Stedman and Hutchinson, comps. A Library of American Literature: An Anthology in Eleven Volumes. 1891. Vols. III: Colonial Literature, 16071764
A Ballad of Virginia
By Richard Rich (fl. 1610)
[By R. Rich, one of the Voyage to Virginia, 1608. News from Virginia. The Lost Flocke Triumphant. 1610.]
READER,how to stile thee I knowe not, perhaps learned, perhaps unlearned; happily captious, happily envious; indeed, what or how to tearme thee I knowe not, only as I began I will proceede.
Reader, thou dost peradventure imagine that I am mercenarie in this busines, and write for money (as your moderne Poets use) hired by some of those ever to be admired adventurers to flatter the world. No, I disclaime it. I have knowne the voyage, past the danger, seene that honorable work of Virginia, and I thanke God am arrived here to tell thee what I have seene, done and past. If thou wilt believe me, so; if not, so too; for I cannot force thee but to thy owne liking. I am a soldier, blunt and plaine, and so is the phrase of my newes; and I protest it is true. If thou ask why I put it in verse, I prethee knowe it was only to feede mine owne humour. I must confesse that, had I not debard myselfe of that large scope which to the writing of prose is allowed, I should have much easd myselfe, and given thee better content. But I intreat thee to take this as it is, and before many daies expire, I will promise thee the same worke more at large.
I did feare prevention by some of your writers, if they should have gotten but some part of the newes by the tayle, and therefore, though it be rude, let it passe with thy liking, and in so doing I shall like well of thee; but, how ever, I have not long to stay. If thou wilt be unnatural to thy countryman, thou maist,I must not loose my patrymonie, I am for Virginia againe, and so I will bid thee hartily farewell with an honest verse,
As I came hether to see my native land,
To waft me backe lend me thy gentle hand.
Thy loving Country-man,
Newes From Virginia
of the happy arrivall of that famous and worthy knight Sir Thomas Gates and well reputed and valiante Captaine Newport into England.
IT is no idle fabulous tale, nor is it fayned newes:
For Truth herself is heere arrivd, because you should not muse.
With her both Gates and Newport come, to tell Report doth lye,
Which did devulge unto the world, that they at sea did dye.
Tis true that eleaven monthes and more, these gallant worthy wights