Saturday, March 3, 2012
Classic Poetry - "Love's Farewell" or "Sonnet 61" by Michael Drayton
Michael Drayton, 1563 - 1631
SINCE there’s no help, come let us kiss and part,—
Nay I have done, you get no more of me;
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free;
Shake hands for ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time again,
Be it not seen in either of our brows
That we one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of love’s latest breath,
When his pulse failing, passion speechless lies,
When faith is kneeling by his bed of death,
And innocence is closing up his eyes,
—Now if thou would’st, when all have given him over,
From death to life thou might’st him yet decover!
A contemporary of William Shakespeare, Michael Drayton was by no means his social equal. While Shakespeare earned a university degree and enjoyed the patronage of many wealthy Londoners, Drayton, from a humble background, received a basic education and perpetually sought the endowments he rarely received. Nevertheless, he wrote prolifically, committing himself to a genre that, even he confirmed, was never to be fully appreciated.
In "Love's Farewell" Drayton elaborates on a love whose flame seems to have died, but that, in the end, might be renewed should the lover be so inclined.
A lengthy and thorough biography of Drayton, written by Jean R. Brink from Arizona State University, is published here if you'd like to read more about this dedicated poet.