Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
 
A Farewell to Sir John Norris and Sir Francis Drake
By George Peele (1556–1596)
 
HAVE done with care, my hearts! aboard amain,
With stretching sails to plough the swelling waves;
Bid England’s shore and Albion’s chalky cliffs
Farewell; bid stately Troynovant adieu,
Where pleasant Thames from Isis silver head        5
Begins her quiet glide, and runs along
To that brave bridge, the bar that thwarts her course,
Near neighbour to the ancient stony tower,
The glorious hold that Julius Caesar built.
Change love for arms; girt to your blades, my boys!        10
Your rests and muskets take, take helm and targe,
And let God Mars his consort make you mirth—
The roaring cannon, and the brazen trump,
The angry-sounding drum, the whistling fife,
The shrieks of men, the princely courser’s neigh.        15
Now vail your bonnets to your friends at home;
Bid all the lovely British dames adieu,
That under many a standard well-advanced
Have hid the sweet alarms and braves of love;
Bid theatres and proud tragedians,        20
Bid Mahomet, Scipio, and mighty Tamburlaine,
King Charlemagne, Tom Stukely, and the rest,
Adieu. To arms, to arms, to glorious arms!
With noble Norris, and victorious Drake,
Under the sanguine cross, brave England’s badge,        25
To propagate religious piety
And hew a passage with your conquering swords
By land and sea, wherever Phoebus’ eye,
Th’ eternal lamp of Heaven, lends us light;
By golden Tagus, or the western Ind,        30
Or through the spacious bay of Portugal,
The wealthy ocean-main, the Tyrrhene sea,
From great Alcides’ pillars branching forth,
Even to the gulf that leads to lofty Rome;
There to deface the pride of Antichrist,        35
And pull his paper walls and popery down—
A famous enterprise for England’s strength,
To steel your swords on Avarice’ triple crown,
And cleanse Augeas’ stalls in Italy.
To arms, my fellow-soldiers! Sea and land        40
Lie open to the voyage you intend;
And sea or land, bold Britons, far or near,
Whatever course your matchless virtue shapes,
Whether to Europe’s bounds or Asian plains,
To Afric’s shore, or rich America,        45
Down to the shades of deep Avernus’ crags,
Sail on, pursue your honours to your graves.
Heaven is a sacred covering for your heads,
And every climate virtue’s tabernacle.
To arms, to arms, to honourable arms!        50
Hoist sails, weigh anchors up, plough up the seas
With flying keels, plough up the land with swords.
In God’s name venture on; and let me say
To you, my mates, as Caesar said to his,
Striving with Neptune’s hills; ‘You bear,’ quoth he,        55
‘Caesar and Caesar’s fortune in your ships.’
You follow them, whose swords successful are;
You follow Drake, by sea the scourge of Spain,
The dreadful dragon, terror to your foes,
Victorious in his return from Ind,        60
In all his high attempts unvanquished.
You follow noble Norris, whose renown,
Won in the fertile fields of Belgia,
Spreads by the gates of Europe to the courts
Of Christian kings and heathen potentates.        65
You fight for Christ, and England’s peerless Queen,
Elizabeth, the wonder of the world,
Over whose throne the enemies of God
Have thundered erst their vain successless braves.
O ten times treble happy men, that fight        70
Under the cross of Christ and England’s Queen,
And follow such as Drake and Norris are!
All honours do this cause accompany,
All glory on these endless honours waits.
These honours and this glory shall He send        75
Whose honour and whose glory you defend.
 
 
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