Prais’d be Diana’s Fair and Harmless Light

By Sir Walter Ralegh 1552–1618 Sir Walter Ralegh
Prais’d be Diana’s fair and harmless light;
Prais’d be the dews wherewith she moists the ground;
Prais’d be her beams, the glory of the night;
Prais’d be her power by which all powers abound.

Prais’d be her nymphs with whom she decks the woods,
Prais’d be her knights in whom true honour lives;
Prais’d be that force by which she moves the floods;
Let that Diana shine which all these gives.

In heaven queen she is among the spheres;
In aye she mistress-like makes all things pure;
Eternity in her oft change she bears;
She beauty is; by her the fair endure.

Time wears her not: she doth his chariot guide;
Mortality below her orb is plac’d;
By her the virtue of the stars down slide;
In her is virtue’s perfect image cast.

         A knowledge pure it is her worth to know:
         With Circes let them dwell that think not so.

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Poet Sir Walter Ralegh 1552–1618

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Mythology & Folklore, Heroes & Patriotism, Nature

Poetic Terms Allusion, Rhymed Stanza

 Sir Walter  Ralegh

Biography

Before his execution for treason, Sir Walter Ralegh won fame as an explorer of the New World — both for voyages to Roanoke Island in present-day North Carolina (whose capital is named after him), and to Venezuela in search of El Dorado, the mythical city of gold. Also a scholar and a gifted lyric poet, Ralegh brought glory to Elizabethan England along with the potatoes and tobacco he is said to have introduced there.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Mythology & Folklore, Heroes & Patriotism, Nature

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Allusion, Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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