His Pilgrimage: Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618).

His Pilgrimage

GIVE me my scallop-shell of quiet,
My staff of faith to walk upon,
My scrip of joy, immortal diet,
My bottle of salvation,
My gown of glory, hope’s true gage;
And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.

Blood must be my body’s balmer;
No other balm will there be given:
Whilst my soul, like quiet palmer,
Travelleth towards the land of heaven;
Over the silver mountains,
Where spring the nectar fountains;
There will I kiss
The bowl of bliss;
And drink mine everlasting fill
Upon every milken hill.
My soul will be a-dry before;
But, after, it will thirst no more.

Sir Walter Raleigh

About paparoa

Writer and researcher.
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4 Responses to His Pilgrimage: Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618).

  1. Oh, the great Ralegh. This was the first poem I stumbled upon as a teenager and it knocked me quite senseless. It’s so wonderful to find it here to be reminded of its exquisite and extraordinarily moving beauty. Thank you.

  2. Paparoa says:

    He’s wonderful, and not much remembered today save for students of English Renaissance verse methinks.

  3. Belinda says:

    Oh yes! How lovely that you chose this – I chose the “even such is time” of Raleigh’s a while ago, and that reminded me how great a poet he was. This one’s even better, I think, in a different and slightly more elaborated way – and the scallop-shell of quiet extended imagery has such resonance.

  4. Jeffrey Paparoa Holman says:

    We studied this poem closely in an English lit class 10-12 years ago, and I learned a good deal about what was behind the symbols of pilgrimage, which were real events to those of Raleigh’s (Ralegh’s) time.

    In the mid-1990s, I went to the English pilgrimage town of Walsingham in Norfolk, a site of worship since the 11th century, when the widow of the lord of the manor Lady Richeldis de Faverches had a dream in which she saw the place of the angel’s annunciation to Mary of the coming birth of Jesus, and was instructed to build a replica of the house. The place was teeming with “quiet palmers”.

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