Michael Drayton.

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

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By vantage of my soil, lie did divid(^ my stieMtn,
That thoy mij^dit ne'er nitnrn to Nr/il-unc's wat'ry realm.
And, since, di.stressf'id Lee I have been hift forlorn,
A by-word to (;ach I'rook, and to the world a scorn.

When .S7///7, a Nyni[)h of hers (whoso faith slio oil had
prov'd, 2y6

And wliom, of .'dl her train, Lee most intirely lov'd)
Ii(!st so excessive grifif, In^i- Mistress might invade,
Thus (by fair gentle six-ech) to patience doth ])(;rsna(le :

Though you be not so gr(^■lt to others as before,
Yet not a jot for that dislike yourscilf the more. :ioo

Your ca.se is not alone, nor is (at all) .so strange ;
8ith everything on earth subjects itself to change.
Where rivers sonKitime ran, is firm and certain ground :
And when; before wcsre hills, now standing lakes are found.
And tliat which most you urge, your bctauty to dispoil, .lo.',
Doth recompiMise your bank, with quantity of soil,
Beset with raiHts of swans; that, in their wonted pride,
Do prune their snowy ])lumes upon your plr.isant ,si<|e.
And IKdM/mm woos yon still, and smiles with wonted cheer:
And Tmncs as at the first, so still doth hold you dear. :uu

To much b(!lov6d Lir, this scarc(!ly Hlmi had spoke,
But goodly Lowlon's sight their further purpose broke :
Wh(!n TaracH, his cither banks a<Iorn'd with buildings fair.
The City to .salute doth bid the Muse pr(!i)aro.
Whose turrets, fanes, and s])ires, when wistly she beholds,
Her wonder at tin; sight, thus strangely sIk; unfolds : aio
At thy great builder's wit, who's he but wonder may?
Nay, of Ilia wisdom, thus ensuing times shall say :

• Soo to the Twelfth .Song.

206 poly-olbion;

more than mortal man, that did this Town begin !
Whose knowledge found the plot, so fit to set it in. 320

What God, or heavenly power was harbour'd in thy breast,
From whom with such success thy labours should be blest ?
Built on a rising bank, within a vale to stand, ^
And for thy healthful soil, chose gravel mix'd with sand.
And where fair Tames his course into a crescent casts 325
(That, forced by his tides, as still by her he hastes,
He might his surging waves into her bosom send)
Because too far in length, his Town should not extend.

And to the North and South, upon an equal reach,
Two hills their even banks do somewhat seem to stretch, 330
Those two extremer winds* from hurting it to let ;
And only level lies, upon the rise and set.
Of all this goodly Isle, where breathes most cheerful air,
And every way thereto the ways most smooth and fair ;
As in the fittest place, by man that could be thought, 335
To which by land, or sea, provision might l>e brought.
And such a road for ships scarce all the world commands.
As is the goodly Tames, near Avhere Unite's City stands.
Nor any haven lies to which is more resort,
Commodities to bring, as also to transport : 340

Our kingdom that enrich'd (through which we flourish'd long)
Ere idle gentry up in such aboundance sprong.
Now pestring all this Isle : whose disproportion draws
The public wealth so dry, and only is the cause
Our gold goes out so fast, for foolish foreign things, 345

Which upstart gentry still into our country brings ;
Who their insatiate pride seek chiefly to maintain
By that, which only serves to uses vile and vain :
Which our i)l;un fathers erst would have accounted sin,
Before the costly coach, and silken stock came in ; 360

^ The goodly situation of Louden,
* The JSorth aud tjouth wiuda.



Before that Indian weed* so strongly was imbrac'd;

Wherein, such mighty sums we prodigally waste ;

That merchants long train'd up in gain's deceitful school,

And subtly ha\dng learn'd to sooth the humorous fool,

Present their painted toys unto this frantic gull, 355

Disparaging our tin, our leather, corn, and wool ;

When foreigners, with ours them warmly clothe and feed,

Transporting trash to us, of which we ne'er had need.

But whilst the angry Muse, thus on the Time exclaims,
Sith everything therein consisteth in extremes ; 300

Lest she inforc'd with wrongs, her limits should transcend,
Here of this present Song she briefly makes an end.

* Tobacco.


N wandering passage the Muse returns from the
Wedding, somewhat into the land, and first to
liarfford ; whence, after matter of description,
to London.

43. Thou said'st when Verlam once her head aloft did hear.

For, untler AWo, the Br if am intolerably loaden with
weight of the lloman government, and especially the Icens
(now Norfolk and Suffolk men) provoked by that cruel servi-
tude, into which, not themselves only, but the wife also and
posterity of their King Prasutagus were, even beyond right
of victory, constrained : at length breathing for liberty (and in
a further continuance of war having for their general Queen
B'ludicea, Bunduim, or as the difference of her name is)
rebelled against their foreign conqueror, and in martial
op])osition committing a slaughter of no less than 80,000,
(as Dio hath, although Tacitus miss 10,000 of this number,)
raii:sacked and spoih'd ALddon (then Carnalod itmim) and also
this Vcruhihi (near S. AUnins, which were the two chief
towua of the Isle^ ; The first a Colony (whereof the Eighth

^ Sucton. lib. G. cajj. 39.


Song :) this a Municipal City,* called expressly in a Catalogue
at the end of Nennius, Cmr-Municlp. Out of A. GelUus^ I thus
note to you its nature : Municipes sunt Gives Romani ex
municipiis suo jure et legibus suls utentcs, Muneris tantum
cum Pop. Rom. honorarii participes, a quo Munere capessendo
appellati vldentur : nullus aliis necessitatihis necpie ullci Ptrp.
Rom. legeastricti, quhnnunquamPop. Rom. eorum fundus f actus
esset.f It differed from a Colony, most of all in that a Colon t/
was a progeny of the City, and this of such as were received
into State-favour and friendship by the Roman. Personating
the Genius of Ferlam, that ever-famous Spenser'^ sung,

/ ivas that Citie, which the Garland ivore
Of Britaine's Pride, delivered unto me
By Eomane Victors, which it wonne of yore ;
Though nought at cdl hut Ruines now I bee,
And lye in mine owne asJies, as ye see :
Verlam Iwas ; what bootes it that I was,
Sith now I am but weedes and wastfull gras ?

As under the Romans, so in the Saxon% times afterward it
endured a second ruin : and, out of its corruption, after the
Abbey erected hy li\i\g Offa, was generated that of Saint
Albans ; whither, in later times most of the stone-works
and whatsoever fit for building was by the Abbots trans-
lated. =* So that,

Now reniaines no memorie.

Nor ante little moniment to see.

By which the travailer, that fares that ivay.

This once was shee, may warned be to say.'^

• Municiphim Tacit. Annal. 14. ^ Noct. Attic. 16. cap. l.*?.

t Such as lived in them were free of Rome, but using their own
laws, capable only of honorary titles in the Roman state, and thence
had their name. ^ In his lluines of 'linic.

t 795. ^ Leiand. ad Cyg. Cant. * tipeua. ubi supra.

VOL. TI. 14


The name hath been thought from the river there run-
ning called Ver, and Ilumfrei/ Lhuld^ makes it, as if it were
23ci'=lhan, i.e., a Church upon Fer.

47. Thou saw'st great burthen'd ships through these thy
valleys pass.

Lay not here unlikelihoods to the Author's charge ; he
tells you more judiciously towards the end of the Song.
But the cause why some have thought so, is, for that, Gll-
das,^ speaking of S. Allan's martyrdom and his miraculous
passing through the river at Verlamcestre, calls it iter igno-
tum trans Thamesis fluvii alveum* : so by collection they
guessed that Thames had then his full course this way, being
thereto further moved by anchors and such like here digged
up. This conjecture hath been followed by that noble
Muse^ thus in the person of Verlam :

And ivhere the christuU Thamis tvont to slide
In silver channell douiic along the lee,
About whose flowrie banJces on either side
A thousand Nymphes, with mirthfull joUitce,
Were wont to play, from all annoyance free :
There noio no river's course is to he scene,
But moorish fennes, and marshes ever greene.

There also, where the unnged ships tvere scene,
In liquid leaves to cut their fomie icaie ;
A tlwusand Fishers numbred to have been,
In that ivide lake looking for plenteous praie
Offish, tvith baits which they usde to betraie,
Is now no lake, nor any Fishers store,
Kor ever ship shall saile there anie more.

IJut, for this matter of the Thames, those two great anti-

^ In Biev. Brit. - In Epist. de Excid. Britan.

* All uiiknowii passage over Thames. ^ ypcnser.


quaries, Leland and Camden, have joined in judgment against
it : and for the anchors, they may be supposed of fish-boats
in large pools, which have here been ; and yet are left
relics of their name.

°I7. Since us Ms Kingly Ways Molmutius first began.

Near 500 years before our Saviour, this King Mohmtius
(take it upon credit of the British story) constituted divers
laws ; especially that ChnrcJies, Ploughs, and Higli-ioays
should have liberties of Sanctuary, by no authority vio-
lable. That Churches should be free and enjoy liberty for
refuge, consenting allowance of most nations have tole-
rated, and in this kingdom (it being affirmed also by con-
stitution of King Lucius^ a Christian,) every Churchyard
was a Sanctuar}^, until by Act of Parliament^ under Hen.
VIII. that licence, for protection of offences, being too
much abused, was taken away ; but, whether now restored
in the last Parliament,^ Avherein all Statutes concerning
Abjuraliv/o or Sanctuary mside before 35 Eliz. are repealed,
I examine not. The Plough and Husbandmen have by our
Statutes* and especially by Civil ^ and Persian^ law, great
freedom. High-ways, being without exception necessary,
as well for peace as war, have been defended in the Pomari^
laws, and are taken in ours, to be in that respect (as they
are by implication of the name) the King's HigJi-ivays,^ and
res sacrce : et qui aliquid imle occupaverit excedendo fines et ter-
minos terrm sua: dicifurfccissc Purpresfuram super ipsum Begem*
According to this privilege of Mulmufius in the Statute of

1 Florilegus. 2 00 /fe«. 8. cap. 14.

' Jacob. Sess. I. cap. 25.

* West. 2. cap. 20. ct 21. Ed. 1. District. Scaccarii,

* C. Qu;e res piguori oblig. 1. 7. Executores et alibi.
^ Xenopli. Cyrop;cd. t. ^ If. de via public.
'^ Bract, lib. 4. tract. Assis.Xov. Diss. c. 11. S- 8.

* Privileged places, and ho which trespiissos there commits pur*
presture upou the King.



Marlehrldge^ it is enacted, that none should distrain in the
King's High-way, or the common Street, but the King and
his Ministers, speclalem authorltatan ad hcec hahentibus ; which
I particularly transcribe, because the printed books are
therein so generally corrupted by addition of this here cited
in Latin ; You see it alters the Law much, and we have
divers judgments, that in behalf of the King by common
Bailiffs without special authority IStstrrss may be taken,-
as for an amerciament in the Slieritf's Torne or Leet, or for
Parliament Knights' fees. But the old rolls of the Statute
'as I have seen in a fair MS. examined by the exemplification,
for the Record itself is with many other lost) had not those
words, as the Register' also specially admonishes, nor is any
'lart of that Chapter in some MSS. which I marvel at, see-
g we have a formal writ grounded upon it. Not much
.imiss were it here to remember a worse fault, but continu-
ally received, in the Charter of the Fwest, Art. VII. where
you read Nullns Forestarius etc. aliquam coUedam faciat nisi
per Vi.mm et Sacramentum XII. liegardalorum quando faci-
unt licr/ardum. Tot Forestarii, etc., the truth of the best
copies (and so was the Record) being in this digestion,
Nullus Forestarius, etc. aliquam collectam faciat. Et per visur
Sacramentum XII. Ilegardatorum quando faciunt Begard.jn,
tot Forestarii ponantur, etc., as beside authentic MSS. it is
expressly in the like Charter, almost word for word, given
first by King John, and printed in MttJiew Paris; twixt
which, and that of ours commonly read, may he be made a
time-deserving comparison. Were it not for digression, I
would speak of the senseless making of Boniface Arch-
bishop of Cantcrhurij witness to the grand Charter in 9

^ .')2 Tfrv. 3. cap. 10. ct vid. Artie. Cler. cap. 9. Statutum Marl-
Iir'ui'jr silii lestitiittim.

'' ML\l. I. aitourt) 2.S2. 8. mrh. 2. ibid. 194. 11 JJen. 4. fol. 1.
19 Ed. 2. 2luouri) 221. et 22.5. alibi. ^ Uriyiiial. fol. 97. b.

■* Liiarta dc Fore tii ad M.S. cuicudata.


Hen. III. When as it is plain that he was not Archbishop
until 25. The best copy that ever I saw had Simon Arch-
bishop of Canterbury : which indeed was worse, there being
no such prelate of that See in those times ; but the mis-
taking was by the transcriber turning the single S. (accord-
ing to the form of writing in that age) into Simon for
Stephen, who was {Stephen of Langton) Archbishop at that
time. But I forget myself in following matter of my more
particular study, and return to Mohmdius. His constitution
being general for liberty of Highways, controversy grew
about the course and limits of them : whereupon his son,
King Belin, to quit the subject of that doubt, caused more
specially these four, here presently spoken of, to be made,
which might be for interrupted passage, both in war and
peace ; and hence by the Author, they are called Military,
(a name given by the Romans to such High-ways, as were
for their marching armies) and indeed by more polite con-
ceit^ and judicious authority these our Ways have been
thought a work of the Romans also. But their courses
are differently reported, and in some part their names
also. The Author calls them JVatling-street, the Fosse, Iki-
nild and Rickeneld. This name of Rickenekl is in Randall
of Chester, and by him derived from S. Veicics in I'cn-
broke into Hereford, and so through JVorcester, JFaricick,
Derby, and Fo/l'-shires to Tinmouth, which (upon the Au-
thor's credit reporting it to me) is also justifiable by a very
ancient deed of lands, bounded near Bermingliam in JVar-
wickshire by Rickeneld. To endeavour certainty in them,
were but to obtrude unwarrantable conjecture, and abuse
time and you. Of IFatling (who is here personated, and so
much the more proper because Verlam was called also by
the English,- JVatliagchestcr,) it is said that it went from
^ Y. Camden Roman. ^ Lhuid. Brevior. Brit.


Dover in Kent, and so by AVest of London (yet part of the
name seems to this day left in the middle of the City) to
this place, and thence in a crooked line through Shropsshire
by JVreldn Hill into Cardigan^ ; but others- say from Vcrlam
to CJiester ; and where all is referred to Belin by Geffrey n^
Arthur, and Fohjchronicon, another^ tells you that the sons
of (I know not what) King JFetlde made, and denominated
it. The Foise is derived by one consent out of Cornwall
into Dcronshire, through Somerset, over Cotes-wold by Teukes-
burie, along near Coventry to Lewester, through Lincoln to
Benoick, and thence to Cathness the utmost of Scotland. Of
restitution of the other you may be desperate ; likkeneld
I have told you of. In Henry of Huntingdon, no such name
is found, but with the first two, Ickenild and Ermingsfreet.
IckenUd, saith he, goes from Eiist to AYest ; Ermingstreet
from South to North. Another tells me that Ermingstreet
begins at S. Dewies, and conveys itself to Soutluimiiton ;
which the Author hath attributed to Ichning, begun (upon
the word's community with Iccns) in the Eastern parts. It's
not in my power to reconcile all these, or elect the best ;
I only add, that Ermingstreet (which being of English idiom,
seems to have had its name from Ijnnunfull in that signi-
fication, whereby it interprets^ an universal pillar wor-
shipped for Mercury, President of Ways,) is like enough (if
Huntingdon be in the right, making it from South to North)
to have left its part in Stanstreet in Surrey, where a way
made Avith stones and gravel in a soil on both sides very
different, continues near a mile ; and thence towards the
Eastern shore in Sussex are some places seeming as other
relics of it. But I here determine nothiner.


^ Polychronic. lib. 1. cap. de Plat. reg.

" Henric. Huntiiigd. Hist. 1.

^ Roger Hoveduu. part 1. fol. 248.

* Adam Brcmeiis. hist. Eccles. cap. 5. And see to the Third Soug.



The Argument.

To Medway, Tames a suitor goes ;

But fancies Mole, as forth he flows.

Her Mother, Homesdale, holds her in :

She digs through earth, the Tames to win.

Great Tames, as King of Rivers, sings

The Catalogue of th' English Kings.

Thence the light Muse, to th' Southward soars,

The Surrian and Sussexian shores ;

The Forests and the Doicns surveys,

With Billets running to those Seas ;

This Song of hers then cutteth short.

For things to come, of much import.

T length it came to pass, that his and her Tame
0( Medway understood, a Nymph of wondrous fame ;
And much desirous were, their princely Tames should
If (as a wooer) he could win her maiden-love ;
That of so great descent, and of so large a dower, s

Might well-ally their House, and much increase his power :
And striving to prefer their Son, the best they may,
Set forth the lusty Flood, in rich and brave array,
Bank'd with imbrodered meads, of sundry suits of flowers.
His breast adorn'd with swans, oft wash'd with silver showers;


A train of gallant Floods, at such a costly rate n

As might beseem their care, and fitting his estate.

Attended and attir'd magnificently thus.
They send him to the Court of great Oceanus,
The world's huge wealth to see ; yet with a full intent, i»
To woo the lovely Nymph, fair Medway, as he went.
Wiio to his Dame and Sire his duty scarce had done,
And Avhilst they sadly wept at parting of their Son,
See what the Tames befell, when 'twas suspected least.

As still his goodly train yet every hour increast, 20

And from the Surrian shores clear J^Fey came down to meet
His greatness, whom the Tames so graciously doth greet,
That with the fern-crown'd Flood* he minion-like doth play :
Yet is not this tlie Brook, enticeth him to stay.
But as they thus, in })omp, came sporting on the shoal, 25
'(xainst Hampton-Court he meets the soft and gentle Mole.
AVhose eyes so pierc'd his breast, that seeming to foreslow
The way which he so long intended was to go,
With trifling up and down, he wand'reth here and there ;
And that he in her sight, transparent might appear, 30

Applies himself to fords, and setteth his delight
On that which most might make him gracious in her sight.

Tlien Isls and the Tame from their conjoined bed,
Desirous still to learn how Tames their son had sped
(For greatly they had hop'd, his time had so been spent, 35
That he ere this had won the goodly heir of Kent)
And sending to enquire, had news return'd again
(By such as they imploy'd, on purpose in his train)
How this their only heir, the Ides emperial Flood,
Had loitered thus in love, neglectful of his good. 40

No marvel (at the news) though Ousei and Tame were sad,
More comfort of tlieir son expecting to have had. [show'd :
Nor blame them, in their looks much sorrow though they

• Coming Ijy Ftruham, so called oi/cru there groM-ing. f laU.


"Who fearing lest lie might thus meanly be bestow'd,

And knowing danger still increased by delay, 4S

Employ their utmost power, to hasten him away.

But Tames would hardly on : oft turning back to show,

From his muchdoved Mole how loth he was to go.

The mother of the 3IoIe, old Homesdale* likewise bears
Th' affection of her child, as ill as they do theirs : 5&

Who nobly though deriv'd, yet could have been content,
T' have match'd her with a Flood, of far more mean descent.
But Mole respects her words, as vain and idle dreams,
Compar'd with that high joy, to be belov'd of Tames:
And head-long holds her course, his company to win. S5
But, Homesdale raised hills, to keep the straggler in ;
That of her daughter's stay she need no more to doubt :
(Yet never was thei-e help, but love could find it out.)
§ Mole digs herself a path, by working day and night
(According to her name, to show her nature right) so

And underneath the earth, for three miles' space doth creep :
Till gotten out of sight, quite from her mother's keep.
Her fore-intended course the wanton Nymph doth run ;
As longing to imbrace old Tane and Isls son. [take.

When Tames now understood, what pains the Mole did
How far the loving Nymph adventur'd for his sake ; 66

Although with Medwai/ match'd, yet never could remove
The often quick'ning sparks of his more ancient love.
So that it comes to pass, when by great Nature's guide
The Ocean doth return, and thrustetli-in the tide ; to

Up tow'rds the place, where first his much-lov'd Mole was

§ He ever since doth flow, beyond delightful Sheene}

Then Jrandal cometh in, the Mole's belov6d mate,
So amiable, fair, so pure, so dehcate,

* A very woody Vale in Stiny.

^ Tames obbs and tluws beyond Richmond,


So plump, so full, so fresh, her eyes so wondrous clear : rs
And first unto her Lord, at JFandsworth doth appear.
That in the goodly Court, of their great sovereign Tames,
There might no other speech be had amongst the Streams,
But only of this Nymph, sweet JFandal, what she wore ;
Of her complexion, grace, and how herself she bore. so

But now this mighty Flood, upon his voyage prest,
(That found how with his strength, his beauties still increast,
From where, brave JFindsor stood on tip-toe to behold
The fair and goodly Tames, so far as ere he could,
With kingly houses crown'd, of more than earthly pride, ss
Upon his either banks, as he along doth glide)
With wonderful delight, doth his long course pursue.
Where Otlands, Hampton-Court, and Pdchmond he doth view.
Then JFest minster the next great Tames doth entertain ;
That vaunts her Palace large, and her most sumptuous Fane :
The Land's Tribunal seat that challengeth for hers, 91

The Crowning of our Kings, their famous Sepulchres.
Then goes he on along by that more beauteous Strand,
Expressing both the wealth and brav'ry of the Land.
(So many sumptuous Bowers, within so little space, «5

The all-beholding sun scarce sees in all his race.)
And on by London leads, which like a crescent lies,^
Whose windows seem to mock the star-befreckled skies ;
Besides her rising spires, so thick themselves that show,
As do the bristling reeds, witliin his banks that grow. aoo
There sees his crowded wharfs, and peoplc-pestred shores.
His bosom over-spread, with shoals of labouring oars :
With that most costly Bridge, that doth liini most renown, -
By which he clearly puts all other Rivers down.

Thus furnishd'd with all that appertain'd to State, 105

Desired by the Floods (his greatness which await)

^ London Ij'inj!; like a half-moon.

* Loiidon-briilija tlie Crown of Tames,


That as the rest before, so somewhat he would sing,
Both worthy of their praise, and of himself their King ;
A Catalogue of those, the Sceptre here that sway'd.
The princely Tames recites, and thus his Song he laid : no

As Bastard JFiUiam first, by Conquest hither came,
And brought the Norman Rule, upon the English name :
So with a tedious war, and almost endless toils.
Throughout his troubled reign, here held his hard-got spoils.
Deceasing at the last, through his unsettled State, lis

§ Left (with his ill-got Crown) unnatural debate.
For, dying at his home, his eldest son abroad,
(Who, in the Holy-war, his person then bestow'd)
His second Eufus next usurp'd the wronged reign :
§ And by a fatal dart, in his New Forest slain, 120

Whilst in his proper right religious Robert slept,
Through craft into the Throne the younger i)f«w-c/ertr/; crept.
From whom his Sceptre, then, whilst Robert strove to wrest,
The other (of his power that amply was possest)
With him in battle join'd : and, in that dreadful day 125
(Where Fortune show'd herself all human power to sway)
Duke Robert went to wrack ; and taken in the flight,
§ Was by that cruel King deprivt'd of his sight.
And in close prison put ; where miserably he died :

But Henry's whole intent was by just heaven denied, lao
For, as of light, and life, he that sad Lord bereft ;
So his, to whom the Land he purpos'd to have left.
The raging seas devour'd,* as hitherward they sail'd.

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