from a nation vile Yet with an angry smile Their fall portending.
And turning to his men Quoth our brave Henry then: "Though they to one be ten Be not amazed.
Yet have we well begun: Battles so bravely won Have ever to the sun By Fame been raised! "And for myself," quoth he, "This my full rest shall be: England ne'er mourn for me, Nor more esteem me; Victor I will remain, Or on this earth lie slain; Never shall she sustain Loss to redeem me! "Poitiers and Cressy tell When most their pride did swell Under our swords they fell; No less our skill is Than when our grandsire great, Claiming the regal seat, By many a warlike feat Lopp'd the French lilies.
" The Duke of York so dread The eager vaward led; With the main Henry sped Amongst his henchmen: Excester had the rear, A braver man not there O Lord, how hot they were On the false Frenchmen! They now to fight are gone; Armour on armour shone; Drum now to drum did groan: To hear, was wonder; That, with cries they make, The very earth did shake; Trumpet to trumpet spake, Thunder to thunder.
Well it thine age became, O noble Erpingham, Which didst the signal aim To our hid forces; When, from a meadow by, Like a storm suddenly, The English archery Stuck the French horses With Spanish yew so strong, Arrows a cloth-yard long, That like to serpents stung, Piercing the weather.
None from his fellow starts, But playing manly parts, And like true English hearts Stuck close together.
When down their bows they threw, And forth their bilboes drew, And on the French they flew, Not one was tardy; Arms were from shoulders sent, Scalps to the teeth were rent, Down the French peasants went: Our men were hardy.
This while our noble King, His broad sword brandishing, Down the French host did ding, As to o'erwhelm it.
And many a deep wound lent, His arms with blood besprent, And many a cruel dent Bruised his helmet.
Gloster, that duke so good, Next of the royal blood, For famous England stood With his brave brother.
Clarence, in steel so bright, Though but a maiden knight, Yet in that furious fight Scarce such another! Warwick in blood did wade, Oxford the foe invade, And cruel slaughter made, Still as they ran up.
Suffolk his axe did ply; Beaumont and Willoughby Bare them right doughtily; Ferrers and Fanhope.
Upon Saint Crispin's Day Fought was this noble fray, Which fame did not delay To England to carry.
O when shall English men With such acts fill a pen, Or England breed again Such a King Harry?
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Nymphidia The Court Of Fairy (excerpts)

 But let us leave Queen Mab a while,
Through many a gate, o'er many a stile,
That now had gotten by this wile,
Her dear Pigwiggen kissing;
And tell how Oberon doth fare,
Who grew as mad as any hare,
When he had sought each place with care,
And found his queen was missing.
By grisly Pluto he doth swear, He rent his clothes, and tore his hair, And as he runneth here and there, An acorn-cup he greeteth; Which soon he taketh by the stalk, About his head he lets it walk, Nor doth he any creature balk, But lays on all he meeteth.
The Tuscan poet doth advance The frantic Paladine of France, And those more ancient do enhance Alcides in his fury, And others Ajax Telamon: But to this time there hath been none So bedlam as our Oberon, Of which I dare assure you.
And first encount'ring with a wasp, He in his arms the fly doth clasp, As tho' his breath he forth would grasp, Him for Pigwiggen taking: 'Where is my wife, thou rogue?" quoth he, "Pigwiggen, she is come to thee, Restore her, or thou di'st by me.
" Whereat the poor wasp quaking, Cries, "Oberon, great Fairy King, Content thee, I am no such thing; I am a wasp, behold my sting!" At which the fairy started; When soon away the wasp doth go, Poor wretch was never frighted so, He thought his wings were much too slow, O'erjoy'd they so were parted.
He next upon a glow-worm light, (You must suppose it now was night) Which, for her hinder part was bright, He took to be a devil, And furiously doth her assail For carrying fire in her tail; He thrash'd her rough coat with his flail, The mad king fear'd no evil.
"Oh!" quoth the glow-worm "hold thy hand, Thou puissant King of Fairy-land, Thy mighty strokes who may withstand? Hold, or of life despair I.
" Together then herself doth roll, And tumbling down into a hole, She seem'd as black as any coal, Which vext away the fairy.
From thence he ran into a hive, Amongst the bees he letteth drive, And down their combs begins to rive, All likely to have spoiled: Which with their wax his face besmear'd, And with their honey daub'd his beard; It would have made a man afear'd, To see how he was moiled.
A new adventure him betides: He met an ant, which he bestrides, And post thereon away he rides, Which with his haste doth stumble, And came full over on her snout, Her heels so threw the dirt about, For she by no means could get out, But over him doth tumble.
And being in this piteous case, And all beslurried head and face, On runs he in this wildgoose chase; As here and there he rambles, Half-blind, against a mole-hill hit, And for a mountain taking it, For all he was out of his wit, Yet to the top he scrambles.
And being gotten to the top, Yet there himself he could not stop, But down on th' other side doth chop, And to the foot came rumbling: So that the grubs therein that bred, Hearing such turmoil overhead, Thought surely they had all been dead, So fearful was the jumbling.
And falling down into a lake, Which him up to the neck doth take, His fury it doth somewhat slake, He calleth for a ferry: Where you may some recovery note, What was his club he made his boat, And in his oaken cup doth float, As safe as in a wherry.
Men talk of the adventures strange Of Don Quishott, and of their change, Through which he armed oft did range, Of Sancha Pancha's travel: But should a man tell every thing, Done by this frantic fairy king, And them in lofty numbers sing, It well his wits might gravel.
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet XI: You Not Alone

 You not alone, when you are still alone, 
O God, from you that I could private be.
Since you one were, I never since was one; Since you in me, my self since out of me, Transported from my self into your being; Though either distant, present yet to either, Senseless with too much joy, each other seeing, And only absent when we are together.
Give me my self and take your self again, Devise some means but how I may forsake you; So much is mine that doth with you remain, That, taking what is mine, with me I take you; You do bewitch me; O, that I could fly From my self you, or from your own self I.
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Agincourt

 FAIR stood the wind for France 
When we our sails advance, 
Nor now to prove our chance 
Longer will tarry; 
But putting to the main, 
At Caux, the mouth of Seine, 
With all his martial train 
Landed King Harry.
And taking many a fort, Furnish'd in warlike sort, Marcheth tow'rds Agincourt In happy hour; Skirmishing day by day With those that stopp'd his way, Where the French gen'ral lay With all his power.
Which, in his height of pride, King Henry to deride, His ransom to provide Unto him sending; Which he neglects the while As from a nation vile, Yet with an angry smile Their fall portending.
And turning to his men, Quoth our brave Henry then, 'Though they to one be ten Be not amazed: Yet have we well begun; Battles so bravely won Have ever to the sun By fame been raised.
'And for myself (quoth he) This my full rest shall be: England ne'er mourn for me Nor more esteem me: Victor I will remain Or on this earth lie slain, Never shall she sustain Loss to redeem me.
'Poitiers and Cressy tell, When most their pride did swell, Under our swords they fell: No less our skill is Than when our grandsire great, Claiming the regal seat, By many a warlike feat Lopp'd the French lilies.
' The Duke of York so dread The eager vaward led; With the main Henry sped Among his henchmen.
Excester had the rear, A braver man not there; O Lord, how hot they were On the false Frenchmen! They now to fight are gone, Armour on armour shone, Drum now to drum did groan, To hear was wonder; That with the cries they make The very earth did shake: Trumpet to trumpet spake, Thunder to thunder.
Well it thine age became, O noble Erpingham, Which didst the signal aim To our hid forces! When from a meadow by, Like a storm suddenly The English archery Stuck the French horses.
With Spanish yew so strong, Arrows a cloth-yard long That like to serpents stung, Piercing the weather; None from his fellow starts, But playing manly parts, And like true English hearts Stuck close together.
When down their bows they threw, And forth their bilbos drew, And on the French they flew, Not one was tardy; Arms were from shoulders sent, Scalps to the teeth were rent, Down the French peasants went-- Our men were hardy.
This while our noble king, His broadsword brandishing, Down the French host did ding As to o'erwhelm it; And many a deep wound lent, His arms with blood besprent, And many a cruel dent Bruised his helmet.
Gloster, that duke so good, Next of the royal blood, For famous England stood With his brave brother; Clarence, in steel so bright, Though but a maiden knight, Yet in that furious fight Scarce such another.
Warwick in blood did wade, Oxford the foe invade, And cruel slaughter made Still as they ran up; Suffolk his axe did ply, Beaumont and Willoughby Bare them right doughtily, Ferrers and Fanhope.
Upon Saint Crispin's Day Fought was this noble fray, Which fame did not delay To England to carry.
O when shall English men With such acts fill a pen? Or England breed again Such a King Harry?
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet LXIII: Truce Gentle Love

 Truce, gentle Love, a parley now I crave; 
Methinks 'tis long since first these wars begun; 
Nor thou nor I the better yet can have; 
Bad is the match where neither party won.
I offer free conditions of fair peace, My heart for hostage that it shall remain; Discharge our forces, here let malice cease, So for my pledge thou give me pledge again.
Or if no thing but death will serve thy turn, Still thirsting for subversion of my state, Do what thou canst, rase, massacre, and burn; Let the world see the utmost of thy hate; I send defiance, since, if overthrown, Thou vanquishing, the conquest is my own.
Written by Michael Drayton | Create an image from this poem

Sonnet VII: Love in a Humour

 Love in a humor play'd the prodigal 
And bade my Senses to a solemn feast; 
Yet, more to grace the company withal, 
Invites my Heart to be the chiefest guest.
No other drink would serve this glutton's turn But precious tears distilling from mine eyne, Which with my sighs this epicure doth burn, Quaffing carouses in this costly wine; Where, in his cups o'ercome with foul excess, Straightways he plays a swaggering ruffian's part, And at the banquet in his drunkenness Slew his dear friend, my kind and truest Heart.
A gentle warning, friends, thus may you see What 'tis to keep a drunkard company.
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