Michael Drayton.

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

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The Argibient.

The Muse here Merioneth vaunts.

And her proud Mountains hifjhli/ chaunts.

The mils and Brooks, to bravery bent,

Stand/or precedence from descent :

The Rivers for them shewing there

The wonders of their Pimblemere.

Proud Snowdon gloriously jiroceeds

With Cambria's native Princes' deeds.

The Muse then through Carnarvan makes,

And Mon (now Anglesey) awakes

To tell her ancient Druids' guise,

And manner of their sacrifice.

Her Billets she together calls ;

Th*n back for Flint and Denbigh /aZfe.


F all the Cambrian Shires their heads that bear so

And farth'st survey their soils with an ambitious eye,
Mervinki} for her Hills, as for their matchless crowds,
The nearest that are said to kiss the wand'ring clouds.
Especial audience craves, offended with the throng, j.

That she of all the rest neglected was so long :





Alleging for herself, When, through the Saxons' pride,
The God-like race of Bmie to Severne's setting side
Were cruelly inforc'd, her Mountains did relieve
Those, whom devouring war else ev'rywhere did grieve, lo
And when all JFales beside (by fortune or by might)
Unto her ancient foe resign'd her ancient right,
A constant Maiden still she only did remain,
§ The last her genuine laws which stoutly did retain.
And as each one is prais'd for her peculiar things ; is

So only she is rich, in Mountains, Meres, and Springs,
And holds herself as great in her superfluous waste,
As others by their Towns, and fruitful tillage, grac'd.
And therefore, to recount her Elvers from their lins,*
Abridging all delays, Mervinia thus begins : 20

^Though Dovy, which doth far her neighboring Floods sur-
(Whose course, for hers alone Mmintgcmurii doth account)
Hath Angell for her own, and Kerlog she doth clear,
With Tow'm, Qwedall then, and JJidas, all as dear.
Those tributary streams she is maintain'd withall ; 25

Yet, boldly may I say, her rising and her fall
My Country calleth hers, with many another brook,
That with their crystal eyes on the Vcrgkian look.
To Dovji next, of which Desiinni/ sea- ward drives,
Lingwrlll goes alone ; but plenteous Avon strives 30

The first to be at sea ; and faster her to hie.
Clear Kemlguin comes in, with Ilergimi by-and-by.
So Ikrnj, Moollnj draws, and MunUiji calleth Caine,
Wliich in one channel meet, in going to the Main,
As to their utmost pow'r to lend her all their aids : 35

So Atro by the arm Limbeder kindly leads.

* Meres or Pools, from whence Rivera a])rin<;.

^ Tlic llivcrs as in order they fall into the Jrisli Sea.


And Fehnr'ul the like, observing th' other's law,

Calls Cmndl ; she again fair Dmrld forth doth draw.

That from their mother Earth, the rough Mervinia, pay

Their mix6d plenteous Springs, unto the lesser Bay 4o

§ Of those two noble arms into the land that bear, '3

Which through Givinethla?- be so famous everywhere,

On ray Carnarvan side by nature made my Mound,

As Doinj doth divide the Cardiganian ground.

The pearly Comvaye's head, as that of holy Dee, 45

Renowned Rivers both, their rising have in me :

So, Lavern and the Lue, themselves that head-long throw

§ Into the spacious Lake, where Dee unmix'd doth flow.

Trnicerriii takes his stream here from a native lin ;

Which, out of Plmblemere when Dee himself doth win, 50

Along with him his Lord full courteously doth glide :

So Eudock riseth here, and Cletor that do guide

Him in his rugged path, and make his greatness way,

Their Dee into the bounds of Denbigh to convey.

The lofty Hills, this while attentively that stood, 55

As to survey the course of every several Flood,
Sent forth such echoing shouts (which every way so shrill.
With the reverberate sound the spacious air did fill)
That they were eas'ly heard through the Vergman IVLain
To Neplanc's inward Court ; and beating there, constrain 60
That mighty God of sea t' awake : who full of dread,
Thrice threw his three-fork'd Mace about his grisly head,
And thrice above the rocks his forehead rais'd to see
Amongst the high-topp'd Hills what tumult it should be. ■
So that with very sweat Cadoridrlc did drop, 1 go

And mighty llaran shook his proud sky -kissing top.
Amongst the furious rout Avhom madness did enrage ;
Until the Mountain-Nymphs, the tumult to assuage,


1 North- If a?e5.



Upon a modest sign of silence to the throng,

Consorting thus, in praise of their 3Ierviniu, song : 70

Thrice famous Saxon King, on whom Time ne'er shall prey,
Eihjar ! who compell'dst our Ludwall hence to pay
Three hundred Avolves a year for tribute unto thee :
And for that tribute paid, as ftimous may'st thou be,
conquer'd British King, by whom was first destroy'd 75
§ The multitude of wolves, that long this land annoy'd ;
Eegardless of their rape, that now our harmless flocks
Securely here may sit upon the aged rocks ;
Or wand'ring from their walks, and straggling here and there
Amongst the scatt'red cleeves, the lamb needs never fear; so
But from the threat'ning storm to save itself may creep
Into that darksome cave where once his foe did keep :
That now the clamb'ring goat all day which having fed,
And climbing up to see the sun go down to bed,
Is not at all in doubt her little kid to lose, 85

Which grazing in the vale, secure and safe she knows.

Where, from these lofty hills^ which spacious heaven do
Yet of as equal height, as thick by nature set, [threat.

We talk how we are stor'd, or what we greatly need.
Or how our flocks do fare, and how our herds do feed, 90
When else the hanging rocks, and valleys dark and deej).
The summer's longest day would us from meeting keep.

Ye Cambrian Shepherds then, Avhom these our Mountains
And ye our fellow Kymphs, ye light Oreadts,* [please,

Saint Ilekn's wondrous way, and Herbert's, let us go, 95

And our divided liocks with admiration show.

Not meaning there to end, but speaking as they were,
A sudden fearful noise surprised every ear.
The Water-Nymphs (not far) Liii-Teyed that frequent.
With brows besmear'd with ooze, their locks with de w bes2)rent,

^ The wondrous Mountains in ^erionethshir .
* KymijliB of the Mountains.


Inhabiting the Lake, in sedgy bow'rs belovr, im

Their inward grounded grief that only sought to show
Against the Mountain-kind, which much on them did take
Above their wat'ry brood, thus proudly them bespake :

Tell us, ye haughty Hills, why vainly thus you threat, los
Esteeming us so mean, compar'd to yoti so great.
To make you know yourselves, you tliis must understand,
That our great Maker laid the surface of the Land,
§ As level as the Lake until the general Flood,
When over all so long the troubled waters stood : no

Which, hurried with the blasts from angry heaven that blew.
Upon huge massy heaps the loosened gravel threw :
From hence we would ye know, your first beginning came.
Which, since, in tract of time, yourselves did Mountains name.
So that the earth, by you (to check her mirthful cheer) 115
May always see (from heaven) those plagues that pour(^d were
Upon the former world ; as 't were by scars to show
That still she must remain disfigur'd with the blow :
And by th' infectious slime that doomful Deluge left,
Nature herself hath since of purity been reft ; 120

And by the seeds corrupt, the life of mortal man
Was short'ned. With these plagues ye Mountains first began.

But, ceasing you to shame, What Mountain is there found
In all your monstrous kind (seek ye the Island round)
That truly of himself such wonders can report 125

As can this spacious Lin, the place of our resort 1
That when Dee in his course fain in her lap would lie,
Commixtion with her store his stream she doth deny.
By his complexion prov'd, as he through her doth glide.^
Her wealth again from his, she likewise doth divide : 130
Those White-fish that in her do wondrously abound,
Are never seen in him ; nor are his Salmons found
At any time in her : but as she him disdains,

^ The wonders of L'm-teged, or Pembh-mere.


So he again, from her as wilfully abstains. [that fall,

Down from the neighbouring Hills, those plenteous Springs
Nor Land-floods after rain, her never move at all. i36

And as in summer's heat, so always is she one,
Resembling that great Lake which seems to care for none :
§ And with stern JEolus blasts, like Thetis waxing rank,
She only over-swells the surface of her bank. i40

But, whilst the Nymphs report these wonders of their
Their further cause of speech the mighty Snoicdon^ brake ;
Least, if their wat'ry kind should suff'red be too long,
The licence that they took might do the Mountains wrong.
For quickly he had found that strait'ned Point of Land, 145
Lito the Irish Sea which puts his pow'rful hand,
Puff'd with their wat'ry praise, grew insolently proud.
And needs would have his Rills for Rivers be allow'd ;
Short Darent, near'st unto the utmost point of all
That th' Isle of Gelin greets, and Banlsey in her fall ; iso
And next to her, the Sawe, the Gir, the Er, the May,
Must Rivers be at least, should all the world gainsay:
And those, whereas the land lies Eastward, amply wide,
That goodly Conway grace upon the other side,
Born near upon her banks, each from her proper Lin, 155
Soon from their Mothers out, soon with their Mistress in.
As Ledder, her ally, and neighbour Ler/tcy; then
Goes Purloyd, Castell next, with GiJ/in, that again
Observe fair Conway's course: and though their race be short,
Yet they their Sovereign Flood inrich with their resort, leo
And Siancdon, more than this, his proper mere did note
(§ Still Dclos-like, wherein a wand'ring isle doth float)
Was peremptory grown upon his higher ground ;
That Pool, in which (besides) the one-eyed fish are found,
As of lier wonder proud, did with the Floods partake.- 105

' The most famous ^fountain of all Wales, in CamarvanMre.
2 The wonders upou the Snuwdoit.


So, when great Siiowdon saw, a faction tliey would make
Against his general kind ; both parties to appease,
He purposeth to sing their native Princes' praise.
For SiMwdomj, a Hill, imperial in his seat.
Is from his mighty foot unto his head so great, ito

That were his IFaks distrest, or of his help had need,
He all her flocks and herds for many months could feed.^
Therefore to do some thing were worthy of his name.
Both tending to his strengtli, and to the Britaiis' fame,
His Country to content, a signal having made, it5

By this oration thinks both parties to persuade ;

Whilst here this general Isle, the ancient Britans ow'd.
Their valiant deeds before by Severne have been show'd :
But, since our furious foe, these pow'rful Saxon swarms
(As merciless in spoil, as well approv'd in arms) iso

Here called to our aid, Lo'egria us bereft,
Those poor and scatt'red few of Bratts high linage left,
For succour hither came ; where that unmixed race
Remains unto this day, yet owners of this place :
Of whom no Flood nor Hill peculiarly hath song. iS5

These, then, shall be my theme; lest Time too much should

Such Princes as were ours, since sever'd we have been ;
And as themselves, their fame be limited between
The Severm and our Sea, long pent within this place,
§ Till with the term of JVehh, the English now embase 190
The nobler Britans' name, that well-near was destroy'd
With pestilence and war, which this great Isle annoy'd ;
Cad trail ader that drave to the Armor ic shore :
To which, dread Conan, Lord of Denbigh, long before.
His countrymen from hence auspiciously convey 'd : iti5.

Whose noble feats in war, and never-failing aid,

^ The glory of Snowdon-hill.


Got Maximus (at length) the victory in Gaul,
Upon the Roman Powers. Where, after Gratian's fall,
Armorica to them the valiant Victor gave :
Where Conan, their great Lord, as full of courage, drave 200
The Cells out of their seats, and did their room supply
With people still from hence ; which of our Colony
§ Was Little Bnlain call'd. Where that distressed King,
Ciulwallader, himself awhile recomforting
With hope of Alan's aid (which there did him detain) 205
§ Forewarned was in dreams, that of the Britan^ reign
A sempiternal end the angry Powers decreed,
A recluse life in Home injoining him to lead.
The King resigning all, his son young Edu-all left
With Alan: who, much griev'd the Prince should be bereft
Of Britain's ancient right, rigg'd his unconquer'd fleet ; 211
And as the Generals then, for such an army meet,
His Nephew Ivor chose, and Hiner for his pheere ;
Two most undaunted spirits. These valiant Britans were
The first who JKest-sci^ won. But by the ling'ring war, 215
When they those Samns found t' have succour still from l;tr.
They took them to their friends on Severne's setting shore :
Where finding Edwall dead, they purpos'd to restore
His son young Bodorick, whom the Saocou Powers pursu'd :
But he, who at his home here scorn'd to be subdu'd, 220
With Aldred (that on //'rr/cs his strong invasion brought)
(larlhmaluck, and Feucoyd (those famous battles) fought.
That Noiih and SoniJi-irales sing, on the West-Sexians won.
Scarce this victorious task his bloodied sword had done.
But at Mount Canw^ met the Mercians, and with wounds 225
Made Ethdhuld to feel his trespass on our bounds ;
Prevail'd against the Pid, before our force that flew ;
And in a valiant fight their King Dalargan slew.

* The Wrtit-Saxom' country, comprehending Devomhire, Somerset^
WVtxlurc, and their adjacents.
^ A hill near Abcr-(javcnuij in Al onmouth.


Nor Conan's courage less, nor less prevail'd in ought
Renowned RodoricMs lieir, who with the English fought 230
The Herefordlcm Field ; as Ruthlands red with gore :
Who, to transfer the war from this his native shore,
March'd through the Mercian Towns with his revengeful

blade ;
And on the English there such mighty havock made,
That Offa (when he saw his Countries go to wrack) 235

From bick'ring with his folk, to keep us Britans back.
Cast up that mighty Mound of eighty miles in length,^
Athwart from sea to sea. Which of the Mercians' strength
A witness though it stand, and Offa's name do bear,
Our courage was the cause why first he cut it there : 240
As that most dreadful day at Gavelfard can tell,
Where under either's sword so many thousands fell
With intermix(§d blood, that neither knew their own ;
Nor which went victor thence, unto this day is known. '

Nor Kettle's conflict then, less martial courage show'd, 245
Where valiant Mervin met the Mercians, and bestow'd
His nobler British blood on Burthred's recreant flight.

As Rodorick his great son, his father following right.
Bare not the Saxons' scorns, his Britans to out-brave ;
At Gwijthen, but again to Burthred battle gave ; 250

Twice driving out the Bane when he invasion brought.
Whose no less valiant son, again at Conway fought
With Dams and Mercians mix'd, and on their hateful head
Down-show'r'd their dire revenge whom they had murther«5d.

And, were 't not that of us the English would report 255
(Abusing of our Tongue in most malicious sort
As often-tiraes they do) that more than any, we
(The Welsh, as they us term) love glorified to be,
Here could I else recount the slauglit'red Saxons' gore
Our swords at Crosford spilt on Sever ne's wand'ring shore; 200

1 Ofa's Ditch.


And Giiffifh here produce, LewelUn's valiant son
{May we believe our Bards) who five pitch'd battles won ;
And to revenge the wrongs the envious Ewjllsh wrought,
His well-train'd martial troops into the IMarches brought
As far as fFor'stcr walls : nor thence did he retire, 265

Till Poivse lay well-near spent in our revengeful fire ;
As Hereford laid waste : and from their plenteous soils,
Brought back with him to JFuh's his prisoners and his spoils.

Thus as we valiant were, Avhen valour might us steed,
With those so much that dar'd, we had them that decreed.
For, what Mulmutian laws, or Martian, ever were an

§ INIore excellent than those which our good Hoicell here
Ordain'd to govern JFales ? which still with us remain.

And when all-powerful Fate had brought to pass again,
That as the Sa.wns erst did from the Britans win ; 275

Upon them so (at last) the Nm-mans coming in,
Took from those Tyrants here, what treach'rously they got,
(To the perfidious French, which th' angry heavens allot)
Ne'er could that Conqueror's sword (which roughly did decide
His right in EiKjland liere, and prostrated her pride) 2so
§ Us to subjection stoop, or make us Brllans bear
Th' unwieldy Norman yoke : nor basely could we fear
His Conquest, ent'ring Wales; but (with stout courage) ours
Defied him to his face, with all his Englhh Pow'rs.

And when in his revenge, proud Biifus hither came 285
(With vows) us to sulivert ; with slaughter and with shame.
O'er Sever/ie him we sent, to gather stronger aid.

So, ^hen to England's power, Alhanht hers had laid.
By Henry Beaudarke brought (for all his devilish wit,
By which he raught the AVreath) he not prevail'd a whit: 2no
And through our rugged straits when he so rudely prest.
Had not his proved mail sate surely to his breast,
A skilful British hand his life had him bereft,
As his stern brother's heart by Tirrill's hand was cleft.


And let the English thus which vilify our name, 295

If it their greatness please, report unto our shame
The foil our Givyneth gave, at Frmfs so deadly fight,
To Maud the Empress' son, that there he put to flight ;
§ And from the pow'r th' imperial ensign took :
About his plumed head which valiant Oiveii shook. soo

As when that King again, his fortune to advance
Above his former foil, procur'd fresh powers from France,
A surely-levell'd shaft if Sent-ckare had not seen,
And in the very loose not thrust himself between
His Sovereign and the shaft, he our revenge had tried : 305
Thus, to preserve the King, the noble subject died.

As Madock his brave son, may come the rest among ;
Who, like the God-like race from which his grandsires

Whilst here his brothers tir'd in sad domestic strife,
On their unnatural breasts bent either's murtherous knife ;
This brave adventurous youth, in hot pursuit of fame, 311
With such as his great spirit did with high deeds inflame,
Put forth his well-rigg'd fleet to seek him foreign ground, j
And sailed West so long, until that world he found
To Christians then unknown (save this adventurous crew)
Long ere Colujithns liv'd, or it Fesputius knew ; 316

And put the now-nam'd IP^ehh on India s parched face,
Unto the endless praise of Brute's renowned race.
Ere the Iberian Powers had touch'd her long-sought Bay,
§ Or any ear had heard the sound of Florida. 320

§ And with that Croggcus name let th' English us disgrace;
When there are to be seen, yet, in that ancient place
From whence that name they fetch, their concjuer'd grand-
sires' graves :
For which each ignorant sot unjustly us depraves.

And when that Tyrant John had our subversion vow'd, 325
§ To his unbridled will our necks we never bow'd :


Nor to his mighty son ; whose host we did inforce
(His succours cutting off) to eat their warlike horse.

Until all-ruling Heaven would have us to resign :
When that brave Prince, the last of all the British Line, 330
Lewellin, Griffith's son, unluckily was slain,
§ As Fate had spar'd our fall till Edward Longshanks' reign.
Yet to the stock of Brute so true we ever were,
We would permit no Prince, unless a native here.
Which, that most prudent King perceiving, wisely thought
To satisfy our wills, and to Carnarvan brought aso

His Queen being great with child, ev'n ready down to lie ;
Then to his purpos'd end doth all his powers apply.

Through ev'ry part of JVales he to the Nobles sent,
That they unto his Court sliould come incontinent, 340

Of things that much concern'd the Country to debate :
But now behold the power of unavoided Fate.

When thus unto his will he fitly tliem had won.
At her expected hour the Queen brought forth a son.
And to this great design, all happ'ning as he would, 345
He (his intended course that clerkly manage could)
Thus quaintly trains us on : Since he perceiv'd us prone
Here only to be rul'd by Princes of our own.
Our naturalness therein he greatly did approve -^
And publicly protests, that for the ancient love 3:;o

He ever bare to Wales, they all should i)lainly see.
That he had found out one, their sovereign Lord to be ;
Com'n of the race of Kings, and (in their Country born)
Could not one English word : of which he durst be sworn.
Besides, his upright heart, and innocence was such, 355

As that (he was assur'd) black Envy could not touch
His spotless life in ought. Poor Ave (that not espy
His subtlety herein) in plain simplicity

^ A King both valiant and politic.


Soon bound ourselves by oath, his choice not to refuse :
When as that crafty King his little child doth choose, 36o
Young Edward, born in IFales, and of Carnarvan call'd.
Thus by the English craft, we Britans were enthrall'd :

Yet in thine own behalf, dear Country dare to say,
Thou long as powerful wert as Eiujland every way.
And if she overmuch should seek thee to imbase, sas

Tell her thou art the Nurse of all the British race j
And he that was by heaven appointed to unite
(After that tedious war) the Eed Rose and the AYhite,
A Tudor was of thine, and native of thy Mon,
From Avhom descends that King now sitting on her Throne.

This speech, by Siiowduii made, so lucky was to please 371
Both parties, and them both with such content t' appease,
That as before they strove for sovereignty and place,
They only now contend, Avhich most should other grace.

Into the Irish Sea, then all those Eills that ron, 375

In Snoivdou's praise to speak, immediately begon ;
Lewenny, Lijnart next, then Givdhj gave it out,
And Kerriog her compeer soon told it all about :
So did their sister-Nymphs, that into Me7ia strain •
The Flood that doth divide Hon from the Cambrian Main, sso
It Gorwaij greatly prais'd, and Seint it loudly song.
So, mighty Suowdou's speech was through Carnarvan rong ;
That scarcely such a noise to 3Ioii from Menu came,
When with his puissant troops for conquest of the same.
On bridges made of boats, the Roman Powers her sought, ass
Or Edward to her sack his English armies brought :
That Mona strangely stirr'd great Snowdon's praise to hear,
Although the stock of Tro;/ to her was ever dear ;
Yet (from her proper worth) as she before all other
§ Was call'd (in former times) her Country Cambria's mother.
Persuaded was thereby her praises to pursue, syi

Or by neglect, to lose what to herself was due,


A sign to Neptune sent, his boist'rous rage to slake ;
Which suddenly becalm'd, thus of herself she spake :

What one of all the Isles to Cambria doth belong 395

(To Britain, I might say, and yet not do her wrong)
Doth equal me in soil, so good for grass and grain 1
As should my JVales (where still Brute's offspring doth remain)
That mighty store of men, yet more of beasts doth breed.
By famine or by war constrained be to need, 400

And England's neighhonring Shires their succour would deny;
My only self her wants could plenteously supply.

What Island is there found upon the Irish coast,
In which that Kingdom seems to be delighted most
(And seek you all along the rough' Vergivian shore, 4or,

Where the incount'ring tides outrageously do roar)
That bows not at my beck, as they to me did owe
The duty subjects sliould unto their Sovereign show?
§ So that th' Euhonian Man, a kingdom long time known,
AVhich wisely hath been rul'd by Princes of her own, 410
In my alliance joys, as in th' Albanian Seas
The Arrans,'^ and by them the scatt'red Eubidcs,^
Eejoice even at my name ; and put on mirthful cheer.
When of my good estate, they by the Sea-Nymphs hear.

Sometimes within my shades, in many an ancient wood,
Whose often-twint^d tops great Fhcebus' fires withstood, 410
§ The fearless British Priests, under an aged oak,
Taking a milk-white bull, unstrained with the yoke,
And with an axe of gold from that ./(«'c'-sacred tree

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Online LibraryMichael DraytonThe complete works of Michael Drayton, now first collected (Volume 2) → online text (page 1 of 21)