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To the Reader of these Sonnets(1619)

Michael Drayton

Into these loves, who but for passion looks,
MeterInto these loves, who but for passion looks,
At this first sight here let him lay them by
MeterAt this first sight here let him lay them by
And seek elsewhere in turning other books,
MeterAnd seek elsewhere in turning other books,
Which better may his labour satisfy.
MeterWhich better may his labour satisfy.
No far-fetch’d sigh shall ever wound my breast;
MeterNo far-fetch’d sigh shall ever wound my breast;
Love from mine eye a tear shall never wring;
MeterLove from mine eye a tear shall never wring;
Nor in “Ah me’s!” my whining sonnets drest:
MeterNor in “Ah me’s!” my whining sonnets drest:
A libertine, fantasticly I sing.
MeterA libertine, fantasticly I sing.
My verse is the true image of my mind,
MeterMy verse is the true image of my mind,
Ever in motion, still desiring change;
MeterEver in motion, still desiring change;
And as thus to variety inclin’d,
MeterAnd as thus to variety inclin’d,

Note on line 11: Probably the hardest line to scan, within a poem explicitly inclined toward prosodic caprice. The first foot becomes troublesome because the line really wants to skip away on just four beats, if not indeed three, even though the metrical contract stickles for five. An iamb in the first foot makes sense, setting up the as/so syntax completed in line 12. But 4B4V prefers the double-trochee effect, as more “fantasticly” affording sharper variation from the meter. Note how the crux “as thus” calls attention to how Drayton goes about taking his liberties, right in this very line.

So in all humours sportively I range:
MeterSo in all humours sportively I range:
My Muse is rightly of the English strain,
MeterMy Muse is rightly of the English strain,
That cannot long one fashion entertain.
MeterThat cannot long one fashion entertain.

Rhyme
Show Stress    Foot division    Syncopation