Elizabethan Sonnet Month

Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618)

Introduction

Born: Devonshire, England - c. 1552
Died: Executed England - 1618

1568: Entered as a commoner to Oriel, Oxford but his residency was short live.

1575; Resident of Temple Inn

1580: Arrested twice for duelling. Served as captain to a company of foot in Munster.

!582: Granted £600 and command of a company, although he was discharged from duty to remain at court.

1583: Escorted the Duke of Anjou from England to Flanders.

1584: Knighted.

1585: Succeeded the Earl of Bedford as Warden of the Stannaries.

1586: Granted 40,000 acres of the forfeited lands of the Desmonds, on the Blackwater in Ireland.

1587: Received a grant in England of part of the forfeited land of the conspirator Babington. Made Captain of the Guard.

1588: In Ireland for the Armada.

1589: Accompanied expedition to Portugal.

1591: Replaced by his cousin Sir R. Grenville on a voyage to Azores - his cousin was killed in action.

1592: Disgraced into a marriage with Elizabeth Throgmorton, Lady in Waiting to Elizabeth I.

1593/1594: Retired from court to Sherbourne, Dorsetshire. His son was born in 1594.

1596/1598: Wounded in the capture of Cadiz. Accompanied the Earl of Essex to the Azores.

1600: Member for Penzance in the last parliament of Elizabeth I's reign.

1600-1602: Due to events it is most likely Raleigh took part in the complication of conspiracies against James I.

1603: Committed to the Tower

1617 Secured his release in a discreditable manner. His son killed by Spaniards on the Orinocco

1618: Returned to England and was executed 29 October.



"Sir Walter Raleigh to His Son"

Three things there be that prosper up apace
And flourish, whilst they grow asunder far,
But on a day, they meet all in one place,
And when they meet, they one another mar;
And they be these: the wood, the weed, the wag.
The wood is that which makes the gallow tree;
The weed is that which strings the hangman's bag;
The wag, my pretty knave, betokeneth thee.
Mark well, dear boy, whilst these assemble not,
Green springs the tree, hemp grows, the wag is wild,
But when they meet, it makes the timber rot,
It frets the halter, and it chokes the child.
Then bless thee, and beware, and let us pray
We part not with thee at this meeting day.

"The Fairy Queen I (1590)"

Methought I saw the grave where Laura lay,
Within that temple where the vestal flame
Was wont to burn: and, passing by that way,
To see that buried dust of living fame,
Whose tomb fair Love and fairer Virtue kept,
All suddenly I saw the Faery Queen,
At whose approach the soul of Petrarch wept ;
And from thenceforth those graces were not seen,
For they this Queen attended ; in whose stead
Oblivion laid him down on Laura's hearse.
Hereat the hardest stones were seen to bleed,
And groans of buried ghosts the heavens did pierce :
Where Homer's spright did tremble all for grief,
And cursed the access of that celestial thief.

"The Fairy Queen II (1590)"

The praise of meaner wits this work like profit brings,
As doth the cuckoo's song delight when Philumema sings.
If thou hast formed right true virtue's face herein,
Virtue herself can best discern, to whom they written bin.
If thou hast beauty praised, let her sole looks divine
Judge if aught therein be amiss, and mend it by her eine.
If Chastity want aught, or Temperance her due,
Behold her princely mind aright, and write thy Queen anew.
Meanwhile she shall perceive how far her virtues soar
Above the reach of all that live, or such as wrote of yore:
And thereby will excuse and favour thy goodwill:
Whose virtue cannot be expressed but by an angel's quill.
Of me no lines are loved nor letters are of price,
Of all which speak our English tongue, but those of thy device.

"Like truthless dreams (Phoenix Nest, 1593)"

Like truthless dreams, so are my joys expired,
And past return are all my dandled days;
My love misled, and fancy quite retired-
Of all which passed the sorrow only stays.
My lost delights, now clean from sight of land,
Have left me all alone in unknown ways;
My mind to woe, my life in fortune's hand-
Of all which passed the sorrow only stays.
As in a country strange, without companion,
I only wail the wrong of death's delays,
Whose sweet spring spent, whose summer well-nigh done-
Of all which passed the sorrow only stays.
Whom care forewarns, ere age and winter cold,
To haste me hence to find my fortune's fold.

"Like to a hermit (Phoenix Nest, 1593)"

Like to a hermit poor in place obscure
I mean to spend my days of endless doubt,
To wail such woes as time cannot recure,
Where none but Love shall ever find me out.
My food shall be of care and sorrow made,
My drink nought else but tears fall'n from mine eyes;
And for my light in such obscurėd shade,
The flames shall serve wich from my heart arise.
A gown of grey my body shall attire,
My staff of broken hope whereon I'll stay;
Of late repentance linked with long desire
The couch is framed whereon my limbs I'll lay;
And at my gate despair shall linger still
To let in death when love and fortune will.

"To the Translator of Lucan"

Had Lucan hid the truth to please the time,
He had been too unworthy of thy pen,
Who never sought, nor ever cared to climb
By flattery, or seeking worthless men.
For this thou hast been bruised; but yet those scars
Do beautify no less than those wounds do
Received in just and in religious wars;
Though thou hast bled by both, and bear'st them too.
Change not! To change thy fortune 'tis too late.
Who with a manly faith resolves to die,
May promise to himself a lasting state,
Though not so great, yet free from infamy.
Such was thy Lucan, whom so to translate,
Nature thy muse like Lucan's did create.

"Farewell to the Court"

Like truthless dreams, so are my joys expir'd,
And past return are all my dandled days;
My love misled, and fancy quite retir'd--
Of all which pass'd the sorrow only stays.
My lost delights, now clean from sight of land,
Have left me all alone in unknown ways;
My mind to woe, my life in fortune's hand--
Of all which pass'd the sorrow only stays.
As in a country strange, without companion,
I only wail the wrong of death's delays,
Whose sweet spring spent, whose summer well-nigh done--
Of all which pass'd only the sorrow stays.
Whom care forewarns, ere age and winter cold,
To haste me hence to find my fortune's fold.





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Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will we realise that money cannot be eaten
- Cree Indian Prophesy