1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 2:127-28.



The reputation of Drayton, in the reigns of Elizabeth and James I. stood on much the same level with that of Cowley, in the reigns of Charles I. and Charles II.; but it has declined considerably since that period. He frequently wants that elevation of thought which is essential to poetry; though, in some of the stanzas of his Barons' Wars, he is scarcely inferior to Spenser. In his England's Heroical Epistles, written in the manner of Ovid, he has been, in general, happier in the choice, than the execution of his subjects; yet some of his imitations are more in the spirit of that poet than several of the English translations of him. His Nymphidia, or Court of Fayrie, seems to have been the greatest effort of his imagination, and is the most generally admired of his works. His character among his friends was that of a modest and amiable man. Ob. 1631.