November Poem--Michael Drayton--Ode to the Virginian Voyage

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In honor of my trip to Virginia coming up shortly:

Ode to the Virginian Voyage
Michael Drayton

            You brave heroic minds,
            Worthy your country's name,
            That honour still pursue,
            Go and subdue!
           Whilst loit'ring 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 Ĉolus 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 fruitful'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 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.

            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 may it see
            A poet's brows
            To crown, that may sing there.

            Thy voyages attend,
            Industrious Hakluyt,
            Whose reading shall enflame
            Men to seek fame,
            And much commend
            To after-times thy wit.

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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on November 18, 2003 8:15 AM.

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