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Sir Walter Raleigh (1554?–1618). Poems. 1892.


Sir Walter Raleigh’s Pilgrimage; circ. 1603?

GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,

My staff of faith to walk upon,

My scrip of joy, immortal diet,

My bottle of salvation,

My gown of glory, hope’s true gage;

And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

Blood must be my body’s balmer;

No other balm will there be given;

Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,

Travelleth towards the land of heaven;

Over the silver mountains,

Where spring the nectar fountains:

There will I kiss

The bowl of bliss;

And drink mine everlasting fill

Upon every milken hill.

My soul will be a-dry before;

But after, it will thirst no more.

Then by that happy blissful day,

More peaceful pilgrims I shall see,

That have cast off their rags of clay,

And walk apparelled fresh like me.

I’ll take them first

To quench their thirst

And taste of nectar suckets,

At those clear wells

Where sweetness dwells,

Drawn up by saints in crystal buckets.

And when our bottles and all we

Are filled with immortality,

Then the blessed paths we’ll travel,

Strowed with rubies thick as gravel;

Ceilings of diamonds, sapphire floors,

High walls of coral and pearly bowers.

From thence to heaven’s bribeless hall,

Where no corrupted voices brawl;

No conscience molten into gold,

No forged accuser bought or sold,

No cause deferred, no vain-spent journey,

For there Christ is the king’s Attorney,

Who pleads for all without degrees,

And He hath angels, but no fees.

And when the grand twelve-million jury

Of our sins, with direful fury,

Against our souls black verdicts give,

Christ pleads His death, and then we live.

Be Thou my speaker, taintless pleader,

Unblotted lawyer, true proceeder!

Thou givest salvation even for alms;

Not with a bribed lawyer’s palms.

And this is mine eternal plea

To Him that made heaven, earth, and sea,

That, since my flesh must die so soon,

And want a head to dine next noon,

Just at the stroke, when my veins start and spread,

Set on my soul an everlasting head!

Then am I ready, like a palmer fit,

To tread those blest paths which before I writ.

Of death and judgment, heaven and hell,

Who oft doth think, must needs die well.