Michael Drayton.

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

. (page 2 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

The Mistletoe cut down ; then with a bended knee 420

On th' unhew'd altar laid, put to the hallow'd fires :
And whilst in the sharp flame the trembling flesh expires,
As their strong fury mov'd (when all the rest adore)
Pronouncing their desires the sacrifice before,

^ Isles upou the West of Scotland,



THE NINTH SONG. 15

Up to th' eternal heav'n their bloodied hands did rear : 425
And, whilst the murmuring woods ev'n shudd'red as with

fear,
Preach'd to the beardless youth, the soul's immortal state,
To other bodies still how it should transmigrate.
That to contempt of death them strongly might excite.

To dwell in my black shades the Wood-gods did delight,
Untrodden with resort that long so gloomy were, 431

As when the Roman came, it strook him sad with fear
To look upon my face, which then was call'd the Dark;
Until in after time, the English for a mark
Gave me this hateful name, which I must ever bear, 435
And Anglesi'i} from them am called everywhere.

My Brooks (to whose sweet brims the Sijlvam did resort,
In gliding through my shades, to mighty Neptune's Court,. ■
Of their huge oaks bereft) to heaven so open lie.
That now there's not a root discern'd by any eye : 440

My Brent, a pretty beck, attending Meiia's mouth.
With those her sister rills, that bear upon the South,
Gwlnt, forth along with her Lewenny that doth draw ;
And next to them again, the fat and moory Frawe,
§ Which with my Prince's Court I sometime pleas'd to
grace, 445

As those that to the West directly run their race.
Smooth Alio in her fall, that Lynon in doth take ;
Mathanon, that amain doth tovv'rds Moylroniad make,
The sea-calfs to behold that bleach them on her shore,
Which Giveger to her gets, as to increase her store. 450

Then Didas to the North that stiaineth, as to see
The Isle that breedeth mice : whose store so loathsome be,
That she in Neptwm's brack her bluish head doth hide.

When now the wearied Muse her burthen having ply'd.
Herself awhile betakes to bathe her in the Sound; 405

And quitting in her course the goodly Mon'uin ground,



16



POLY-OLBION.



Assays the Penmemnaur, and her clear eyes doth throw
On Comcay, tow'rds the East, to England back to go :
Where finding Denbigh fair, and Flint not out of sight,
Cries yet afresh for Jrales, and for Brute's ancient right. 409




ILLUSTRATIONS.




OEE Western are you carried into Merioneth, Car-
narvMi, Anglesey, and those maritime coasts of
Nortlv-Wales.



14. The last her genuine laws which stoutly did retain.

Under William Rnfus, the Norman-English (animated by
the good success which Bohert Flts-hamon had first against
Rees ap Tiddour, Prince oi South-Wales, and afterward against
Jestin, Lord of Glamorgan) being very desirous of these Welsh
territories ; Hugh, surnamed Wolfe,^ Earl of Chester, did ho-
mage to the King for Tegengl and Rijvonioc, with all the land
by the sea unto Comcey. And thus pretending title, got also
possession of Merioneth, from Gntjjith ap Coium, Prince of
Nmilh-Wales : but he soon recovered it, and thence left it
continued in his posterity, until Lhewehjin ap GruJ/ifh, under
Edward I., lost it, himself, and all his dominion. \Mu'reas
other parts (of South and I Vest- Wales especially) had before
subjected themselves to the English Crown ; this, through
frequency of craggy mountains, accessible with too much
difficulty, being the last strong refuge until that period of
fatal conquest.



^ Powel. ad Carailoc. Lhaucarv. ; et Camden.



VOL. II.



18 rOLY-OLBIOX,

41. Of tJiose two noble arms into the land that hear.

In the confines of Merioneth and Cardigan, where these
Rivers jointly pour themselves into the Irish Ocean, are
these two arms or creeks of the sea, famous, as he saith,
through Giflnethhi (that is one of the old titles of this
North- 1 rales) by their names of Cvacth iilnlur and ^Tractii
33(ich(in) i.e., as it were, the Great Haven, and the Little
Haven ; ^racth,^ in British, signifying a tract of sand
whereon the sea flows, and the ebb discovers.

48. Into that spacious Lake ivhere Dee unmixM doth flow.

That is Lhin-tegid (otherwise called by the English, Pemels-
mere) through which, Dee rising in this part runs whole and
unmixed, neither Lake nor River communicating to each
other water or fish ; as the Anthor anon tells you. In the
ancients,- is remembered s]iecially the like of Ilhosne running
unmixed, and (as it were) over the Lake of Geneva; as, for a
greater wonder, the most learned Casaubon^ hath delivered
also of Ann, running whole through Ehosne ; and divers
other such like are in I'ling's collection of Nature's most
strange eff"ects in waters.

76. The multitude of Wolves that long this land annoy'd.

Our excellent Edgar (having first enlarged his name with
diligent and religious performance of charitable magnificence
among his English, and confirmed the far-spread opinion of
his greatness, by receipt of homage at Chester from eight
Kings ; as you shall see in and to the next Song) for in-
crease of his benefits towards the Isle, joined witli preserva-
tion of his Crown-duties, converted the tribute of the // ehh



^ Oirald. Itincrar. 2. cap. 0.

* Ainiiiiau. Marcel. Hist. 15.; Pomp. Mel. lib. 2.; Pliu. JJiat. Kat.
2. cap. 10.3.
' Ad Strabon. lib. S.



rilE NINTH SOXG. V.)

into three hundred Wolves a year, as the Author shews.
The King that paid it ;

SThrr rrr he hulti I'a tcrme rrat ac i\\t bcrthc bias brlvtntJc
?Jor he scnUc the lU'ng bJoiU that he ne mighte ne mo bintfc.

As, according to the story my old Rhymer deliv'ers it.
Whom you are to account for this Ludwall King of JFales in
the JFelsh history, except Hoicel a^ Jevaf, that made war
against his uncle I'igo, delivered his father, and took on
himself the whole Principality towards the later years of
Edgar, I know not. But this was not an utter destruction
of them ; for, since that time,^ the Manor of Plddleseij in
Leicestershire was held b}' one Henri/ of Angage, per serjean-
tiam capiendi lupos, as the inquisition delivers it.

95. S. Helen's icondrous waij

By Festeneog in the confines of Caernarvan and Merioneth
is this highway of note ; so called by the British, and sup-
posed made by that Helen, mother to Constantim (among her
other good deeds) of whom to the last Song before.

109. As level as the lake until the general Flood.

So is the opinion of some Divines,^ that, until after the
Flood, were no mountains, but that by congestion of sand,
earth, and such stuff as we now see hills strangely fraughted
with, in the waters they were first cast up. But in that true
Secretary of Divinity and Nature, Selomoh,^ speaking as in
the person of Wisdom, you read ; Before the nwantains were
founded, and before the Mils I ivas formed, that is, before the
world's beginning ; and in Holy Writ elsewhere,* the moun-
tains ascend, and the valleys desceiul to the place where Thou didst

^ Itiii. Leicest. 27. Hen. 3. in Archiv. Turr. Lond'tn.

" His post alios refragatur B. Penrln.'i m\ Gouos. 1. qiuvst. 101.

» i'roverb. 8. ■• Psalm. 104.

2—2



20 POLY-OLBION,

found thsm ; good authorities to justify mountains before
the Flood. The same question hath been of Isles, but I will
peremptorily determine neither.

139. And with stern -^olus' hlasts, like Thetis iva.ring rank.

The South-West wind constrained between two hills on
both sides of the Lake, sometimes so violently fills the Kiver
out of the Lake's store, that both have been affirmed (but
somewhat against truth) never to be disturbed, or overflow,
but upon tempestuous blasts, whereas indeed (as Fowel de-
livers) they are overfilled with rain and land-floods, as well
as other waters ; but most of all moved by that impetuous
wind.

162. Still Delos-like wherein a ivand'ring Isle doth float.

Of this Isle in the water on top of Snoicdon, and of one-
eyed Eels, Trouts, and Perches, in another Lake there, Girald
is witness. Let him perform his word ; 1 will not be his
surety for it. The Author alludes to that state of Delos,
which is feigned^ before it was with pillars fastened in the
sea for Latona's child-birth.

100. That with the term of Welsh the English now imhase.

For this name of JFehh is unknown to the British them-
selves, and imposed on them, as an ancient and common
opinion is, by the Saxons, calling them Walsh, i.e., strangers.
Others fabulously have talk of JFallo and IFandolena, whence
it should be derived. But you shall come nearer truth, if
upon the community of name, customs, and original, twixt
the Gauls and iiiitons, you conjecture them called Walsh, as
it were, Gualsh (the /A'often-times being instead of the Gu),
which expresses them to be Gauls rather than strangers ;

' Pindar, ap. Straboii. lil>. 10.



THE NINTH SONG. 21

although in the Saxon (which is observed^) it was used for
the name of Gaul^, Strangers, and Barbarous, perhaps in such
kind as in this Kingdom the name of Frenchman,' liath by
inclusion comprehended all kind of Aliens.

203. JVas Little Britain calVd •



See a touch of this in the passage of the Virgins to the
Eiirhth Sonfj. Others affirm, that under Constantinej^ of our
Britons' Colonies were there placed ; and from some of these
the name of that now Dukedom to have had its beginning.
There be* also that will justify the British name to have
been in that tract long before, and for proof cite Dionysim^
Afcr, and riiiui;^ but for the first, it is not likely that he
ever meant that Continent, but this of ours, as the learned
tell you: and for Pliny, seeing he reckons his Britons of Gaul-
in the confines of the now France, and Lower Germany, it is
as unlikely that twixt them and Little Breiaigne should be
any such habitude. You want not authority, affirming that
our Britons from them," before they from ours, had deduc-
tion of this national title; but my belief admits it not. The
surer opinion is to refer the name unto those Britons, which
(being expelled the Island at the entry of the Saxons) got
them new habitation in this maritime part, as beside other
authority an express assertion is in an old fragment of a
French history,** which you may join with most worthy
Camden's treatise on this matter; whither (for a learned de-
claration of it) I send you.

1 Buchanan. Scotic. Hist. 2.

2 Bract, lib. 3. tract. 2. cap. 15. Leg. 6. Conquest, et D. Coke in
Cas. Calvin.

^ Maluiesb. cle Gest. Reg. 1.

* Paul Mcrul. Cosmog. part. 2. lib. 3. cap. 31.

* V. Eustath. ad eundem.

* Hist. Nat. lib. 4. cap. 17. quern super Ligerini Britanos hos sitos
dixisse, miror P. Merulam tarn constanter attirniasse.

^ Bed. lib. 1. cap. 3. quern .seeutus P. Morula.
8 Ex Ms. Ciuuob. Floriac. edit, per P. Pitlueum.



22 POLY-OLBION,

206, ForewarnM was in dreams that of the Britons' reign.

Cadicallader driven to forsake this land, especially by-
reason of plague and famine, tyrannizing among his subjects,
joined with continual irruptions of the English, retired him-
self into Little Bretaigne, to his cousin Alan there King :
where, in a dream, he was admonished by an angel (I justify
it but by the story) that a period of the British Empire was
now come, and until time of Merlin's prophecy, given to
King Arthur, his country or posterity should have no resti-
tution ; and further, that he should take his journey to
Eome, where for a transitory he might receive an eternal
Kingdom. Alan, upon report of this vision, compares it
with the Eagles prophecies, the SihjWs verses, and Merlin ;
nor found he but all were concording in prediction of this
ceasing of the Britit>h Monarchy.^ Through his advice there-
fore, and a prepared affection, Cadwallader takes voyage to
Borne, received of PP. Sergius, with holy tincture, the name
of Peter, and within very short time there died ; his body
very lately under Pope Gregori/ the XIII. was found- buried
by S. Peter's Tomb, where it yet remains; and Jl'hite of
Basingstoke says, he had a piece of his raiment of a chesnut
colour, taken up (with the corpse) uncorrupted ; which he
accounts, as a Romish pupil, no slight miracle. It was added
among British traditions, that, when Cadivallader's bones^
Were brought into this Isle, then should the posterity of
their Princes have restitution : concerning that, you have
enough to the Second Song. Observing concurrence of time
and difference of relation in the story of this Prince, I know
not well how to give myself or the reader satisfaction. In
Moninoxith, Robert of Glocester, Flarilegus, and their followers,



' See to tlie Scconil Song.

"^ Anton. Major, ap. Basingstoch. lil . 1>. nit. '?>'l.

' Ranulph. Higden. lib. ."). cap. 'JO.



TEE NINTH SONG. \ 23

Cadwallader is made the son of Ciulwallo King of the Brilom
before him ; but so, that he descended also from Enrjlkh-
Saxon blood ; his mother being daughter to Fenda King of
Mercland. Our JMonks call him King of West-Saxons, suc-
cessor to Kentwiiie, and son to Kenhrith. And where Caradoc
Lhancarvan tells you of wars twixt Lie or Ivor (successor to
Cadioallader) and Keidwine, it appears in our chronographers
that Kentwine must be dead abov^e three years before. But
howsoever these things might be reconcileable, I think
clearly that Cadwallader in the British, and Cedwalla^ King
of West-Saxons in Bede, Malmesburij, Florence, Huntingdon,
and other stories of the English, are not the same, as Geffrc;/,
and, out of Girald, Fuindall of Chester, and others since erro-
neously have affirmed. But strongly you may hold, that
Cadivallo or Caswallo, living about 840, slain by Oswald King
of Northumberland, was the same with Bede's first CedwaUa,
Avhom he calls King of Britons, and that by misconceit of his
two Cedwals (the other being, almost fifty years after. King
of IFest-Saxons) and by communicating of each other's attri-
butes upon indistinct names, without observation of their
several times, these discordant relations of them, which in
story are too palpable, had their first being. But to satisfy
you in present, I keep myself to the course of our ordinary
stories, by reason of difficulty in finding an exact truth in
all. Touching his going to Botne; thus: Some will, that he
was Christian before, and received of Sergius only Confirma-
tion ; others, that he had there his first Baptism, and lived
not above a month after; which time (to make all dissonant)
is extended to eight years in IJutncarvau. That, one King
Cedwidl went to Fome, is plain by all, with his new-imposed
name and burial there : For his baptism before, I have no

^ Cedwalla Rex Britonmn Bod. Hist. Eccles. 3. cap. 1. c;vterum v.
Nennium ap. Caincl. in Ottadiuis pay. GG4. et 0G5. et Bed. lib. 5.
cap. 7.



24 POLY-OLBION,

direct authority but in FoJ i/chronicon ; many arguments
pro\ang him indeed a well-wilier to Christianity, but as one
that had not yet received its holy testimony. The very
phrase in most of our Historians is plain that he was bap-
tized ; and so also his epitaph then made at Home, in part
here inserted.

1 Fercipi^nsqiie alacer recUvkw prcemia vitce,
Barharicam rabiem, nomen et inde suum

Conversus convertit ovans : Petrumque vocari,
Sergius antistes jussit, ut ipse pater

Fonte renascentis, quern Christi gratia purgans
Protinus ablatum vexit in arce poli.

This shows also his short life afterward, and agrees fully
wdth the English story. His honorable affection to Religion,
before his cleansing mark of regeneration, is seen in that
kind respect given by him to jnifrld first Bishop of Selesey
in Sussex ; where the Episcopal See of Chichester (hither was
it translated from Selesey, under JFlUiam the Conqueror)
acknowledges in public monuments rather him founder
than Edilwukh the first Christian King of that Province,
from whom Cedicalla violently took both life and kingdom :
nor doth it less appear, in that his paying Tenths of such
spoils, as by war's fortune, accrued to his greatness ; which
notwithstanding, although done by one then not received
into the Church of either Testament, is not without many
examples among the ancient Gentiles, who therein imitating
the Hebrews, tithed much of their possessions, and acquired
substance to such Deities as unhallowed religion taught
them to adore ; which, whether they did upon mystery in

' Bed. Eccles. Hist. lib. 5. cap. 7. Eurjl'txlml in substance, if you say,
He VKM hnptheil, and won (tied. A.ciiR. G88. Judicious conjecture
cannot but attribute ail this to the ]Vinit-Saxon Cedwall, and not the
Jirituih. hJee to the Eleventh Son|,'.



THE NINTH SONG. 25

the number, or, therein as paying first fruits (for the word
nno3 which was for Jber.s offerings, and ncTO for Mdchi-
serfec/i's tithes, according to that less* calcuhxtion in Cabalistic
concordance of identities in different words, are of equal
number, and by consequence of like interpretation) I leave
to my reader. Speaking of this, I cannot but wonder at
that very wonder of learning Joseph Scaliger,^ affirming,
tithes among those ancients only payable to Hercules:
whereas by express witness of an old inscription^ at Delphos,
and the common report of Camillus, it is justified, that both
Ch-eeks and Romans did the like to Apollo, and no less among
them and others together, was to 3Iars,^ Jupiter,^ Jum,^ and
the number of Gods in general, to whom the Athenians
dedicated the Tenth part of Lesbos.^ He which the Author,
after the British, calls here Ivor, is affirmed the same Avith
Lie King of Westsex in our Monkish Chronicles, although
there be scarce any congruity twixt them in his descent.
What follows is but historical and continued succession of
their Princes.

272. More excellent than those which our good Howel here.

For, Howel Dha first Prince of Southwales and Poicis,
after upon death of his cousin Eclwal Voel, of Noiihwales
also, by mature advice in a full Council of Barons and
Bishops, made divers universal constitutions. By these
Wales (until Edward I.) was ruled. So some say ; but the
truth is, that before Ed. I. conquered JTales, and, as it
seems, from twenty-eighth but especially thirty-fifth of

* Ratio Cabalistica Minor, secumlum quam ^ Centeuario qiiolibet
et Ueiiario uuitateiu accipiuut, rcliquos uuiueros in iitro(|ne vocabulo
retinentes uti Archangel. Bergonovens in Dog. Cabalisticis.

^ Acl Festura. verb. Decuna.

- Clemens Alexan<l. Strom, a et Steph. nipi woX. in 'k^opiytv.
tantundem : pr;eter alios quam ]>lurinios.

■' Lucian. Trtoi 'Opx/'/atiof, et Varro ap. Macrob. 3. cap. 11.

* Herodot. a. * Samii apud Herodot. 5. •" Thucydid. Hist. y.



26 POLY-OLBION.

Hen. III. his Empire enlarged among them, the English
King's Writ did run there. For when Ed. I. sent Com-
mission^ to It'cgmald of Grey, Thamas Bishop of S. Dewies,
and JFulter of H(ypton., to enquire of their customs, and by
what laws they were ruled, divers Cases were upon oath
returned, which by, and according to, the King's law, if it
were between Lords or the Princes themselves, had been
determined; if between Tenants, then by the Lord's seising
it into his hands, until discovery of the title in his Court ;
but also that none were decided by the laws of Howel Lha.
Of them, in LhuyiVs annotations to the IVehh Chronicle, you
have some particulars, and in the Roll which hath aided me.
Touching those other of Molmutius and Ifartia, somewhat
to the Ninth Song.

281. Us to suhjcctio/i sfooj), Of malces us Britons hear
Th' unwieldy Norman yoke

Snowdon properly speaks all for the glory of his country,
and follows suppositions of the British story, discording
herein with ours. For in Matthew Paris, and Flm'ilegus,
under the year 1078 I read that the Conqveror subdued
Wales, and took homage and hostages of the Princes ; so of
Hen. I. 1113, Hen. 1\. in 1157 and other times; Of this
Hen. IL hath been understood that prophecy of Merlin,
Jflien the freclde-faced Prince (so was the King) passes over
3^hi}tl JJcjtfnru,* then should the Welsh forces he weakened.
For he in this expedition against dices nji Gryffith into Sout/ir
W(des, coming mounted near that ford in Glamorgan, his
steed madded with sudden sound of trumpets, on the
b.ank violently, out of the purposed way, carries him
through the ford : which compared with that of Merlin
^ave to the Jkitish army no small discomfiture ; as a

' Rot. ('Iau3. do anil. 1). Ed. I. in Arcliiv. Turr. Londin.
* The Ford at the Hock's head.



THE NINTH SONG. 27

Camhro-Brifon,^ then living, hath delivered. But, that their
stories and ours are so different in these things, it can be no
marvel to any that knows how often it is used among
Historians,^ to flatter their own nation, and wrong the
honour of their enemies. See the first note here for Eufiis
his time.

299. And from the English Power the imperial Standard took.

Henrij of Essex, at this time Standard-bearer to Hen. II.
in a strait at Coimsi/lth near Flint, cast down the Standard,
thereby animating the Welsh, and discomfiting the English,,
adding much danger to the dishonour. He was afterward
accused by Robert of Montfort, of a traitorous design in the
action. To clear himself, he challenges the combat : they
both, with the royal assent and judicial course by law of
arms, enter the lists ; where Montfort had the victory, and
Essex pardoned for his life ; but forfeiting'^ all his substance,
entered Eeligion, and professed in the Abbey of Beading,
where the combat was performed. I remember a great Clerk-*
of those times says, that Montfort spent a whole night of de-
votions to S. Deius (so I understand him, although his copy
seem corrupted) which could make Champions invincible ;
whereto he refers the success. Tiiat it was usual for com-
batants to pray over-night to several Saints, is plain by
our Law-annals.^

320. Or any ear had heard the sound of Florida.
About the year 1157 Madoc, hrother to David a^ Owen,
Prince of PFales, made this sea-voyage ; and, by proba-

^ Girakl. Itiuerar. 1. cap. 6.

- Do quo si placet, videas compendios^ apud Alberic. Gcntil. de
Arm. Rom. 1. cap. 1.

* Gul. de Novo Burgo lib. 2. cap. 5.

* Joann. Sarisburiens. Ep. 159.
= 30. Ed. III. fol. -20.



23 POLY-OLBION,

bility, those names of Capo de Breton in Nonmheg, and
Penguin in part of the Xorthern America, for a White Fmk
and a JJliite-headed Bird, according to the British, were relics
of this discovery. So that the JFelsh may challenge priority,
of finding that New "World, before the Spaniard, Gcnoiray,
and all other mentioned in Lopez, Marineus, Cortez, and the
rest of that kind.

321. And with that Croggin's luime let th' English us disgrace.

The first cause of this name, take thus : In one of Henri)
the II. his expeditions into JVales, divers of his Camp sent
to assay a passage over Offa's-Dike, at Crogen Castle were
entertained with prevention by British forces, most of them
there slain, and, to present view, yet lying buried. After-
ward, this word Crogen,^ the English used to the Jrelsh, but
as remembring cause of revenge for such a slaughter,
although time hath made it usual in ignorant mouths for a
disgraceful attribute.

3-26. To his unbridled will our necks we never bow'd.

Sufficiently justifiable is this of King John, although our
Monks therein not much discording from British relation,
deliver, that he subdued all Jf'ales; especially this Xorthern*
part unto Snoicdun, and received twenty hostages for surety
of future obedience. For, at first, Lhewelin a|) Joru-erth,
Prince of North-lFales, had by force joined with strata-
gem the better hand, and compelled the English Camp
to victual themselves with horse-fiesh ; but afterward in-
deed upon a second rode made into Jl\iks, King John had
the conquest. Tliis compared with those changes ensuing

* Gutyn Owen in Lhevjelin ap Jonverth.

* Note that North-walm was the chief Principality, and to it
South-mile.^ and Pow'w paid a tribute, as out of the laws of Ilowti
DIm is noted by Doctor Poivel.



THE NINTH SONG. 29

upon the Pope's wrongful uncrowning hira, his Barons'
rebellion, and advantages in the mean time taken by the
JP^elsh, proves only that, his winnings here were little better
than imaginary, as on a Tragic Stage. The stories may,
but it fits not me to inform you of large particulars.

332. As Fate had spard our fall till Edward Longshankes'
reign.

But withal observe the truth of Story in the mean time.
Of all our Kings until John, somewhat you have already.
After him, Han. III. laad wars with Lhewelin a)) Jonverth ;
who (a most worthy Prince) desiring to bless his feebler
days with such composed quiet, as inclining age affects, at
last put himself into the King's protection. Within short
space dying, left all to his sons, David and Griijf;/fh ; but


2 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21