“If Cynthia Be a Queen, a Princess, and Supreme”

By Sir Walter Ralegh 1552–1618 Sir Walter Ralegh
If Cynthia be a queen, a princess, and supreme,
Keep these among the rest, or say it was a dream,
For those that like, expound, and those that loathe express
Meanings according as their minds are moved more or less;
For writing what thou art, or showing what thou were,
Adds to the one disdain, to the other but despair,
      Thy mind of neither needs, in both seeing it exceeds.

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Poet Sir Walter Ralegh 1552–1618

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Subjects Arts & Sciences

Poetic Terms 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 Arts & Sciences

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD Renaissance

Poetic Terms Rhymed Stanza

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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