1695 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

T. B., "A Dedication of these and the foregoing Verses" Drayton, Englands Heroical Epistles (1695) sig. A4.



Eternal Book, to which our Muses flye,
In hopes of gaining Immortality.
Time has devour'd the Younger Sons of Wit,
Who liv'd when Chaucer, Spencer, Johnson writ:
Those lofty Trees are of their Leaves bereft,
And to a reverend Nakedness are left.
But the chief Glory of Apollo's Grove,
Drayton, who taught his Daphne how to Love;
Drayton, that sacred Lawrel seems to be,
From which each Sprig that falls must grow a Tree.

Our humble Lines, eternal Book, receive,
And order Fate to let the Suppliants live:
But if our Zeal no valued Merit brings,
And what you inspire must dye like common things;
Yet to attend the Triumphs of the Brave,
Contents the Soul and fits it for the Grave.
Besides near You an easie Fate we choose,
When by Neglect we Want, our Beings loose:
In such pure Air gross Muses take no Breath,
Faint, and in gentle Trances meet their Death.
Thus when in Honour of the Suns return,
Their imitating Lamps the Persians burn:
Before his Beams the glimmering Lights expire,
And Sacrifice themselves to the Coelestial Fire.