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Michael Drayton (1563-1631)

Endimion and Phoebe

(excerpt)


              1In Ionia whence sprang old poets' fame,
              2From whom that sea did first derive her name,
              3The blessed bed whereon the Muses lay,
              4Beauty of Greece, the pride of Asia,
              5Whence Archelaus, whom times historify,
              6First unto Athens brought philosophy:
              7In this fair region on a goodly plain,
              8Stretching her bounds unto the bord'ring main,
              9The mountain Latmus overlooks the sea,
            10Smiling to see the ocean billows play:
            11Latmus, where young Endymion used to keep
            12His fairest flock of silver-fleeced sheep,
            13To whom Silvanus often would resort,
            14At barley-brake to see the Satyrs sport;
            15And when rude Pan his tabret list to sound,
            16To see the fair Nymphs foot it in a round,
            17Under the trees which on this mountain grew,
            18As yet the like Arabia never knew;
            19For all the pleasures Nature could devise
            20Within this plot she did imparadise;
            21And great Diana of her special grace
            22With vestal rites had hallowed all the place.
            23Upon this mount there stood a stately grove,
            24Whose reaching arms to clip the welkin strove,
            25Of tufted cedars, and the branching pine,
            26Whose bushy tops themselves do so entwine,
            27As seem'd, when Nature first this work begun,
            28She then conspir'd against the piercing sun;
            29Under whose covert (thus divinely made)
            30Ph{oe}bus' green laurel flourish'd in the shade,
            31Fair Venus' myrtle, Mars his warlike fir,
            32Minerva's olive, and the weeping myrrh,
            33The patient palm, which thrives in spite of hate,
            34The poplar, to Alcides consecrate;
            35Which Nature in such order had disposed,
            36And therewithal these goodly walks inclosed,
            37As serv'd for hangings and rich tapestry,
            38To beautify this stately gallery.
            39Embroidering these in curious trails along,
            40The cluster'd grapes, the golden citrons hung,
            41More glorious than the precious fruit were these,
            42Kept by the dragon in Hesperides,
            43Or gorgeous arras in rich colours wrought,
            44With silk from Afric, or from Indy brought.
            45Out of this soil sweet bubbling fountains crept,
            46As though for joy the senseless stones had wept,
            47With straying channels dancing sundry ways,
            48With often turns, like to a curious maze;
            49Which breaking forth the tender grass bedewed,
            50Whose silver sand with orient pearl was strewed,
            51Shadowed with roses and sweet eglantine,
            52Dipping their sprays into this crystalline;
            53From which the birds the purple berries pruned,
            54And to their loves their small recorders tuned,
            55The nightingale, wood's herald of the spring,
            56The whistling woosel, mavis carolling,
            577Tuning their trebles to the waters' fall,
            58Which made the music more angelical;
            59Whilst gentle Zephyr murmuring among
            60Kept time, and bare the burthen to the song:
            61About whose brims, refresh'd with dainty showers,
            62Grew amaranthus, and sweet gilliflowers,
            63The marigold, Ph{oe}bus' beloved friend,
            64The moly, which from sorcery doth defend,
            65Violet, carnation, balm, and cassia,
            66Idea's primrose, coronet of may.
            67Above this grove a gentle fair ascent,
            68Which by degrees of milk-white marble went:
            69Upon the top, a paradise was found,
            70With which Nature this miracle had crown'd,
            71Empal'd with rocks of rarest precious stone,
            72Which like the flames of Ætna brightly shone,
            73And served as lanthorns furnished with light,
            74To guide the wand'ring passengers by night:
            75For which fair Ph{oe}be, sliding from her sphere,
            76Used oft times to come and sport her there,
            77And from the azure starry-painted sky
            78Embalm'd the banks with precious lunary:
            79That now her Maenalus she quite forsook,
            80And unto Latmus wholly her betook,
            81And in this place her pleasure us'd to take,
            82And all was for her sweet Endymion's sake;
            83Endymion, the lovely shepherds' boy,
            84Endymion, great Ph{oe}be's only joy,
            85Endymion, in whose pure-shining eyes
            86The naked fairies danced the heydegies.
            87The shag-hair'd Satyrs' mountain-climbing race
            88Have been made tame by gazing in his face.
            89For this boy's love, the water-nymphs have wept,
            90Stealing oft times to kiss him whilst he slept,
            91And tasting once the nectar of his breath,
            92Surfeit with sweet, and languish unto death;
            93And Jove oft-times bent to lascivious sport,
            94And coming where Endymion did resort,
            95Hath courted him, inflamed with desire,
            96Thinking some nymph was cloth'd in boy's attire.
            97And often-times the simple rural swains,
            98Beholding him in crossing o'er the plains,
            99Imagined, Apollo from above
          100Put on this shape, to win some maiden's love.
...


Online text copyright © 2003, Ian Lancashire for the Department of English, University of Toronto.
Published by the Web Development Group, Information Technology Services, University of Toronto Libraries.

Original text: Michael Drayton. Endimion and Phoebe. London: J. Roberts for J. Busbie, 1595. STC 7192.
First publication date: 1595
RPO poem editor: N. J. Endicott
RP edition: 2RP.1.203.
Recent editing: 2:2002/4/18


Other poems by Michael Drayton