Michael Drayton

 

Florimel's Ditty    
 
from  THE MUSES' ELYSIUM         

How in my thoughts shall I contrive
    The image I am framing,
Which is so far superlative,
    As 't is beyond all naming?
I would Jove of my counsel make,
    And have his judgment in it,
But that I doubt he would mistake
    How rightly to begin it.
It must be builded in the air,
    And 't is my thoughts must do it,
And only they must be the stair
    From earth to mount me to it.
For of my sex I frame my lay,
    Each hour ourselves forsaking,
How should I then find out the way,
    To this my undertaking,
When our weak fancies working still,
    Yet changing every minute,
Will show that it requires some skill,
    Such difficulties in it?
We would things, yet know not what,
    And let our will be granted,
Yet instantly we find in that
    Something unthought of wanted.
Our joys and hopes such shadows are
    As with our motions vary,
Which when we oft have fetched from far,
    With us they never tarry.
Some worldly cross doth still attend
    What long we have been spinning,
And ere we fully get the end,
    We lose of our beginning.
Our policies so peevish are
    That with themselves they wrangle,
And many times become the snare
    That soonest us entangle ;
For that the love we bear our friends,
    Though ne'er so strongly grounded,
Hath in it certain oblique ends,
    If to the bottom sounded ;
Our own well wishing making it
    A pardonable treason,
For that it is derived from wit,
    And underpropped with reason.
For our dear selves' beloved sake,
    Even in the depth of passion,
Our centre though ourselves we make
    Yet is not that our station ;
For whilst our brows ambitious be,
    And youth at hand awaits us,
It is a pretty thing to see
    How finely beauty cheats us ;
And whilst with time we trifling stand
    To practise antique graces,
Age with a pale and withered hand
    Draws furrows in our faces.


 



Source:
A Sixteenth Century Anthology. Arthur Symons, Ed.
London: Blackie & Son, Ltd., 1905. 267-269.




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