The Thames

Michael Drayton


BUT now this mighty flood, upon his voyage prest

(That found how with his strength his beauties still increased,

From where brave Windsor stood on tiptoe to behold

The fair and goodly Thames, so far as ere he could,

With kingly houses crowned, of more than earthly pride,

Upon his either banks, as he along doth glide)

With wonderful delight doth his long course pursue,

Where Oatlands, Hampton Court, and Richmond he doth view,

Then Westminster the next great Thames doth entertain;

That vaunts her palace large, and her most sumptuous fane:

The land’s tribunal seat that challengeth for hers,

The crowning of our kings, their famous sepulchres.

Then goes he on along by that more beauteous strand,

Expressing both the wealth and bravery of the land.

(So many sumptuous bowers within so little space

The all-beholding sun scarce sees in all his race.)

And on by London leads, which like a crescent lies,

Whose windows seem to mock the star-befreckled skies;

Besides her rising spires, so thick themselves that show,

As do the bristling reeds within his banks that grow.

There sees his crowded wharfs, and people-pestered shores,

His bosom overspread with shoals of laboring oars:

With that most costly bridge that doth him most renown,

By which he clearly puts all other rivers down.