Classics  
English    1563 - 1631   
His most important work is contained in the 1619 edition of his Poems, and includes the sonnet 'Since There's No Help, Come Let Us Kiss and Part' which D.G. Rossetti described as 'almost the best in the language, if not quite'. His 1606 Poems Lyric and Pastoral introduced the form ... Read more
His most important work is contained in the 1619 edition of his Poems, and includes the sonnet 'Since There's No Help, Come Let Us Kiss and Part' which D.G. Rossetti described as 'almost the best in the language, if not quite'. His 1606 Poems Lyric and Pastoral introduced the form ... Read more

You brave heroic minds,
Worthy your country's name,
That honour still pursue,
Go, and subdue,
Whilst loit'ring hinds
Lurke here at home with shame.

Britons, you stay too long,
Quickly aboard bestow you;
And with a merry gale
Swell your stretched 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 nor fear,
So absolute the deep.

And cheerfully at sea,
Success you still entice
To get the pearl and gold;
And ours to hold
Virginia,
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 sea 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 canons 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 may it see
A poet's brows
To crown, that may sing there.

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

Fair stood the wind for France
When we our sails advance,
Nor now to prove our chance
Longer will tarry;
But putting to the main,
At Caux, the mouth of Seine,
With all his martial train,
Landed King Harry.

And taking many a fort,
Furnished in warlike sort,
Marcheth towards Agincourt
In happy hour;
Skirmishing day by day
With those that stopped his way,
Where the French gen'ral lay
With all his power;

Which, in his height of pride,
King Henry to deride,
His ransom to provide
Unto him sending;
Which he neglects the while,
As from a nation vile,
Yet with an angry smile
Their fall portending.

And turning to his men,
Quoth our brave Henry then,
"Though they to one be ten,
Be not amazed.
Yet have we well begun,
Battles so bravely won
Have ever to the sun
By fame been raised.

"And for myself (quoth he),
This my full rest shall be;
England ne'er mourn for me,
Nor more esteem me.
Victor I will remain,
Or on this earth lie slain;
Never shall she sustain
Loss to redeem me.

"Poitiers and Cressy tell,
When most their pride did swell,
Under our swords they fell;
No less our skill is
Than when our grandsire great,
Claiming the regal seat,
By many a warlike feat
Lopped the French lilies."

The Duke of York so dread
The eager vaward led;
With the main Henry sped
Amongst his henchmen.
Exeter had the rear,
A braver man not there; -
O Lord, how hot they were
On the false Frenchmen!

They now to fight are gone,
Armour on armour shone,
Drum now to drum did groan,
To hear was wonder;
That with the cries they make
The very earth did shake;
Trumpet to trumpet spake,
Thunder to thunder.

Well it thine age became,
O noble Erpingham,
Which didst the signal aim
To our hid forces!
When from a meadow by,
Like a storm suddenly,
The English archery
Stuck the French horses.

With Spanish yew so strong,
Arrows a cloth-yard long,
That like to serpents stung,
Piercing the weather;
None from his fellow starts,
But, playing manly parts,
And like true English hearts,
Stuck close together.

When down their bows they threw,
And forth their bilbos drew,
And on the French they flew,
Not one was tardy;
Arms were from shoulders sent,
Scalps to the teeth were rent,
Down the French peasants went -
Our men were hardy!

This while our noble king,
His broadsword brandishing,
Down the French host did ding,
As to o'erwhelm it;
And many a deep wound lent,
His arms with blood besprent,
And many a cruel dent
Bruised his helmet.

Gloucester, that duke so good,
Next of the royal blood,
For famous England stood
With his brave brother;
Clarence, in steel so bright,
Though but a maiden knight,
Yet in that furious fight
Scarce such another.

Warwick in blood did wade,
Oxford the foe invade,
And cruel slaughter made
Still as they ran up;
Suffolk his axe did ply,
Beaumont and Willoughby
Bare them right doughtily,
Ferrers and Fanhope.

Upon Saint Crispin's Day
Fought was this noble fray,
Which fame did not delay
To England to carry.
O, when shall English men
With such acts fill a pen;
Or England breed again
Such a King Harry?

How many paltry foolish painted things,
That now in coaches trouble every street,
Shall be forgotten, whom no poet sings,
Ere they be well wrapped in their winding-sheet!
Where I to thee eternity shall give,
When nothing else remaineth of these days,
And queens hereafter shall be glad to live
Upon the alms of thy superfluous praise.
Virgins and matrons, reading these my rhymes,
Shall be so much delighted with thy story
That they shall grieve they lived not in these times,
To have seen thee, their sex's only glory:
So shalt thou fly above the vulgar throng,
Still to survive in my immortal song.

I pray thee leave, love me no more,
Call home the heart you gave me.
I but in vain that saint adore
That can, but will not, save me:
These poor half-kisses kill me quite;
Was ever man thus served?
Amidst an ocean of delight
For pleasure to be starved.

Show me no more those snowy breasts
With azure riverets branched,
Where whilst mine eye with plenty feasts,
Yet is my thirst not stanched.
O Tantalus, thy pains ne'er tell,
By me thou art prevented:
'Tis nothing to be plagued in hell,
But thus in heaven tormented.

Clip me no more in those dear arms,
Nor thy life's comfort call me;
O, these are but too powerful charms,
And do but more enthral me.
But see how patient I am grown,
In all this coil about thee;
Come, nice thing, let my heart alone,
I cannot live without thee!

 
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