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Michael Drayton (1563-1631):
Piers Gaveston (extracts)


[The extracts are as in Stephen Coote's Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse]

lines 211-270

Gaveston describes his seduction of Edward, Prince of Wales

This Edward in the Aprill of his age,
Whil'st yet the Crowne sate on his fathers head
My Jove with me, his Ganimed, his page,
Frolick as May, a lustie life we led:

He might commaund, he was my Soveraigns sonne,
And what I saide, by hirn was ever done.

My words as lawes, Autentique he alloude,
Mine yea, by him was never crost with no,
All my conceite as currant he avowde,
And as my shadowe still he served so,

My hand the racket, he the tennis ball,
My voyces echo, answering every call.

My youth the glasse where he his youth beheld,
Roses his lipps, my breath sweete Nectar showers,
For in my face was natures fayrest field,
Ridhly adornd with Beauties rarest flowers.

My breast his pillow, where he laide his head,
Mine eyes his booke, my bosome was his bed.

My smiles were life, and Heaven unto his sight,
All his delight concluding my desier,
From my sweete surme, he borrowed all his light,
And as a flie play'd with my beauties fier,

His love-sick lippes at every kissing qualme,
Cling to my lippes, to cure their griefe with balme.

Like as the wanton Yvie with his twyne,
Whenas the Oake his rootlesse bodie warmes,
The straightest saplings strictly doth combyne,
Clipping the woodes with his laavious armes:

Such our imbraces when our sporte begins,
Lapt in our armes, like Ledas lovely Twins.

Or as Love-nursing Venus when she sportes,
With cherry-lipt Adonis in the shade,
Figuring her passions in a thousand sortes,
With sighes, and teares,or what else might perswade,

Her deere, her sweete, her joy, her life, her love,
Kissing his browe, his cheeke, his hand, his glove.
-------- [GAP in TEXT - WILL BE FILLED IN]

Sits shrouded in some melancholie brake
Chirping forth accents of her miserie

Thus halfe distracted sitting all alone,
With speaking sighs, to utter forth mv mone

My bewtie s'dayning to behold the light
Now weather-beaten with a thousand stormes,
My daintie lims must travaile day and night
Which oft were lulde in princely Edwards armes,

Those eyes where bewtie sate in all her pride,
With fearefull objects fild on every side.

The Prince so much astonisht with the blowe,
So that it seem'd as yet he felt no paine,
Untill at length awakned by his woe,
He sawe the wound by which his joyes were slaine,

His cares fresh bleeding fainting more and more,
No Cataplasmal now to cure the sore.

Lines 469-515 Edward's Lament

O breake my hart quoth he, O breake and dye
Whose infant thoughts were nurst with sweete delight;
But now the Inne of care and miserie
Whose pleasing hope is murthered with despight:

O end my dayes, for now my joyes are done
Wanting my Peirs, my sweetest Gaveston.

Farewell my love, companion of my youth
My soules delight, the subject of my mirth,
My second selfe if I reporte the truth,
The rare and onely Phenix of the earth

Farewell sweete friend, with thee my joyes are gone,
farewell mv Peirs, my loveely Gaveston.

What are the rest but painted Imagrie,
Dombe Idols made to fill up idle roomes,
But gaudie anticks, sportes of foolerie,
But fleshly coffins, goodly gilded tombes,

But puppets which with others words replie,
Like pratling ecchoes soothing every lie?

O damned world, I scorne thee and thy worth,
The very source of all iniquitie:
An ougly damme that brings such monsters forth,
The maze of death, nurse of impietie,

A filthie sinke, where lothsomnes doth dwell,
A labyrinth, a jayle, a very hell.

Deceitfull Siren traytor to my youth,
Bane to my blisse, false theefe that stealst my joyes:
Mother of Iyes, sworne enemie to truth,
The ship of fooles fraught all with gaudes and toyes,

A vessell stuft with foule hypocrisie,
The very temple of Idolatrie.

O earth-pale Saturne most malevolent,
Combustious Planet, tyrant in thy raigne,
The sworde of wrath, the roote of discontent,
In whose ascendant all my joyes are slaine:

Thou executioner of foule bloodie rage,
To act the will of lame decrepit age.

My life is but a very mappe of woes,
My joyes the fruite of an untimely birth,
My youth in labour with unkindly throwes,
My pleasures are like plagues that raigne on earth,

All my delights like streames that swiftly run,
Or like the dewe exhaled by the Sun.

O Heavens why are you deafe unto my mone?
S'dayne you my prayers? or scorne to heare my misse?
Cease you to move, or is your pittie gone?
Or is it you that rob me of my blisse?

What are you blinde, or winke and will not see?
Or doe you sporte at mv calamitie?