Treasure Island

Michael Drayton

(1563 - 1631 / Warwickshire / England)

Sirena


NEAR to the silver Trent
   SIRENA dwelleth;
She to whom Nature lent
   All that excelleth;
By which the Muses late
   And the neat Graces
Have for their greater state
   Taken their places;
Twisting an anadem
   Wherewith to crown her,
As it belong'd to them
   Most to renown her.
   On thy bank,
   In a rank,
   Let thy swans sing her,
   And with their music
   Along let them bring her.

Tagus and Pactolus
   Are to thee debtor,
Nor for their gold to us
   Are they the better:
Henceforth of all the rest
   Be thou the River
Which, as the daintiest,
   Puts them down ever.
For as my precious one
   O'er thee doth travel,
She to pearl paragon
   Turneth thy gravel.
   On thy bank...

Our mournful Philomel,
   That rarest tuner,
Henceforth in Aperil
   Shall wake the sooner,
And to her shall complain
   From the thick cover,
Redoubling every strain
   Over and over:
For when my Love too long
   Her chamber keepeth,
As though it suffer'd wrong,
   The Morning weepeth.
   On thy bank...

Oft have I seen the Sun,
   To do her honour,
Fix himself at his noon
   To look upon her;
And hath gilt every grove,
   Every hill near her,
With his flames from above
   Striving to cheer her:
And when she from his sight
   Hath herself turned,
He, as it had been night,
   In clouds hath mourned.
   On thy bank...

The verdant meads are seen,
   When she doth view them,
In fresh and gallant green
   Straight to renew them;
And every little grass
   Broad itself spreadeth,
Proud that this bonny lass
   Upon it treadeth:
Nor flower is so sweet
   In this large cincture,
But it upon her feet
   Leaveth some tincture.
   On thy bank...

The fishes in the flood,
   When she doth angle,
For the hook strive a-good
   Them to entangle;
And leaping on the land,
   From the clear water,
Their scales upon the sand
   Lavishly scatter;
Therewith to pave the mould
   Whereon she passes,
So herself to behold
   As in her glasses.
   On thy bank...

When she looks out by night,
   The stars stand gazing,
Like comets to our sight
   Fearfully blazing;
As wond'ring at her eyes
   With their much brightness,
Which so amaze the skies,
   Dimming their lightness.
The raging tempests are calm
   When she speaketh,
Such most delightsome balm
   From her lips breaketh.
   On thy bank...

In all our Brittany
   There 's not a fairer,
Nor can you fit any
   Should you compare her.
Angels her eyelids keep,
   All hearts surprising;
Which look whilst she doth sleep
   Like the sun's rising:
She alone of her kind
   Knoweth true measure,
And her unmatched mind
   Is heaven's treasure.
   On thy bank...

Fair Dove and Darwen clear,
   Boast ye your beauties,
To Trent your mistress here
   Yet pay your duties:
My Love was higher born
   Tow'rds the full fountains,
Yet she doth moorland scorn
   And the Peak mountains;
Nor would she none should dream
   Where she abideth,
Humble as is the stream
   Which by her slideth.
   On thy bank...

Yet my pour rustic Muse
   Nothing can move her,
Nor the means I can use,
   Though her true lover:
Many a long winter's night
   Have I waked for her,
Yet this my piteous plight
   Nothing can stir her.
All thy sands, silver Trent,
   Down to the Humber,
The sighs that I have spent
   Never can number.
   On thy bank,
   In a rank,
   Let thy swans sing her,
   And with their music
   Along let them bring her.

Submitted: Saturday, January 04, 2003

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