1607 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

Christopher Brooke, "To his worthy Friend Michael Drayton upon his Poem" Drayton, Legend of Great Cromwel (1607) sig. A4v.



To thee true image of Eternitie
Time; that revolves the graven leaves of Fate,
(Yet giv'st men Lethe sted of Memorie,
Because injurious to all humane state)
Cromwell appeares apparelled in verse,
The fit'st and noblest ornament of fame,
The doome of Envie gravely to reverse,
That else to darknes had condemn'd his name:
For Time thou know'st it only is the Muse
That Man to immortalitie can raise.
O Greatnes how thy selfe doest thou abuse,
With the slight soothing of a poore verball praise?
Here shall you finde Factions (which are the rent,
And disuniting of a league combin'd)
Make havock in a civill government;
The grace of Kings unconstant as the winde.
For as corruptive bodies doe depend
On humorous matter, motions, and their pauses;
So States begin, have progresse, and doe end,
Because they simpathize with naturall causes.
Here shall you finde (like musick shifting moode)
How times doe change: vicissitude and sway
Of men, and manners; and by selfe decay
How each thing lives: force not the envious broode
Renowned friend, but triumph in desart,
Judgement hath led thy Pen, and Truth thy Art.