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To the Virginian Voyage

Michael Drayton 1563 (Hartshill) – 1631 (London)



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
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 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.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

1:31 min read
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Michael Drayton

Michael Drayton was an English poet who came to prominence in the Elizabethan era. more…

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