Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
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William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
 
The Great Adventure
By William Browne (c. 1590–c. 1645)
 
AS 1 careful merchants do expecting stand,
  After long time and merry gales of wind,
Upon the place where their brave ship must land:
  So wait I for the vessel of my mind.
 
Upon a great adventure it is bound, 2        5
  Whose safe return will valued be at more
Than all the wealthy prizes which have crown’d
  The golden wishes of an age before.
 
Out of the East jewels of worth she brings;
  Th’ unvalued diamond of her sparkling eye        10
Wants in the treasures of all Europe’s kings;
  And were it mine, they, nor their crowns should buy.
 
The sapphires ringèd on her panting breast
  Run as rich veins of ore about the mould,
And are in sickness with a pale possess’d,        15
  So true, for them I should disvalue gold.
 
The melting rubies on her cherry lip
  Are of such power to hold, that as one day
Cupid flew thirsty by, he stoop’d to sip,
  And fasten’d there could never get away.        20
 
The sweets of Candy are no sweets to me
  When hers I taste; nor the perfumes of price,
Robb’d from the happy shrubs of Arabye,
  As her sweet breath so powerful to entice.
 
O hasten then! and if thou be not gone        25
  Unto that wishèd traffic through the main,
My powerful sighs shall quickly drive thee on,
  And then begin to draw thee back again.
 
If in the mean rude waves have it oppress’d
It shall suffice I ventured at the best.        30
 
Note 1. From Britannia’s Pastorals, lines 1029–1058, Song 3, Book 2. Compare Spenser’s Sonnet, Amoretti, xv.:
  Ye tradeful merchants that with weary toil, etc.
Note 2. Upon a great adventure is it bound: Spenser’s Red Cross Knight too: “Upon a great adventure he was bond,” Faerie Queene, Bk. 1, ct. i., st. 3. [back]
 
 
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