The Isle of Wight

Michael Drayton

WHEN as the pliant Muse, with fair and even flight,

Betwixt her silver wings is wafted to the Wight;

That isle, which jutting out into the sea so far,

Her offspring traineth up in exercise of war,

Those pirates to put back, that oft purloin her trade,

Or Spaniards or the French attempting to invade.

Of all the southern isles she holds the highest place,

And evermore hath been the great’st in Britain’s grace:

Not one of all her nymphs her sovereign favoreth thus,

Embraced in the arms of old Oceanus.

For none of her account so near her bosom stand,

’Twixt Penwith’s farthest point and Goodwin’s queachy sand,

Both for her seat and soil, that far before the other

Most justly may account great Britain for her mother.

A finer fleece than hers not Lemster’s self can boast,

Nor Newport, for her mart, o’ermatched by any coast.

To these the gentle South, with kisses smooth and soft,

Doth in her bosom breathe, and seems to court her oft.

Besides her little rills, her inlands that do feed,

Which with their lavish streams do furnish every need;

And meads, that with their fine soft grassy towels stand

To wipe away the drops and moisture from her hand;

And to the north, betwixt the fore-land and the firm,

She hath that narrow sea which we the Solent term;

Where those rough ireful tides, as in her streights they meet,

With boisterous shocks and roars each other rudely greet:

Which fiercely when they charge, and sadly make retreat,

Upon the bulwarkt forts of Hurst and Calsheot beat,

Then to Southampton run: which by her shores supplied

(As Portsmouth by her strength), doth vilify their pride.

Main Location:

Isle of Wight, UK