Primary Resource

Commendatory Verse by Walter Raleigh (1576)

This poem by Sir Walter Raleigh was his first to be published. It was included as a commendatory verse at the beginning of the satire The Steele Glas (1576) by the influential English poet, soldier, and critic George Gascoigne. Some spelling has been modernized.

Transcription from Original

  • Walter Rawely of the middle Temple, in commendation of the Steele Glasse.
  • Swete were the sauce, would please ech kind of tast,
  • The life likewise, were pure that never swerved,
  • For spyteful tongs, in cankred stomackes plaste,
  • Deeme worst of things, which best (percase) deserved:
  • But what for that? this medicine may suffyse,
  • To scorne the rest, and seke to please the wise.
  • Though sundry mindes, in sundry sorte do deeme,
  • Yet worthiest wights, yelde prayse for every payne,
  • But envious braynes, do nought (or light) esteme,
  • Such stately steppes, as they cannot attaine.
  • For who so reapes, renowne above the rest,
  • With heapes of hate, shal surely be opprest.
  • Wherefore to write, my censure of this booke,
  • This Glasse of Steele, unpartially doth shewe,
  • Abuses all, to such as in it looke,
  • From prince to poore, from high estate to lowe,
  • As for the verse, who lifts like trade to trye,
  • I feare me much, shal hardly reache so high.