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   English Poetry I: From Chaucer to Gray.
The Harvard Classics.  1909–14.
 
69. To the Virginian Voyage
 
Michael Drayton (1563–1631)
 
 
YOU brave heroic minds
  Worthy your country’s name,
    That honour still pursue;
    Go and subdue!
Whilst loitering hinds        5
  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        10
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        15
    When Eolus scowls
You need not fear;
  So absolute the deep.
 
And cheerfully at sea
  Success you still entice        20
    To get the pearl and gold,
    And ours to hold
Virginia,
  Earth’s only paradise.
 
Where nature hath in store        25
  Fowl, venison, and fish,
    And the fruitfull’st soil
    Without your toil
Three harvests more,
  All greater than your wish.        30
 
And the ambitious vine
  Crowns with his purple mass
    The cedar reaching high
    To kiss the sky,
The cypress, pine,        35
  And useful sassafras.
 
To whom the Golden Age
  Still nature’s laws doth give,
    No other cares attend,
    But them to defend        40
From winter’s rage,
  That long there doth not live.
 
When as the luscious smell
  Of that delicious land
    Above the seas that flows        45
    The clear wind throws,
Your hearts to swell
  Approaching the dear strand;
 
In kenning of the shore
  (Thanks to God first given)        50
    O you the happiest men,
    Be frolic then!
Let cannons roar,
  Frighting the wide heaven.
 
And in regions far,        55
  Such heroes bring ye forth
    As those from whom we came;
    And plant our name
Under that star
  Not known unto our North.        60
 
And as there plenty grows
  Of laurel everywhere—
    Apollo’s sacred tree—
    You it may see
A poet’s brows        65
  To crown, that may sing there.
 
Thy Voyages attend,
  Industrious Hakluyt,
    Whose reading shall inflame
    Men to seek fame,        70
And much commend
  To after times thy wit.
 

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