Michael Drayton.

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

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to persuade your belief to conceit of a true foreknow-
ledge in him.

82. And the delicious Yale thus inUdlij doth bespeak.

If your conceit yet see not the purpose of this Fiction,
then thus take it. This Vale of Cluid (for so is the English
of Snjjhrnu Clbaji^*) extended from the middle of Denbigh-
shire to the sea, about eighteen miles long, and some five
in breadth, having those three excellences, a fertile soil,
healthful air, and pleasant seat for habitation, washed
through the middle with this Eiver, and encompassed on
the East, West, and 8outh with high mountains, freely
receives the wholesome blasts of the North wind (much
accounted of among builders and geojionics for immission
of pure air) coming in from that part which lies open to
the sea : whereupon the Muse very properly makes the
Vale here Boreas his beloved ; and in respect of his violence
against the waters, supposeth hiui jealous of Xejifnne ;
whose ravishing waves in that troubled Irish Sea and the
depressed state of the Valley warrants it. And for that of

' Great Britain. * Wier. de pricstigiis Demon. 2. cap. IG. alii.


MolvenniTs love to the Eiver, wantonly running by him, I
know your conceit cannot but apprehend it.

133. That naturally remote six British miles from sea.

It is in the Parish of Kilken in Flintshire, where it ebbeth
and floweth^ in direct opposite times to the sea, as the
Author describes ; they call it dPinoii S,cinU) :- Such a one
is there about a furlons; from the Severiie Sea, bv Neidon in
Glamorganshire,^ and another ebbing and flowing (but with
the common course of the Moon, ascending or setting) by
Dinevor^ in Caermerdhinshire. Xor think I any reasons more
difficult to be given, than those which are most specially
hidden, and most frequently strange in particular qualities
of Floods, "Wells, and Springs ; in which (before all other)
Xature seems as if she had, for man's wonder, affected a
not intelligible variety, so different, so remote from conceit
of most piercing Avits ; and such unlooked-for operations
both of their first and second qualities (to use the School
phrase of them) are in every Clironographer, Naturalist,
and Historian.

139. Yet to the sacred fount of Winifrid gives place.

At Haliicell, a maritime village near Basingioerlce in Flint,
is this Winifrid's Well, whose sweetness in the moss, Avhole-
someness for bath, and other such useful qualities have been
referred to her martyrdom in this place. But D. Powcl
upon Girald, in effect thus : Hen. II. in his first Jrdsh expe-
dition fortified the Castle of Basingwerke, and near by made
a Cell for Templars, which continued there until their dis-
solution under Edicurd II.* and was after converted to a

^ Hum. Lhiiid. descript.

'^ Powel ad Girald. Itincrar. 1. cap. 10.

^ Stradling. ap. Camd.

* Girald. Itiuerar. 1. cap. 10.

* 5. Ed. 11.


nest of lubberly Monks, whose superstitious honouring her
more than trutli, caused this dedication of the Fountain ;
so much to their profit (in a kind of merchandise then too
shamefully in request) that they had large guerdons (it be-
longing to the Cell) of those which had there any medicine,
beside increasing rents which accrued to them j^early out of
Pardons to such as came thither in solemn Pilgrimage.
This title of exaction they purchased of FF. Martin V.
under Henry the Fifth and added more such gaining pre-
tences to themselves in time of Hen. VII. by like authority ;
nor, until the more clear light of the Gospel, yet continuing
its comfortable beams among us, dissipated those fQggy
mists of error and smoke-selling imposture, ended these
collected revenues. The Author follows the Legend ; but
observe times compared, and you shall find no mention of
this Well, and the healthful operations of it, until long
after the supposed time of S. Winifred's martyrdom.

182. That figure of the Cross of which it takes the name.

Depressed among mountains this Valley expresses the
form of a Cross, and so is called the Cross Vale, and in British
iLhnn ©tocst.

212. To ichom eight lesser Kings with homage did resort.

Upon comparing our Stories, I find them to be Kenneth
of Scotland, Malcome of Camberland, Malcuze King of the
Isles (whom Malmeshunj gives only the name of Archpirate)
Donald, Siffreth, Howel, larjo, and Inchithill Kings of J Tales.
All these, he (thus touched with imperious affection of
glory) sitting at the stern, compelled to row him over Dee ;
his greatness as well in fame as truth, daily at this time in-
creasing, caused multitudes of aliens to admire and visit
ills Court, as a place honoured above all other by this so
mighty and worthy u Prince : and, througli that abundant


confluence, sucli vicious courses followed by example, that,
even now was the age, when first the more simple and frugal
natures of the English grew infected with what (in some
part) yet we languish. For, before his time, the Angles
hither traduced, being homines integri* and using, natnmli
simplicitate sua defensare, aliena non mirari, did now learn
from the stranger- Saxons an uncivil kind of fierceness, of the
Flemings effeminacy, of the Danes drunkenness, and such
other ; which so increased, that, for amendment of the last,
the King was driven to constitute quantities in quaffing-
bowls by little pins of metal set at certain distances, be-
yond which none durst swallow in that provocation of good

220. As thou, the Queen of Isles, Great Britain

Both for excellence in soil and air, as also for large con-
tinent she hath this title. And although in ancient time
of the Gi-eeks (that hath any story or chorography) Sardinia
was accounted the greatest Isle,^ and by some Sicily, as the
old verses of the Seveii^ tells us, and that by Ptolemy'^ the
East Indian Tapohran, now called Sumatra, had pre-eminence
of quantity before this of ours ; yet certainly, by com-
parison of that with this, either according to the measure
took of it by Onesicrit* upon Alexander's commandment, or
what later time teaches us, we cannot but affirm with the
Author here in substance, that

o\jh's Tig kXXjj

Nr/aoig sv Taff/jff/ B^iraviaiv /ffopae/^=/,t

* Honest men, by simplicity of nature, looking only to their own,
neglecting others. Mdlmejihur.

^ Scylax. Caryand. in Trt (ii . \. edit, per D. Hoeschelium.

" Eustath. ad Diouys. Afrum.

3 (kvjgra])h. lib. ^. cap. t. * Solin. Polyhist. cap. 66.

f Ko other Isle is equal to Britain.


as, long since, Dionijsms Afer of our Britain, which hath
given cause to call it Another world, as the attributes of it
in Virgil, Horace, Claudian, and others justify.

242. And learning long with us ere Hivas with them in use.

For the Dndds, being in profession very proportionate in
many things to Cabalistic and Pythagorean doctrine, may
well be supposed much ancienter than any that had note of
learning among the Ilomans,^ who before Livius SaUnator,
and Ncevius, Ennius, Pacuviiis, Accius, and others, not much
preceding Ccesar, can scarce show steps of poesy, nor before
Fahius Pictor, Valerius Antias, and some such now left only
iu their names (althougli by pretence of Annius there be a
piece of Pictor published) can produce the title of a story ;
whereas we have some- that make that supposed eldest His-
torian (of the Gentiles) extant, Dares Phryglus, translated by
C&rnelius Nepos, and dedicated to Sallust, to have lived here,
but indeed upon no such warrant, as I dare trust.

244. Our Geffrey Monmouth /rs^ our Brutus to devise.

It Avas so laid to Geffrey's charge (he was Bishop of S.
Asa])h's, under King Stejyhen) by John of Whethamsted, Abbot
of S. Albans, William Petit, called William of Newborough,
and some other : but plainly (let the rest of his story, and
the particulars of Prute be as they can) the name of Brute
was long before him in Welsh (out of Avhich his story was
partly translated) and Latin testimonies of the Britains, as
I have, for the Author, more largely spoken, to the First
Song. And (a little to continue my first justification, for
this time) why may not we as well think that many stories
and relations, anciently written here, liave been by the
Picts, Scots, lloiiians, Danes, Sanms, and Normans, devoured
up from posterity, which perhaps, had they been left to us,

> V. Liv. Dccaa. 1. lib. G. ' Bal. centur. 1.


would have ended this controversy? Shall we doubt of
what Livy, PohjUus, Halicarnasseus, Plutarch, Strabo, and
many others have had out of Fablus, Antias, Chereas, Solyhis,
Ej'horus, Theopompus, Cato, Quadrigarius, with infinite other,
now lost, writers, because ^e see not the self authors ?
No, Time hath ransacked more precious things, and even
those super-excellent books wherein that incomparable Solo-
mon Avrote from the cedar to the hyssop, were (upon fear
of the facile midtitudes too much respecting natural causes
in them divinely handled) by King Ezechias suppressed from
succeeding ages, if my authority^ deceive not. So that the
loss in this, and all kinds, to the commonwealth of letters,
hath been so grievous and irreparable, that we may well
imagine, how error of conceit in some, envy in others, and
hostile invasion hath bereft us of many monuments most
precious in all sorts of literature, if we now enjoyed their
instructing use : and to conclude, the antiquities of these
original ages are like those of Eome, between it built and
burnt by the Gauls ; Cum vetustate nimid ohscurce, velat quce
(as Livy says^) magno ex intervallo loci vix cernuntur* .- turn
quod perrarce per eadem tempora Literce fuere, una custodia
fidelis memorice rerum gestarum ; et quod, efiamsi quce hi
commentariis Pontificum aliisque puhUcis privatisque erant monu-
mentis, incensa urbe, pleraque interiere. But all this in effect
the Muse tells you in the Sixth Canto.

2or. To letters never would their mysteries commit.

AVhat they taught their Scholars for matter of law,
Heathenish religion, and such learning as they here were
presidents of, was delivered only by word of mouth^ ; and,

' In Zerror Hamnior. apiul Munst. ad Exoil. 15. - Dec. 1. lib. 6.

* Worn away by devouring Time, and the enemy's ransacking the
city, &c. Of the Dru'vU see fully to the Ninth Song.

* Oa;sar. de Bell. Gallic, lib. 6.


lest memory unused might so fail, they permitted not com-
mission of their lectures and instructions to the custody
of "oritins:, hut delivered all in a multitude of verses and
Pi/thatjorean precepts, exactly imitating the Cabal isf.-^ ; which,
until of late time, wrote not, 5jut taught and learned by
mouth and dihgent hearing of their JRahbins. In other
matters, private and public (so is Ccesar's assertion), they
used Greek letters,* which hath made some think that they
v.Tote Greek. But be not easil}- thereto persuaded. Perhaps
thev misht use Greel: characters.^ seeius; that those which the
Greeks then had, and now use, were at first received from
strangers,- and as likely from the Druids as from any other ;
for it is sufficiently justifiable out of old coins, inscriptions,
and express assertion,^ that the ancient character among the
Greeks was almost the same Avith that which is now the
Latins. But thence to collect that therefore they wrote or
spake Greek, is as if you should affirm the S/jriac Testament
to be Hebrew, because published in Hebrew letters ; or some
Latin Treatises Saxon, because in that character; or that
the Siixons wrote Irish, because they used the Lish form of
writing^ ; or that those books whirh are published in Dutth
by some Jeics in a special kind of Hcbrev: letter, should also
be of the same tongue. Observe but this passage in Cevsar .-
He sends by a Gaul (allured to this use against his country
by large rewards) a letter to Q. Cicero, being then besieged
about where now is Tourneij,f et Groxis conscripsit Uteris, ne,
intcrceptd epistold, nostra (saith he himself) ab hostihus con-

* CiTif lis literis utuntur.

* What language and letters the Druids used.
' Varro de Ling. Lat. 7.

' Plin. Hist. Nat. 7. cap. 58. et, si placet, videaa Annianos illos,
Archiloclium de Temporibus, et Xenophonteni in wi^qiiivocis.

* Canid. in Hibernia. etc., Per Gracas literas in ara Ulyssis incon-
finio Khctia- et Germaniif, ajjud Tacituiu, Lipsius characteres
soluniniodu intellit.nt.

t Neruii. de Beilo Gallic. 5.


sslim Cfjimscanlwr* To what pmpose did he thus, if the
G^au^i^ or their Statesmen the Dmifh, understood Greeif I
kno^ what he^ writes of those tables of aceonnt foond in
the now SwUzerlmml^ but shall not soon beHeTe that thejr
had much more Greek in them than the diazacter. If joa
object Stmbo his affirmance^^ that the Gutuh (for as long as I
speak of them in general in this kind, I wdl indnde oar
Druid^j as sufficient reason is elsewhere giren) were grown
such lorers of that tongue, an^rs juu to, e-j§t^Shaia, "EX/jp^ctri
'/ia^at^ it is soon answered, that he speaks onfy of tht^e
about MaimRegj which was, and is well known to all men
to have been, a Colon j of Phmans, out of the now Naidm
(which were Greels) bj appointment of Fate amTing at the
mouth of Bhmne^ about time of Tarqum the Pnmd ; wbere
Pnylis, one of their chief leaders, entertained hf Kumwrns
King of that coast^ was choe^i (according to their custom)
in a banquet bj Gf^^ the King's daughter fcff* her husband.
Hereto success grew so fortunate, that honourable respect
on both sides joined with imitation of Grtek civilitjr (after
this citj built neiar their arrire) it seemed, as m j author
saTs.^ as if Garni had been turned into Grmee, rather than
Gntm to hare trarelled into G-nml. Wonder not then whj,
about 31dr-*ili€gj Greek was so respected, nor why in the
Romauiil-Fremh now such Hellenisms are : here jou see
apparant Original of it; yet conclude, upon the former
reas<jiis. that the Dntids and Gutah used a peculiar tongue,
and retj likely the same with the now JTddi^ as most-
learned Cmmiem hath even demonstrated ; althou^ I know
some great scholars tiiere are, whidi still suspend their
judgment^ and make it a doubt^ as ever things of such

* Wrote it in Grtnt^ lest tbe eneamj mi^t, by imterecptiiig ilae
letters, oiscorer his <teigin.

* I*'* t"-. Lt. Kjh uiaic 1. * Gcograf 'li. i.
t That ikej wrote thrar instnimentB of oontaact in Gnti.

3 Trog;. Pomap. HisL 43.

VOL. n. 5


antiquity Avill be. But (if you will) add hereto that of the
famous and great lawyer Hotoman,^ who presumes that the
word Gra'cis* in Cccsar's text is crept in by ignorance of
transcribers, as he well might, seeing those Commentaries,
titled with name of /. Ca'sar, commonly published, and in
divers MSS. with /. Celsus, are very unperfect, now and
then abrupt, different in style, and so variable in their own
form, that it hath been much feared by that great critic
Lipsius," lest some more impolite hand hath sewed many
patches of base cloth into that more rich web, as his own
metaphor expresses it. And if those characters which are
in the pillars at Y-Voellas in Denbighshire are of the Druids,
as some imagine (yet seeming very strange and uncouth)
then might you more confidently concur in opinion with
Hotoman. In sum, I know that Graxis Uteris may be taken
as well for the language (as in Justin^ I remember, and else-
where) as for the character : but here I can never think it
to be understood in any but the last sense, although you
admit Ccesar's copy to be therein not interpolated. It is
very justifiable which the Author here im])lies, by slighting
Ccesar's authority in British originals, ni respect that he
never came further into the Isle than a little beyond Thames
towards Barkeshire'^ ; although some of ours idly talk of his
making the Bath, and being at Chester, as the Scottish Histo-
rians most senselessly of their Willis ?i'off built by him,
which others refer to VespasianJ' some affirm it a Temple of
God Terminus'^ ; whereas it seems expressly to be built by
Carnusius, in time of Diocletian, if Nennius deceive us not.
But, this out of my way.

' Fi-anco-Gall. cap. 2. quern v. etiam ad Caesar. Coiu. * Greek.
' Elect. 2. cap. 7. l'4)istolic. qiioest. 2. cajj. 2.
' Lilj. 20. in cxtrcma.

* Ctusareiii si legas, tibi ipsi satisfacias, verfim ct ita Leland .ad
Cyg. Cant, in iJaln.

* Vercniund. ap. Hect. Boct. Hist. 3.

* Buchanan. 4. in Uonaldo.



I The Argument.

The Muse, her native earth to see,
Returns to England over Dee ;
Visits stout Cheshire, and there shows
To her and hers, what England owes ;
And of the Nijinphets sporting there
In W^yrrall, and in Delamere.
Weever, the great devotion sings
Of the religious Saxon Kings;
Those Riverets doth together call.
That into him, and Wersey fall ;
Thence bearing to the side of Peak,
This zealous Canto ojfdoth break.

|ITH as umvearied wings, and in as liigli a gait
As Avhen Ave first set forth, observing every stat'.'.
The Muse from Cambria comes, with pinions
summ'd and sound :
And having \mt herself upon the English ground,
Fii-st seizeth in her course the noblest Cestriaa shore ; s

§ Of our great Emjll^lt bloods as careful here of yore.
As Cambria of her Brute's now is, or could be then ;
For which, our proverb calls her, Cheshire, chief of men.


§ And of our Counties, place of Palatine doth hold,

And thereto hath her high Eegalities enroU'd ; lo

Besides, in many Fields since Conquering JFUliam came,

Her people she hath prov'd, to her eternal fame.

All, children of her own, the leader and the led,

The mightiest men of bone, in her full bosom bred :

And neither of them such as cold penurious need 15

Spurs to each rash attempt ; but such as soundly feed,

Clad in warm English cloth ; and maim'd should they return

( Whom this false ruthless world else from theii" doors would

Have livelihood of their own, their ages to sustain.
Nor did the Tenants' pay the Landlord's charge maintain : 20
But as abroad in war, he spent of his estate ;
Returning to his home, his hospitable gate
The richer and the poor stood open to receive.
They, of all England, most to ancient customs cleave,
Their Yeomanry and still endeavour'd to uphold. 25

For rightly whilst herself brave England was of old,
And our courageous Kings us forth to conquests led,
Our Armies in those times (ne'er through the world so dread)
Of our tall Yeomen were, and footmen for the most ;
Who (with their bills and bows) may confidently boast, 30
§ Our Leopards they so long and bravely did advance
Above the Flowcr-dclice, ev'u in the heart of France.

! thou thrice happy Shire, confined so to be
Twixt two so famous Floods, as Mcrsoj is, and Dee}
Thy Dee upon the West from Wales doth thee divide ; 35
Thy Mersey on the North, from the Lancastrian side,
Thy natural sister Shire ; and link'd unto thee so,
That Lancashire along with Cheshire still doth go.
As tow'rds the Drrhian Penh, and Mareland (which do draw-
More mountainous and wild) the high-crowu'd tShuilingslaice
^ The general bouuds of Chcishire.


And Molcop be thy mounds, with those proud hills whence
rove 41

The lovely sister Brooks, the silvery Dane and Dove;
Clear Dove, that makes to Trent; the other to the West.
But, iu that famous Town, most happy of the rest
(From which thou tak'st thy name) fair Chester, call'd of old
§ Carelecjion; whilst proud Rome her conquests here did hold,
Of those her legions known the faithful station then, 47
So stoutly held to tack by those near North-JFcdes men ;
Yet by her own right name had rather called be,
§ As her the Britan term'd, The Fortress tipon Dee, so

Then vainly she would seem a Mii'acle to stand,
Th' imaginary work of some huge Giant's hand ;
"Which if such ever were, Tradition tells not who.
But, back awhile my Muse : to JFeever let us go.
Which (with himself compar'd) each British Flood doth
scorn ; 5&

His fountain and his fall, both CJiesters rightly born ;
The country in his course that clean through doth divide.
Cut in two equal shares upon his either side :
And, what the famous Flood far more than that enriches,
The bracky Fountains are, those two renowned JFijches, cu
The Nant-iryche, and the North; whose either briny Well.
For store and sorts of salts, make JFeever to excell.
Besides their general use, not had by him in vain,
§ But in himself thereby doth holiness retain
Above his fellow Floods: whose healthful virtues taught, cs
Hath of the Sea-gods oft caus'd JFeever to be sought
For physic in their need : and Thetis oft hath seen.
When by their wanton sports her Nereides have been
So sick, that Glaucus' self hath itxiled in their cure :
Yet JFeever, by his salts, recovery durst assure. vo

And AmphitritS oft this Wizard liiver led
Into her secret walks (the depths profound and dread)


Of him (suppos'd so wise) the hid events to know
Of things that were to come, as things done long ago.
In which he had been prov'd most exquisite to be ; vs

And bare his fame so far, that oft twixt him and Dee,
Much strife there hath arose in their prophetic skill.

But to conclude his praise, our Weever here doth will
The Muse, his source to sing ; as how his course he steers :
Who from his natural spring, as from his neighbouring

meres so

Sufficiently supply'd, shoots forth his silver breast,
As though he meant to take directly toward the East ;
Until at length it proves he loit'reth, but to play
Till Ashhrooke and the Lee o'ertake him on the wav,
"Which to his journey's end him earnestly do haste : w

Till having got to JFi/che, he taking there a taste
Of her most savoury salt, is by the sacred touch
Forc'd faster in his course, his motion quick'ned much
To North-ivyche : and at last, as he approacheth near,
Dane, Whelock draws, then Crock, from that black ominous

mere, 90

Accounted one of those that England's wonders make ;
Of neighbours, Black-mere nam'd, of strangers, Brereton's-

Lake ;
Whose property seems far from Eeason's way to stand :
For, near before his death that's owner of the land,
►She sends up stocks of trees, that on the top do float ; ys
By which the world her first did for a wonder note.

His handmaid Hov-iy next, to JFeever holds her race :
When Peever with the help of Pickmcre, make apace
To put-in with those streams his sacred steps that tread.
Into the mighty waste of Memeij him to lead. 100

Where, when the Kivers meet, with all their stately train.
Proud Mersey is so great in ent'ring of the jMain,
As he would make a show for empery to stand,


And wrest tlie three-fork'd mace from out grim Neptune's

hand ;
To Clieshire highly bound for that his wat'ry store, los

As to the grosser louschs''' on the Lancastrian shore.
From hence he getteth Goi/t down from her PeaJdsh spring,
And LoUen, that along doth nimbler Birkin bring
From Mayfield's mighty Avilds, of Avhose shagg'd Sylvans she
Hath in the rocks been woo'd, their paramour to be : no
Who in the darksome holes and caverns kept her long.
And that proud Forest made a party to her wrong.
Yet could not all intreat the pretty Brook to stay ;
Which to her sister stream, sweet BoUen, creeps away.
To whom, upon their road she pleasantly reports 115

The many mirthful jests, and wanton woodish sports
In Maxficld they have had ; as of that Forest's fate :
Until they come at length, where Mersey for more state
Assuming broader banks, himself so proudly bears,
That at his stern approach, extended IVijrraU^ fears, 120
That (what betwixt his Floods of Mersey and the Dee)
In very little time devoured he might be :
Out of the foaming surge till Ililhre lifts his head.
To let the fore-land see how richly he had sped.
Which Mersey cheers so much, that with a smiling brow 125
He fawns on both those Floods ; their amorous arms that

throw ~
About his goodly neck, and bar'd their swelling breasts :
On which whilst lull'd with ease, his pleased cheek he rests,
The Naiades, sitting near upon the aged rocks.
Are busied with their combs, to braid his verdant locks, iso
Whilst in their crystal eyes he doth for Cupids look :
But Delamere from them his fancy quickly took.
Who shews herself all drest in most delicious flowers ;

* Meres, or staiuUng Lakes.

^ A poetical description of Wyrrall.

i J



And sitting like a Queen, sees from her shady boAvers
The wanton Wood-Nymphs mix'd withherliglit-footedFauns,
To lead the rural routs about the goodly lawns, vm;

As over holt^ and heath, as thorough frith- and felP ;

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Online LibraryMichael DraytonThe complete works of Michael Drayton, now first collected (Volume 2) → online text (page 5 of 21)