Michael Drayton.

The complete works of Michael Drayton, now first collected (Volume 2) online

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For silence having call'd, thus to th' assembly song :

Stand fast ye higher Hills : low Valleys easily lie : 223
And Forests that to both you equally apply
(But for the greater part, both wild and barren be)]
Retire ye to your wastes ; and Rivers only we,
Oft meeting let us mix : and with delightful grace,
Let every beauteous Nymph, her best-lov'd Flood imbrace,
An alien be he born, or near to her own spring, 231

So from his native fount he bravely flourishing,
Along the flow'ry fields, licentiously do strain.
Greeting each curled grove, and circling every plain ;
Or hasting to his fall, his shoaly gravel scours, 235

And with his crystal front, then courts the climbing tow'rs.

Let all the world be judge, what Mountain hath a name,
Like that from whose proud foot, there springs some Flood

of fame :
And in the earth's survey, what seat like that is set.
Whose streets some ample Stream, aboundantly doth wetl
Where is there Haven found, or Harbour, like that Road, 241
Int' which some goodly Flood, his burthen doth unload ?
By whose rank swelling Stream, the far-fetch'd foreign

fraught.
May up to inland towns conveniently be brought.
Of any part of earth, we be the most renown'd ; 24«

That countries very oft, nay, empires oft we bound.
As Eubicon, much fam'd, both for his fount and faU,

* Oxford.
t A fine poet.



l90 POLY-OLBION,

The ancient limit held, twixt Italy and Gaul.*

Europe and Asia keep on Tanais' either side.

'Such honour have we Floods, the world (even) to divide. 250

Nay : Kingdoms thus we prove are christ'ned oft by us ;

Iberia takes her name of crystal Iherus.

Such reverence to our kind the wiser ancients gave,

As they suppos'd each Flood a Deity to have :

But with our fame at home return we to proceed. 256

In Britain here we find, our Severn, and our Tweed,
Tlie tripartited Isle do generally divide,
To England, Scotland, Wales, as each doth keep her side.
Trent cuts the Land in two, so equally, as tho'
Nature it pointed-out, to our great Bride to show 26O

How to his miglity sons the Island he might share.
A thousand of this kind, and nearer, I will spare;
Where if the state of Floods, at large I list to show,
I proudly could report how Pactolus doth throw
Up grains of perfect gold ; and of great Ganges tell, 205

Which when full India's showers inforceth him to swell.
Gilds with his glistering sands the over-pampered shore :
How wealthy Tagns first by tumbling down his ore,
The rude and slothful Moors of old Iberia taught,
To search into those hills, from which such wealth be
brought. 270

Beyond these if I pleas'd, I to your praise could bring,
In sacred Tnnjw, how (about the hoof-plow'd Spring)
The Heliconian Maids, upon that hallowed ground.
Recounting heavenly liymns eternally are crown'd.
And as the earth doth us in her own bowels nourish ; 275
So everything, that grows by us, doth thrive and flourish.
To godly vii tuous men, we wisely likened are :
To be so in themselves, that do not only care ;

* Th;it wliich v>i\h calletl Gallia ChaliAiui, and is Lombardy, Ro-
matjnu, aud tlic Western part of Ilaly,



THE FIFTEENTH SONG. 191

But by a sacred power, which goodness doth await,

Do make those virtuous too, that them associate. 2So

By this, the Wedding ends, and brake up all the show :
And Tames, got, born, and bred, immediately doth flow.
To JFindsoi'-waxd amain (that with a wond'ring eye,
The Forest might behold his awful empery)
And soon becometh great, with waters wax'd so rank, 2S5
That with his wealth he seems to retch his widened bank :
Till happily attain'd his grandsire ChiUern's grounds.
Who with his beechen wreaths this King of Rivers crowns,
Amongst his holts and hills, as on his way he makes,
At Beading once arriv'd, clear Keiinet overtakes : 2<jo

Her lord the stately Tames, which that great Flood again.
With many signs of joy doth kindly entertain.
Then Loddon next comes in, contributing her store ;
As still we see, " The much runs ever to the more."
Set out with all this pomp, when this emperial Stream, 295
Himself establish'd sees, amidst his wat'ry realm.
His much-lov'd Henhj leaves, and proudly doth pursue
His Wopd-uymph IFindsor's seat, her lovely site to view.
Whose most delightful face when once the Eiver sees,
Which shows herself attir'd in tall and stately trees, 300
He in such earnest love with amorous gestures wooes,
That looking still at her, his way was like to lose ;
And wand'ring in and out so wildly seems to go.
As headlong he himself into her lap would throw.

Him with the like desire the Fox'est doth imbrace, 305
And with her presence strives her Tames as much to

grace.
No Forest, of them all, so fit as she doth stand.
When Princes, fur their spurts, her pleasures will com-
mand,
No Wood-nymph as herself such troops hath ever seen,
Nor can such quarries boast as have in WmUor beeu. 310



192



POLY-OLBION.



Kor any ever had so many solemn days ;

So brave assemblies viewed, nor took so rich assays.*

Then, hand in hand, her Tames the Forest softly brings,
To that supremest place of the great English I^ngs,
§ The Garier's Royal seat, from him who did advaace 3i5
That Princely Order first, our first that conquered France ;
The Temple of Saint George, whereas his honoured Knights,
Upon his hallowed day, observe their ancient rites :
Where Eaton is at hand to nurse that learned brood.
To keep the Muses still near to this princely Flood : 320
That nothing there may want, to beautify that seat.
With every pleasure stor'd : And here my Song complete.

• Breaking up of Deer brought into the quarry.




ILLUSTEATIONS.




SHALL here be shorter than in the last before.
The Muse is so full in herself, employed wholly
about the Nuptials of Tame and his. In the
girlands of Tame are wreathed most of our Eny-

lish field-floicers : in them of his, our more sweet and those

of the Garden; Yet upon that,

315. Tlie Garter's Eoyal seat, from him who did advance.

I cannot but rememoer the institution (touched to the
Fourth Song) of his most honourable Order, dedicated to
S. George (in 24 Ed. IIL) it is yearly at this place celebrated
by that Noble Company of Twenty-six. Whether the cause
were upon the word of Garter given in the French wars
among the English, or upon the Queen's, or Countess of
Salisbury's, Garter fallen from her leg, or upon different and
more ancient original whatsoever, know clearly (without
unlimited affectation of your Country's glory) that it ex-
ceeds in majesty, honour, and fame, all Chivalrous Orders
in the world; and (excepting those of Tonplars, S. James,
Calatrava, Alcantara, and such like other, which were more
Epligious than Military) hath precedence of antiquity be-
fore the eldest rank of honour, of that kind any where

VOL. n. 13



194



POLY-OLBION.



established. The ' Anunciada (instituted^ by Amades VI.
Earl of Savoy, about 1409, although others have it by
Amades IV. and so create it before this of the Garter) and
that of the Golden Fleece, by Phdip Duke of Burgundy, 1429,
of S. Michael by Leives XL, Delia Banda by Alfonso of Spain,
and such like, ensued it, as imitating Institutions, after a
regard of the far extended fame, worth, and glory of S.
Georges Knights.

1 V. Aubert. Mir. Orig. Eqiiest. 2. cap. 4. et Sansouin. Orig. de
Cavalieri.




THE SIXTEENTH SONG.







The Argument. '

Old Ver, near to Saint Albans, hrings
Watling to talk of ancient tilings ;
What Yerlam ^i^as before she fell,
And many more sad ruins tell.
Of the four old Emperial Ways,
The course they held, and to what Seas ;
Of those Seven Saxon Kingdoms here.
Their .•<(!, ^s, and horv they hounded iuere.
Then Pure-vale vaunts her rich estate:
And Lea bewrays her wretched fate.
The 3fuse, led on with mtich delight.
Delivers London's happy site ;
Shows this loose Age's lewd abuse :
And for this time there stays the Muse.

HE Bridal of our Tame and princely his past :
And Tamesls their son, begot, and Avaxing fast,
Inviteth crystal Coined his wealth on him to lay,
Whose beauties had intic'd his Sovereigu Tames to
stay,
Had he not been inforc'd by his unruly train. fr

For Brent, a pretty Brook, allures him on again,
Great London, to salute, whose high-rear'd turrets throng
To gaze upon the Flood, as he doth pass along.

^ The river running by Uxbridgc and Colbroolr.

13—2




196 poly-olbion;

Now, as the Tames is great, so most transparent Colne
Feels, with excessive joy, her amorous bosom swolne, lo
That Fer of loni' esteem' J, a famous ancient Flood
(Upon whose aged bank old Ferlamchester stood,
IJefore the lioman rule) here glorified of yore,
Unto her clearer banks contributed his store ;
Enlarging both her stream, and strengthening his renown, is
Where the delicious meads her through her course do crown.
This P'^er^ (as I have said) Colnc's tributary brook,
On Verlam's ruin'd walls as sadly he doth look,
Near holy Alhan's Town, where his rich shrine was set,
Old JVatling in his way the Flood doth over-get. 20

Where after reverence done, Fer, quoth the ancient Street,
'Tis long since thou and I first in this place did meet.
And so it is, quoth Ver, and we have liv'd to see
Things in far better state than at this time they be :
But He that made, amend : for much there goes amiss. 2s
Quoth IFatlhfj, Gentle Flood, yea so in truth it is :
And sith of this thou speak'st ; the very sooth to say,
Since great Miilinni'un^, first, made me the no]>lest Way,
The soil is altered much ; the cause I pray thee show.
The time that thou hast liv'd, hath taught thee much to
know. 30

I fain would understand, why this delightful place,
]n former time that stood so high in Nature's grace,
(Which bare such store of grain, and that so wondrous great,
Tliat all the neighbouring coast was call'd the soil of wheat*)
Of later time is turn'd a liot and hungry sand, zi

Which scarce repays the seed first cast into the land.
At which the silent Brook shrunk in his silver head,
And feign'd as he away would instantly have lied ;
Suspecting, present speech might paisst'd giief renew.
Whom IVallmj thus again duth seriously pursue : 4a

^ The little clear river by Saint Albans. * Whelhamsiead.



THE SIXTEENTH SONG. ' 197

I pray thee be not coy, but answer ray demand :

The cause of this (dear Flood) I fain would understand.

§ Thou saw'st when Verlam once her head aloft did bear
(Which in her cinders now lies sadly buried here)
With alablaster, tuch, and porphery adorn'd, 45

When (well near) in her pride great Troi/novant she scorn'd.

§ Thou saw'st great-burthen'd ships through these thy
valleys pass,
Where now the sharp-edg'd scythe sheers up the spiring

grass :
That where the ugly seal and porpoise us'd to play,
The grasshopper and ant now lord it all the day : so

Where now Saint Alhans stands was called Hohiie-hurst then;
Whose sumptuous Fane we see neglected now again.

This rich and goodly Fane which ruin'd thou dost see,
Quoth Vcr, the motive is that thou importuti'st me:
But to another thing thou cunningly dost fly, 55

And reason seera'st to urge of her sterility.
With that he fetch'd a sigh, and ground his teeth in rage ;
Quoth Fer even for the sin of this accursed Age.
Behold that goodly Fane, which ruin'd now doth stand.
To holy Alhan,'^ built, first Martyr of the Land ; uo

Who in the faith of Christ from Rome to Britain came,
And dying in this place, resign'd his glorious name.
In memory of whom, (as more than half-divine)
Our English Offa rear'd a rich and sumptuous shrine
And monastery here : which our succeeding kings, 05

From time to time endow'd with many goodly things.
And many a Christian knight was buried here, before
The Noi'man set his foot upon this conquered shore ;
And after those brave spirits in all those baleful stowers,
That with Duke liobert^ went against the Pagan powers, ro

' T.ook before to the Eleventh Song.

* With the clJost sou of the Conqueror into the Holy Laud.



19S POLY-OLBION,

And in their Country's right at Cressy those that stood,
And that at Foyters bath'd their bilbowes in French blood ;
Their vahant Nephews next at Ag'inanirt that fought,
Whereas rebellious France upon her knees was brought :
In this Religious House at some of their returns, T5

When Nature claira'd her due, here plac'd their hallowed

urns :
AVhich now devouring Time, in his so mighty waste,
Demolishing those walls, hath utterly defac'd.
So that the earth to feel the ruinous heaps of stones,
That with the burth'nous weight now press their sacred
bones, so

Forbids this wicked brood, should by her fruits be fed ;
As loathing her own womb, that such loose children bred.
Herewith transported quite, to these exclaims he fell :
Lives no man, that this world her grievous crimes dare tell 1
Where be those noble spirits for ancient things that stood ?
When in my prime of youth I was a gallant Flood ; so

In those free golden days, it was the satire's use
To tax the guilty times, and rail upon abuse :
But soothers find the way preferment most to win ;
Who serving great men's turns, become the bawds to sin. oo

When JratUixj in his words that took but small delight,
Hearing the angry Brook so cruelly to bite ;
As one that fain would drive these fancies from his mind,
Quoth he, I'll tell thee things that suit thy gentler kind.
My song is of myself, and my three sister Streets, 95

AV'liich way each of us run, where each her fellow meets,

§ Since us, his kingly Ways, Mnlviitlius first began,
From sea, again to sea, that through the Island ran.
Which that in mind to keep posterity might have,
Appointing first our course, this privilege he gave, loo

That no man might arrest, or debtor's goods might seize
In any of us four his military Ways.



TEE SIXTEENTH SONG. 199

And though the Fosse in length exceed me many a mile,

That holds from shore to shore the length of all the Isle,

From where rich Cormvall points to the Iberian seas, 105

Till colder Cuthnes tells the scattered Orcades,

I measuring but the breadth, that is not half his gait ;

Yet, for that I am grac'd with goodly London's state, ^

And Tames and Sereni both since in my course I cross,

And in much greater trade ; am worthier far than Fosse. 110

But 0, unhappy chance ! through time's disastrous lot,

Our other fellow Streets lie utterly forgot :

As Icning, that set out from Yarmouth in the East,

By the Iceni then being generally possest.

Was of that people first term'd Icning in her race, 115

Upon the ChiUern'^ here that did my course imbrace :

Into the dropping South and bearing then outright.

Upon the Solent Sea stopt on the Isle-oi-JFight.

And Rickneld, forth that raught from Cambria's farther

shore.
Where South- JFales now shoots forth Saint David's proraon-

tore. ii'o

And, on his mid- way near, did me in England meet ;
Then in his oblique course the lusty straggling Street
Soon overtook the Fosse ; and toward the fall of Tine,
Into the German Sea dissolv'd at his decline. i-.u

Here JFafling would have ceas'd, his tale as having told -.
But now this Flood that fain the Street in talk would hold,
Those ancient things to hear, which well old WatJing knew,
With these enticing words, her fiinly forward drew.

Right noble Street, quoth he, thou hast liv'd long, gone

far.
Much traffic had in peace, much travailed in war ; 130

^ Watlinr/, the chief est of the four great Ways.
* Not far from Dundabk.



200 poly-olbion;

And in tliy larger course survey'st as sundry grounds
(Where I poor Flood am lock'd within these narrower

bounds,
And like my ruin'd self these ruins only see,
And there remains not one to pity them or me) ''
On with thy former speech : I pray thee somewhat say. 135
For, jratllmj, as thou art a military Way,
Thy story of old Streets likes me so Avondrous well,
That of the ancient folk I fain would hear thee tell.

With these persuasive words, smooth Fer tlie JFatlingyvan:
)Stroking her dusty face, when thus the Street began ; ho

When once their Seven-fold Eule the Sa.ivns came to rear.
And yet with half this Me sufficed scarcely were,
Though from the inland part the Britans they had chas'd,
Then understand how here themselves the Saxons plac'd.

Where in Great Britain's state four people of her own 140
Were by the several names of their abodes well known
(As, in that horn whicli juts into the sea so far,
"Wherein our Dei-onshire now, and furthest Cornwall are,
The old Danmonii dwelt : so hard again at hand,
The Durotriges sat on the Dorsetian sand ; 150

And where from sea to sea the Bel gee forth were let,
f]ven from Sonlhhampton's shore through J Til tn and Somerset
The jlttrchates in Bark unto the bank of Tames
lietwixt the Celtic sleeve and the Sahrinian streams)
'111" Saxons there set down one Kingdom : which install'd,
And being West, they it their Western Kingdom call'd. loO
So Eastward where by Tames the Trlnohants were set,
'I'o Trinovant their town, for that their name in debt,
That London now we term, the Saxons did possess
And their East Kingdom call'd, as Essex* doth express ; 100

^ ' Kor a more plain division of the English kingtloms see to the
Eleventh Song.

* .So called of the Eaut-Saxom.



TEE SIXTEENTH SONG. 201

The greatest part thereof, and still their name cloth bear;
Though Middlei^ex therein, and part of Hartford Avere ;
From Colne upon the West, upon the East to Stour,*
Where mighty Tames himself doth into Neptune pour.

As to our farthest rise, where forth those Fore-lands lean,
Which bear their chalky brows into the German Main, icc
The Angles which arose out of the Saxon race,
Allur'd with the delights and fitness of that place,
Where the Iceni liv'd did set their Kingdom down,
From where the wallowing seas those queachy Washes drown
That EJi/ do in-isle, to martyred Edmond's Ditch, in

Till those Norfokian shores vast Neptune doth inrich :
Which (farthest to the East of this divided hh)
Th' East AiKjIes' Kingdom, then, those English did instyle.

And Sussex seemeth still, as with an open mouth, 1:5

Those Saxons' Rule to show that of the utmost South
The name to them assum'd, who rigorously expell'd
The Kentish Britans theuce, and those rough wood-lands held
From where the goodly Tames the Surrian grounds doth

sweep.
Until the smiling Downs salute the Celtic Deep. 180

Where the Dohuni dwelt, their neighbouring Cateuclani,
Cornavii more remote, and where the Coritani,
Where Dec, and Merseij shoot into the Irish Sea ;
(WJiich well-near o'er this part, now called England, lay,
From Severn to the Ditch that cuts New-Market Plain, 185
And from the banks of Tames to Humber, which contain
So many goodly Shii'es, of Mersei/ Mercia hight)
Their mightier Empire, there, the middle English pight.
Which farthest though it raught, yet there it did not end :
But OJf'a, King thereof, it after did extend 190

Beyond the bank of Bee ; and by a Ditch he cut
Through }Fales from North to South, into wide Mercia put

* A River upon tlie confines of Sujfolk and Essex.



202 POLY-OLBION,

Well-near the half thereof : and from three peoples there,

To whom three special parts divided justly were

(The Ordovices, now which North-lFales people be, io5

From Cheshire which of old divided was by Dee :

And from our Marchers now, that were Bemetce then ;

And those Silures call'd, by us the Sonth-JVales men)

Beyond the Severn, much the English Oft'a took,

To shut the Britans up, within a little nook. 200

From whence, hy Mersey's banks, the rest a Kingdom made :
Where, in the Britans' rule (before) the Brigants sway'd ;
The powerful English there establish'd were to stand :
Which, North from Humber set, they term'd North-humher-
laml ; [stall'd.

Two Kingdoms which had been, with several thrones in-
Bernitia hight the one ; Diera th' other call'd. 200

The first from Humber stretch'd unto the bank of Tine :
Which river and the Frith the other did confine.
Diera beareth through the spacious Yorkish bounds.
From Durham down along to the Lancastrian Sounds,* 2:0
With Mersey and clear Tine continuing to their fall,
To England-yv Sird within the Pict's renowned Wall,
And did the greater part of Cumberland^ contain :
With whom the Britans' name for ever shall remain ;
Who there amongst the rocks and mountains lived long, 215
When they Loegria left, inforc'd through powerful wrong.
Bernitia over Tine, into yllbania lay,
To where the FrithX falls out into the German Sea.

This said, the aged Street sagg'd sadly on alone :
And Ver upon his course now hasted to be gone, 220

T' accompany his Calne : which as she gently glides.
Doth kindly liim imbrace ; whom soon this hap betides :
As Cubic come on along, and chanc'd to cast her eye

* Sea-deptlis near the shores. t Tlie Ci/mbrks' Land.

^ A river ruuiiiiig by Edtiibrough into the sea.



WE SIXTEENTH SONG. 203

Upon that neighbouring Hill where Harrow stands so high,
She Peri/vale^ perceiv'd prank'd up with wreaths of wheat, 225
And with exulting terms thus glorying in her seat :
Why should not I be coy, and of my beauties nice.
Since this my goodly grain is held of greatest price 1
No manchet can so well the courtly palate please,
As that made of the meal fetch'd from my fertile leaze. 230
Their finest of that kind, compared with my wheat.
For whiteness of the bread, doth look like common cheat.
What barley is there found, whose fair and bearded ear
Makes stouter English ale, or stronger English beer 1
The oat, the bean, and pease, with me but pulses are ; 235
The coarse and browner rye, no more than fitch and tare.
What seed doth any soil, in England bring, that I
Beyond her most increase yet cannot multiply?
Besides, my sure abode next goodly London is,
To vent my fruitful store, that me doth never miss. 240

And those poor baser things, they cannot put away,
Howe'er I set my price, ne'er on my chap-men stay.
When presently the Hill, that maketh her a Vale,
With things he had in hand, did interrupt her tale.
With Hampsted being fall'n and High-gate at debate ; 245
As one before them both, that would advance his state,
From either for his height to bear away the praise.
Besides that he alone rich Peri/vale surveys.
But Hampsted pleads, himself in simples to have skill,"^
And therefore by desert to be the noblest Hill ; 250

As one, that on his worth, and knowledge doth rely,
In learned physic's use, and skilful surgery f
And challengeth, from them, the worthiest place her own,
Since that old JFaiUng once, o'er him, to pass was known.

^ Peryvale, or Pure-vale, yieldeth the finest meal of Enrjland.

* Hainii.stcd excellent for simples.

* Hampsttd hill, famous for simples.



204 rOLY-OLBION,

Then High-gate boasts his Way ; which men Jo most fre-
quent ; 255
His long-continued fame ; his high and great descent ;
Appointed for a Gate of Lomion to have been,
When first the mighty Brute that City did begin.
And that he is the Hill, next Eufield which hath place,
A Forest for her pride, though titled but a Cliace. 260
Her purlewes, and her parks, her circuit full as large,
As some (perhaps) whose state requires a greater charge.
Whose holts* that view the East, do wistly stand to look
Upon the winding course of Lee's delightful Brook.
Where Mimer coming iu, invites her sister Iknne, ses
Amongst the chalky banks t' increase their Mistress' train ;
Whom by the dainty hand, obsequiously they lead
(By Hartford gliding on, through many a pleasant mead.
And coming in her course, to cross the common fare,
For kindness she doth kiss that hospitable JFare) aro
Yet scarcely comfort Lee (alas !) so Avoe-begone,
Complaining in her course, thus to herself alone :
How should my beauty now give iraltham such delight,
Or I poor silly Brook take pleasure in her sight ?
Antiquity (for that it stands so far from view, 275
And would her doting dreams should be believ'd for true)
Dare loudly lie for Cotne, that sometimes ships did pass,
To Verlam by her stream, when J'er/ttin famous was;
But, by these later times, suspected but to feign.
She planks and anchors shows, her error to maintain ; 289
Which were, indeed, of boats, for pleasure there to row
Upon her (then a Lake) the Roukiii Ponq) to sliow,
AN'hen L'ome, her forces here did every year supj)ly,
And at old Verlam kept a warlike colony.
But I distressed Lee, whose course doth ])lainly tell, ass
That what of Colne is said, of me none could refell,

* High woody bauks.



THE SrXTEI'JXTIf HONO. 205

AVliom /ilfml* hilt too wisn (poor TJivcr) T in.-vy sny
(W'licn li(! tlui criHrl Ihiiir.s did ciiimiii^^ly hctr.iy,
Which lldilfonl thcui hcsicj^'d, whoac; N;ivy there abodo,
And on my sijacions breast, before the Castle rodo) -m)


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