Michael Drayton.

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

. (page 4 of 21)
Online LibraryMichael DraytonThe complete works of Michael Drayton, now first collected (Volume 2) → online text (page 4 of 21)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Walts (as to the Seventh Song) into Fowise,
Noiih, and South-Wales.
877 Anaraiod, son to Roderic.
913 Edward Voel, son oi Ajiarawd.
940 Howel Dim, cousin-german to Edical, ha^ang,
before, the PrincipaHty oi South-lValcs and Fowis.
This is he whose Laws are so famous and in-
quired of in Rot. Claus. Wall. 9. Ed. 1. in the
948 leraf and lago, sons of Edwal Voel.
982 Iloivel a}) levaf.
984 Cadicalhoii a)) /«w/.
986 Meredith ap Ot6'e?i.
992 -fi'f/^faZ a^ Meiric.
1003 jEdan a)i Blegored.
1015 Llieivelin aji Sitsijlht.
1021 /(','/'> ai> Edical ap Majric.
1037 Gnijl'i/th ajp Lhciceliii.
1061 Hkthiii and Rhywcdlon a)i Convin.
1073 Trahaern a|) Caradoc.

1078 Grujj'ijth aji Conan. He reformed tlie /Fc/.s/i
Poets and Minstrels, and brought over others
out of Ireland to instruct the Welsh: as to the

Fourtli Song.

The 7.'oo.


Of Christ.

1137 Oicen Givineth n^ Gruffijth a)) Conan.

1169 David a^ Oicen Gwmeth. In his time, 3Iadoc
his brother discovered part of the "West Indies.

1194 LJwcelin ap lonverth a)) Ou-en Givineth.

1240 David a)i LheiveUn a)i lorwerth.

1246 Lheicelin a)) Gruff ijth a)) Lhetvelin a^ loriccrih;
the last Prince of jra/t'*' of the British blood.

1282 Edward I. conquered TTrt/es, and got the Prin-
cipality, Lheicelin then sLain; and since that
(Henry III. before gave it also to his son Prince
Edward) it hath been in the eldest sons, and
heirs-apparent of the English Crown.

But note, that after the division among Roderic Matvr's
sous, the Principality was chiefly in North-Wales, and the
rest as tributary to the Prince of that part : and for him as
supreme King of Wales, are all these deductions of time and
persons, until this last Lheicelin.


The Argument.

Tlie, serious Muse herself applies
To Merlin's ancietit prophecies.
At Dinas Emris; ivhere he shoid'd
How Fate the Britans' rule bestoiv'd.
To Conway next she turns her tale,
And sings her Cluyd's renownM Vale ;
Then of Saint Winifrid doth tell.
And all the wonders of her Well ;
Makes Dee, Bruit's history pursue :
At which, she bids her Wales Adieu.


|l WHILE thus taking breath, our way yet fair in view,
The Muse her former course doth seriously pursue.
From Penmen's^ craggy height to try her saily wings,
Herself long haA^ing batli'd in the delicious springs
(That trembling from his top through long-worn crannies
creep, 5

To spend their liquid store on the insatiate deep)
She meets with Comcay first, which lietli next at hand :
Whose precious orient pearl,- that breedeth in her sand.
Above the other Floods of Britain doth her grace :
Into the Irish Sea which making out her race, lo


Pearl in the River Coiunaij.


Supply'd by many a mere (through many several rills
Into her bosom pour'd) her plenteously she fills.
goodly River ! near unto thy sacred spring
§ Prophetic Merlin sate, when to the British King
The changes long to come, auspiciously he told. lo

Most happy were thy Nymphs, that wond'ring did behold
His graver wrinkled brow, amazed and did hear
The dreadful words he spake, that so ambiguous were.
Thrice happy Brooks, I say, that (every way about)
Tliy tributaries be : as is that Town, where-out 20

Into the sea thou fall'st, which Coiiwai/ of thy name
Perpetually is call'd, to register thy fame.
For thou, clear Conicmj, heard'st wise Merlin first relate
The Destinies' decree, of Britain's future fate ;
Which truly he foretold proud Vortiger should lose : 25

As, when him from his seat the Saxons should depose :
The forces that should here from Armoric^ arrive,
Yet far too weak from hence the enemy to drive :
And to that mighty King, which rashly undertook
A strong- wall'd tower to rear, those earthly spirits that shook
The great foundation still, in Dragons' horrid shape, 31

That dreaming Wizard told ; making the mountain gape
With his most powerful charms, to view those caverns deep ;
And from the top of Brilh* so high and wondrous steep,
Where Dinas Emris stood, show'd where the Serpents fought,
The White that tore the lied ; from whence the Prophet
wrought 86

The Britans' sad decay then shortly to ensue.

! happy ye that heard the man who all things knew
Until the general Doom, through all the world admir'd :
By whose prophetic saws ye all became inspir'd ; 40

As well the forked Neaye, that near'st her fountain springs,

' Little Britain in France. * Part of the Snowdon.


"With her beloved maid, Melandidar, that brings

Her flow, where Conway forth into the sea doth slide

(That to their JNIistress make to the DenUghian side)

As those that from the hills of proud Caniarran fall. 4.'.

This scarce the Muse had said, but Clinjd doth quickly call
Her great recourse, to come and guard her while she glide
Along the goodly Vale (which with her wealthy pride
]\Iuch beautifies her banks ; so naturally her own,
That Di/ffren Chujd by her both far and near is known) 00
^With high embattled hills that each way is enclos'd
But only on the North : and to the North dispos'd.
Fierce Boreas finds access to court the dainty Vale :
Who, whisp'ring in her ear with many a wanton tale,
Allures her to his love (his leman her to make) 55

As one that in himself much suff"reth for her sake.

The Orcades," and all those Eubides- imbrac'd
In Neptune's aged arms, to Nejjtiine seeming chaste,
Yet prostitute themselves to Boreas; who neglects
The Calidonian Downs, nor ought at all respects 60

The other inland Dales, abroad that scatt'red lie,
Some on the English earth, and some in AJhang ;
Bat, courting D;/(j'ren Clm/d, her beauty doth prefer.
Such dalliance as alone the North- wind hath with her,
Orithya^ not enjoy'd, from Thrace when he her took, en

And in his saily plumes the trembling Virgin shook :
But through the extreme love he to this Vale doth bear,
Grows jealous at the length, and mightily doth fear
Great Neptune, whom he sees to smug his horrid face :
And, fearing lest the God should so obtain her grace, vo
From the Septentrion cold, in the breem freezing air.
Where the bleak North-wind keeps, still domineering there,

^ The situation of Dijffren Chajd.

• Isles \\\)in\ the North-east aiul West of Scotland.

^ In the sixth book of Ovid's ^letaiuorph.


From Shetland straddling wide, his foot on Thnli/ sets :
Whence storming, all the vast Dcucalldon he threats,
And bears his boist'rous waves into the narrower mouth rs
Of the Vergivian Sea : where meeting, from the South,
Great Kephine's surlier tides, with their robustious shocks,
Each other shoulder up against the griesly rocks -^
As strong men when they meet, contending for the path :
But, coming near the coast where Cluyd her dwelling hath, so
The North- wind (calm become) forgets his ire to wreak,
§ And the delicious Vale thus mildly doth bespeak :

Dear Cluj/d,t\i aboundant sweets, that from thy bosom flow,
When with my active wings into the air I throw,
Those hills, whose hoary heads seem in the clouds to dwell,
Of aged become young, enamour'd with the smell stj

Of th' odoriferous flowers in thy most precious lap :
Within whose velvet leaves, when I myself enwrap.
They suffocate with scents ; that (from my native kind)
I seem some slow perfume, and not the swiftest wind. so
With joy, my DijlJren Clwjd, I see thee bravely spread.
Surveying every part, from foot up to thy head ;
Thy full and youthful breasts, which in their meadowy pride,
Are branch'd with rivery veins, meander-like that glide.
I further note in thee, more excellent than these os

(Were there a thing that more the amorous eye might i)lease)
Thyplumpand swelling womb, Avhose mellowy glebe doth bear
The yellow ripened sheaf, that bendeth with the ear.

Whilst in this sort his suit he amorously preferr'd,
Moylunnill near at hand, the North-wind overheard : loo
And, vexed at the heart, that he a jMountain great.
Which long time in his breast had felt love's kindly heat,
As one whom crystal Cluijd hatl with her beauty caught.
Is for that liiver's sake near of his wits distraught,

1 The Tides out of the North and South Seas, meetiug in S.
Geonjiis Channel.


"With inly rage to liear that Valley so extoll'd ; los

And yet that Brook whose course so batfull makes her mouLl,
And one that lends that Vale her most renowned name,
Should of her meaner far be over-gone in fame.
Wherefore, Moi/Ievennill will'd his Clui/d herself to show :
^Vho, from her native fount as proudly she doth flow, lu
Her handmaids Maniaii^ hath, aad Hespin,'^ her to bring
To Ruthin. "Whose fair seat first kindly visiting,
To lead her thence in state, Leivenny lends her source :
That when Moylevennill sees his River's great recourse,
From his intrenched toj) is pleas'd with her supplies. u:
Claweddock cometh in, and Istrad likewise hies
Unto the Queen-like Cluijd, as she to Denbigh draws :
And on the other side, from whence the ]\Iorning daws,
Down from the Flintian Hills, comes IFJieler, her to bear
To sacred Asaph's See, his hallo w'd Temple ; where 120

Fair Elioy halving won her sister Aled's power,
They entertain their Chiyd near mighty Neptune's bower :
"Who likewise is sustain'd by Senion, last that falls.
And from the Virgin's "Well doth wash old Buthland's walls.
Moylevennill with her sight that never is suffic'd, vzh

Now with excessive joy so strongly is surpris'd,
That thus he proudly spake : On the Gwynefhiun ground
(And look from East to West) what Country is there crownM
As thou Tegenia^ art 1 that, with a Vale so rich
(Cut thorough with the Cluyd, whose graces me bewitch) 1 w
The fruitfuU'st of all Wales, so long hast honour'd been :
As also by thy Spring, such wonder who dost win,
§ That naturally remote, six British miles from sea,
And rising on the firm, yet in the natural day
Twice falling, twice doth fill, in most admired wise. 1:16

When Cynthia from the East unto the South doth rise,

^ Riverets runni7ig into CJujid out of Denhh/h and Flintshire.
* Part of the \'ale called Taj-Engk, i.e., Fair England.
VOL. II. 4


That miglity Neptune flows, then strangely ebbs thy Well ;

And Avhen again he sinks, as strangely she doth swell -^

§ Yet to the sacred Fount of JFinifrid gives place ;

Of all the Cambrian Springs of such especial grace, ito

That oft the Dccian Nymphs,* as also those that keep

Amongst the coral-groves in the Vergivlan Deep,

Have left their wat'ry bowers, their secret safe retire,

To see her whom report so greatly should admire

(Whose waters to this day as perfect are and clear, 145

As her delightful eyes in their full beauties were,

A virgin while she liv'd) chaste JFinifrid : Avho chose

Before her maiden-gem she forcibly would lose.

To have her harmless life by the lewd rapter spilt :

For which, still more and more to aggravate his guilt, ijo

The liveless tears she shed, into a Fountain turn.

And, that for her alone the water should not mourn,

The pure vermilion blood, that issu'd from her veins.

Unto this very day the pearly gravel stains ;

As erst the white and red were mix(^d in her cheek. irw

And, that one part of her might be the other like,

Her hair was turn'd to moss; whose sweetness doth declare,

In liveliness of youth, the natural sweets she bare :

And of her holy life the innocence to show,

AVhatever living thing into this Well j'ou throw, 100

She strongly bears it up, not suff ring it to sink.

Besides, the wholesome use in bathing, or in drink,

Doth the diseased cure, as thereto she did leave

Her virtue with her name, that Time should not bereave.

Scarce of this tedious tale Moylercunill made an end, icj
But that the higher Yalc,'^ whose being doth ascend
Into the pleasant East, his loftier head advanc'd.
This Region, as a man that long had been intranc'd

^ A Fountain el>bing and flowing, contrary to the course of the ?ea.
* 01 Dec. * A jjlace luouuiaiuous, and somewhat inaccessible.


(Whilst thus himself to please, the mighty Mountain tells
Such farlies* of his Cluycl, and of his wondrous Wells) iro
Stood thinking what to do : lest fair Tegenia, plac'd
So admirably well, might hold herself disgrac'd
By his so barren site, being mountainous and cold,
To nothing more unlike than Di/Jfren's batfull mould ;
And in respect of her, to be accounted rude. irn

Yale, for he would not be confounded quite by Cluyd
(And for his common want, to coin some poor excuse)
Unto his proper praise, discreetly doth produce
A Valley, for a Vale, of her peculiar kind ;
In goodness, breadth, and length, though Dyffren far behind :
On this yet dare he stand, that for the natural frame, isi
§ That figure of the Cross, of which it takes the name,
Is equal Avith the best, which else excell it far :
And by the power of that most sacred Character,
Respect beyond the rest unto herself doth win. ur,

When now the sterner Dee doth instantly begin
His ampler self to show, that (down the verdant dale)
Strains, in his nobler course along the rougher Yale,
T' invite his favouring Brooks : where from that spacious lin
Through which he comes unmix'd, ^first yihcin falleth in : i>jo
And going on along, still gathering up his force,
Gets Gerroio to his aid, to hasten on his course.
With Christionefh next, comes Keriog in apace.
Out of the leaden Mines, then with her sullied face
Claiceddock casts about where Gwenroiv she may greet, 195
Till like two loving friends they under Wrcxam meet.
Then Alen makes approach (to Dee most inly dear)
Taking Tegicldog in ; who, earnest to be there,
For haste, twice under earth her crystal head doth run :
When instantly again, Dee's holiness begun, 200

* Strange things.

^ The Rivers in the East of Denbigh, falling into Dee.



By his contracted front and sterner waves, to sliow

That lie had things to speak, might profit them to know ;

A Brook, that was suppos'd much business to have seen,

AVhich had an ancient bound^ twixt lJ\des and England been,

And noted was by both to be an ominous Flood, 205

That changing of his fords, the future ill, or good,

Of either Country told ; of cither's war, or peace,

The sickness, or the health, the dearth, or the increase :

And tliat of all the Floods of Britain, he might boast

His stream in former times to have been honor'd most, 210

When as at Chester once King Edgar held his Court,

§ To whom eight lesser Kings with homage did resort :

That mighty Mercian Lord, him in his barge bestow'd,

And was by all those Kings about the river row'd.

For whicli, tlie hallow'd Dee so much upon him took. 215

And now the time was come, that this imperious Brook

Tlie long-traduced Brute determin'd to awake,

And in the Britans right thus boldly to them spake :

ye the ancient race of famous Brute that be,
§ And thou the Queen of Isles, Great Britain; why do ye 220
Your grandsire's God-like name (with a neglectful ear)
In so reproachful terms and ignominy hear,
By every one of late contemptuously disgrac'd ;
That he whom Time so long, and strongly, hath imbrac'd.
Should be rejected quite ? The reason urg6d why, 225

Is by the general foe thus answer'd by-and-by :
Tliat Brutus, as you say, by sea who hither came.
From whom you would suppose tliis Isle first took the name.
Merely fictitious is ; nor could the liornans hear
(Most studious of the truth, and near'st those times that
were) 230

Of any such as he : nay, they who most do strive,
From that great stock of Troy their linage to derive,
^ See to the Ei^'htli Song.


In all the large descent of lulus, never found

That Bnite, on whom we might our first beginning ground.

To this assertion, thus I faithfully reply ; 235

And as a friend to truth, do constantly deny
Antiquity to them, as nearer to those times.
Their writings to pi'ecede our ancient British rhymes :
But that our noble Bards which so divinely sung
That remnant of old Troy, of which the Britans sprung, 240
Before those Romans were, 3,8 proof we can produce ;
§ And learning, long with us, ere 't was with them in use.
And they but idly talk, upbraiding us with lies.
§ That Geffray Monmouth, first, our Brutus did devise,
Not heard of till his time our Adversary says : 245

When pregnantly we prove, ere that Historian's days,
A thousand ling'ring years, our Prophets clearly song
The Britain-founding Brute, most frequent them among.
From Talicsscn wise (approved so with us,
That what he spake was held to be oraculous, 250

So true his writings were) and such immortal men
As this now-waning world shall hardly hear again
In our own genuine tongue, that natives were of JVales,
Our Geffraij had his Brute. Nor were these idle tales,
(As he may find, the truth of our descents that seeks) eoo
Nor fabulous, like those devised by the Greeks :
But from the first of Time, by Judges still were heard,
Discreetly every year^ correcting where they err'd.

And that whereon our foe his greatest hold doth take.
Against the handled cause and most doth seem to make, 2co
Is, that we show no book our Brutus to approve ;
But that our idle Bards, as their fond rage did move,
Sang what their fancies ploas'd. Thus do I answer these :
That th' ancient British Priests, the fearless Druides,
Tliat minist'red the laws, and were so truly wise, 205

^ At the ISttlhva: see to the Fourth Soug.


That they determin'd states, attending sacrifice,

§ To letters never would their mysteries commit,^

For which the breasts of men they deem'd to be more fit.

^yhich questionless should seem from judgment to proceed.

For, when of Ages past Ave look in books to read, sro

We retchlessly discharge our memory of those.

So when injurious Time, such monuments doth lose

(As what so great a work, by Time that is not wrack'd ?)

AVe utterly forego that memorable act :

But when we lay it up within the minds of men, 275

They leave it their next Age ; that, leaves it hers again :

So strongly which (methinks) doth for Tradition make,

As if you from the world it altogether take,

You utterly subvert Antiquity thereby.

For though Time well may prove that often she doth lie, 28o

Posterity by her yet many things hath known.

That ere men learn'd to write, could no way have been shown :

For, if the Sj^irit of God did not our faith assure

The Scriptures be from heav'n, like heav'n divinely pure,

Of Moses' mighty works, I reverently may say 285

(I speak with godly fear) Tradition put away.

In pow'r of human wit it eas'ly doth not lie

To prove before the Flood the Genealogy.

Nor anything there is that kindlier doth agree

With our descent from Troij (if things compar'd may be) 290

Than peopling of this place, near to those Ages, when

Exih'd by the Greeks, those poor world-wand'ring men

(Of all hope to return into their Country reft)

Sought shores whereon to set that little them was left :

From some such god-like race we questionless did spring, 2y5

Who soon became so great here once inhabiting.

So barbarous nor were we as many have us made.

And Ccesar's envious pen would all the world persuade,

^ The Druids would not commit their mysteries to M'riting.


His own ambitious ends in seeking to advance,

When with his Roman power arriving here from France, ?.C9

If he the Britans found experienc'd so in war,

That they with such great skill could wield their arm6d car;

And, as he still came on, his skilful march to let.

Cut down their aged oaks, and in the rivers set

The sharp steel-pointed stakes, as he the fords should pass;

I fain would understand how this that Nation was 3oa

So ignorant he would make, and yet so knowing war.

But, in things past so long (for all the world) we are
Like to a man embark'd, and travelling the deep :
"Who sailing by some hill, or promontory steep sio

Which juts into the sea, with an amazed eye
Beholds the cleeves thrust up into the lofty sky.
And th' more that he doth look, the more it draws his sight;
Now at the craggy front, then at the wondrous weight :
But, from the passed shore still as the swelling sail 315

(Thrust forward by the wind) the floating barque doth hail,
The mighty giant-heap, so less and lesser still
Appeareth to the eye, until the monstrous hill
At length shows like a cloud ; and further being cast.
Is out of kenning quite : So, of the Ages past ; 320

Those things that in their Age much to be wond'red were.
Still as wing-footed Time them farther off doth bear,
Do lessen every hour. AVhen now the mighty prease,
Impatient of his speech, in treat the Flood to cease.
And cry with one consent, the state to show, 3J5

As angry with the Muse such labour to bestow
On Wales, but England still neglected thus to be.

And having pass'd the time, the honorable Dee
At CJiester was arriv'd, and baile them all adieu :
When our intended course, with England we pursue. o„ii


ETURNIXa into the land, the Muse leads you
about Denhhjh and Flint, most Xorthern and
maritime shires of JFales; which conclude these
seven last books dedicated to the glory of that
third part of Great Britain.

14. Prophetic Merlin safe, ivhen to the British King.

In the first declining state of the British Empire (to ex-
]^lain the Author in this of Merlin) Voiiigern, by advice of
his Magicians, after divers unfortunate successes in war, re-
solved to erect a strong Fort in Snowclon Hills (not far from
Conicey's head in the edge of Merioneth) which might be as
his last and surest refuge, against the increasing power of
the English. Masons were appointed, and the work begun ;
but what they built in the day, was always swallowed up in
the earth, next night. The King asks counsel of his Magi-
cians, touching this prodigy ; they advise that he must find
out a child which had no father, and with his l)lood sprinkle
the stones and mortar, and that then the Castle would stand
as on a firm foundation. Search was made, and in Caer-
Merdhin (as you have it to the Fifth Song) was Merlin Am-
brose found : he, being hither brought to the King, slighted


that pretended skill of those Magicians as palliated igno-
rance ; and with confidence of a more knowing spirit, un-
dertakes to show the true cause of that amazing ruin of the
stone-work ; tells them that in the earth was a great water,
which could endure continuance of no heavy superstruction.
The workmen dia;2;ed to discover the truth, and found it so.
He then beseeches the King to cause them make further in-
quisition, and afBrms, that in the bottom of it were two
sleeping Dragons : which proved so likewise, the one icliite,
the other red ; the tvhite he interpreted for the Saxons, the
red for the Britons: and upon this event here in Dlnas
Emrijs} as they call it, began he those prophecies to Vorti-
gern, which are common in the British story. Hence ques-
tionless was that fiction of the Muses' best pupil, the noble
Spenser,'^ in supposing Merlin usually to visit his old Tiinon,
whose dwelling he places

low in a valley greene

Under the foot of Rauran mossie hore
From whence the River Dee as silver cleene
His tumhling billows rols ivith gentle rore.

For this Fumran-Vaur Hill is there by in Merioneth : but

observe withal, the difference of the Merlins, Ambrose, and

Sijlvester, which is before to the Fourth Song ; and permit

it only as poetical, that he makes King Arthir and this

Merlin of one time. These prophecies^ were by Geffrey a?i

Arthur at request of Alexander Bishop of Lincoln under

Hen. I. turned into Latin, and some three hundred years

since had interpretation bestowed on them by a German

Doctor, one Alanns de Insulis, who never before, but twice

shice that happy inauguration and mighty increase of do-

^ Am.bro'ie's Barif. Itinerar. 2. cap. 8.
2 Facr;/ Q. Lib. 'l. Caut. 9. Staiiz. 4.
^ Moiiu's Prophecies.


minion in our present Sovereign liatli been imprinted. It
is certain that ofttimes they may be directly and without
constraint applied to some event of succeeding time ; as
that which we have before to the Fifth Song of Caerleon,
and this, the Isle shall agam he named after Brute ;^ which is
now seen bj'' a public edict, and in some of his Majesty's
present coins, and with more such : yet seeing learned
men- account him but a professor of unjustifiable Magic,
and that all prophecies either fall true, or else are among
the affecters of such vanity perpetually expected, and that
of later time the Council of Tretd have by their Expurga-
tories prohibited it, I should abuse you, if I endeavoured

1 2 4 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21

Online LibraryMichael DraytonThe complete works of Michael Drayton, now first collected (Volume 2) → online text (page 4 of 21)