Michael Drayton.

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

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Yet quite he puts her down for his aboundant store.
A match so fit as he, contenting to her mind,
Few Vales (as I suppose) like Eiisham hapt to find : 240

Nor any other Wold, like Cotsivold ever sped
So fair and rich a Vale by fortuning to wed.
He hath the goodly wool, and she the wealthy grain 1
Through which they wisely seem their household to main-
He hath pure wholesome air, and dainty crystal springs. 245
To those delights of his, she daily profit brings :
As to his large expense, she multiplies her heaps :
Nor can his flocks devour th' aboundance that she reaps ;
As th' one with what it hath, the other strove to grace.

And, now that everything may m the proper place 250
Most aptly be contriv'd, the sheep our Wold doth breed
(The simplest though it seem) shall our description need.
And shepherd-like, the Muse thus of that kind doth speak ;
No brown, nor sullied black the face or legs doth streak,
Like those of Moreland, Cank, or of the Cambria 11, Hills 255
That lightly laden are : but Cotsivold wisely fills
Her with the whitest kind : whose brows so Avoolly be,
As men in her fair sheep no emptiness should see.
The staple deep and thick, through, to tlie very grain,
Most strongly keepeth out the violentest rain : 260

A body long and large, the buttocks equal broad ;
As fit to undergo the full and weighty load.
And of the fleecy face, the flank doth nothing lack,
But everywhere is stor'd 3 the belly, as the back.
The fair and goodly flock, the shepherd's only pride, 2C5
As white as winter's snow, when from the river's side
He drives his new-wash'd sheep ; or on the Shearing-day,
When as the lusty ram, with those rich spoils of May


His crooked horns hath crown'd ; the bell-wether, so brave
As none in all the flock they like themselves would have. 270

But Muse, return to tell, how there the Shepherds' King,
Whose flock hath chanc'd that year the earliest lamb to

In his gay bauldric sits at his low grassy board, [stor'd :
With flawns, curds, clouted-cream, and country dainties
And, whilst the bag-pipe plays, each lusty jocund swain 2:5
Quaff"s sillibubs in cans, to all upon the Plain,
And to their country-girls, whose nosegays they do wear,
Some roundelays do sing : the rest, the burthen bear.

But Cotsivold,^ be this spoke to th' only praise of thee,
That thou of all the rest, the chosen soil should'st be, 280
Fair Isis to bring forth (the Mother of great Tames)
With those delicious Brooks, by whose immortal streams,
Her greatness is begun : so that our Rivers' King,
When he his long descent shall from his bel-sires bring.
Must needs (Great Pastures' Prince) derive his stem by thee.
From kingly Cotsv-okVs self, sprung of the third degree : 286
As th' old world's Heroes wont, that in the times of yore,
On Neptune, Jove, and Mars, themselves so highly bore.

But eas'ly from her source as Isis gently dades ;
Unto her present aid, down through the deei)er slades, 290
The nimbler-footed CJmrne, by Cissder doth slide ;
And first at GreeJdade gets pre-eminence, to guide
Queen Isis on her way, ere she receive her train.
Clear Colne, and lively Leech, so down from Cotswold's Plain,
At Leechlade linking hands, come likewise to support 295
The Mother of great Tames. When, seeing the resort.
From Colsicold IVbidrush scours ; and with herself doth cast
The train to overtake, and therefore hies her fast
Through the Oxf(yrdian fields ; when (as the last of all
Those Floods, that into Tames out of our Cotsicold fall, 300

* The fountain of Thames, rising in th« South of Cotswold,


And farth'st unto tlie North) bright Eiiload forth doth bear.
For, though it had been long, at length she came to hear
That Im was to Tame in Avedlock to be tied ;
And therefore she prepar'd t' attend upon the Bride ;
Expecting, at the feast, past ordinary grace. 305

And being near of kin to that most spring- full place,
Where out of Blocldey's banks so many Fountains flow,
That clean throughout his soil proud Coisicold cannot show
The like : as though from far, his long and many Hills,
There emptied all theii- veins, wherewith those Founts he

fills, 310

Which in the greatest drought so brimfull still do float,
Sent through the lifted rocks with such an open throat,
As though the cleeves consuni'd in humour ; they alone,
So crystalline and cold, as hard'neth stick to stone.

But whilst this while we talk, the fardivulged fame 315
Of this great Bridal tow'rd, in PImbus' mighty name
Doth bid the Muse make haste, and to the Bride-house

speed ;
Of her attendance there least they should stand in need.


OMEWHAT retu'rninfT now near the way you de-
scended from the Northern parts, the Muse leads
you through that part of iForcestershire, which is
on this side Severn, and the neighbouring Sfafford,
viewing also Coficsicold, and so Glocester. Tlie fictions of
this Song are not so covert, nor the allusions so difficult,
but that I presume your conceit, for the most part, willingly
discharges my labour.

i7fi. And oft her cares repressed icitk her dolicmis wines.

In this tract of Glocesfershire (where to this day many
places are styled Vineyards) was of ancient time among
other fruits of a fertile soil, great store of vines, and more
than in any other place of the Kingdom. Now in many
parts of this realm we have some : but what comes of
them in the press is scarce worth respect. Long since, the
Emperor Probus,^ Gallis omnibus el Iliqninis ac lintannis per-
misit ut viles haberent vinumque conjicerent :* but Tacitus,^
before that, speaking of this Island, commends it with
Solum pnceter oleam vitemqiie et catera calidioribus terris oriri

^ Flav. Vopiscua in ejusd. vitil.

* I'emiittcil Vines to the Gauls, SpanlanlK, and Britonit, and leave
to uiiikc Wines. '' In Jul. Aj^iiwoltt.


sueta, patlens fru/jum, fcecundum* Long since Probus, Eng-
land had its vineyards also, and some store of wine, as
appears by that in SomcsUaw, Unus el Parous et VI. Ar-
penni Vinece (that is between five and six acres ; arpent in
French signifying a content of ground of one hundred rods
square, every rod eighteen feet) d reddit XX. modios vini si
benb proceditjf being recorded of a place^ by Balegh in Essex.
This was under JVUUam I. : and since him in time of Hen.
1.2 much wine was made here in Gloccsfershire. That now
the Isle enjoys not frequency of this benefit, as in old time,
whether it be through the soil's' old age, and so like a
woman growing sterile (as^ in another kind TremeU'ms many
hundred years since thought) or by reason of the earth's
change of place, as upon diff'erence in astronomical obser-
vation Stadius guessed, or that some part of singular in-
fluence, whereon Astrology hangs most of inferior qualities,
is altered by that slow course (yet of great power in altera-
tion of Heaven's System) of the eighth Sphere (or prsecession
of the Equinoctial) or by reason of industry wanting in the
husbandman, I leave it to others* examination.

177. sliU falling Souihicard leaves.

He alludes to the difference of the Zodiac's obliquity from
what it was of old. For, in Ptolemijs time about 1460
years since the utmost declination of the sun in the first of
Cancer (where she is nearest to our vertical point) was 23
Gr. and about 52 Minut. since that, Alhatcgni (about Char-
lemaine's time) observed it some 15 Scruples less :, after him
(near 1000th year of Christ) Arzachel found it 23 Gr. 34 Scr.,

* A soil fruitful enough, except of olives and vines, which are for
hotter climates.

t One park and six arpens of vineyard, and brings forth some
twenty tirkius of wine, if the year prove well.

^ Camd. in Trinobantihus. - Malmesb. de Pontificura Gestis, 4.

' Ap. Columell. de i-e Rustic. 2. cap. 1.

VOL. II. 12


and in this later age John of Conkjshurg and Cfrpernicus^
brought it to 23 Gr. 28 Scrup., which concords also with
the Fnifeuic accompt, and as many as thence traduce their
Ephemerides. So that (by this calculation) about 24 minutes
the sun comes not now so near our Zenith, as it did in
Ptolemy's time. But in truth (for in these things I accompt
that truth, which is warranted by most accurate observa-
tion ; and those learned mathematicians, by omitting of
parallax and refractions, deceived themselves and poste-
rity) the declination in this age is 23 Gr. 31i Scrup. as
that noble Dane, and most honoured restorer of astrono-
mical motions, Tijcho Brake, hath taught us: which, although
it be greater than that of Copernicus and his followers, yet
is much less than what is in Ptolemy; and by two scruples
different from Arzuchers, so justifying the Author's conceit,
supposing the cause of our climate's not now producing
wines, to be the sun's declination from us, which for every
scruple answers in earth, about one of our miles ; but a far
more large distance in the celestial globe. I can as well
maintain this high-fetched cause, being upon difference of
so few minutes in one of the slowest motions, and we see
that greatest effects are always attributed to them, as upon
the old conceit of the Plutonic year, abridged into near his
half by Copernicus, those consequents foretold upon the
change of eccentrics^ out of one sign into another, the Equi-
noctial prsecession, and such like ; as others may their con-
version of a planet's state into Fortunafc, Oppred, or Coin-
hust, by measuring or missing their IG Scruples of Cazimi,
their Orhes moities, and such curiosities. Neither can you
salve the effect of this declination by the sun's much nearer

1 Cniieinic. Tie. 3. ca]). .3.

' Cardan, ad 2. 'J'otraljii)!. ct de Varictat. Rav. 2. qui |)ro]ihaiii' ni-
miiim, a itiotilms octav;u kij[jli.L'ne, iiis facilioet (juos circa 1800 cuiitra-
rio velut fieri iuodo suppoiiit sacrosanctu; lleligiouis mutatioucm in-
ej/l6 himul et iiiipii praidixit, ct hujus generis sexcenta.


approach to the earth, upon that decrease of his eccentricity
which Copernicus and his followers have [)ul:)]ished. For,
admitting that were true, yet judicial astrology relies more
upon aspect and beams falling on us with angles (which are
much altered by this change of obliquity in the Zodiac) than
distance of every singular star from the earth. But indeed,
upon mistaking the pole's altitude, and other error in ob-
servation, Copernicus* was deceived, and in this present age
the sun's eccentricity (in Ptolemy, being the 24th of the
eccentric's semidiameter, divided into GO) hath been found^
between the 27th and 28th P. which is far greater than that
in Copernicus, erroneously making it but near the 31st. But
this is too heavenly a language for the common reader;
and perhaps too late I leave it.

• Cui, hoc nomine, gravit^r minitatus est Jul. Scalig. Exercitat.^
90. sect. 2.

^ Tycho Bralie in Progymnasm.




The Argument.

The guests here to the Bride-house hie.

The goodly Vale of Alsbury

Sets her son (Tame) forth^ brave as May,

Upon the joyful Wedding-day :

Who deck'd up, tow'rd's his Bride is gone.

So lovely Isis coming on,

At Oxford all the Muses meet her.

And with a Prothalamion greet her.

The Nymplis are in the Bridal Bowers,

Some strowing sweets, some sorting flowers '

Wltere lusty Charwell himself raises.

And sings of Rivers, and their j)raises.

Then Tames his way toio'rd Windsor tends.

Thus, with the Song, the Marriage ends.

OW Fame had through this Isle divulg'd, in every
The long-expected day of Marriage to be near,
That Isis, CotwokVs heir, long woo'd was lastly won,
And instantly should wed with Tame,^ old Chiltcrn's son.

* Tajne, arising in the Vale of AUhury, at the foot of the Chillem.


And now that "Wood-mans wife, the mother of the Flood, 5
The rich and goodly Vale of Ahhury, that stood
So much upon her Tame, was busied in her bowers,
Preparing for her son, as many suits of flowers.
As Cotsivokl for the Bride, his Isis, lately made ;
AVho for the lovely Tame, her Bridegroom, only stay'd. lo

Whilst every crystal Flood is to this business prest,
The cause of their great speed and many thus request :
O ! whither go ye Floods? what sudden wind doth blow,
Than other of your kind, that you so fast should flow ?
AVhat business is in hand, that spurs you thus away 1 is
Fair Windrnsh let me hear, I pray thee CharweU say :
They suddenly reply, What lets you should not see
That for this Nuptial feast we all prepared be 1
Therefore this idle chat our ears doth but ofi'end :
Our leisure serves not now these trifles to attend. 20

But whilst things are in hand, old Chiltcnt (for his life)
From prodigal expense can no way keep his wife ;
Who feeds her Tame with marl, in cordial-wise prepar'd,
And thinks all idly spent, that now she only spar'd
In setting forth her son : nor can she think it well, 25

Unless her lavish charge do CotsicokVs far excell.
For, Alsbury's a Vale* that walloweth in her wealth,
And (by her wholesome air continually in health)
Is lusty, frim, and fat, and holds her youthful strength.
Besides her fruitful earth, her mighty breadth and length, 30
Doth CluUern fitly match : which mountainously high.
And being very long, so likewise she doth lie ;
From the Bedfcn-dian fields, where first she doth begin,
To fashion like a Vale, to th' place where Tuine doth win
His his' Avish6d bed ; her soil throughout so sure, ss

For goodness of her glebe, and for her pasture pure,

' The richness of the Vale of Altshury.


That as her grain and grass, so she her sheep doth breed,
For burthen and for bone all other that exceed :
And she, wiiich tlius in wealth aboundantly doth flow,
Now cares not on her Child what cost she do bestow. 4o
Which when wise ChlUern saw (the world who long had

Ar.d now at last had laid all garish pomp aside :
Whose hoar and chalky head descry'd him to be old,
His beechen woods bereft^ that kept him from the cold)
Would fain persuade the Vale to hold a steady rate ; 45

Avid with his curious wife, thus wisely doth debate :

Quoth he, you might allow what needeth, to the most :
But where as less will serve, what means this idle cost !
Too much, a surfeit breeds, and may our Child annoy :
These fat and luscious meats do but our stomachs cloy. 50'
The modest comely mean, in all things likes the wise.
Apparel often shews us womanish precise,
xind what will Cotmold think when he shall hear of this ?
He'll rather blame your waste, than praise your cost, I wiss.

But, women wilful be, and she her will must have, 55
Nor cares how Chilfeni chides, so that her Tame be brave.
Alone which tow'rds his Love she eas'ly doth convey :
For the Oxonian Ouze^ was lately sent away
From Buckingham, where first he finds his nimbler feet ;
Tow'rds Whlttleioood then takes ; where, past the noblest
Street,* 60

He to the Forest gives his farewell, and doth keep
His course directly down into the German Deep,
To publish that great day in mighty Neptim^e's Hall,
That all the Sea-gods there might keep it festivall.

As we have told how Ta7ne holds on his even course, 65
Eeturn we to report, how Isis from her source

^ The C/t(7^'?vi-country hoginning also to want wood.

^ That Ouze arising nuar Brackki/, ruuniiig into the GennanSe&.

* ii'uiiiiKj


Comes tripping with delight, down from her daintier

springs ;
And in her princely train, t'attend her Marriage, brings
Clear Churnet, Colne, and Leeeh,^ which first she did retain,
With IFindrush: and with her (all outrage to restrain "o
Which well might off'red be to Ms as she went)
Came Yenload with a guard of Satyrs^ which were sent
From JFhicJnvoocl, to await the bright and god-like Dame.
►So, Bernivood did bequeath his Satyrs to the Tdinc,
For sticklers in those stirs that at the Feast should be. 75

These preparations great when Charwell comes to see,
To Oxford got before, to entertain the Flood,
Apollo's aid he begs, with all his sacred brood,
To that most learned place to welcome her repair.
Who in her coming on, was wax'd so wondrous fair, so

That meeting, strife arose betwixt them, whether they
Her beauty should extol, or she admire their bay.^
On whom their several gifts (to amplify her dower)
The Muses there bestow ; which ever have the power
Immortal her to make. And as she pass'd along, ss

Those modest Thcsjmm Maids^ thus to their his song :

Ye Daughters of the Hills, come down from every side,
And due attendance give upon the lovely Bride :
Go strew the paths with flowers by which she is to pass.
For be ye thus assur'd, in Albim never was 90

A beauty (yet) like hers : where have ye ever seen
So absolute a Nymph in all things, for a Queen ?
Give instantly in charge the day be Avondruus fair,
That no disorder'd blast attempt her braided hair. ,
Go, see lier state prepar'd, and every thing be fit, 95

The Bride-chamber adorn'd with all beseeming it.

* Rivers arising in Colsivokl, spoke of in tlio former Song.
' Laurel for karuLuL'. ^ The Musea.


And for the princely Groom, who ever yet could name

A Flood that is so fit for Ms as the Tame ?

Ye both so lovely are, that knowledge scarce can tell,

For feature whether he, or beauty she excell : loo

That ravished with joy each other to behold,

When as your crystal waists you closely do enfold,

Betwixt your beauteous selves you shall beget a Son,

That when your lives shall end, in him shall be begun.

The pleasant Surryan shores shall in that Flood delight, io5

And Kent esteem herself most happy in his sight.

The Shire that London loves, shall only him prefer,

And give full many a gift to hold him near to her.

The Skeld, the goodly Mose, the rich and viny Ehine,^

Shall come to meet the Thames in Neptune's wat'ry plain, tto

And all the Belgian Streams and neighbouring Floods of

Of him shall stand in awe, his tributaries all.

As of fair Isis thus, the learned Virgins spake,
A shrill and sudden bruit this ProtJtalamian^ brake ;
That JFhite-ho^'se, for the love she bare to her ally, lis

And honour''d sister Vale, the bounteous Alsbunj,
Sent presents to the Tame, by Ock her only Flood,
Which for his Mother Vale, so much on greatness stood.

From Oxford, Isis hastes more speedily, to see
That River like his birth might entertained be : ' 120

For, that ambitions Vale, still striving to command,
And using for her place continually to stand,
Proud JFhite-horse to persuade, much business there hath

T' acknowledge that great Vale of EusJumi for her Queen.

^ They all three, rivers of greatest note in the Lower Germany,
cast themselves into the ocean, in the coast opposite to the mouth of

'' Marriage Song.


And but that Evsham is so opulent and great, 125

That thereby she herself holds in the sovereign seat,

This Wldte-lwrse^ all the Vales of Britain would o'erbear,

And absolutely sit in the imperial Chair ;

And boasts as goodly herds, and numerous flocks to feed ;

To have as soft a glebe, as good increase of seed ; i30

As pure and fresh an air upon her face to flow,

As Eusham for her life : and from her Steed doth shoAV,

Her lusty rising Downs, as fair a prospect take

As that imperious Wold*: which her great Queen doth make

So wondrously admir'd, and her so far extend. i3d

But, to the Marriage, hence, industrious Muse descend.

The Naiads, and the Nymphs extremely overjoy'd,
And on the winding banks all busily imploy'd,
Upon this joyful day, some dainty chaplets twine :
Some others chosen out, with fingers neat and fine, 140

Brave anadems^ do make : some bauldricks up do bind :
Some garlands : and to some, the nosegays were assign'd ;
As best their skill did serve. But, for that Tame should be
Still man-like as himself, therefore they will that he
Shall not be drest with flowers, to gardens that belong, 145
(His Bride that better fit) but only such as sprong
From the replenish'd meads, and fruitful pastures near.
To sort which flowers, some sit ; some making garlands

were ;
The Primrose^ placing first, because that in the spring
It is the first appears, then only flourishing ; i5o

The azur'd Hare-bell next, with them, they neatly mixt :
T' allay whose luscious smell, they WoodUnd plac'd betwixt.
Amongst those things of scent, there prick they in the LUhj,
And near to that again, her sister Dajjadillij.

' IVhUe-horKC strivcth for sovereignty w itli all the Vales of Britain.
* Cotsirold. • Crowns of llowcrs.

'^ Flowers of the meadows and pastures.


To sort these flowers of show, with th' other that were
sweet, 155

The Cowslip then they couch, and th' Oxslip, for her meet :
The Cohcmbine amongst tliey sj^aringly do set,
The yellow King-cup, wrought in many a curious fret,
And now and then among, of Eglantine a spray.
By which again a course of Laibj-smocks they lay : i60

The Croiv-flower, and tliereby the Clover-flower they stick,
The Daisy, over all those sundry sweets so thick,
As Nature doth herself; to imitate her right :
Who seems in that her pearl* so greatly to delight,
That every Plain therewith she powd'reth to behold : i65
The crimson Darnell Flower, the Blue-bottle, and Gold :
Which though esteem'd but weeds ; yet for their dainty hues,
And for their scent not ill, they for this purpose choose.
Thus having told you how the Bridegroom Tame was
I'll show you, how the Bride, fair Isis, they invest ; iro

Sitting to be attir'd under her Bower of State,
Which scorns a meaner sort, than fits a princely rate.
In anadems for whom they curiously dispose
The Eed,^ the dainty White, the goodly Damask Rose,
For the rich Ruby, Pearl, and Amatist, men place i75

In Kings' emperial crowns, the circle that enchase.
The brave Carnation then, with sweet and sovereign power
(So of his colour call'd, although a July-flower)
With th' other of his kind, the speckled and the pale :
Then th' odoriferous Pink, that sends forth such a gale iso
Of sweetness ; yet in scents, as various as in sorts.
The purple Fiolet then, the Pa7isy there supports :
The Mary-gold above t' adorn the arched bar :
The double Daisy, Thrift, the JJutton-batcheler,
Sweet William, Sops in Wine, the Campion: and to these, isa

* Margarita is both a pearl and a daisy. ^ Flowers of gardens.


Some Lavander they put, with Rosemary and Bays :
Sweet Marjoram, with her like, sweet Basil rare for smell,
"With many a flower, whose name were now too long to tell :
And rarelj^ with the rest, the goodly Flower-delice.

Thus for the nuptial hour, all fitted point-device, loo

Whilst some still busied are in decking of the Bride,
Some others w^ere again as seriously imploy'd
In strewing of those herbs, ^ at Bridals us'd that be ;
"Which everywhere they throw with bounteous hands and free.
The healthful Bahne and 3Iint, from their full laps do fly, i96
The scent-full CamomUl, the verdurous Costmary.
They hot Muscado oft with milder Maudlin cast:
Strong Tansey, Fennell cool, they prodigally waste :
Clear hop, and therewith the comfortable Thyme,
Germander with the rest, each thing then in her prime ; 200
As well of wholesome herbs, as every pleasant flower,
Which Nature here produc'd, to fit this happy hour.
Amongst these strewing kinds, some other wild that grow,
As Burnet, all abroad, and Meadoic-uvrt they throw.

Thus all things falling out to every one's desire, 205

The ceremonies done that Marriage doth require,
The Bride and Bridegroom set, and served with sundry cates,
And every other plac'd, as fitted their estates ;
Amongst this confluence great, wise Charicell here was thought
The fitt'st to cheer the guests ; who throughly had been taught
In all that could pertain to courtship, long agon, 2u

As coming from liis sire, the fruitful Helidon,*
He travelleth to Tames ; where passing by those Towns
Of that rich Country near, whereas the mirthful clowns,
AVith taber and the pipe, on holydays do use, 215

Upon the May -pole Green, to trample out their shoes :
And having in his ears the deep and solemn rings,t

^ Strewing herbs.

* A Hill betwixt Northamptonshire and Waru'ick.

f Famous riiiga of bella in Vxfvrdehire, called the Cross-ring.


Which sound him all the way, unto the learned Springs,*
Wliere he, his Sovereign Ouze most happily doth meet,
And him, the thrice-three maids, Apollo' s offspring, greet 220
With all their sacred gifts : thus, expert being grown
In music ; and besides, a curious makert known :
This Charwell (as I said) the fitt'st these Floods among,

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Online LibraryMichael DraytonThe complete works of Michael Drayton, now first collected (Volume 2) → online text (page 13 of 21)