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Poem by Michael Drayton

To the Virginian Voyage

YOU brave heroic minds
   Worthy your country's name,
   That honour still pursue;
   Go and subdue!
Whilst loitering hinds
   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
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
   When Eolus scowls
You need not fear;
   So absolute the deep.

And cheerfully at sea
   Success you still entice
   To get the pearl and gold,
   And ours to hold
   Earth's only paradise.

Where nature hath in store
   Fowl, venison, and fish,
   And the fruitfull'st soil
   Without your toil
Three harvests more,
   All greater than your wish.

And the ambitious vine
   Crowns with his purple mass
   The cedar reaching high
   To kiss the sky,
The cypress, pine,
   And useful sassafras.

To whom the Golden Age
   Still nature's laws doth give,
   No other cares attend,
   But them to defend
From winter's rage,
   That long there doth not live.

When as the luscious smell
   Of that delicious land
   Above the seas that flows
   The clear wind throws,
Your hearts to swell
   Approaching the dear strand;

In kenning of the shore
   (Thanks to God first given)
   O you the happiest men,
   Be frolic then!
Let cannons roar,
   Frighting the wide heaven.

And in regions far,
   Such heroes bring ye forth
   As those from whom we came;
   And plant our name
Under that star
   Not known unto our North.

And as there plenty grows
   Of laurel everywhere--
   Apollo's sacred tree--
   You it may see
A poet's brows
   To crown, that may sing there.

Thy Voyages attend,
   Industrious Hakluyt,
   Whose reading shall inflame
   Men to seek fame,
And much commend
   To after times thy wit.

Michael Drayton

Michael Drayton's other poems:
  1. Roc
  2. Sonnet 39. Some, when in Rhyme They of their Loves do Tell
  3. Sonnet 56. When like an Eaglet I First Found My Love
  4. Sonnet 24. I Hear Some Say
  5. Sonnet 34. Marvel not, Love

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