Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, AGINCOURT, by MICHAEL DRAYTON

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Classic and Contemporary Poetry

AGINCOURT, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: Fair stood the wind for france
Last Line: Such a king harry?
Variant Title(s): The Ballad Of Agincourt;ode To The Cambro-britons;ode: 12;to The Cambro-britons, And Their Harp;agincourt: The Battle;his Battle Of Agincourt;to The Cambro-britans, And Their Harpe, His Ballad Of Agincourt
Subject(s): Agincourt, Battle Of (1415); Courage; Henry V, King Of England (1387-1422); War; Valor; Bravery

FAIR stood the wind for France,
When we our sails advance,
Nor now to prove our chance
Longer will tarry;
But putting to the main,
At Kause, the mouth of Seine,
With all his martial train,
Landed King Harry,

And taking many a fort,
Furnished in warlike sort,
Marched towards Agincourt
In happy hour, --
Skirmishing day by day
With those that stopped his way,
Where the French general lay
With all his power,

Which in his height of pride,
King Henry to deride,
His ransom to provide
To the king sending;
Which he neglects the while,
As from a nation vile,
Yet, with an angry smile,
Their fall portending.

And turning to his men,
Quoth our brave Henry then:
Though they to one be ten,
Be not amazed;
Yet have we well begun,
Battles so bravely won
Have ever to the sun
By fame been raised.

And for myself, quoth he,
This my full rest shall be;
England ne'er mourn for me,
Nor more esteem me,
Victor I will remain,
Or on this earth lie slain;
Never shall she sustain
Loss to redeem me.

Poitiers and Cressy tell,
When most their pride did swell,
Under our swords they fell;
No less our skill is
Than when our grandsire great,
Claiming the regal seat,
By many a warlike feat
Lopped the French lilies.

The Duke of York so dread
The eager vaward led;
With the main Henry sped,
Amongst his henchmen,
Excester had the rear, --
A braver man not there:
O Lord! how hot they were
On the false Frenchmen!

They now to fight are gone;
Armor on armor shone;
Drum now to drum did groan, --
To hear was wonder;
That with the cries they make
The very earth did shake;
Trumpet to trumpet spake,
Thunder to thunder.

Well it thine age became,
O noble Erpingham!
Which did the signal aim
To our hid forces;
When, from a meadow by,
Like a storm, suddenly,
The English archery
Struck the French horses

With Spanish yew so strong,
Arrows a cloth-yard long,
That like to serpents stung,
Piercing the weather;
None from his fellow starts,
But playing manly parts,
And, like true English hearts,
Stuck close together.

When down their bows they threw,
And forth their bilboes drew,
And on the French they flew,
Not one was tardy;
Arms were from shoulders sent;
Scalps to the teeth were rent;
Down the French peasants went;
Our men were hardy.

This while our noble king,
His broadsword brandishing,
Down the French host did ding,
As to o'erwhelm it;
And many a deep wound lent,
His arms with blood besprent,
And many a cruel dent
Bruised his helmet.

Glo'ster, that duke so good,
Text of the royal blood,
For famous England stood
With his brave brother,
Clarence, in steel so bright,
Though but a maiden knight,
Yet in that furious fight
Scarce such another.

Warwick in blood did wade;
Oxford the foe invade,
And cruel slaughter made,
Still as they ran up.
Suffolk his axe did ply;
Beaumoat and Willoughby
Bare them right doughtily,
Ferrers and Fanhope.

Upon Saint Crispin's day
Fought was this noble fray,
Which fame did not delay
To England to carry;
O, when shall Englishmen
With such acts fill a pen,
Or England breed again
Such a King Harry?

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