1631 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

Aston Cokayne, "On the Death of my very good Friend Michael Drayton" 1631; Cokayne, Small Poems of Divers Sorts (1658) 66-67.



Phoebus, art thou a God, and canst not give
A Priviledge unto thine own to live?
Thou canst: But if that Poets nere should dye,
In Heaven who should praise thy Deity?
Else still (my Drayton) thou hadst liv'd and writ;
Thy life had been immortal as thy wit.
Phoebus, art thou a God, and canst not give
A Priviledge unto thine own to live?
Thou canst: But if that Poets nere should dye,
In Heaven who should praise thy Deity?
Else still (my Drayton) thou hadst liv'd and writ;
Thy life had been immortal as thy wit.
But Spencer is grown hoarse, he that of late
Sung Gloriana in her Elfin state:
And so is Sydney, whom we yet admire
Lighting our little Torches at his fire.
These have so long before Apollo's Throne
Carrol'd Encomiums, that they now are growne
Weary and faint; and therefore thou didst dye,
Their sweet unfinish'd Ditty to supply.
So was the Iliad-writer rapt away;
Before his lov'd Achilles fatall day,
And when his voice began to fail, the great
Unequal'd Maro did assume his seat:
Therefore we must not mourn, unless it be
'Cause none is left worthy to follow thee.
It is in vain to say thy lines are such
As neither time nor envies rage can touch:
For they must live, and will whiles there's an eye
To reade, or wit to judge of Poetrie.
You Swans of Avon, change your fates, and all
Sing, and then die at Drayton's Funeral:
Sure shortly there will not a drop be seen,
And the smooth-pebbled Bottom be turn'd green,
When the Nymphes (that inhabit in it) have
(As they did Shakespeere) wept thee to thy grave.
But I molest thy quiet; sleep, whil'st we
That live, would leave our lives to die like thee.