Idea XIV

By Michael Drayton 1563–1631 Michael Drayton
If he from heaven that filched that living fire
Condemned by Jove to endless torment be,
I greatly marvel how you still go free,
That far beyond Prometheus did aspire.
The fire he stole, although of heavenly kind,
Which from above he craftily did take,
Of liveless clods, us living men to make,
He did bestow in temper of the mind.
But you broke into heaven’s immortal store,
Where virtue, honor, wit, and beauty lay;
Which taking thence you have escaped away,
Yet stand as free as ere you did before;
   Yet old Prometheus punished for his rape.
   Thus poor thieves suffer when the greater ‘scape.

Discover this poem’s context and related poetry, articles, and media.

Poet Michael Drayton 1563–1631

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

 Michael  Drayton

Biography

In late-seventeenth-century estimates of literary stature, Michael Drayton ranks only slightly below Sir Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, and Ben Jonson. Until the middle of the twentieth century, Drayton's position as an important minor poet seemed secure, but his lengthy historical poems did not lend themselves to the techniques of close reading popularized during the vogue of New Criticism in the 1940s and after. An . . .

Continue reading this biography

POET’S REGION England

SCHOOL / PERIOD 17th Century

Report a problem with this poem

Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

This poem has learning resources.

This poem is good for children.

This poem has related video.

This poem has related audio.