Verse > Anthologies > William Stanley Braithwaite, ed. > The Book of Elizabethan Verse
William Stanley Braithwaite, ed.  The Book of Elizabethan Verse.  1907.
Summons to Love
By William Drummond of Hawthornden (1585–1649)
PHŒBUS, 1 arise!
And paint the sable skies
With azure, white, and red;
Rouse Memnon’s mother 2 from her Tithon’s bed,
That she thy carriere 3 may with roses spread;        5
The nightingales thy coming each-where sing;
Make an eternal Spring!
Give life to this dark world which lieth dead;
Spread forth thy golden hair
In larger locks than thou wast wont before,        10
And emperor-like decore
With diadem of pearl thy temples fair:
Chase hence the ugly night
Which serves but to make dear thy glorious light.
—This is that happy morn,        15
That day, long-wishèd day
Of all my life so dark,
(If cruel stars have not my ruin sworn
And fates not hope betray),
Which, only white, deserves        20
A diamond for ever should it mark.
This is the morn should bring unto this grove
My Love, to hear and recompense my love.
Fair King, who all preserves,
But show thy blushing beams,        25
And thou two sweeter eyes
Shalt see than those which by Penèus’ streams 4
Did once thy heart surprise.
Nay, suns, which shine as clear
As thou when two thou did to Rome appear. 5        30
Now, Flora, deck thyself in fairest guise:
If that ye, winds, would hear
A voice surpassing far Amphion’s lyre,
Your stormy chiding stay;
Let Zephyr only breathe,        35
And with her tresses play.
Kissing sometimes these purple ports of death. 6
—The winds all silent are,
And Phœbus in his chair
Ensaffroning sea and air        40
Makes vanish every star:
Night like a drunkard reels 7
Beyond the hills, to shun his flaming wheels:
The fields with flowers are deck’d in every hue,
The clouds with orient gold spangle their blue; 8        45
Here is the pleasant place—
And everything, save Her, who all should grace.
Note 1. The text here followed is that of the Maitland Club reprint (1832) of the last edition (1616) of the poems published during Drummond’s life. [back]
Note 2. Rouse Memnon’s mother: Awaken the dawn from the dark earth and the clouds when she is resting. This is one of that limited class of early myths which may be reasonably interpreted as representations of natural phenomena. Aurora in the old mythology is the mother of Memnon (the east) and wife of Tithonus (the appearances of Earth and Sky during the last hours of Night). She leaves him every morning in renewed youth, to prepare the way for Phœbus (the sun), whilst Tithonus remains in perpetual old age and grayness. (F. T. Palgrave: Golden Treasury.) [back]
Note 3. Carriere: course. [back]
Note 4. By Penèus’ streams: Phœbus met his love Daphne, daughter of the river-god, by the river Penèus, in the vale of Tempe. [back]
Note 5. When two thou did to Rome appear: Cf. Livy xxviii. 11 (of the Second Punic War, B.C. 206. “In civitate tanto discrimine belli sollicita … multa prodigia nuntiabantur … et Albæ duos soles visos referebant.” A like phenomenon is mentioned again in xxxix. 14. B.C. 204). Cf. also Pliny, Natural History, II. 31; thus translated by Philemon Holland: “Over and besides, many sunnes are seen at once, neither above nor beneath the bodie of the true sunne indeed, but crosswise and overthwart; never neere, nor directly against the earthe, neither in the night season, but when the sunne either riseth or setteth. Once they are reported to have been seene at noone day in Bosphorus and continued from morne to even.” (This from Aristotle, Meteor., III. 2. 6.) “Three sunnes together our Auncitors in old time have often beheld, as namely when Sp. Posthumius and Q. Mutius, Q. Martius with M. Porcius, M. Antonius with P. Dolabella, and Mar. Lepidus with L. Plancus, were consuls. Yea and we in our daies have seen the like, in the time of Cl. Cæsar of famous memorie, his Consulship, together with Cornelius Orsitus, his colleague. More than three we never to this day find to have been seene together.” Drummond’s reference is perhaps to the famous instance italicized. (A. T. Quiller-Couch, The Golden Pomp.) [back]
Note 6. Purple ports of death: (ports: gates). Drummond elsewhere speaks of lips as “coral ports of bliss,” and the “double port of love.” [back]
Note 7. Night like a drunkard reels: Cf. Romeo and Juliet, act ii. sc. 3:
  And flecked darkness like a drunkard reels
From forth day’s path and Titan’s fiery wheels.
Note 8. The clouds bespangle with bright gold their blue: Mr. Palgrave in The Golden Treasury for the last three lines follows the variant which reads:
  The clouds with orient gold spangle their blue
Here is the pleasant place—
And nothing wanting is, save She, alas!
Mr. Quiller-Couch in The Golden Pomp follows Mr. Palgrave’s example, and expresses his opinion that the ending in the 1616 text “seems comparatively weak.” I note, however, that in his later published Oxford Book of English Verse he restores the original ending of the text as it is printed here. [back]
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