Michael Drayton

Poet Michael Drayton was born in 1563 in Warwickshire, England and lived until 1631. He was a believer in the opportunities of new land in America, and invested in Raleigh’s early Virginia Voyage, preparative to the establishment of Jamestown, Virginia. Although Drayton didn’t attend Oxford or Cambridge, he gained what was needed to pen this verse in his lifelong love of a daughter in the house where he was once a page. He remained devoted to Anne Goodere (or Goodyere) throughout his life, and after she married, remained a friend of both husband and wife. Drayton himself never married. On his deathbed he continued to write verses in Anne’s praise. While Drayton also wrote odes, ballads, and other poetry, I most admire this love sonnet.

Sonnet #61 - [aka lxi]

(from Ideas, An Allusion to the Eaglets, circa 1594)

Since there’s no help, come let us kiss and part --
Nay, I have done: you get no more of me;
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows;
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now, at the last gasp of Love’s latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion speechless lies,
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And Innocence is closing up his eyes, --
Now, if thou wouldst, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou mightst him yet recover.

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