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Gabriel Harvey

(1550 - 1631 / Essex, England)

An heroic address to [Oxford], concerning the combined utility and dignity of military affairs and o


This is my welcome; this is how I have decided to bid All Hail!
to thee and to the other Nobles.
Thy splendid fame, great Earl, demands even more than in the case of others
the services of a poet possessing lofty eloquence.
Thy merit doth not creep along the ground,
nor can it be confined within the limits of a song.
It is a wonder which reaches as far as the heavenly orbs.
O great-hearted one, strong in thy mind and thy fiery will,
thou wilt conquer thyself, thou wilt conquer others;
thy glory will spread out in all directions beyond the Arctic Ocean;
and England will put thee to the test and prove thee to be native-born Achilles.
Do thou but go forward boldly and without hesitation.
Mars will obey thee, Hermes will be thy messenger,
Pallas striking her shield with her spear shaft will attend thee,
thine own breast and courageous heart will instruct thee.
For long time past Phoebus Apollo has cultivated thy mind in the arts.
English poetical measures have been sung by thee long enough.
Let that Courtly Epistle —
more polished even than the writings of Castiglione himself —
witness how greatly thou dost excel in letters.
I have seen many Latin verses of thine, yea,
even more English verses are extant;
thou hast drunk deep draughts not only of the Muses of France and Italy,
but hast learned the manners of many men, and the arts of foreign countries.
It was not for nothing that Sturmius , himself was visited by thee;
neither in France, Italy, nor Germany are any such cultivated and polished men.
O thou hero worthy of renown, throw away the insignificant pen, throw away bloodless books,
and writings that serve no useful purpose; now must the sword be brought into play,
now is the time for thee to sharpen the spear and to handle great engines of war.
On all sides men are talking of camps and of deadly weapons; war and the Furies are everywhere,
and Bellona reigns supreme.

Now may all martial influences support thy eager mind, driving out the cares of Peace.
Pull Hannibal up short at the gates of Britain. Defended though he be by a mighty host,
let Don John of Austria come on only to be driven home again. Fate is unknown to man,
nor are the counsels of the Thunderer fully determined.
And what if suddenly a most powerful enemy should invade our borders?
If the Turk should be arming his savage hosts against us?
What though the terrible war trumpet is even now sounding its blast?
Thou wilt see it all; even at this very moment thou art fiercely longing for the fray.
I feel it. Our whole country knows it.

In thy breast is noble blood, Courage animates thy brow, Mars lives in thy tongue,
Minerva strengthen thy right hand, Bellona reigns in thy body, within thee burns the fire of Mars.
Thine eyes flash fire, thy countenance shakes a spear;
who would not swear that Achilles had come to life again?

Submitted: Thursday, January 01, 2004

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