Voices of Earlier English: Michael Drayton's Lunacy

Me reading in a reconstruction of London English ca. 1600

Me reading in the modern accent I originally learned English in

On His Lunacy
Michael Drayton

As other men, so I my selfe do muse
Why in this sorte I wrest invention so,
And why these giddy metaphors I use,
Leaving the path the greater part doe goe.
I will resolve you: I am lunaticke,
And ever this in mad-men you shall finde,
What they last thought of when the braine grew sicke
In most distraction they keepe that in minde.
Thus talking idely in this bedlam fit,
Reason and I (you must conceave) are twaine;
Tis nine yeeres now since first I lost my wit;
Beare with me then, though troubled be my braine.
    With diet and correction men distraught
    (Not too farre past) may to their wits be brought.


  1. I would have thought lunaticke had the stress on the second syllable?

    1. Shakespeare has the word stressed unambiguously on the first (or possibly final) syllable:

      "And tell his wife that, being lunatic..."

      "The lunatic, the lover, and the poet..."

      "Dispute not with her; she is lunatic..."

      "Persuade him that he hath been lunatic..."

      The medial syllable is weak enough to be elided metrically as in:

      "Sometime with lunatic bans, sometime with prayers..."

      "To whose hands have you sent the lunatic King?"