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in 1603. Drayton acted as an esquire to his patron, Sir Walter Aston, in the ceremony of his installa
[Morning in Warwickshire—Description of a tion as a Knight of the Bath. The poet expected
Stag-Hunt.] some patronage from the new sovereign, but was
When Phæbus lifts his head out of the winter's disappointed. He published the first part of his most elaborate work, the Polyolbion, in 1612, and the No sooner doth the earth her flowery bosom brave, second in 1622, the whole forming a poetical de- At such time as the year brings on the pleasant scription of England, in thirty songs, or bcoks.
east Gilds every lofty top, which late the humorous night Bespangled had with pearl, to please the morning's
And, but that nature (by her all-constraining law) The Polyolbion is a work entirely unlike any Fach bird to her own kind this season doth invite, other in English poetry, both in its subject and the They else, alone to hear that charmer of the night, manner in which it is written. It is full of topo- |(The more to use their ears,) their voices sure would graphical and antiquarian details, with innumerable That moduleth her tunes so admirably rare, allusions to remarkable events and persons, as con. nected with various localities; yet such is the As man to set in parts at first had learn’d of her. poetical genius of the author, so happily does he and by that warbling bird, the wood-lark place we
To Philomel the next, the linnet we prefer ; idealise almost everything he touches on, and so
then, lively is the flow of his verse, that we do not readily The red-sparrow, the nope, the red-breast, and the wren. seems to have followed the manner of Spenser in his The yellow-pate ; which though she hurt the blooming
tree, unceasing personifications of natural objects, such as bills, rivers, and woods. The information contained Yet scarce hath any bird a finer pipe than she. in this work is in general so accurate, that it is And of these chaunting fowls, the goldfinch not te
hind, quoted as an authority by Hearne and Wood.
That hath so many sorts descending from her kind. In 1627, Drayton published a volume containing The tydy for her notes as delicate as they, The Battle of Agincourt, The Court of Fuerie
, and The laughing hecco, then the counterfeiting jay; other poems. Three years later appeared another The softer with the shrill (some hid among the leaves, voluine, entitled The Muses' Elysium, from which it Some in the taller
trees, some in the lower greaves) appears that he had found a final shelter in the Thus sing away the morn, until the mounting sun, family of the Earl of Dorset. On his death in 1631, Through thick'exhaled fogs his golden head hath run, he was buried in Westminster Abbey, where a And through the twisted tops of our close covert monument, containing an inscription in letters of
creeps gold, was raised to his memory by the wife of that To kiss the gentle shade, this while that sweetly nobleman, the justly celebrated Lady Anne Clifford,
sleeps. subsequently Countess of Penibroke and Mont
And near to these our thicks, the wild and frightful gomery.
herds, Drayton, throughout the whole of his writings, Not hearing other noise but this of chattering birds, voluminous as they are, shows the fancy and feeling leed fairly on the lawns ; both sorts of seasoned deer : of the true poet. According to Mr Headley-He Here walk the stately red, the freckled fallow there : possessed a very considerable fertility of mind, which The bucks and lusty stags amongst the rascals strew'd, enabled him to distinguish himself in almost every As sometime gallant spirits amongst the multitude. species of poetry, from a trifling sonnet to a long Of all the beasts which we for our venerial? name, topographical poem. If he anywhere sinks below The hart among the rest, the hunter's noblest game : himself, it is in his attempts at satire. In a most pedantic era, he was unaffected, and seldom exhibits 1 Of all birds, only the blackbird whistleth. his learning at the expense of his judgment.'
. Of hunting, or cbase.
Of which most princely chase sith none did e'er report, Until the noble deer, through toil bereav'd of strength, Or by description touch, t'express that wondrous sport His long and sinewy legs then failing him at length, (Yet might have well beseem'd the ancients' nobler The villages attempts, enraged, not giving way songs)
To anything he meets now at his sad decay. To our old Arden here, most fitly it belongs :
The cruel ravenous hounds and bloody hunters near, Yet shall she not invoke the muses to her aid ; This noblest beast of chase, that vainly doth but fear, But thee, Diana bright, a goddess and a maid : Some bank or quick-set fiuds ; to which his haunch In many a huge-grown wood, and many a shady grove, opposed, Which oft hast borne thy bow, great huntress, used to He turns upon his foes, that soon have him inclosed.
The churlish-throated hounds then holding him at At many a cruel beast, and with thy darts to pierce bay, The lion, panther, ounce, the bear, and tiger fierce ; And as their cruel fangs on his harsh skin they lay, And following thy fleet game, chaste mighty forest's With his sharp-pointed head he dealeth deadly queen,
wounds. With thy disheveld nymphs attired in youthful green, The hunter, coming in to help his wearied hounds, About the lawns hast scowr'd, and wastes both far He desperately assails ; until opprest by force, and near,
He who the mourner is to his own dying corse, Brave huntress ; but no beast shall prove thy quarries Upon the ruthless earth his precious tears lets falli
To forests that belongs.
[Part of the Twenty-eighth Song of the Polyolbion.] hounds The labouring hunter tufts the thick unbarbed grounds, But, Muse, return at last, attend the princely Trent, Where harbour'd is the hart ; there often from his feed Who straining on in state, the north’s imperious flood, The dogs of him do find ; or thorough skilful heed, The third of England call'd, with many a dainty wood, The huntsman by his slot, or breaking earth, per- Being crown'd to Burton comes, to Needwood where ceives,
she shows Or ent'ring of the thick by pressing of the greaves, Herself in all her pomp ; and as from thence she flows, Where he had gone to lodge. Now when the hart She takes into her train rich Dove, and Darwin clear, doth hear
Darwin, whose font and fall are both in Derbyshire ; The often-bellowing hounds to vent his secret lair, And of those thirty floods, that wait the Trent upon, He rousing rusheth out, and through the brakes doth Doth stand without compare, the
very paragon. drive,
Thus wand'ring at her will, as uncontrollid she As though up by the roots the bushes he would rive.
ranges, And through the cumb'rous thicks, as fearfully he Her often varying form, as variously and changes ; makes,
First Erwash, and then Lyne, sweet Sherwood sends He with his branched head the tender saplings shakes, That sprinkling their moist pearl do seem for him to Then looking wide, as one that newly wak'd had been, weep ;
Saluted from the north, with Nottingham's proud When after goes the cry, with yellings loud and deep, height, That all the forest rings, and every neighbouring So strongly is surpris'd, and taken with the sight, place :
That she from running wild, but hardly can refrain, And there is not a hound but falleth to the chase. To view in how great state, as she along doth strain, Rechating? with his horn, which then the hunter That brave exalted seat beholdeth her in pride, cheers,
As how the large-spread meads upon the other side, Whilst still the lusty stag his high-palm'd head up- All fourishing in flowers, and rich embroideries bears,
dressid, His body showing state, with unbent knees upright, In which she sees herself above her neighbours bless'd. Expressing from all beasts, his courage in his fight. As wrap'd with the delights, that her this prospect But when th' approaching foes still following he per brings, ceives,
In her peculiar praise, lo thus the river sings : That he his speed must trust, his usual walk he leaves : • What should I care at all, from what my name I And o'er the champain flies ; which when the as take, sembly find,
That thirty doth import, that thirty rivers make; Each follows, as his horse were footed with the wind. My greatness what it is, or thirty abbeys great, But being then imbost, the noble stately deer That on my fruitful banks, times formerly did sear; When he hath gotten ground (the kennel cast arrear) Or thirty kinds of fish that in my streams do live, Doth beat the brooks and ponds for sweet refreshing To me name of Trent, did from that number give! soil ;
What reck I ! let great Thames, since by his fortune he That serving not, then proves if he his scent can foil, Is sovereign of us all that here in Britain be ; And makes amongst the herds, and flocks of shag- From Inis and old Tame his pedigree derive; wool'd sheep,
And for the second place, proud Severn that doth Them frighting from the guard of those who had their
Fetch her descent from Wales, from that proud mounBut when as all his shifts his safety still denies, Put quite out
of his walk, the ways and fallows tries; Plinillimon, whose praise is frequent them among, Whoin when the ploughman meets, his teem he letteth As of that princely maid, whose name she boasts to stand,
bear, T'assail him with his goad : so with his hook in hand, Bright Sabrin, whom she holds as her undoubted heir, The shepherd him pursues, and to his dog doth hallow: Let these imperious floods draw down their long de When, with tempestuous speed, the hounds and hunts scent men follow ;
From these so famous stocks, and only say of Trent,
her in ;
1 The track of the font.
· The hart weepoth at his dying; his tears are held to be pre cious in medicine
That Moreland's barren earth me first to light did The founder smooth and flat, in other rivers caught, bring,
Perhaps in greater store, yet better are not thought : Which though she be but brown, my clear complexion'a The dainty gudgeon, loche, the minnow, and the spring
bleak, Gain'd with the nymphs such grace, that when I first Since they but little are, I little need to speak did rise,
Of them, nor doth it fit me much of those to reck, The Naiads on my brim danc'd wanton hydagies, Which everywhere are found in every little beck ; And on her spacious breast (with heaths that doth Nor of the crayfish here, which creeps amongst my abound)
stones, Encircled my fair fount with many a lusty round : From all the rest alone, whose shell is all his bones : And of the British floods, though but the third I be, For carp, the tench, and bream, my other store Yet Thames and Severn both in this come short of me, among, For that I am the mere of England, that divides To lakes and standing pools that chiefly do belong, The north part from the south, on my so either sides, Here scouring in my fords, feed in my waters clear, That reckoning how these tracts in compass be extent, Are muddy fish in ponds to that which they are Men bound them on the north, or on the south of here. Trent;
From Nottingham, near which this river first begun Their banks are barren sands, if but compar'd with This song, she the meanwhile, by Newark having run, mine,
Receiving little Synte, from Bever's bat’ning grounds, Through my perspicuous breast, the pearly pebbles At Gainsborough goes out, where the Lincolnian shine :
bounds. I throw my crystal arms along the flow'ry valleys, Yet Sherwood all this while, not satisfied to show Which lying sleek and smooth as any garden alleys, Her love to princely Trent, as downward she doth Do give me leave to play, whilst they do court my Her Meden and her Man, she down from Mansfield
flow, stream, And crown my winding banks with many an anadem ; sends My silver-scaled sculls about my streams do sweep, To Iddle for her aid, by whom she recommends Now in the shallow fords, now in the falling deep : Her love to that brave queen of waters, her to meet, So that of every kind, the new spawn'd numerous fry When she tow'rds Humber comes, do humbly kis: her Seem in me as the sands that on my shore do lie.
feet, The barbel, than which fish a braver doth not swim, And clip her till she grace great Humber with her Nor greater for the ford within my spacious brim,
fall. Nor (newly taken) more the curious taste doth please ; When Sherwood somewhat back the forward Muse The grayling, whose great spawn is big as any pease ;
doth call; The perch with pricking fins, against the pike pre- For she was let to know, that Soare had in her song pard,
So chanted Charnwood's worth, the rivers that along, As nature had thereon bestow'd this stronger guard, Ainongst the neighbouring nymphs there was no other His daintiness to keep (each curious palate's proof) lays, From his vile ravenous foe : next him I name the But those which scem'd to sound of Charnwood, and ruff,
her praise : His very near ally, and both for scale and fin, Which Sherwood took to heart, and very much disIn taste, and for his bait (indeed) his next of kin, dain'd, The pretty slender dare, of many callid the dace, (As one that had both long, and worthily maintain'd Within my liquid glass, when Phoebus looks his face, The title of the great’st and bravest of her kind) Oft swiftly as he swims, his silver belly shows, To fall so far below one wretchedly confined But with such nimble fight, that ere ye can disclose Within a furlong's space, to her large skirts comHis shape, out of your sight like lightning he is shot ; pared : The trout by nature mark'd with many a crimson spot, Wherefore she, as a nymph that neither fear'd nor As though she curious were in him above the rest,
cared And of fresh-water fish, did note him for the best; For ought to her might chance, by others love or The roach whose common kind to every flood doth fall; hate, The chub (whose neater name which some a chevin With resolution arm'd against the power of fate, call)
All self-praise set apart, deterinineth to sing Food to the tyrant pike (most being in his power), That lusty Robin Hood, who long time like a king Who for their numerous store he most doth them Within her compass lived, and when he list to rango devour ;
For some rich booty set, or else his air to change, The lusty salmon then, from Neptune's wat’ry realm, To Sherwood still retired, his only standing court, When as his season serves, stemming my tideful Whose praise the Forest thus doth pleasantly report : stream,
'The merry pranks he play'd, would ask an age to tell, Then being in his kind, in me his pleasure takes, And the adventures strange that Robin Hood befel, (For whoin the fisher then all other game forsakes) When Mansfield many a time for Robin hath been Which hending of himself to th' fashion of a ring,
laid, Above the forced wears, himself doth nimbly fling, How he hath cousen'd them, that him would have And often when the net hath drag'd him safe to land, betray'd ; Is seen by natural force to 'scape his murderer's hand; How often he hath come to Nottingham disguised, Whose grain doth rise in flakes, with fatness inter- And cunningly escaped, being set to be surprised. larded,
In this our spacious isle, I think there is not one, Of many a liquorish lip, that highly is regarded. But he hath heard some talk of him and Little John ; And Humber, to whose waste I pay my wat'ry store, And to the end of time, the tales shall ne'er be done, Me of her sturgeons sends, that I thereby the more Of Scarlock, George-a-Green, and Much the miller's son, Should have my beauties grac'd with something from Of Tuck the merry friar, which many a sermon made him sent;
In praise of Robin Hood, his outlaws, and their trade. Not Ancum's silver'd eel excelleth that of Trent ; An hundred valiant mien had this brave Robin Hood, Though the sweet sinelling smelt be more in Thames Still ready at his call, that bowman were right good,
All clad in Lincoln green, with caps of red and blue, The lamprey, and his lesse, in Severn general be ; His fellow's winded horn, not one of them but knew,
When setting to their lips their little beugles shrill Suiting to these he wore a shepherd's scrip,
Cast with themselves what such a thing should mean ; To which under their arms their sheafs were buckled Some seeing him so wonderously fair fast,
(As in their eyes he stood beyond compare),
Said they had sent him for a sacrifice.
Yet was he well proportioned and strong,
As he might easily reach him with his spear.
That thus art come to beat me with a wand : The loose gave such a twang, as might be heard a mile. The kites and ravens are not far away, And of these archers brave, there was not any one, Nor beasts of ravine, that shall make a prey But he could kill a dcer his swiftest speed upon, Of a poor corpse, which they from me shall have, Which they did boil and roast, in many a mighty And their foul bowels shall be all thy grave.' wood,
• Uncircumcised slave,' quoth David then, Sharp hunger the fine sauce to their more kingly food. That for thy shape, the monster art of men ; Then taking them to rest, his merry men and he Thou thus in brass comest arm'd into the field, Slept niany a summer's night under the greenwood And thy huge spear of brass, of brass thy shield : tree.
I in the name of Israel's God alone, From wealthy abbots' chests, and churls' abundant That more than mighty, that eternal One, store,
Am come to meet thee, who bids not to fear, What oftentimes he took, he shared amongst the poor : Nor once respect the arms that thou dost bear, No lordly bishop came in lusty Robin's way,
Slave, mark the earth whereon thou now dost stand,
As thou liest grov'ling, and within this hour
Between his temples, saw how large a space Was ever constant known, which wheresoe'er she He was to hit, steps back a yard or two : came,
The giant wond'ring what the youth would do:
At which the giant openly doth jeer,
Which gives young David much content to see,
And have at all Philistia at a cast.'
Then with such sleight the shot away be sent, [David and Guliah.)
That from his sling as 't had been lightning went ; And now before young David could come ir,
And him so full upon the forehead smit, The host of Israel somewhat doth begin
Which gave a crack, when his thick scalp it hit, To rouse itself ; some climb the ncarest tree,
As't had been thrown against some rock or post, And some the tops of tents, whence they might see That the shrill clap was heard through either host. How this unarmed youth himself would bear Staggering awhile upon his spear he leant, Against the all-armed giant (which they fear) : Till on a sudden he began to faint ; Some get up to the fronts of easy hills ;
When down he came, like an old o'ergrown oak, That by their motion a vast murmur fills
His huge root hewn up by the labourers' stroke,
When soon they saw a goodly youth descend, The proud Philistines (hopeless that remain),
To see their champion, great Goliah, slain :
As cleft the clouds ; and like to men that rare His head uncovered, and his locks of hair
(O'ercome with comfort) cry, ' The boy, the boy ! As he came on being played with by the air,
O the brave David, Israel's only joy ! Tossed to and fro, did with such pleasure move, God's chosen champion ! O most wondrous thing! As they had been provocatives for love:
The great Goliah slain with a poor sling! His sleeves stript up above his elbows were,
Then selves encompass, nor can they contain ; And in his hand a stiff short staff did bear,
Now are they silent, then they shout again. Which by the leather to it, and the string,
Of which no notice David seems to take, They easily might discern to be a sling.
But towards the body of the dead doth make,
With a fair comely gait ; nor doth he run,
The jolly peacock spreads not half so fair As though he gloried in what he had done ;
The eyed feathers of his pompous train ; But treading on the uncircumcised dead,
Nor golden Iris so bends in the air With his foot strikes the helmet from his head; Her twenty-coloured bow, through clouds of rain : Which with the sword ta'en from the giant's side, Yet all her ornainents, strange, rich, and rare, He from the body quickly doth divide.
Her girdle did in price and beauty stain; Now the Philistines, at this fearful sight,
Not that, with scorn, which Tuscan Guilla lost, Leaving their arins, betake themselves to flight, Nor Venus' cestus could match this for cost. Quitting their tents, nor dare a minute stay ; Time wants to carry any thing away,
Of mild denays, of tender scorns, of sweet Being strongly routed with a general fear ;
Repulses, war, peace, hope, despair, joy, fear ; Yet in pursuit Saul's army strikes the rear
Of smiles, jests, mirth, woe, grief, and sad regret ; To Ekron walls, and slew them as they fled,
Sighs, sorrows, tears, embracements, kisses dear, That Sharam's plains lay cover'd with the dead :
That, mixed first, by weight and measures meet;
Then, at an easy fire, attempered were ; And having put the Philistines to foil,
This wondrous girdle did Armida frame,
And, when she would be loved, wore the same.
[Rinaldo at Mount Olivet and the Enchanted Wood.] For valiant David, that incontinent
It was the time, when 'gainst the breaking day, He should repair to court ; at whose command
Rebellious night yet strove, and still repined, He comes along, and beareth in his hand
For in the east appeard the morning grey, The giant's head, by the long hair of his crown,
And yet some lamps in Jove's high palace shined, Which by his active knee hung dangling down. When to Mount Olivet he took his way, And through the army as he comes along,
And saw, as round about his eyes he twined, To gaze upon him the glad soldiers throng:
Night's shadows hence, from thence the morning's shine, Some do instyle him Israel's only light,
This bright, that dark; that earthly, this divine. And other some the valiant Bethlemite. With congees all salute him as he past,
Thus to himself he thought : how many bright And upon him their gracious glances cast :
And 'splendent lamps shine in heaven's temple high ! He was thought base of him that did not boast,
Day hath his golden sun, her moon the night, Nothing but David, David, through the host.
Her fix'd and wand'ring stars the azure sky; The virgins to their timbrels frame their lays
So framed all by their Creator's might, of him ; till Saul grew jealous of his praise.
That still they live and shine, and ne'er will die,
They burn, and with them burn sea, air, and land.
Thus as he mused, to the top he went, The celebrated translation of Tasso's Jerusalem, And there kneeld down with reverence and fear; by EDWARD FAIRFAX, was made in the reign of His eyes upon heaven's eastern face he bent; Queen Elizabeth, and dedicated to that princess, His thoughts above all heavens uplifted were who was proud of patronising learning, but not very The sins and errors which I now repent, lavish in its support. The poetical beauty and free of my unbridled youth, O Father dear, dom of Fairfax's version has been the theme of Remember not, but let thy mercy fall almost universal praise. Dryden ranked him with And purge my faults and my offences all. Spenser as a master of our language, and Waller Thus prayed he ; with purple wings up-flew, said he derived from him the harmony of his num- In golden weed, the morning's lusty queen, bers. Collins has finely alluded to his poetical and Begilding with the radiant beams she threw, imaginative genius
His helm, the harness, and the mountain green : Prevailing poet, whose undoubting mind
Upon his breast and forehead gently blew Believed the magic wonders which he sung !
The air, that balm and nardus breath'd unseen ;
And o'er his head, let down from clearest skies, The date of Fairfax's birth is unknown. He was A cloud of pure and precious dew there flies. the natural son of Sir Thomas Fairfax of Denton, in Yorkshire, and spent his life at Fuystone, in the The heavenly dew was on his garments spread, forest of Knaresborough, in the enjoyment of many And sprinkled
so that all that paleness filed,
To which compar'd, his clothes pale ashes seem, blessings which rarely befall the poetical race-competence, ease, rural scenes, and an ample command and thence of purest white bright rays outstream : of the means of study. He wrote a work on Demon- | With the sweet comfort of the morning beam ;
So cheered are the flowers, late withered, ology, which is still in manuscript, and in the pre. And so return’d to youth, a serpent old face to it he states, that in religion he was neither Adorns herself in new and native gold. a fantastic Puritan, nor a superstitious Papist.' He also wrote a series of eclogues, one of which was the lovely whiteness of his changed weed published in 1741, in Cooper's Muses' Library, but it The prince perceived well and long admired; is puerile and absurd. Fairfax was living in 1631, Toward the forest march'd he on with speed, but the time of his death has not been recorded. Resolr'd, as such adventures great required :
Thither he came, whence, shrinking back for dread
Of that strange desert's sight, the first retired ; [Description of Armida and her Enchanted Girdle.]
But not to him fearful or loathsome made And with that word she smiled, and ne'ertheless That forest was, 'but sweet with pleasant shade. Her love-toys still she used, and pleasures bold : Forward he pass'd, and in the grove before, Her hair (that done) she twisted up intresse
He heard a sound, that strange, sweet, pleasing was ; And looser locks in silken laces rollid;
There roll'd a crystal brook with gentle roar, Her curls, garland-wise, she did up dress,
There sigh'd the winds, as through the leaves they pass ; Wherein, like rich enamel laid on gold,
There sang the swan, and singing died, alas ! The twisted flow'rets smil'd, and her white breast There lute, harp, cittern, human voice he heard, The lilies there that spring with roses drest.
And all these sounds one sound right well declared.