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.

About the poet

Michael DraytonMichael Drayton

By the same poet
To His Coy Love
The Parting
Related books
Michael Drayton at amazon.co.uk