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
 
Queen Margaret to William de la Pool, Duke of Suffolk
By Michael Drayton (1563–1631)
 
WHAT news (sweet Pool) look’st thou my lines should tell
But like the tolling of the doleful bell
Bidding the deaths-man to prepare the grave?
Expect from me no other news to have.
My breast, which once was mirth’s imperial throne,        5
A vast and desert wilderness is grown:
Like that cold region, from the world remote,
On whose breem seas the icy mountains float;
Where those poor creatures, banished from the light,
Do live impris’ned in continual night.        10
No object greets my soul’s internal eyes
But divinations of sad tragedies;
And care takes up her solitary inn
Where youth and joy their court did once begin.
As in September, when our year resigns        15
The glorious sun to the cold wat’ry signs
Which through the clouds looks on the earth in scorn;
The little bird yet to salute the morn
Upon the naked branches sets her foot,
The leaves then lying on the mossy root,        20
And there a silly chirriping doth keep
As though she fain would sing, yet fain would weep,
Praising fair Summer, that too soon is gone,
Or sad for Winter, too fast coming on:
In this strange plight I mourn for thy depart,        25
Because that weeping cannot ease my heart.
Now to our aid who stirs the neighb’ring kings?
Or who from France a puissant army brings?
Who moves the Norman to abet our war?
Or brings in Burgoyne to aid Lancaster?        30
Who in the North our lawful claim commends
To win us credit with our valiant friends?
To whom shall I my secret griefs impart?
Whose breast shall be the closet of my heart?
The ancient heroes’ fame thou didst revive,        35
As from them all thyself thou didst derive:
Nature by thee both gave and taketh all,
Alone in Pool she was too prodigal;
Of so divine and rich a temper wrought,
As Heav’n for thee perfection’s depth had sought.        40
Well knew King Henry what he pleaded for,
When he chose thee to be his orator;
Whose angel-eye, by powerful influence,
Doth utter more than human eloquence:
That if again Jove would his sports have tried,        45
He in thy shape himself would only hide;
Which in his love might be of greater pow’r,
Than was his nymph, his flame, his swan, his show’r.
 
 
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