Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. I. Chaucer to Donne
Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. I. Early Poetry: Chaucer to Donne
The Arming of Pigwiggen (from Nymphidia)
By Michael Drayton (1563–1631)
(HE) quickly arms him for the field,
A little cockle-shell his shield,
Which he could very bravely wield,
  Yet could it not be pierced:
His spear a bent both stiff and strong,        5
And well near of two inches long;
The pile was of a horsefly’s tongue,
  Whose sharpness naught reversed.
And put him on a coat of mail,
Which was of a fish’s scale,        10
That when his foe should him assail,
  No point should be prevailing.
His rapier was a hornet’s sting,
It was a very dangerous thing;
For if he chanc’d to hurt the king,        15
  It would be long in healing.
His helmet was a beetle’s head,
Most horrible and full of dread,
That able was to strike one dead,
  Yet it did well become him:        20
And for a plume a horse’s hair,
Which being tossed by the air,
Had force to strike his foe with fear,
  And turn his weapon from him.
Himself he on an earwig set,        25
Yet scarce he on his back could get,
So oft and high he did curvet
  Ere he himself could settle:
He made him turn, and stop, and bound,
To gallop, and to trot the round,        30
He scarce could stand on any ground,
  He was so full of mettle.

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