I hope everyone has been reading and writing a lot of poems during National Poetry Month. Today I am going to feature Sir Walter Ralegh (Raleigh).
I am sure that many of you know that Sir Walter Ralegh tried and failed to establish two colonies on Roanoke Island in America, but he was also a poet. And on a side note he also introduced the potato to Ireland and tobacco to Europe. He lived from 1552-1618 when he was at Whitehall for treachery. Enjoy these two poems.
[On the Life of Man]
What is our life? a play of passion;
Our mirth the music of division;
Our mothers’ wombs the tiring-houses be
Where we are dressed for this short comedy.
Heaven the judicious sharp spectator is,
That sits and marks still who doth act amiss;
Our graves that hide us from the searching sun
Are like drawn curtains when the play is done.
Thus march we, playing, to our latest rest,
Only we die in earnest-that’s no jest.
[Sir Walter Ralegh 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.