Michael Drayton.

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King Edmond through the West pass'd in triumphal state.
But this courageous King, that scorned, in his pride, 425
A town should be besieg'd wherein he did abide,
Into the fields again the valiant Edmond goes.
Kanutus, yet that hopes to win what he did lose,
Provokes him still to fight : and falling back where they
Might field-roorath find at large, their ensigns to display, 430
Together flew again : that Brentford, with tlie blood
Of Danes and English mix'd, discolour'd long time stood,
Yet Edmond, as before, went victor still away.

When soon that valiant Knute, whom nothing could dismay,
Recall'd his scatter'd troops, and into Essex hies, 435

Where (as ill-fortune would) the Dane with fresh supplies
Was lately come a-land, to whom brave Ironside makes ;
But Knute to him again as soon fresh courage takes :
And Fortune (as herself) determining to show
That she could bring an ebb on valiant EdmomTs flow, 440
And eas'ly cast him down from off" the top of chance.
By turning of her wheel, Canutus doth advance.
Where she beheld that Prince which she had favour'd long
(Even in her proud despite) his murther'd troops among
With sweat and blood besmear'd (Dukes, Earls, and Bishops
slain, 445

In that most dreadful day, when all went to the Dane)
Through worlds of dangers wade ; and with his sword and

shield.
Such wonders there to act as made her in the Field
Ashamed of herself, so brave a spirit as he
By her unconstant hand should so much wrong6d be. 450

But, having lost the day, to Glocester he draws,
To raise a second power in his slain soldiers' cause.
When late-encourag'd Knute, whilst fortune yet doth last,
Who oft from Ironside fled, now follow 'd him as fast.

VOL. II, 9



130 POLY-OLBION,

Whilst thus in Civil Arms continually they toil, 455

And what th' one strives to make, the other seeks to spoil.
With tbreat'ning swords still drawn; and with obnoxious

hands
Attending their revenge, whilst either enemy stands.
One man amongst the rest from this confusion breaks.
And to the ireful Kings with courage boldly speaks : 46t

Yet cannot all this blood your ravenous out-rage fill 1
Is there no law, no bound, to your ambitious will,
But what your swords admit 1 as Nature did ordain
Our lives for nothing else, but only to maintain
Your murthers, sack, and spoil? If by this wasteful war 465
The land unpeopled lie, some nation shall from far,
By ruin of you both, into the Isle be brought.
Obtaining that for which you twain so long have fought.
Unless then through your thirst of empery you mean
Both nations in these broils shall be extinguish'd clean, 47o
Select you champions fit, by them to prove your right.
Or try it man to man yourselves in single fight.

When as those warlike Kings, provok'd with courage high.
It willingly accept in person by and by.
And whilst they them prepare, the shapeless concourse grows
In little time so great, that their unusual flows 476

Surrounded Screrne's banks, whose stream amazed stood,
Her Birllch to behold, in-islcd with her flood,
That with refulgent Arms then flamed ; whilst the Kings,
Whose rage out of the hate of cither's empire springs, 480
Both arm^d, cap-li-pe, upon their barred horse
Together fiercely flew ; that in their violent course
(Like thunder when it speaks most horribly and loud.
Tearing the full-stuff"'d panch of some congealed cloud)
Their strong hoofs strook the earth : and with the fearful
shock, *^^

Their spears in splinters flew, their bevers both unlock.



THE TWELFTH SONG. 131

Camdus, of the two that furthest was from hope,
Who found with what a foe his fortune was to cope,
Cries, ' Noble Edmoml, hold ; Let us the Land divide.'
Here th' English and the Danes, from either equal side 490
Were echoes to his words, and all aloud do cry,
' Courageous Kings divide ; 'twere pity such should die.'

When now the neighbouring Floods will'd IVrehin to
suppress
His style, or they were like to surfeit with excess.
And time had brought about, that now they all began 495
To listen to a long-told prophecy, Avhich ran
Of Mordaml, that she might live prosperously to see
A River born of her, who well might reckon'd be
The third of this large Isle : which saw did first arise
From Arden, in those days delivering prophecies. 500

The Druids (as some say) by her instructed were.
In many secret skills she had been conn'd her lere.
The ledden of the birds most perfectly she knew :
And also from their flight strange auguries she dreAV ;
Supremest in her place : whose circuit was extent 505

From Avon to the banks of Severne and to Trent :
AVhere Empress-like she sat with Nature's bounties blest,
And serv'd by many a Nymph ; but two, of all the rest.
That StaffordsJiire calls hers, there both of high account.
The eld'st of which is Canke : though Needwood her sur-
mount, 510
In excellence of soil, by being richly plac'd
Twixt Trent and batniug Dove ; and, equally imbrac'd
By their abounding banks, participates their store ;
Of Britain's Forests all (from th' less unto the more)
For fineness of her turf surpassing ; and doth beai- sis
Her curled head so high, that Forests far and near
Oft grutch at her estate ; her flourishing to see,
Of all their stately tires disrobed when they be.

9-ii



132 POLY-OLBION,

But (as the world goes now) o woful Canlce the ■while,
As brave a Wood-Xympli once as any of tliis Isle ; 520

Great Arden's eldest child : which, in her mother's ground
Before fair Feck'nham's self, her old age might have crown'd ;
When as those fallow deer, and huge-hanch'd stags that graz'd
Upon her shaggy heaths, the passenger amaz'd 524

To see their mighty herds, with high-palm'd heads to threat
The woods of o'ergrown oaks ; as though they meant to set
Their horns to th' others' heights. But now, both those

and these
Are by vile gain devour'd : So abject are our days.
She now, unlike herself, a neatherd's life doth live,
And her dejected mind to country cares doth give. 530

But Muse, thou seem'st to leave the Morelands too too long :
Of whom report may speak (our mighty wastes among)
She from her chilly site, as from her barren feed,
For body, horn, and hair, as fair a beast doth breed
As scarcely this great Isle can equal : then of her, 535

Why should'st thou all this while the prophecy defer?
Who beariug many springs, Avhich pretty Eivers grew,
She could not be content, until she fully knew
Which child it was of hers (born under such a fate)
As should in time be rais'd unto that high estate. 540

(I fain would have you think, that this was long ago,
When many a River, now tliat furiously doth flow,
Had scurciily learu'd to creep) and therefore she doth will
Wise Arden, from the depth of her abundant skill.
To tell her which of these her Bills it was she meant. .045
To satisfy her will ; the Wizard answers, Trent.
For, as a skilful seer, the aged Forest wist,
A more than usual power did in that name consist,
Which thirty dotli import^ ; by which she thus divin'd,
There should be found in her, of Fishes thirty kind ; 060

* Ticiil siguificth thirty.



THE TWELFTH SONG. . 133

And thirty Abbeys great, in places fat and rank,
Should in succeeding time be builded on her bank ;
And thirty several Streams from many a sundry Avay,
Unto her greatness should their wat'ry tribute pay.

This, Moreland greatly lik'd : yet in that tender love, 555
Which she had ever borne unto her darling Dove,
She could have wish'd it his : because the dainty grass
That grows upon his bank, all other doth surpass.
But, subject he must be : as Sow, which from her spring,
At Stafford meeteth Penh, which she along doth bring 560
To Trent by Tixall grac'd, the Astons' aiicient seat ;
JFhich oft the Miise hath found her safe and sweet retreat.
The nolle owners now of which helovkl place,
Good fortunes them and theirs ivith honoured titles grace:
May Heaven still bless that House, till happy Floods you see 565
Yourselves more grac'd by it, than it by you can be.
Whose bounty still my Muse so freely shall confess.
As when she shall ivant tvords, her signs shall it express.

So Blyth bears eas'ly down tow'rds her dear Sovereign

Trent :
But nothing in the world gives Moreland such content 570
As her own darling Dove his confluence to behold
Of Floods in sundry strains : as, crankling Manyfold
The first that lends him force : of whose meand'red ways.
And labyrinth-like turns (as in the moors she strays)
She first receiv'd her name, by growing strangely mad, 575
O'ergone with love of Hanse, a dapper moorland lad.
Who near their crystal springs as in those wastes they

play'd,
Bewitch'd the wanton heart of that delicious maid :
Which instantly was turn'd so much from being coy,
That she might seem to dote upon the moorish boy. 580

Who closely stole away (perceiving her intent)
With his dear lord the Dove, in quest of princely Treiit,



134 POLY-OLBION.

With many other Floods (as, Churnei, in his train

Tliat draweth Dunsmm-e on, with Yendon, then clear Taine,

That comes alone to Dove) of which, Ilanse one would be. 5S5

And for himself he fain of Many-fold would free

Thinking this amorous Nymph by some means to beguile)

He closely under earth conveys his head awhile.

But, when the River fears some policy of his,

And her beloved Ilanse immediately doth miss, 590

Distracted in her course, improvidently rash,

She oft against the cleeves her crystal front doth dash :

Now forward, then again she backward seems to bear ;

As, like to lose herself by straggling here and there.

Eanse, that this while suppos'd him quite out of her sight,
No sooner thrusts his head into the cheerful light, 596

But Many-fold that still the runaway doth watch.
Him (ere he was aware) about the neck doth catch :
And, as the angry Eanse would lain her hold remove,
They ^-uggling tumble down into their lord, the Dove. 600

Thus though th' industrious Muse hath been imploy'd so
long.
Yet is she loth to do poor little Smesfall wrong.
That from her J I'll fume's spring near Hampton plies, to pour
The wealth she there receives, into her friendly Stoivr.
Nor shall the little Bourne have cause the ]\Iuse to blame, eos
From these Staffordian Heaths that strives to catch the Tame:
Whom she in her next Song shall greet with mirthful cheer,
So happily arriv'd now in her native Shire.






ILLUSTEATIONS.




AKIXG- her progress into the land, the Muse comes
Southwai d from Cheshire into adjoining Staffonl,
and that part of Shropshire, "which lies in the
English side, East from Severne.

96. Ami into lesser streams the spacious Current cut.

In that raging devastation over this Kingdom by the
Danes, they had gotten divers of their ships fraught with
provision out of Thames into the river Ley (which divides
Middlesex and Essex) some twenty miles from London; Alfred
holding his tents near that territory, especially to prevent
their spoil of the instant harvest, observed that by dividing
the river, then navigable between them and Thames, their
ships would be grounded, and themselves bereft of what
confidence their navy had promised them. He thought it,
and did it, by parting the water into three channels. The
Danes betook themselves to flight, their ships left as a prey
to the Lotuloners.

120. Her lord's imbraces vow'd she never more would know.

This Alured left his son Edward successor, and, among
other children, this Eljled, or Ethcljled his daughter, married



136 POLY-OLBION,

to EtMred Earl of Merc-Jand. Of AlfrecTK worth and
troublous reign, because here the Author leaves him, I offer
you these of an ancient English wit :

NoUlitas innata tibl p-ohitatis honorem
Armipotens Alfrede dcdit, jyroMtasqiie lahorem
Peijjehmiivjiie labor nomen. Cui mixta dolori
Gcmdia semper- erant, spes semper mixta timori.
Si modo victor eras, ad crastina bella pavebas :
Si modo vidus eras, ad crastina bella parabas.
Cui vestes siidore jugi, cui sicca cruore
Tincta jugi, quantum sit amis regnare pirobdrunt.

Huntingdon cites these as his own ; and if he deal plainly
with us (I doubted it because his MS. epigrams, which
make in some copies the eleventh and twelfth of his History,
are of most different strain, and seem made when Apollo
was either angry, or had not leisure to overlook them) he
shows his Muse (as also in another written by him upon
Edgar, beginning Auctor opum, vindex scelerum, largitw hono-
rum, dc) in that still declining time of learning's state,
worthy of much precedence. Of Elliclfled in JFilliam of
3Ialmeshury, is the Latin of this English : She was the love of
the subject, fear of the enemy, a icoman of a mighty heart; having
once endured the grievous fains of child-birth, ever afterward
denied her husband those sweeter desires ; protesting, that, yield-
ing indulgence towards a pleasure, having so much consequent
pain, was unseemly in a King's daughter. She was buried at
S. Peter's in Glocester ; her name loaden by JNIonks with
numbers of her excellencies.

125. And Constantine their King, an hostage hither hronght.

After he had taken Wales and Scotland (as our Historians
say) from lloiccl, Malmesbury calls him Ludwal, and Con-



THE TJFELFTE SONG. ' 137

siantlne* ; he restored presently their Kingdoms, caffirming,
that, it ivas more for his majestij to make- a King than he one.
The Scottish stories^ are not agreeing here with ours ;
against whom Buchanan storms, for affirming what I see not
how he is so well able to confute, as they to justify. And
for matter of that nature, I rather send you to the collec-
tions in Ed. I. by Thomas of JFalsingham, and thence for the
same and other to Edw. Hall's Hen. VIII.

356. A Neptune, whose proud sails the British Ocean swejpt.

That flower and delight of the English world, in whose
birth-time S. Dunstane (as is said) at Glastenhury, heard this
Angelical voicef :

STo holn Church mxts to the SortJ ^^aws ts vhort miU hlis
33tt thulhc ChiltJS time, that nouthc jjborc is,

(among his other innumerable benefits, and royal cares) had
a Navy of 3600| sail ; which by tripartite division in the
East, West, and Northern coasts, both defended what was
subject to pirates' rapine, and so made strong his own
nation against the enemies' invasion.

358. By cruel stepdame's hate to death teas lastly done.

Edgar had by one woman (his greatest stains showed
themselves in this variety and unlawful obtaining of lustful
sensuality, as Stories will tell you, in that of Earl Ethel wald,
the Nun IFulfrith, and the young lass of Andever) called
Egelfled, surnamed Ened, daughter to Odmer a great noble-
man, Edward; and by Queen Elfrith, daughter to Orgar
Earl of Devonshire, Ethclred of some seven years age at his
death. That, Egelfied Avas a professed Nun,- some have

♦ 926. 1 Hector. Boeth. lib. 11. et Buchanan. Hist. 6. reg. 85.
t Rob. Glocestrcns. X ^oxaa say 4000.

2 Ex Osberno in Vitd Duustan. Fox. Eccles. Hist. 4,



138 POLY-OLBION,

argued and so make Efhehed the only legitimate heir to the
Crown: nor do I think that, except AJfrith, he was married
to anj^ of the ladies on whom he got children. Edward was
anointed King (for in those days was that use of Anointing
among the Saxon Princes,^ and began in King Alfred) but
not without disliking grudges of his stepmother's faction,
which had nevertheless in substance, what his vain name
only of King pretended : but her bloody hate, bred out of
womanish ambition, straining to every point of sovereignty,
not thus satisfied, compelled in her this cruelty.* King
Edicard not suspecting her dissembled purposes, with simple
kindness of an open nature, weaiied after the chase in Fur-
hedc Isle in Dorsetshire, without guard or attendance, visits
her at Corfe Castle; she, under sweet words and saluting
kisses, palliating her hellish design, entertains him : but
while he being very hot and thirsty (without imagination of
treason) was in pledging her, she, or one of her appointed
servantSjt stabbed the innocent King. His corpse, within
little space expiring its last breath, was buried at JVarham,
thence afterward by Alfer Earl of Merc-land, translated into
Shaftsbury, which (as to the Second Song I note) was hereby
for a time called S. Edivard's.^ Thus did his brother-in-law
Ethelred (according to wicked Elfrith's cruel and traitorous
project) succeed him. As, of Constantine Co^rronymm, the
Grech, so, of this Ethelred, is affirmed, that, in his holy
tincture he abused the Font with natural excrements, which
made S. Dunstan, then Christening him, angrily exclaim,
Per Deum et Matrem Ejus, ignanis homo crlt.X Some ten years
of age was he, when his brother Edward was slain, and, out
of childish affection, wept for him bitterly; which his
mother extremely disliking, being author of the murther

1 Anointefl Princes. * 078.

t Vide Malmesb. lib. 2. cap. 9. et Huntingdon. Hist. 5.

2 Malmesl). Lib. de Pontillc. 2.

* by <Jod and His Mother, lie will be a slovenly fellow.



THE TWELFTH SONG. 139

only for his sake, most cruelly beat him herself with an
handful of wax/

CanKIcii long anK toloe



fi)co* m bilcutlr nogljt ai- \)t Ian at Ijii- bet i)gluoluc:t
Mar tijoru tijts cljilO aftcrluaiU ^ucf) Ijfu mon as ije iua5
Mas tlje iDorslc luan Ijc Vi^t'^X CantJlcn bof tljis caS.

But I have read it affirmed,^ that Ethelred never would en-
dure any wax candles, because he had seen his mother un-
mercifully Avith them whip the good S. Eclicard. It's not
worth one of the candles, Avhich be the truer ; I incline to
the first. To expiate all, she afterward built tAvo Nun-
neries, one at Werwell, the other at Ambreshury ; and by all
means of Penitence and Satisfaction (as the doctrine then
directed) endeavoured her freedom out of this horrible
oflfence.

370. And in one night the throats of all the Danish cut.

History, not this place, must inform the reader of more
particulars of the Danca; and let him see to the First Song.
But, for this slaughter, I thus ease his inquisition. Ethel-
red (after multitudes of miseries, long continued through
their exactions and devastations, being so large, that sixteen
Shires had endured their cruel and even conquering spoils)
in the twenty-third of his reign, ^ strengthened Avith pro-
voking hopes, grounded on alliance, Avhich, by marriage
with Emma, daughter of Richard I. Duke of Normxindy, he
had with his neighbour potentate, sent privy letters into
every place of note, where the Danes by truce peaceably re-
sided, to the Engli^^h, commanding them, all as one, on the
self-same day and hour appointed (the day was S. Brictius,
that is, the 13th of November) suddenly to put them, as re-

^ Rob. Glocostretisis. * She. f Feet iu woe. J Saw.
2 Vit. S. Edwardi apud Ranulph. Cestrens. lib. 6. ^ 1002.



140 POLY-OLBION,

spective occasion best fitted, to fire or sword ; whicli was
performed.

A Chronological order and descent of the Kings here

included in JFrekin's Song.
Anno Chrlsti

800 Egbert son to Inegild (others call him Allimund)
grandchild to King Lie. After him* scarce any,
none long, had the name of King in the Isle, but
Governors or Earls; the common titles being
Duces, Comitcs, Consules, and such like; Avhich in
some writers after the Conquest were indifferent
names, and JFiUlam the First is often called
Earl of Normandy.

836 Ethehdph son to Eglcrt.

855 Ethelhald and Ethelhert, sons to Ethelulph, di-
viding their Kingdom, according to their father's
testament.

860 Ethelhert alone, after EtlielhakVs death.

866 Ethclred, third son of Ethelulph.

871 Alfred youngest son to Ethelulph, brought up
at Rome; and there, in Eihelred's life-time,
anointed by Pope Leo IV. as in ominous hope
of his future Kingdom.

901 Edward I. surnamed in Story Senior,^ son to
Alfred.

924 Athclstan, eldest son to Edioard, by Egwine a
shepherd's daughter; but to whom beauty and
noble spirit denied, what base parentage re-
quired. She, before the King lay with her,

* See to the last Sonp licfore. Because in W('xt.<<ex all the rest were
at last confoundecl. These are most commonly written Kings of
WtflMx, although in Siiyniory (as it were) or, as the Civilians call it,
Uirirf I'ro/irrfi/, all the other Provinces (except some Northern, and
what the Lanes unjustly possessed) were theirs. f '^^e elder.



THE TJFELFTH song. 141

Anno Christi

dreamed (you remember that of Olympias, and
many such like) that out of her womb did shine
a ]\Ioon, enlightening all Eiujland, which in her
Birth (Athelstan) proved true.

940 Edmund I. son of Edward* by Ms Queen Ed-
give.

946 Edred brother to Edmund.

955 Ediri/ first son of Edmimd.

959 Edgar (second son of Edmund) Honor ac Dell-
cice Anglorum.f

975 Edward II. son to Edgar hj EgeIfled,m\xTdeYed
by his stepmother Alfrith, and thence called
S. Edward.

979 Efhdred IT. son to Edgar, by Queen Alfrith,

daughter to Orgar Earl of Devonshire.
1016 Edmund II. son to Ethelred by his first Avife
Elfgive, surnamed Ironside.

Between him and Cnut (or Canu(us) the Dane, son to
Swaine, was tha't intended single combat ; so by their own
particular fortunes, to end the miseries, which the English
soil bore recorded in very great characters, written with
streams of her children's blood. It properly here breaks
off; for (the composition being, that Edmund should have
his part JVestsex, Estsex, Estangle, Middlesex, Surrey, Kent,
and Sussex ; and the Dane (who durst not fight it out, but
first moved for a treaty) Merc-land and the Northern terri-
tories) Edmund died the same year (some report was, that
traitorous Edric Streona Earl of Merc-land poisoned him)
leaving sons Edmund and Edward; but they were, by
Danish ambition, and traitorous perjury of the unnatural

* Mak^ enim et inepti Yeremunfli sequax Hector ille Boetli. lib.
11. qui Edin. et E<ire(luin ^Ethelstano scribit proguatos.
•f- The Miniou of his subjects.



142



POLY'OLBION.



English State, disinherited, and all the Kingdom cast under
Ctiut. After him reigned his son Harold I. Lightfoot a shoe-
maker's son* (but dissembled, as begotten by him on his
Queen Alfgive): then, with Harold, Hardcnut, whom he had
by his wife Emma, King Ethelred's Dowager. So that from
Edmund, of Saxon blood (to whose glory Wrelcbi hath dedi-
cated his endeavour; and therefore should transcend his
purpose, if he exceeded theu' empire) until Edward the Con-
fessor, following Hardcnut, son to Ethelred, by the same
Queen Emma, the Kingdom continued under Danish
Princes.

* Marian. Scot, et Florent. Wigorn.




THE THIRTEENTH SONG.



19



The Akgument.

This Song our Shire of Warwick sounds ;
Revives old Arden's ancient bounds.
Through many shapes the Muse here roves ;
Now sporting in those shady Groves,
The tunes of Birds oft stays to hear :
Then, finding herds of lusty Deer,
She huntress-like the Hart pursues ;
And like a Hermit walks, to chuse
The Simples ev'rywhere that grow ;
Comes Ancor's glory next to show ;
Tells Guy of Warwick's famous deeds;
To th' Vale of Red-horse then proceeds.
To play her part the rest among ;
There shutteth up her Thirteenth Song.

PON the Mid-lands^ now th' industrious Muse doth
fall;
That Shire which we the Heart of Etiglaml well
may call,
As she herself extends (the midst wliich is decreed)
Betwixt S. MklmeVs Matrnt, and jBari^io^-bord'ring Tweed,

^ Warwickshire, the middle Shire of England.




144 POLY-OLBION,

Brave Warwick; that abroad so long advanc'd her Bear,* ^

§ By her illustrious Earls reno%vTied everywhere ;

Above her neighbouring Shires which always bore her head.

Ml/ native Country then, ivhich so brave qnrits Imst bred,
If tliere be virtue yet remaining in thy earth,
Or any good of thine thou breath'd'st into my hirth, lo

Accept it as thine own lohilst now I sing of thee ;
Of all thy later Brood th' unworthiest though I be.

Muse, first of Arden tell, whose footsteps yet are found
In her rough wood-lands more than any other ground
§ That mighty Ardai held even in her height of pride; 15
Her one hand touching Trent, the other Sererne's side.^

The very sound of these, the Wood-Nymphs doth awake :
When thus of her ownself the ancient Forest spake :

My many goodly sites when first I came to show,
Here opened I the way to mine own overthrow : 20

For, when the w' orld found out the fitness of my soil.
The gripple Avretch began immediately to spoil
My tall and goodly woods, and did my grounds inclose :
By which, in little time my bounds I came to lose.

When Britain first her fields with Villages had fill'd, 25

Her people wexing still, and wanting where to build,

They oft dislodg'd the hart, and set their houses, where

He in the broom and brakes had long time made his lair.


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