A SONG FOR ORIANA Poems by George Peele (adapted from Anglorum Feriae) and

Anon (The Triumphs of Oriana 1601)

 


Write, write, ye Chroniclers of Time and Fame,

Elizabeth, by miracles preserved

From perils imminent and infinite.

Clio, proclaim with golden trump and pen

Her happier days, England's high holidays;

 

O'er Europe's bounds take wing and make thy flight;

Through melting air, from where the rising sun

Gallops the Zodiac in his fiery wain,

Even to the brink where Thetis in her bower

Of pummy and tralucent pebble stones

Receives the weary bridegroom of the sea,

Beyond Graunde Chaire, by Nilus slimy bank,

Over the wild and sandy Afric plains,

Along the frozen shore of Tanais,

Whose icy crust Apollo cannot thaw;

 

Even there and round about this earthly ball

Proclaim the day of England's happiness;

The days of Peace, the days of Quietness,

Proclaim, proclaim, with golden trump and pen,

Proclaim the day of England's happiness.

 

Set down the day in characters of gold,

And mark it with a stone as white as milk.

That cheerful sunny day: Wear Eglantine,

And wreaths of Roses red and white put on,

In honour of that day, you lovely Nymphs;

And paeans sing and sweet melodious songs.

Come, gentle swains,

and shepherds dainty daughters, come!

Along the chalky cliffs of Albion

Lead England's lovely shepherds in a dance

O'er hill and dale and down and daisy plots.

 

Come, gentle swains,

and shepherds dainty daughters,

Adorned with courtesy and comely duties,

Come, sing and joy,

and grace with lovely laughters

The birthday of the beautiest of beauties.

Then sang the shepherds and nymphs of Diana:

Long live fair Oriana.

 

And be that day England's high holiday;

And holy days and high days be they all

High holidays;

Days, minutes, months and hours,

That multiply the number of her years;

Years that for us beget this golden age

Wherein we live in safety under her,

Wherein she reigns in honour over us.

So may she long and ever may she so,

Untouched of traitorous hand or treacherous foe.

 

Write, write, ye chroniclers of Time and Fame ...

Clio, proclaim with golden trump and pen ...

Proclaim the day of England's happiness;

The days of Peace, the days of Quietness ...

Write ...! Proclaim ...!

And paeans sing in honour of that day.

Proclaim the day! Elizabeth! Proclaim!

Long live fair Oriana!

 

Christopher Brown 2002