Michael Drayton (1563-1631)

To the Virginian Voyage

You brave, heroic minds
Worthy your country’s name,
That honor 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 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 Aeolus 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 fruitful’st soil
Without your toil
Three harvests more,
All greater than you 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 whose, the golden age
Still nature’s laws doth give,
No other cares that tend,
But them to defend
From winter’s age
That long there doth not live.

Whenas 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.

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part

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!