Michael Drayton, Sonnet 1

Michael Drayton was born in 1563, and came to prominence as a poet in the reign of Elizabeth I; however, for some reason he did not find the same success under King James I who came to the throne in 1603, unlike other poets and writes, such as Shakespeare. Shakespeare’s theatre company actually became the King’s Men under the patronage of James. Like Shakespeare he was born in Warwickshire, but he was born near Nuneaton. He died in 1631, at the age of sixty-eight.

Here is the first of his sonnets published in his collection of 1619 entitled ‘Idea in Sixty-Three Sonnets’.

Sonnet 1

Like an adventurous seafarer am I,
Who hath some long and dangerous voyage been,
And, called to tell of his discovery,
How far he sailed, what countries he had seen;
Proceeding from the port whence he put forth,
Shows by his compass how his course he steered,
When East, when West, when South, and when by North,
As how the Pole to every place was reared,
What capes he doubled, of what Continent,
The gulfs and straits that strangely he had past,
Where most becalmed, where with foul weather spent,
And on what rocks in peril to be cast:
    Thus in my love, Time calls me to relate
    My tedious travels and oft-varying fate.

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