Michael Drayton


NEAR to the silver Trent
    SIRENA dwelleth;
She to whom Nature lent
    All that excelleth;
By which the Muses late
    And the neat Graces
Have for their greater state
    Taken their places;
Twisting an anadem
    Wherewith to crown her,
As it belong'd to them
    Most to renown her.
                On thy bank,
                In a rank,
                Let thy swans sing her,
            And with their music
                Along let them bring her.

Tagus and Pactolus
    Are to thee debtor,
Nor for their gold to us
    Are they the better:
Henceforth of all the rest
    Be thou the River
Which, as the daintiest,
    Puts them down ever.
For as my precious one
    O'er thee doth travel,
She to pearl paragon
    Turneth thy gravel.
                    On thy bank...

Our mournful Philomel,
    That rarest tuner,
Henceforth in Aperil
    Shall wake the sooner,
And to her shall complain
    From the thick cover,
Redoubling every strain
    Over and over:
For when my Love too long
    Her chamber keepeth,
As though it suffer'd wrong,
    The Morning weepeth.
                    On thy bank...

Oft have I seen the Sun,
    To do her honour,
Fix himself at his noon
    To look upon her;
And hath gilt every grove,
    Every hill near her,
With his flames from above
    Striving to cheer her:
And when she from his sight
    Hath herself turned,
He, as it had been night,
    In clouds hath mourned.
                    On thy bank...

The verdant meads are seen,
    When she doth view them,
In fresh and gallant green
    Straight to renew them;
And every little grass
    Broad itself spreadeth,
Proud that this bonny lass
    Upon it treadeth:
Nor flower is so sweet
    In this large cincture,
But it upon her feet
    Leaveth some tincture.
                    On thy bank...

The fishes in the flood,
    When she doth angle,
For the hook strive a-good
    Them to entangle;
And leaping on the land,
    From the clear water,
Their scales upon the sand
    Lavishly scatter;
Therewith to pave the mould
    Whereon she passes,
So herself to behold
    As in her glasses.
                    On thy bank...

When she looks out by night,
    The stars stand gazing,
Like comets to our sight
    Fearfully blazing;
As wond'ring at her eyes
    With their much brightness,
Which so amaze the skies,
    Dimming their lightness.
The raging tempests are calm
    When she speaketh,
Such most delightsome balm
    From her lips breaketh.
                    On thy bank...

In all our Brittany
    There 's not a fairer,
Nor can you fit any
    Should you compare her.
Angels her eyelids keep,
    All hearts surprising;
Which look whilst she doth sleep
    Like the sun's rising:
She alone of her kind
    Knoweth true measure,
And her unmatched mind
    Is heaven's treasure.
                    On thy bank...

Fair Dove and Darwen clear,
    Boast ye your beauties,
To Trent your mistress here
    Yet pay your duties:
My Love was higher born
    Tow'rds the full fountains,
Yet she doth moorland scorn
    And the Peak mountains;
Nor would she none should dream
    Where she abideth,
Humble as is the stream
    Which by her slideth.
                    On thy bank...

Yet my pour rustic Muse
    Nothing can move her,
Nor the means I can use,
    Though her true lover:
Many a long winter's night
    Have I waked for her,
Yet this my piteous plight
    Nothing can stir her.
All thy sands, silver Trent,
    Down to the Humber,
The sighs that I have spent
    Never can number.
                On thy bank,
                In a rank,
                Let thy swans sing her,
            And with their music
                Along let them bring her.