Table of Contents   Previous Chapter   Next Chapter


126                                           To His Coy Love


I PRAY thee, leave, love me no more,
    Call home the heart you gave me!
I but in vain that saint adore
    That can but will not save me.
These poor half-kisses kill me quite—
Was ever man thus servàed?
Amidst an ocean of delight
    For pleasure to be starvàed?
Show me no more those snowy breasts
    With azure riverets branchàed,
Where, whilst mine eye with plenty feasts,
    Yet is my thirst not stanchàed;
O Tantalus, thy pains ne’er tell!
    By me thou art prevented:
’Tis nothing to be plagued in Hell,
    But thus in Heaven tormented.
Clip me no more in those dear arms,
    Nor thy life’s comfort call me,
O these are but too powerful charms,
    And do but more enthral me!
      But see how patient I am grown
        In all this coil about thee:
Come, nice thing, let thy heart alone,
    I cannot live without thee!

127                                               The Parting

SINCE there’s no help, come let us kiss and part—
Nay, I have done, you get no more of me;
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of Love’s latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
    —Now if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
    From death to life thou might’st him yet recover.

128                                                       Sirena

NEAR to the silver Trent
   Sirena dwelleth;
She to whom Nature lent
   All that excelleth;
By which the Muses late
   And the neat Graces
Have for their greater state
   Taken their places;
Twisting an anadem
   Wherewith to crown her,
As it belong’d to them
   Most to renown her.
               On thy bank,
               In a rank,
               Let thy swans sing her,
             And with their music
               Along let them bring her.
Tagus and Pactolus
   Are to thee debtor,
Nor for their gold to us
   Are they the better:
Henceforth of all the rest
   Be thou the River
Which, as the daintiest,
   Puts them down ever.
For as my precious one
   O’er thee doth travel,
She to pearl paragon
   Turneth thy gravel.
               On thy bank...
Our mournful Philomel,
   That rarest tuner,
Henceforth in Aperil
   Shall wake the sooner,
And to her shall complain
   From the thick cover,
Redoubling every strain
   Over and over:
For when my Love too long
   Her chamber keepeth,
As though it suffer’d wrong,
   The Morning weepeth.
               On thy bank...
Oft have I seen the Sun,
   To do her honour,
Fix himself at his noon
   To look upon her;
And hath gilt every grove,
   Every hill near her,
With his flames from above
   Striving to cheer her:
And when she from his sight
   Hath herself turnàed,
He, as it had been night,
   In clouds hath mournàed
               On thy bank...
The verdant meads are seen,
   When she doth view them,
In fresh and gallant green
   Straight to renew them;
And every little grass
   Broad itself spreadeth,
Proud that this bonny lass
   Upon it treadeth:
Nor flower is so sweet
   In this large cincture,
But it upon her feet
   Leaveth some tincture.
               On thy bank...
The fishes in the flood,
   When she doth angle,
For the hook strive a-good
   Them to entangle;
And leaping on the land,
   From the clear water,
Their scales upon the sand
   Lavishly scatter;
Therewith to pave the mould
   Whereon she passes,
So herself to behold
   As in her glasses.
               On thy bank...
When she looks out by night,
   The stars stand gazing,
Like comets to our sight
   Fearfully blazing;
As wond’ring at her eyes
   With their much brightness,
Which so amaze the skies,
   Dimming their lightness.
The raging tempests are calm
    When she speaketh,
Such most delightsome balm
    From her lips breaketh.
                On thy bank ...
In all our Brittany
    There’s not a fairer,
Nor can you fit any
    Should you compare her.
Angels her eyelids keep,
    All hearts surprising;
Which look whilst she doth sleep
    Like the sun’s rising:
She alone of her kind
    Knoweth true measure,
And her unmatchàed mind
    Is heaven’s treasure.
               On thy bank ...
Fair Dove and Darwen clear,
    Boast ye your beauties,
To Trent your mistress here
    Yet pay your duties:
My Love was higher born
    Tow’rds the full fountains,
Yet she doth moorland scorn
    And the Peak mountains;
Nor would she none should dream
    Where she abideth,
Humble as is the stream
    Which by her slideth.
               On thy bank ...
Yet my poor rustic Muse
    Nothing can move her,
Nor the means I can use,
    Though her true lover:
Many a long winter’s night
    Have I waked for her,
Yet this my piteous plight
    Nothing can stir her.
All thy sands, silver Trent,
    Down to the Humber,
The sighs that I have spent
    Never can number.
               On thy bank,
               In a rank,
               Let thy swans sing her,
             And with their music
               Along let them bring her.

129                                                 Zagincourt

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 amazàed:
Yet have we well begun;
Battles so bravely won
Have ever to the sun
        By fame been raisàed.
‘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 bilbos1 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
        Bruisàed 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?

1 bilbos: swords, from Bilboa.

130                                    To the Virginian Voyage

YOU brave heroic minds
     Worthy your country’s name.
      That honour still pursue;
      Go and subdue!
Whilst loitering hinds
     Lurk here at home with shame.
Britons, you stay too long:
     Quickly aboard bestow you,
      And with a merry gale
      Swell your stretch’d 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 not fear;
     So absolute the deep.
And cheerfully at sea
     Success you still entice
      To get the pearl and gold,
      And ours to hold
     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 seas 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 cannons 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 it may see
A poet’s brows
     To crown, that may sing there.
Thy Voyages attend,
     Industrious Hakluyt,
      Whose reading shall inflame
      Men to seek fame,
And much commend
     To after times thy wit.


Table of Contents    Previous Chapter   Next Chapter