Michael Drayton

Here you will find the Long Poem Sirena of poet Michael Drayton


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 s