I. — 1563-1593.
My native country then, which so brave spirits hast bred,
if there be virtue yet remaining in thy earth,
or any good of thine thou breathd'st into my birth,
accept it as thine own, while now I sing of thee,
of all thy later brood th' unworthiest though I be.
Poly-Olbion, Song 13.
MICHAEL DRAYTON, or Draiton, was born at Hartshill, near Atherstone, Warwickshire, in 1563. The first evidence for the time and place of his birth is found upon the frontispiece to his poems published in 1613, his fiftieth year. Round the portrait, engraved by Hole, runs the legend: Effigies Michaelis Drayton, armigeri poetae clariss. aetat. suae L. A. Chr. CICDCXIII. Latin doggrel follows to the effect that he was cradled at Hartshill, a hamlet of Warwickshire, until then obscure:
Lux, Hareshulla, tibi, Warwici villa, tenebris
ante tuas cunas obsita prima fuit.
Arma, viros, veneres, patriam, modulamine, dixti:
te patriae resonant arma, viri, veneres.
This notice, coming fifty years after the birthdate, is confirmed by general tradition, but by little else. The old registers concerning Hartshill, entered until quite lately at the parent village of Mancetter, and still preserved there, do not begin till 1576. The following is some fresh evidence for the parentage of Drayton, which is still only a likely conjecture.
That Michael Drayton had a brother Edmund, who administered his estate in 1632 (see p. 51), is the solitary fact that we know directly about his kindred. Now an Edmund Drayton, as appears from the Mancetter registers, was baptized February, 1579, buried 12 December, 1644, and was the son of William Drayton. It is highly probable that this Edmund — the only one in the record — was Michael's brother, and thus that William was Michael's father. Of William, then, we further find that he had other children, as follow: Elizabeth, baptized April, 1576, whose name is the first entry in the book; Edward, baptized 1580; Susannah, buried September, 1586; Ralph, buried 1641. (The last is uncertain, as Ralph may be the son of another William, buried 1642, who is too old to be Michael's father.) William, father of Edmund, was buried 15 October, 1622. His will, the last chance, it would seem, of further information, cannot be found., We know, however, something of William's own parentage. He had brothers John, Christopher, Thomas, Edward, and Hugh, all living at Atherstone, Mancetter, or Hartshill, in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. The baptismal register of Mancetter is much taken up with announcements of their offspring. They were all sons of one Christopher Drayton of Atherstone, butcher, whose will is dated 1555-6, and of Margerie his wife. Aubrey has been derided for saying that the poet's father was a butcher, yet he was but one generation out; perhaps not even that, since William may well have followed Christopher's trade. These details, which are new, give us, if the two Edmunds are the same, a certain inkling of Drayton's origin and quality. His family, it would appear, were of the well-to-do trading class, of good estimation, who migrated from Atherstone to Hartshill, where their children swarmed, overran, and settled. They may conceivably have gone back to some branch of the noble family of Draytons, supposed to be extinct in the fifteenth century, but it is far likelier, as Burton, who knew our poet, states, that they took their origin and name from Fenny Drayton in Leicestershire, one of the many villages that have the name in a compound form. And, though they had kindred at Atherstone, who, as we have seen, aimed at, or verged on, gentility, and left a pedigree, it was probably chance, or the brightness of his parts, that caused Michael Drayton, while a little boy, to be picked out and made a man of, by a family of gentlefolk in the same countryside. It is to his rearing by the Gooderes that he refers in The Owl, 1604, when he calls himself "nobly bred and well allied;" and not, as some have thought, to high descent.
Drayton's country (as a fantast might say) befits his utterance, — rather pedestrian, seldom of the rarest greatness, but often near it — and lies a little off the most enchanted parts of Warwickshire, away from the dells and waters of Shakspere; it stands at a certain height, but near the plain. The quarry village of Hartshill, on the north-eastern edge of the shire, climbs the last and steepest ripple of that quietly-rolling land, just before it drops into the Leicestershire levels. Behind it, up to the crest of the ridge, hangs a deep wood, damasked in July with splashes of foxglove-bloom, and on the top is Oldbury, part of the old Manduessedum of the Romans, and entrenched by them with a circle of ditch that now encompasses a Georgian house. Downwards on the east is a wide flat, with Charnwood in the distance; and south-easterly is the road to Nuneaton and Coventry, whose patroness Godiva was to Drayton but a "type" of Anne Goodere, born in that city. In Hartshill itself, which is high enough to be saved from any pollution by the pillared smoke of factories, is still pointed out, by old inhabitants, "Drayton's cottage." It rests (1894) amidst a plot of roses and lilies, clean and trimly kept by a genial Quaker couple. The myth connecting it with the poet can be traced back some fifty years. In the middle of the last century it was used as a tiny meeting-house, and the owner possesses a map of 1748, where it is marked as a "Chappel."
Polesworth, then usually spelt Powlsworth, the only other spot ascertainably allied with Drayton's youth, lies some miles off in a valley on the side of Atherstone away from Hartshill. It now consists chiefly of a street of ruddy-roofed black and white cottages, with the church and adjoining vicarage. Under the bridge crawls Drayton's river, the Ancor, as if in its sleep, like one of his own sluggish alexandrines. It is navigable by boats upwards and downwards for some distance, and winds among thick reeds, meadow-sweet, and willows, into the Tame:
His Tamworth at the last, he in his way doth win:
there playing him awhile, till Ancor should come in,
which, trifling 'twixt her banks, observing state, so slow,
as though into her arms she scorned herself to throw.
The vicarage of Polesworth, now owned by the Chetwynd family, stands on the ground of the old nunnery, which, on being dissolved in 1545, was sold to the family of the Gooderes. The auditorium, or as some say the refectory, of the nuns, was turned into the great hall, and is now the large room of the vicarage, spaciously lit and panelled, with the ancient tracery on the fireplace fined away but still visible. It must have been by this hearthstone that Drayton sat and listened to the harper. Long after, he says of his own odes:—
They may become John Hewes his lyre,
which oft at Polesworth by the fire
hath made us gravely merry.
Who knows but that this Mr. Hewes hummed to his own accompaniment those rough dactyls of the old folk-ballad Agincourt, Agincourt, which assuredly gallop through Drayton's own monumental war-chant?
Polesworth Hall must have been Drayton's head-quarters during boyhood and early youth. There is a charming passage in the Epistle to Reynolds, 1627, relating his boyish bent. He was a page, scarce ten, a mere pigmy. Wondering "in his small self" what ,strange kind of men these poets were," he climbed on his tutor's knee, crying "O my dear master! cannot you then make me a poet?" The tutor smiled, and they fell to reading verse. Besides Virgil's Eclogues, they read "honest Mantuan," the Carmelite Baptista of Mantua, whose railing Latin "pastorals" were still in fashion, in part perhaps as a text-book against hireling shepherds. We hear nothing more than this of Drayton's childhood or book-learning. The usual outfit in Horace, Ovid, and Seneca, may be conjectured. It is little proof of his knowing Greek that in the preface to the Odes he talks of Anacreon and Pindar with a certain familiarity. But, as his first book will show, he studied the songs, at any rate, of the Old Testament. We cannot put a date to any of these studies, nor to the limits of his dependence on Polesworth Hall; but he tells us himself what he owed to its masters.
The head of the household, when Drayton was a child, was Sir Henry Goodere the elder. His younger daughter, Frances, married her first cousin, Sir Henry Goodere the younger, Donne's intimate correspondent; the elder daughter was ANNE. Of all these we hear afterwards through Drayton. By 1597 the elder Sir Henry was dead: and in that year, dedicating one of the Heroicall Epistles (Isabel to Richard) to the Earl of Bedford, the poet paid his thanks to the memory of his patron, "that learn'd and accomplished gentleman Sir Henry Goodere, not long since deceased, whose I was whilst he was, whose patience pleased to bear with the imperfections of my heedless and unstayed youth. That excellent and matchless gentleman was the first cherisher of my muse, which had been by his death left a poor orphan to the world, had he not before bequeathed it to that lady" (the Countess of Bedford). In the same volume is a dedication (of the Epistle of Lady Jane Grey) to Lady Frances Goodere; "the love and duty I bare unto your father whilst he lived, now after his decease is to you hereditary." He adds that he has witnessed the education of this lady "ever from your cradle." Lastly, the Epistle of Mary to Suffolk is dedicated to Sir Henry the younger: and another tribute is paid "to the happy and generous family of the Gooderes, to which I confess myself beholding to for the best part of my education." It may be judged from all this that Drayton was taken quite young by the Gooderes to be civilised. He never forgot them and to one of them he came to bear something more than gratitude. The only inmate of Polesworth Hall whom he never names in his dedications is Anne Goodere, the eldest daughter, of less than his own age. The evidence of her identity with the "Idea" whom he celebrated may be deferred till we touch on his sonnets, since no details of the early acquaintance are known, and since Drayton, if his word is to be taken, did not "lose his wit" on her account till 1591 or 1593; perhaps because they had been brought up together.
All these early years of his life are obscure. It is unknown how long he was at Polesworth: it is unknown if he went to an university. A couplet printed by Sir Aston Cokain twenty years after Drayton's death, cannot, despite the versifier's pious regard, and his connexion with Pooley Hall at Polesworth, outweigh the silence of all other records; and what knowledge of the classics is shown by the poet of Endimion and Phoebe he might well have got for himself. It is equally uncertain when he made for London: but he was there by 1591.
Something may be gleaned about his means of support at, or just before, his first arrival. His career, like that of so many poets, was a series of honourable dependences. The Gooderes, the Haringtons, the Astons, the Rainsfords, the Cliffords, fostered him in turn; and here, before passing to his writings, may be told in advance what is known of his alliance with the houses of Harington and Bedford. Sir Henry Goodere must have seen that Drayton would not always dream by the Ancor, but was bound to drift to London, and that once there he must have a patron; and that to a patron the mixture of poverty, a high temper, and genius as yet strictly latent, was a poor testimonial. Goodere did not command in London the needful position; but he left his young friend to the care of a family which gave him subsistence, courage, and repute, during the galling years when he was forced to climb. In those days the patroness could throw out a rope, and let down provisions, while the poet cut his foothold up the rock.
Drayton's allusions, whether to Lady Anne Harington, wife of Sir John Harington the eccentric and translator, or to her daughter Lucy, afterwards Countess of Bedford, or to the Earl of Bedford, Lucy's husband, range from 1594 to 1605, with one doubtful interruption, and occur most thickly before 1598. The first, in 1594, refers with some explicitness to the "sweet golden showers" of cash assistance rendered by the Countess; and in 1596 "Brave Bedford," for so the lady is termed, is saluted as the anchor of his "tempest-beaten state," and the source and subject of his "steel-out-during rymes;" while in the Heroicall Epistles, 1597, each member of the house receives a dedication. In the letter to the Earl, quoted above, the poet represents his alliance as of old standing, and states, as we have seen, that he was "first bequeathed to" the service of the Countess by Sir Henry Goodere. — And here may be noticed by anticipation the theory held by some writers that Drayton became, for causes unknown, furiously estranged, at least for a time, from the Countess of Bedford. The evidence quoted is two-fold. (1) In 1603 came out the Barons' Wars, which was the Mortimeriados of nine years earlier wholly recast. All the compliments to the Countess, including the opening stanzas and other allusions, are expunged, Sir Walter Aston's name being substituted as patron. (2) In the Poemes Lyrick and Pastorall, 1606, where the pastorals of 1593 are remodelled, the eighth, formerly sixth, contains a new passage reviling a certain Selena in terms, which, were they addressed to any real woman, would be brutal even if just. Selena had promised to raise the estate of Rowland (Drayton), but, breaking faith, has allied herself with a certain base Cerberon. Therefore, cries the poet, "let age sit soon and ugly on her brow," and let no one strew flowers on her forgotten grave, let her be remembered no more in rhyme. Cerberon is not identified; but it is said that this language must refer to Lady Bedford, and that Drayton, splenetic perhaps at supplies being withheld in favour of some new client, dealt her this low buffet in verse. I do not profess to interpret the passage, but the first piece of evidence is naught. For the sonnet beginning "Great Lady, essence of my chiefest good," already published in 1598 and 1599, was reprinted both in 1603 and in 1605. The withdrawal, therefore, in 1603, of some compliments addressed to the lady can scarcely be due to a pique felt in that year. The witness for the supposed breach thus reduces itself to the tirade against Selena. It would then follow that between 1605 and April 19, 1606, when the new pastorals were entered, Drayton ceased to think the Countess the essence of his chiefest good, forgot all his gratitude, and wrote these fierce and irreparable Spenserian verses. This is possible in theory; but the charge is so serious, and so unlike all else that is known of a man tenacious in his friendships, that much firmer evidence than this is wanted to commend it. There is absolutely nothing in its favour except these obscure lines themselves, supplied without key or sequel, and withdrawn in the revision of 1619. Probably, we can but say that about the end of the century Drayton's gratitude to the Haringtons and Russells was for past rather than continued favours; for after 1597 we find him living upon his work for the theatre, seemingly without patron. It is now time to go back and begin his literary biography.
The first short chapter may be said to last till his thirtieth year, 1593. His youthful rubbish, probably voluminous, has not all perished. As early as 1587 he may have written the elegy on Sidney (1586), under the name of Elphin, printed in 1593, though never afterwards, in the fourth of his eclogues. But the scrap of evidence adduced for this supposition is not conclusive; and the first of Drayton's publications is The Harmonie of the Church, 1591, a sorry product enough for the 28th year of one who was soon to be a poet. It falls into the crowd of paraphrases. The songs of Deborah, Judith, and others, are metrified into the jogging distich of fourteen syllables which the band of Tottel had patented, Warner had improved, but Chapman had not yet redeemed. Truthfulness to the text warms the transcript of the Song of Songs into somewhat more fervid colour than the rest. This, it has been suggested, may have been the quality that attracted the nostrils of the puritan censors; and there is little else to account for the doom of a book so innocent and so tedious. In the Stationers' Registers for 1591 Mr. Collier found an entry proving that the edition was seized by order; and given over to a Mr. Bishop for destruction; although forty copies were saved by express rule of Whitgift, and kept in Lambeth. None survive there now, and only one copy of the first edition, preserved in the British Museum, seems known. Why the seizure was made, and why Whitgift interposed, and why, in 1610, the author thought his paraphrase worth a reprint, is now obscure. Drayton brought out nothing good before he was thirty.
II. — 1593-1603.
From 1593 to 1597 he brought out too much. Except for the Heroicall Epistles, in which he struck out a new tune, he practised voluminously until the reign of James in the current kinds of pastoral, sonnet, legend, narrative chronicle, and "Italianated" classical myth. During this period his attraction lies in the fulness with which he appropriates, and his delighted if not wholly original power in uttering, the great Elizabethan thoughts and ardours; and, further, in the frankness with which he submits to the influence exerted upon the whole verse of that decade, notably by Sidney, in a less degree by Daniel, above all by Spenser. The Sonnets and Legends respectively show the hand of the first two writers, but the presence of Spenser is constant and deeper, reaching far beyond some imitation pastorals. Allusions to his master are found at intervals in Drayton's work for the next thirty-five years. And if the fruit of this loyalty, filial rather than servile, appears somewhat in that "smoothness" and "golden-mouthed" quality which his own age singled out in Drayton, it appears yet more in his escape from the bad styles then current — the tricks of Sidney or of Lyly — from the peril of which few poets outside the drama, save Spenser, could as yet deliver him. And some of Spenser's characteristic spirit, too, he exhales fitfully; in especial, when at his best, he has that proud conception of the poetic vocation, as opposed to the chaotic brute aims of the world, which became in a manner the badge of a caste, numbering professors so different as Jonson, Chapman, and Marston. Poets, says Drayton, are
Those rare Promethei, fetching fire from heaven,
to whom the functions of the gods are given,
raising frail dust with their redoubled flame,
mounted with hymns upon the wings of fame.
There is no nobler spirit in our verse; and the ethical temper on which it is founded, proceeding in part from the new study of Seneca, Plutarch, and Juvenal, in part from the high personal pride of the time, calls for a special study.
The series of nine pastorals which appeared in 1593 was entitled Idea, the Shepherds Garland, fashioned in Nine Eglogs. A tenth "Eglog" was added in the edition of 1606 (reprinted by the SPENSER SOCIETY). In this re-issue much was changed and amplified, and much that is common or extravagant disappeared. The chief additions are in the eighth eclogue already quoted (sixth in 1593 version), where a mass of obscure personal allegory is inwrought.
There is, further, the new ninth eclogue containing the daffodil song, of far finer quality than Drayton had shown in 1593. His power of pure singing grew late and slow. In the earlier volume he did much by following close upon the Calendar. From the shepherd dialect that spoils that poem, from the habit, traceable perhaps first to Petrarch's Latin pastorals, of prudently obscure invective against foes in church or state, he turns away. But, after Spenser, he uses the pastoral in one of its most primitive extensions, for panegyric; the third eclogue containing an ode to the queen that may well compare with April. And in other traditions he acquiesces. A shepherd of skill, neglected by the world and by a harsh lady, he yet meditates a higher strain, like Colin in October; his "simple reed Shall with a far more glorious rage infuse." And if the boast was kept by the Faerie Queene, it was kept also by the Heroicall Epistles, by the Poly-Olbion, and by the Ballad of Agincourt. Other themes, some of them striking back to the Sicilian roots of the pastoral, such as the rustic singing match, some of them modern and adventitious, such as the contest of youth and age, Drayton copes with conscientiously. He prefers the ten-syllabled line, helping Spenser to beat out its shape and beauty in stanzas of five or six; and in these measures he not only commands the strenuous style:
no fatal dreads, nor fruitless vain desires,
low caps and court'sies to a painted wall,
nor heaping rotten sticks on needless fires,
ambitious ways to climb, or fears to fall,
nor things so base do I affect at all:
but his verse also springs into tenderness and colour:
Shepherd, farewell, the skies begin to lower:
yon pitchy cloud that hangeth in the west
shews us ere long that we shall have a shower:
come, let us home, for so I think it best,
for to their cotes our flocks are gone to rest.
To the pastoral, taken more lightly, Drayton was to return in his old age; the Muses' Elizium is in a strain of Caroline lyric, less highly pitched, but more rhythmically magical.
Certainly those eclogues, like much that Drayton did in these years, are helpless enough at times in their broken grammar and halting melody; and this is true, too, of the Legends to which he next betook himself. For he assisted in prolonging a mediaeval form that might well be thought to have had its day. Monks and preachers had turned to account the dreary images, truly classical in origin, but harped upon out of all measure when the great body of thought into which they fitted was forgotten of the whims of Fortune's wheel and the falls of the mighty. But the poets, in their inveterately secular way, apt to elude the devout application, had made a kind of bastard epic, most portentously exemplified in Lydgate's Falls of Princes, and in a later day by the Mirror for Magistrates; the first edition of which had come in 1559, but a new and enlarged one as late as 1587. Long before, Chaucer himself had twice begun something of the sort; but, both in the Monk's Tale and in the Legend of Good Women, he had, what with his humour, what with his artist's horror of the impossible in literature, wearied of the plan; seeing, doubtless, what two centuries later his floundering successors were still failing to see, that a chain-gang of the illustrious unhappy, banded only by "saevitia Fortunae," was a subject capable of impressive passages, but, being without change, end, or beginning, unfit for art. Yet this was the subject that the penmen who accumulated the Mirror were reviving in the public service, at a season when the new patriotism assured them readers, and the new chronicle-not yet history-gave them matter. And the fashion was still fresh when the last decade of the century began; so that Daniel, and Drayton after him, fell to making solemn compositions in this style, often a little abortive. Warner's Albion's England, 1586, is an earlier, plainer, equally patriotic treatment of history, largely mythical. But Warner wrote more for the people, and had no literary "regrets," though he also made Legends: and the term Legend usually implied a pathetic or tragical treatment of a subject drawn from English history since the Conquest. Mr. Fleay has made it clear, that the Legends form a kind of little affluent to the Mirror and the chronicle play; and the whole body of historic narrative verse must be regarded as. a defeated rival of the chronicle play, equally popular perhaps for a while, but in true achievement far behind it. Daniel's Complaint of Rosamond, the first poem of this kind possessing any savour since Sackville's, was entered in 1592. Drayton's Legend of Piers Gaveston appeared in 1593. In Marlowe's Edward the Second, entered July of the same year, the tale of Isabel, Mortimer, Gaveston, and Edward, was cast once for all into clear and enduring form. Yet Drayton returned to the subject with blind fascination both in his Mortimeriados and his Heroicall Epistles. The competition was idle; and the incident figures the whole destiny of the historic "epic" in its race for life with the historic play.
Yet the Legends more than promise a poet. Gaveston's ghost, indeed, prosing in sextains after the approved fashion, is too circumstantial; and the catastrophe is absurdly hurried over. Matilda, whose narrative is told not without pathos, is fuller of the lines and sallies which we are wont to call Shaksperean, some especially recalling the Shakspere of the opening sonnets, where he cries out to his friend the Elizabethan text of the obligation that the beautiful are under, not to die without leaving children. But by far the most poetical of the Legends (not excluding the later and tamer one on Cromwell) is that of Robert, Duke of Normandy, 1596. The story runs obscure and sluggish as a canal; but no verse written afterwards in English is so mediaeval as the preliminary "flyting" between the two great personifications, Fame and Fortune, who had spread their dark wings over so much poetic homilising. Drayton, as this passage alone would prove, had his share of the inherited melancholy of du Bellay and Spenser, so deep, in spite of being so literary. The lines, which follow so closely a passage in the House of Fame, are not quite the latest traced upon its walls before it came into the hands of Pope, the eminent eighteenth century restorer.
Before working the historical vein further, Drayton paid his dues to Italianate taste, and to the vogue of Ovid. Hero and Leander, published 1598, was entered after the murder of its author in 1593 it was doubtless soon in private circulation, if not previously and it was common for the young poets, Shakspere, Beaumont, and others, to introduce themselves by such exercises, usually bearing a double mythological title; often echoing, too, those cadences of Marlowe, which he had bestowed upon the couplet; and touching it, sometimes, with his delicate tracery of image. Seldom did they reach the clear glow, the form that remains so pure in its richness, of the dead genius; seldom did they shun the dalliance with words and the blurring of images, then nearly universal, but so specially fatal to a love-story drawn from the lucid ancient fountains. Drayton also made his effort; it is worthy, and not only for its theme, of rescue by some enthusiast from the darkness of a rare edition. Endimion and Phoebe, Idea's Latmus, entered in 1595, must have come out in the same year, though it bears no date. For Thomas Lodge, so well-known to the author as to be nicknamed by him in the piece under the anagram of Goldey, refers to it in a fragile work of his called a Fig for Momus, 1595; naming especially some Pythagorean jargon of "nines and threes" with which Drayton unhappily tarnished his bright and silvery love-story. There is in fact in the poem too much pedantry, too much desire to show information. Platonic abstractions, which have passed through Spenser's Four Hymns, interrupt the tale. But Marlowe's influence — it was his special privilege — could sway and for a moment purify a talent widely unlike his own, such as that of his continuator Chapman, or of Drayton.
She laid Endimion on a grassy bed,
with summer's arras richly overspread,
where, from her sacred mansion next above,
she might descend and sport her with her love
which thirty years the shepherd safely kept,
who in her bosom soft and soundly slept.
Yet as a dream he thought the time not long,
remaining ever beautiful and young:
and what in vision there to him befell,
my weary Muse some other time shall tell.
This is nearer the manner of the master than much of the Endymion of Keats. But the promise to pursue the story was kept in a strange and ungainly fashion. Endimion and Phoebe was never reprinted whole by the author: but, in the volume of 1606 (Odes and Eglogs), appeared a nondescript work called The Man in the Moon, much less worth preserving than the older piece, many lines of which are woven into it. It is full of ill-cohering fancies. Diana, the moon-goddess, equipped with her arrows and her beauty, dissolves during the tale into the figure of the moon itself, with spots, man, influence upon tides, and all: and hence arises an opening for the regular declamation on the fickleness of an evil world. The poem properly falls among Drayton's attempts at satire.
The close of Endimion and Phoebe celebrates, bravely enough, the dwelling of Idea, which we know to be Polesworth Hall:
Let stormy winter never touch the clime,
but let it flourish as in April's prime:
let sullen night that soil ne'er overcloud,
but in thy presence let the earth be proud.
In the year before, 1594, had been published Idea's Mirrour, Amours in Quatorzains. This was the first sheaf of sonnets, fifty-three in number, addressed to Idea. From first to last, during the next quarter of a century, Drayton printed about as many again, ever adding, rejecting, and re-burnishing, not always for the better.
It must be remembered that in 1594 he had been influenced by only one great sonneteer; for to Surrey, Barnes, or Lodge he owed little; so that he did as much as any man to secure the sonnet in the form, invented long before himself and Shakspere, but now commonly called the Shaksperean. There is no need to repeat how, through certain intervening rhythms of Sidney and others, the Italian stanza, so carefully poised just after its rigid octave, and shrinking from the clang of the final couplet, passed into the measure possessing such magnificent rights of its own, where that very couplet crowns three quatrains of independent rhyme: so that the whole poem, its centre shifted now far forwards, was tuned as under no other metrical scheme it could be to the loud Elizabethan chord of pride or desire or defiance:
And though this earthly body fade and die,
my soul shall mount upon Eternity...
Then, sweet Despair, awhile hold up thy head,
or all my hope for sorrow shall be dead.
Drayton wrote this; and, despite fits of flatness and untimely "chorography," he often wrote like it. There is no mistaking the strain of Astrophell; the very promise to be no "pickpurse of another's wit" is itself verbally borrowed from the great confessional poet; in whose wake Drayton tries to follow with full sail, not so much when he alludes to the Arcadia, as when he speaks about his own repute, or his poetic practice, or when he utters the pride of rejection, or the old Catullan counsel to his mistress to enjoy while she is not yet past it.
Nor, as I have hinted, is Idea so purely a shadow to us as the mistresses of Shakspere and other contemporaries. The proof that she was the same person as Anne Goodere, in whose house Drayton was brought up, is conclusive, and can be best given in the words of Mr. Fleay. "In Eclogue viii." of the 1606 volume "two sisters are mentioned, the eldest, Panape, who is sick in Arden, by the river Ankor; the younger, Idea, who lives by the Meene, a mountain in Cotswold.... In the Hymn to his Lady's Birthplace.... we are told that Idea was born in Mich Parke, a street in Coventry, on 4th Aug., that Godiva 'was but her type.'... From Poly-Olbion, Song xiii., it appears that the lady by whom Coventry was to be made so great was Anne Goodere; that An-cor prophesies her Christian name and God-iva half her surname." We are glad that something more is known of Anne personally. It is pleasing to learn, on the testimony of her own doctor, the son-in-law of Shakspere, that she was "beautiful, and of a gallant structure of body," when in the 28th year of her age.
As we have seen, Drayton, if the arithmetic of a sonnet is to be trusted, dates his devotion to her from about 1592, when he was leaving or had left for London; and, in the Eclogues of the following year, celebrates her. Had he said no more, his gallantry might be purely literary: for a counterpart, real or manufactured, to Spenser's Rosalind was a necessity in a pastoral book of the kind; and there is no note of passion in it. But, in the Amours of 1594, though much, as in Astrophell and Stella, is merely verbal, the fancy, like Sidney's, has become serious. Many of the sonnets, though they lack the strength of some of those he added later, show Drayton singing in earnest. Rejected, he is galled and wrung as no mere book-amorist could be. About two years later, c. 1595, Anne Goodere married Sir Henry Rainsford, of Clifford Chambers in Gloucestershire, a mile or so from Stratford upon Avon. Rainsford was afterwards to be Drayton's cherished and hospitable friend: but his marriage with Anne Goodere would be the natural occasion for one of the most famous and insuperable of all personal poems, "Since there's no help, come let us kiss and part." This was not published till 1619, but there is nothing very improbable in its having been kept private for many years. The history of this love can be not unfairly conjectured. For nearly a quarter of a century after the marriage of the lady, sonnets, some merely gallant, some fervent, were written and published, by Drayton in her honour. The evidence given above, especially the passage from the Poly-Olbion, forbids us to suppose that "Idea" became a mere label for offerings really intended to many loves. In 1605, the wooer repeats his vow: "I am still inviolate to you:" and the sonnet bearing the same date, "An evil spirit, your beauty, haunts me still," has a startlingly Shaksperian ring and climax. It is therefore likely that Drayton had, for long after her marriage, a passionate regard for Lady Rainsford. But the feeling, we may judge from other poems, finally weakened, or rose, into a friendship, which spoke often in terms of mere compliment, but lasted nevertheless. The Hymn to his Lady's Birthplace, first published in 1627, though undated, bears the stamp of his riper, more ingenious and delicate, handiwork; it may well be as late as the age of Charles. The "elegies" On his Lady's not coming to Town, and on her husband, neither of which are early, will be named hereafter. There is no record of Drayton ever having married. I now return to his early writings.
In 1594, the Contention of the Two Houses of York and Lancaster was being acted; and, as Mr. Fleay points out, Daniel's History of the Civil Wars was entered in the same year, and bears traces of being written in rivalry with the play. Drayton, once more following zealously after Daniel, accomplished also a long epic founded on the chronicles. Mortimeriados, published in 1596, was first written in the seven-line stanza of Chaucer's Troilus and Spenser's Hymns. No poem of Drayton's was more sedulously filed. In 1603 it appeared wholly remodelled as The Barons' Wars. The substitution of compliments to Sir W. Aston for those to the Countess of Bedford has been discussed already. But, besides a mass of textual alterations, the measure of seven lines (ababbcc) is expanded into the ottava rima (abababcc) by the addition of a line after the fourth. Moreover, the change that came over Drayton's poetical interests between 1596 and 1603 is strikingly reflected. In preface upon the metre he explains that, instead of the rhyme royal, he now chose "Ariosto's stanza" because "it is of all others the most complete and the best proportioned ... hath in it majesty, perfection, and solidity." Nothing better could be said of the measure of the Orlando Furioso; but the speaker did not know the whole of the scope it receives in that poem itself. He succeeds best in solemn, apostrophic passages, or set pictures; he has no suppleness, no humour. On the whole the new version is more dignified than the old. Most of the classical tags and crude strokes of Mortimeriados disappear. But the writer has also left some of his youth behind him, he has passed from the land of Marlowe and Spenser into that of Daniel and the Histories of Shakspere; which indeed he must have carefully read. And he seems to feel that the staple of an historical poem should be grave, gnomic, perhaps a little dull; and one of the few and fortunate remnants of his earlier freshness is visible in the final interview, full of perfume and misty colour of luxury, and of invading bloodshed, between Mortimer and Isabel. Others are the half-Virgilian, half-Spenserian pictures of Mischief creeping into the bosom of the king (Barons' Wars, ii. 5); the dreams of the king in his prison (v. 43); the gracious picture of the nymphs (vi. 38); and the simile of the fleet-winged haggard stooping among the mallards (vi. 64). But Drayton is no great narrator, much as he narrated. He does not state an action clearly, or make it move. He intersperses tableaux with reflections. He has a commemorative, invocative gift; and he has energy, imagery, nobility, height. But this is to anticipate; for by the time he wrote The Barons' Wars, he had long carried to their height his powers of lyrical monologue in the most popular of all his poems. England's Heroicall Epistles came out in 1597, but may have been circulated some years earlier. They were more sounding, more telling, better calculated to his public than anything Drayton had yet written; they fixed his popularity, and deserved to fix it. With their repeated editions, they were the Macaulay's Lays of that day, lacking power to last as a whole, sometimes undeniably flashing into reality, ever fluent and adroit, now and then splendid, in their versing. Drayton, who "professed himself a pupil" of the poet of the Heroides, enlarged and reproduced his model, in the patriotic interest, with variations. The characters, both heroine and companion hero-are drawn from the same field as the Legends and the Mirror and the History plays; and of this whole school of verse the Epistles are certainly the best fruit. They are rich in lyrical declamation, not unlike that found in certain parts of Shakspere's earlier chronicle plays. And, like Shakspere, Drayton owed in this matter much to Marlowe; the style of Marlowe's couplet, as in Endimion and Phoebe, is often audible. But the most distinct feature in the Epistles is the modernness, for the year 1597, of hundreds of their couplets. "Waller was smooth;" but Drayton, like Spenser, was smooth before him; and who does not hear, in verse like this, the overture to the rhetoric that was to rule a whole tradition of our heroics down to the death of Crabbe?
And is one beauty thought so great a thing
to mitigate the sorrows of a king?
Barred of that choice the vulgar often prove,
have we than they less privilege in love?
Is it a king, the woftul widow hears?
Is it a king dries up the orphan's tears?
Is it a king regards the client's cry?
Gives life by law to him condemned to die?
Another quality, too, a few of the Epistles — Henry to Rosamond, Humphrey to Elinor — eminently show, which contemporary admirers marked. "The Author is termed in Fitzgeoffrey's Drake, golden-mouthed, for the purity and preciousness of his phrase." Meres, who thus speaks in his Palladis Tamia, 1598, is the fullest witness to Drayton's repute. He names him, in the very best company, as one "by whom the English tongue is mightily enriched," and praises him for his histories, epistles, lyrics, and love-poems. He is also the chief, but by no means the only, witness to character. "As Aulus Persius Flaccus was reported among all writers to be of an honest disposition and upright conversation, so Michael Drayton, quem toties honoris causa nomino, among scholars, soldiers, poets, and all sorts of people, is held for a man of virtuous and well-governed carriage, which is almost miraculous among good wits of this declining and corrupt time." So Fuller, long after, says, "He was a pious poet, his conscience having always the command of his fancy, very temperate in his life, slow of speech, and inoffensive in company." Equally well-known is the testimony in the Return from Parnassus, 1600, that he "wants one true note of a poet of our times, and it is this: he cannot swagger it well at a tavern, or domineer at a hot-house" (brothel). We also hear of what his letters and works confirm, his humanity and good nature. The young Charles Fitzgeoffrey, in the Latin lines preceding his Affaniae, 1601, records that his master did not only not deride his efforts, but even condescended to polish them, "lima sua:" and, in the poem to which Meres refers, on Sir Francis Drake, 1596, obviously written on the model of the Legends, he speaks of "golden-mouthed Drayton musical" as a disciple of Sidney. Lastly, in a poetical commonplace book, called England's Parnassus, 1604, edited by one R. Allot, Drayton's verses, especially the Epistles, are quoted nearly 200 times. Upon the publication of the Epistles, then, he was probably at the height of his repute, luck, and popularity combined. His "purity and preciousness of phrase," no ill description of his finer work, was the flower of a severe life and a fortunate temper, not yet crossed with uncouth rhetorical rancour against society, or over-tasked by the Poly-Olbion.
We wish that he had written less; but the pressure of life soon drove him to produce too much, and the wrong things. His career from 1598 to the end of the reign is obscure. It is only known that despite his fame he was a theatrical hack, little patronised, poor, and co-operating with fourth-rate men. It is a barren and dejected chapter. Plays were then written as much on the sand as a modern review or leader, and the titles often are saved only by an accident. An anonymous work, Poems of Divers Humours, 1598, speaks of Drayton's "well-written tragedies;" but we know little of them beyond their names. About Christmas, 1597, he first seems to have joined one of the needy syndicates dependent upon Henslowe, the entries in whose Diary are the only evidence. Within three months Drayton had assisted in writing sixteen plays, not counting distinct parts. The last of these is dated 14th June, 1600. After sixteen months interval we find him, from October, 1601, till May, 1602, concerned in three plays again for the Admiral's men and Henslowe. He worked during the first period of two years and a half with Chettle, Dekker, Hathway, Monday, and Wilson: and in the later period the very different names of Middleton and Webster occur as his partners. Of all these nineteen pieces in which Drayton took part, only one, William Long-sword, is known to have been written by him single-handed; and that is lost: while only one, Sir John Oldcastle, survives; and that mediocre work he wrote in company with three other men. It is plain from the list of titles, that he had, like the rest, to keep mainly to chronicle pieces, vamped up according to Henslowe's Shylockian policy, rapidly, while the vogue lasted. Of the rest, several are comedies, and one, Batman, of the fashionable Newgate species. The entries also show the wretched haste and poverty of the authors, to whom Henslowe through his agent doles out ten or twenty shillings. We find Drayton receiving these sums on loan, doubtless secured upon work yet unwritten. The only signature of the poet known to survive, affixed to a receipt for a loan from Henslowe, is to be seen on the opposite page. And we find him at least on one occasion, taking the lion's share of the pittance (Godwin, part ii.); and there is another trace of his having been in some sense the chief, as he was the most gifted, among his earlier colleagues. "Mr. Drayton hath given his word for the book to be done with in one fortnight" is a suggestive entry. But this is a sorry record, which it is idle to fill out by fine conjecture.
III. — 1603-1622.
Drayton did not write for the theatre after the accession of James, but came back for good to his proper work. Meres tells us in 1598 that "Michael Drayton is now penning in English verse a poem called Poly-Olbion:" and for the materials of this labour, of which we speak hereafter, he must then have spared little enough time to write, travel, or buy books. But by 1603 he had found a new patron in an old friend, Walter Aston (1590-1639) of Tixall in Staffordshire, whose "generous and noble disposition" he had praised six years earlier. The tie was now to be closer; for Aston, on being invested by James with the Knighthood of the Bath, made Drayton one of his "esquires," a style which henceforth appears conspicuously enough on his title-pages.
Between 1602 and 1607 no less than five works are dedicated to Sir Walter Aston: and in the twelfth song of Poly-Olbion, 1612, he speaks of Tixall, "which oft the Muse hath found her safe and sweet retreat." The preface to the poem is yet plainer, and says, memorably enough: "Whatever is herein that tastes of a free spirit I thankfully confess it to proceed from the continual bounty of my truly noble friend Sir Walter Aston; which hath given me the best of those hours whose leisure hath effected this which I now publish."
But Aston had to console his friend for the loss of richer hopes, incurred by joining too soon in the stampede for front places which attended the advent of the literary king. After "the quiet end of that long-living queen," Drayton, who had not, so far as we know, had a farthing from her or a word of encouragement, omitted to cry "La reine est morte," and confined his lament almost to a single line of verse. But at such times there is supposed to be a threnody, and also a fair interval, before the compliments begin to the living. According to Chettle, his Gratulalory Poem, 1603, and his Paean Triumphall, made for the entry into London, were ignored for this reason.
Think, 'twas a fault to have thy verses seen
praising the king, ere they had mourned the queen.
At the reception of his eulogies (which may be sufficiently described by a line in one of them, "Panting for breath flies our elaborate song,") Drayton was deeply cut. "I instantly saw all my long-nourished hopes buried alive before my face." Nearly a quarter of a century later, in the Epistle to George Sandys, 1627, he confirms Chettle's explanation of his failure.
It was my fault before all other men
to suffer shipwreck by my forward pen
when King James entered....
Yet had not my clear spirit in fortune's scorn
me above earth and my afflictions borne,
he, next my God on whom I built my trust
had left me trodden lower than the dust.
Thus, while Jonson, Daniel, and so many others, were accepted, he was put aside. The poem called The Owl, 1604, he asserts in its preface, to have been written before this event; but it is full of strain and obscure allegory, behind which we divine an awkward rage ineffectually smouldering. Mother Hubbard's Tale, and the Parliament of Birds, are in some measure his models. The Eagle is the monarch, the Owl, sharp-sighted in the darkness, is the satiric observer of its evil deeds. Attacked by various "obscenae volucres," she pleads her case to the Eagle in a long tirade against the lust and jobbing of courts. The poet himself is figured by the ragged and wretched Crane, who laments:
Weary at length, and trusting to my worth,
I took my flight into the happy North;
where, nobly bred as I was well allied,
I hoped to have my fortune there supplied;
but, there arrived, disgrace was all my gain...
Other had got for which I long did serve,
still fed with words, while I with wants did starve.
This is the only evidence for the figment, which has passed into some biographies, and seems to be first named and refuted by Oldys (1750), that the poet was introduced by Aston to James, and sent to Scotland on some unsuccessful public mission. I can throw no fresh light on the allusion, except that he did actually go, or had been, northwards, before 1606: one of the best of his odes being written from the Peak, and praising "Buxton's delicious baths."
In 1605 he published the first anthology of all his hitherto published poetry that seemed worth reclaiming. To atone for his facility, he had a sound instinct for thrusting much hastily-begotten verse into silence. Nothing of any worth but Endimion and Phoebe was sacrificed. Our Bibliography (No. 19A) will show what this volume contained, and what reprints of it were speedily called for. His wholly new lyrics he included in a separate book, the Poemes Lyrick and Pastorall; Odes and Eglogs, 1606. Both these have been reprinted by the SPENSER SOCIETY. Of the revised "Eglogs" something has been said; but nothing he wrote is more choicely original than the Odes. His lyric gift had come late, he was now forty-three; but it was to grow finer and lighter as he lived. At the age of fifty-six, in the volume of 1619, he added seven more odes, containing his choicest love-poems, and a much strengthened version of the Ballad of Agincourt. In the book of 1606 he tells us that he proposed to follow "the inimitable Pindarus," as well as the odes of Anacreon, "the very delicacies of the Grecian Erato, which muse seemed to have been the minion of that Teian old man which composed them." His own odes are to be mixed, the "arguments being amorous, moral, or what else the muse pleaseth." They are really formed more on Horace than on any Greek writer, and are unlike all the pseudo-Pindaric odes written in English afterwards. Neither are they ballads in the real sense. Their rhythm is as alien to the march of the nobler as it is to the slouch of the inferior folk-ballad. But in some of them is the true war-music, as of the harp speeding a vessel that departs with pennons flying to win some new continent of odorous tropic fruits and illimitable gold.
You brave heroic minds,
worthy your country's name,
that honour still pursue,
go, and subdue,
whilst loitering hinds
lurk here at home for shame!
The overture To Himself and the Harp vindicates the dignity of verse in the old missionary spirit. The ode To my Friends the Camber-Britons and their Harp, usually known as the Ballad of Agincourt, is the sincerest, and thus the most infectious, of all literary ballads (though, as we have said, the old popular ditty on the great battle was in Drayton's cars when he wrote). It is the fine flower of old patriot lyric, just as Henry V. is of patriot drama, and both are filled with ardour for the same hero. The ode was a favourite of Drayton's, if we may judge by the nicety of the improvements which he made from time to time in its text. In the love-odes, we feel we are in a later day, far from Sidneian flights, nearer the dexterity of compliment or courtship we associate with Carew or Suckling. The Horatian Ode to Savage approaches the favourite exercises of Wotton, Vaughan, and others, on the theme of a disciplined temperate life in the country. In the Ode to the New Year there is at least one stanza that might, for its pure ethereal style, have come out of the Poems and BalIads of the year 1866. Drayton's lyric phrasing is no longer apt to be rude, heavy and common, but has here at least Swinburnian quality:
Give her th' Eoan brightness
winged with that subtle lightness
that doth transpierce the air:
the roses of the morning
the rising heaven adorning
to mesh with flames of hair.
After 1606 Drayton was almost silent for six years, still accumulating the immense work, which he had begun by 1598. As will appear, the traces of actual travel in the Poly-Olbion are dubious. Somewhat he must have gone about, to obtain or see the necessary books. In any case, he had not only Aston to thank for the opportunity of keeping to his task, but was assisted in high quarters. The dedication of the first instalment of Poly-Olbion, 1612, is addressed to the prince who was within a year to be cut off. Drayton writes to Henry in a strain of proud gratitude and emergence from the deeps of sick discouragement.
"My soul, which hath seen the extremity of Time and Fortune, cannot yet despair. The influence of so glorious and fortunate a star, may also reflect upon me: which hath power to give me new life, or leave me to die more willingly and contented. My poem is genuine, and first in this kind. It cannot want envy: for, even in the birth, it already finds that. Your gracious acceptance, mighty prince, will lessen it."
By the dedication of 1622 it appears that Charles had continued the bounty of Henry, which "gave me much encouragement to go on with this second part." What obstacles he encountered in publishing the complete poem, will appear in his letters to Drummond. But, meanwhile, the gift of Henry was more than timely. To a man of Drayton's temper, sensitive to the manner of a gift, and justly taking it more as a pension for desert than an alms, Henry's usage, notoriously considerate to poets, must have counted for more than the money fee. But this grant or annuity of £10, whenever it was begun, coupled with the help of Aston, decisively relieved him from theatrical beggary. The sum was continued after Henry's death, though it does not appear for how long.
In 1613 we first have a glimpse of Drayton's features. He was now fifty: and his portrait engraved by Hole appears before one of the many reprints of the volume of 1605. It shows, markedly enough, the "swarth and melancholy face" of which he himself speaks. A harassed, half-submerged but unbeaten doggedness, a malcontent energy, a temper with which life has gone hard, speak from its lines. The only painted portrait which. survives was taken fifteen years later, being dated 1628, when he was 63; it is mellower, and has more of prosperous dignity. The face in both is wide, the forehead somewhat bossy, crowned with laurel in the engraving. The Abbey bust has little expression.
The first eighteen songs of the Poly-Olbion appeared in 1612, the other twelve not till 1622, though they were finished before 1619. The exact reprint that this SOCIETY has issued of the later edition renders needless any account of the designs, maps, and dedications, or of the introduction by the great Selden, whose notes bristle after each Song of the first volume. But from all these sources, besides the work itself, must be collected the spirit in which it was composed. The truth is that Drayton, Briton as he was, was penetrated with the Renaissance commonplace of the wrack and destruction wrought by Time upon beauty, and power, and noble visible monuments, and the fame of the great. From the Triumphs of Petrarch, down to the exercises of du Bellay and Spenser, that sense of the mingled loss and salvage from antiquity, itself so newly re-discovered, had inspired many a lament over the passing of old and glorious things: and sometimes, as in Spenser's Ruins of Time, over newer potentates and great houses, which had gone, they also, the way of the old. Something, again, of this spirit, had been applied to English history, real or fancied, by the school — call it the school of Sackville — which we saw Drayton begin with copying. He in turn, after Camden, carries this same inspiration into his task of collecting the sagas of Great Britain. He will fight with Time to save Antiquity, which men are disregarding: and it is his affair, by "world-outwearing rhymes," to stay the oblivion besetting the "delicacies, delights, and rarities" of Albion.
O Time, what earthly thing with thee itself can trust,
when thou in thine own course art to thyself unjust?
Dost thou contract with death and to oblivion give
thy glories, after them yet shamefully dar'st live?
So, when injurious Time such monuments doth lose,
(As, what so great a work by Time that is not wrackt?),
we utterly forgo that memorable act:
but, when we lay it up within the minds of men,
they leave it their next age; that leaves it hers again.
Alas, the great poem itself has sunk in the stream! its plan, so grandiose, so much beyond the poetical force of Drayton, or of anybody, to keep up, has doomed it: it is banished to the shelves of students and enthusiasts, who, for the golden veins in its mass of quartz and rubble, may deem it their duty to rescue some attention for it, just as the author wished to do by the antiquities he celebrates.
The precise application of this mood to the nature and monuments of Britain — to her visible past — and even the geographical framework, were of course no invention of the poet's. It has been said that Leland's Itinerary suggested his plan; but it would be hard to find in those and entries much that he has used. Neither could he, with Leland, say, and he does not say, "that there is almost neither cape nor bay, haven, creek, or pier, river or confluence of rivers, breaches, washes, lakes, meres, fenny waters, mountains, valleys, moors, heaths, forests, woods, cities, boroughs, castles, principal manor places, monasteries, colleges, but I have seen them, and in so doing noted a whole world of things very memorable." Drayton did nothing of this sort; his purse perhaps could not have afforded it. And, owing to his peculiar allusive method, and his notable lack of poetical eyesight for the face of nature, it is often uncertain whether he saw what he writes, or copied it, with dignified alterations, from some book. It is thus with his lists of the birds of Lincolnshire (Song 25), or the plants of Kent (Song 18), or of Warwickshire (Song 13). These last, though he is speaking of his own shire, he might have taken from a herbal, with receipts for purges and sauces. The thirteenth Song is an instance of this defect throughout, except in the description of the deer-hunt, which may be from life. But, when he does observe, his style is hard and documentary; it has spirit, but no illumination, as in his verses on the hunting of the hare (Song 23). Shakspere's mis-praised stud-specification of the horse in Venus and Adonis is the nearest parallel to Drayton's habitual manner; but Drayton never came to hear the tuneable baying of the Spartan hounds of Theseus. Sometimes, when a graphic touch seems to be surely his own, we find that it is not. The riding of the hundred ships unseen in Falmouth harbour (Song 5) is taken straight from Camden. And, much as he uses Camden, he often misses his vividness. Camden, crossing the Wharfe upon his cob, stumbles on the slippery stones, and adds: "he runneth with a swift speedy stream, making a great noise as he goeth, as if he were froward, turbid, and angry; and is made more full and testy with the number of stones lying in his channel:" and this gives the essential raging life of the swollen river better than Poly-Olbion with all its personifying.
The debts of Drayton to Camden, into which he has of course every right to run, though he does not appear to own them, are considerable, both in the animating spirit of the whole, and in many details. "I would restore Antiquity to Britain, and Britain to his Antiquity.... Who is so skilful, that struggling with time in the foggy dark sea of Antiquity, may not run upon rocks?" The Latin original of this was published in 1586, long before Drayton began. The opening of the poem, in praise of the temperate climate of Albion, is traditional, but the words are directly borrowed from Camden. For the first three Songs "the Muse," with slight changes, follows painfully the routes of the Britannia, beginning with Cornwall, and working through "Devon, Dorset, Hamp, Wilt, Somerset." After this the poet's plan of following up the main river-systems causes him to diverge; and the extent to which he draws upon Camden differs greatly according to counties. From Songs 4 to 10 the Muse expatiates in Wales, and borrows many curiosities, like the beavers in Tivy, and those notable one-eyed fish in the upland mere of Snowdon. But the greater part of the Welsh Songs deal in the chronicle or the personifications which lie outside the scope of Carnden's work. From the tenth to the eighteenth Songs the Muse strikes down from Cheshire through the Western midlands, thence to London: and this portion of the poem is borrowed less than any other. Warwickshire, London, and probably Kent, Drayton knew personally, though he makes little use of the opportunities of the capital except in four superb lines (17. 239). The dykes of Cambridgeshire are from the book (21. 9); and so likewise are the divisions of Lincolnshire (25. 109) though in the clawed and crooked devils of Crow (Holland's Camden, p. 530) the Muse misses a pleasant chance. The mines of Derbyshire, which, we know from an ode that Drayton visited, might also be partly copied. In Yorkshire he follows Camden's course faithfully; but the close of the poem, in which the Muse stumbles from Northumberland to her rest among the Westmorland bills, is from some other authority.
The chief devices with which the itinerary is beguiled are history, which includes legend, and personification. The embodiment of material from Geoffrey of Monmouth, Matthew of Paris, Higden, and Holinshed, is usually most successful when the subject is most fictitious. The lists of kings and battles are dreary enough; yet to move over the counties enchanted by the memory of Arthur (Songs 4, 5), would make a lesser man poetical. But to the writer's own mind the absence of demarcation between fact and legend is complete; is not each matter for the Muse, part of what has to be rescued from oblivion? The authenticity of "Brute," it is well-known, was by no means a closed question in the first half of the seventeenth century; and it is one of the few glimpses of humour in the Poly-Olbion to find Selden applying a gentle and sympathetic cautery in his notes to the figment for which the poet pleads in his text not without heat. Were such tales, forsooth, spurious, merely because Julius Caesar had known nothing about them? And the passages where, filled with this spirit, Drayton works up legend, or history that was just filmed over with legend, are the best in his book. The songs of Wales resound of Merlin. Cornwall calls up Corineus, and the local customs of wrestling (1. 29); the Danes, the tale, admirably given, of Guy of Warwick (12. 202); Sherwood, Robin Hood and his men (26. 122). These things were all part of the English past, not different in nature from the records of our naval heroes, or the native saints (24. 76). As to personification, its abuse is partly explained by necessity. Bound by his strict "chorographical" plan, Drayton has to traverse the whole country. How then, failing any religious instinct or interpretative power in dealing with nature, and apart from episodical myth or chronicle, shall he make his poem poetical? If the entire plan betokened a heroic ignorance of the capacities of the subject, the device adopted makes little amends. The personifying, indeed, of lake or mountain or river by a poet is in itself only his deliberate reversion to a more primitive state of thought, which was once, long ago, in the "angel infancy" of the world's imagination, taken seriously.
Not only was it so in Greece; but in England the general fancy, wrought up by men like Geoffrey of Monmouth, had often peopled Severn and Thames with legendary figures. The right of a later poet to re-associate these creations with their supposed scenes is as nobly exemplified in Milton's Sabrina as it is strikingly abused in the sixth Song of Poly-Olbion. The trick of the capital letter, so lovely when lightly used, Drayton, with his British tendency to overdo a good thing and never know it, doggedly works in through the whole of his thirty chapters. To hill and stream he applies the half-humanising, half-abstracting process, made by Spenser so delightful in variety, but which the masque-makers were soon tempted by their stage artists to stale. The wedding in the Faerie Queene of the Thames and Medway, itself shaped, perhaps, after some masque, is the model for the richest and finest of all the pageants of the Poly-Olbion, the meeting of Thames and Isis (Song 18). What can be done, after the manner beloved by Charles Lamb, in this kind, with good fortune, may also be seen in the addresses of the North Wind to the Vale of Cluyd (Song 10, p. 159), or of Waltham to Hatfield (19. 2). But, under the repetition of the device, quaintly enlivening the maps with their moonstruck tutelar nymphs, the poetry often becomes (to tell the truth) merely ostensible.
At the decadence of a great literary period the ambition to write considerable works outlives the power. The catastrophe that results is visible, putting the drama aside, in such pieces as those of Spenser's imitators, and in the Poly-Olbion. The poet had contracted for himself on impossible terms for a mighty poem. One of these terms, not the least serious, was the metre — the lengthy rhyming couplet of twelve syllables. Drayton's attempt may be said to show its impossibility for a long English composition. He controls it with no little skill, and perhaps draws out of it all the effects of which as a continuous measure it is capable. But the uniform break in the midst, the consonantal nature of our language, and the monotony, are fatal to it. It is, however, highly suitable for long single passages, and those in which Drayton works it successfully ought to be extracted in a popular selection. To the whole work, considered itself as an antique, the lines apply, which illustrate both the writer's tender zeal for what is old, and his natural stateliness of speech:
Even in the aged'st face, where beauty once did dwell,
and nature in the least but seemed to excel,
Time cannot make such waste, but something will appear,
to shew some little tract of delicacy there.
IV. — 1618-1631.
The Poly-Olbion was hard to publish, and the first instalment fell flat. "Some of the stationers, that had the selling of the first part of this poem, because it went not so fast away in the sale as some of their beastly and abominable trash ... have either despitefully left out, or at least carelessly neglected, the Epistles to the readers, and so have cozened the buyers with unperfected books." So writes the author in his letter "To any that will read it," 1622. He did not find a London publisher for the last twelve Songs without much trouble, and at one time made an effort to bring the book out in Edinburgh. The history both of this affair and of his chief literary friendship is found in the correspondence exchanged with Drummond of Hawthornden from 1618 onwards. For a nearly full text of all the letters, and a commentary, should be consulted Dr. Masson's Life of Drummond. The four letters written by Drayton (the only ones, exclusive of dedications and the like, that have been saved) deserve quoting in full. Written to one whom he had never met, and never was to meet, they testify to his hearty, generous temper, in terms that are special not so much to himself as to the high language of friendship during the age in which he had grown up.
Drummond had long studied and admired the author of the Epistles and Poly-Olbion, and in his Characters of Several Poets, written about 1614, is loud in his praise. Correspondence did not begin till 1618, when Drummond composed a long and weary compliment to the king on his Scottish progress. It may have been the Forth Feasting that drew the notice of Drayton in London. More probably, the tie began through a common friend, Sir William Alexander of Menstrie, who passed to and fro between North and South, and whose name comes constantly in the letters. Whatever the cause, Drayton seized the occasion of a certain Joseph Davies visiting Scotland to send to Hawthornden a message of friendly encouragement, the terms of which are lost. Drummond replied with grateful, slightly theatrical, effusion, revealing himself an admirer of long standing, whom "your most happy Albion [Poly-Olbion] put into a new trance;" and, like others, observes upon Drayton's "great love, courtesy, and generous disposition." Two other notes, in a similar strain, follow, before the first reply was received from Drayton. It runs thus:
"To my Honourable friend, Mr. William Drummond of Hawthornden.
My Dear Noble Drummond, — Your letters were as welcome to me as if they had come from my mistress, which I think is one of the worthiest living. Little did you think how oft that noble friend of yours, Sir William Alexander, that man of men, and I, had remembered you before we trafficked in friendship. Love me as much as you can, and so I will you. I can never hear of you too often, and I will ever mention you with much respect of your deserved worth. I enclosed this letter in a letter of mine to Mr. Andrew Hart of Edinburgh, about some business I have with him, which he may impart to you. Farewell, noble Sir, and think me to ever to be your faithful friend,
London, 9 Nov. 1618.
Joseph Davis is in love with you."
As Dr. Masson suggests, the work about which Drayton wrote to Hart was almost certainly the Poly-Olbion. On 20 December, 1618, Drummond replies: "I have been earnest with him in that particular. How I would be overjoyed to see our North once honoured with your works as before it was with Sidney's" (an edition of the Arcadia). The next letter from Drayton rages at his further embarrassments. It may be remembered that Ben Jonson's famous walk to Scotland and visit to Hawthornden occurred in the interval, at the Christmas of 1618.
"To my noble friend Mr. William Drummond of Hawthornden in Scotland.
My Noble Friend, — I have at last received both your letters, and the last in a letter of Sir William Alexander's enclosed sent to me into the country, where I have been all this winter, and came up to London not above four days before the date of this my letter to you. I thank you, my dear sweet Drummond, for your good opinion of Poly-Olbion. I have done twelve books more, that is from the eighteenth book, which was Kent, if you note it; all the East part and North to the river Tweed; but it lies by me; for the booksellers and I are in terms [bargaining]; they are a company of base knaves, whom I both scorn and kick at. Your love, worthy friend, I do heartily embrace and cherish, and the oftener your letters come the better they shall be welcome. And so, wishing you all happiness, I commit you to God's tuition, and rest ever your assured friend,
I have written to Mr. Hart a letter which comes with him.
London, 14 April, 1619."
The business with Hart came to nothing, and Drummond did not, it would seem, answer this letter. The next is dated more than two years afterwards.
"To my dear Noble friend Mr. William Drummond of Hawthornden in Scotland.
Noble Mr. Drummond, — I am often thinking whether this long silence proceeds from you or from me, whether I know not; but I would have you take it upon you to excuse me; and then I would have you lay it upon me, and excuse yourself; but you will, if you think it our fault as I do, let us divide; and both, as we may amend it. My long being in the country this summer, from whence I had no means to send my letter, shall partly speak for me; for believe me, worthy William, I am more than a fortnight's friend. Where I love, I love for years, which I hope you shall find. When I wrote this letter, our general friend, Sir William Alexander, was at court at Newmarket; but my lady promises me to have this letter sent to you. Let me hear how you do so soon as you can; I know that I am and will be ever your faithful
London, 22 November, 1621, in haste."
The letter travelled at leisure, for Drummond did not receive it till 20 April in the next year. He replies in his high-pitched strain:
"Of our long silence let us both excuse ourselves, and as our first parents did, lay the fault upon some Third ... and [I] testify that neither years nor fortune can ever so affect me, but that I shall ever reverence your worth and esteem your friendship as one of the best conquests of my life, which I would have extended if possible, and enjoy even after death; that, as this time, so the coming after, might know that I am and shall ever be your loving [friend]."
In a further letter, of uncertain date, but appearing to refer to the expected poems of 1627, the same language is kept up. But nothing comes back from Drayton until the year before his death, and this, the last of his extant letters, is one of the best.
"To my worthy and ever honoured friend Mr. William Drummond of Hawthornden in Scotland.
Sir, — It was my chance to meet with this bearer Mr. Wilson at a knight's house in Gloucestershire, to which place I yearly use to come in the summer-time to recreate myself, and to spend some two or three months in the country; and, understanding by him that he was your countryman, and after a time inquiring of some few things, I asked him, if he had heard of such a gentleman, meaning yourself; who told me he was your inward acquaintance, and spake much good to me of you. My happiness of having so convenient a messenger gave me the means to write to you and to assure you that I am your perfect faithful friend in spite of destiny and time. Not above three days before I came from London (and I would have been there above four days) I was with your noble friend and mine Sir William Alexander, when we talked of you. I left him, his lady, and family, in good health. This messenger is going from hence, and I am called upon to do an earnest business for a friend of mine. And so I leave you to God's protection, and remain ever your faithful servant,
Clifford in Gloucestershire, 14 July, 1631, in haste."
Next year, writing to Sir William Alexander, Drummond had to pour out his lament for the old friend whom he had never seen. No other letters by Drayton remain; but in these four his character is shown answering to the high language which he instinctively uses: a language with its serious, invincible bravado, which only a few old poets like himself remembered, the language of a man nurtured upon a day which had passed for England. His perfect faithful friendship in spite of destiny or time, his I commit you to God's tuition, are phrases Elizabethan in the true sense.
These letters furnish some other notices of his later life. "Where I love, I love for years." Unless the sonnets printed for the first time in 1619 were all written much earlier, the cult of "Idea" was tenacious. Anne, now for more than twenty years past Lady Rainsford, was doubtless the mistress praised in the letter of 1619 as "one of the worthiest living." But by this time such utterances were tokens of gallantry, with friendship behind it. The Epistle Of his Lady's not coming to Town, published 1627, and written in the smoother and later style, is overingenious, but sincere in its note. Certainly Drayton's intercourse with the Rainsfords was kept up for many years before his death. The letter of 1631 speaks of his yearly resort in summer to their seat of Clifford Hall, and the country visits named in the second and third letters were doubtless to the same place. In Poly-Olbion, he says that Clifford hath "been many a time the Muses' quiet port." And, in Sir Henry Rainsford, he found a friend of whom he writes with a flash of the spirit of Hamlet praising Horatio:
But to have him die
past all degree that was so dear to me
As, but comparing him with others, he
was such a thing as if some Power should say
what a friend should be....
Who had seen
his care of me, wherever I had been,
and had not known his active spirit before
upon some brave thing working evermore,
he would have sworn that to no other end
he had been born, but only for my friend.
Sir Henry died in 1622; and Drayton continued, as appears, his visits to the family. The "knight," whose house in 1631 he had "yearly visited" was doubtless the younger Sir Henry, now long since grown up. I cannot find out when Anne died.
Drayton's last eight years (1623-31) were productive; even Poly-Olbion did not leave him effete. Before referring to his other friendships and his last days, there is some admirable verse to notice. In 1619 he had published a revised selection, what would now be called a definitive edition, of all that he had written up to that time, apart from his great work (see Bibl. No. 30). A book of wholly fresh matter followed in 1627, and yet another in 1630. The first of these contains The Battle of Agincourt, The Miseries of Queen Margaret, Nymphidia, The Quest of Cynthia, The Shepherd's Sirena, The Mooncalf, and the Elegies. The volume of 1630, reprinted by the SPENSER SOCIETY, contains The Muses' Elizium, and the three biblical paraphrases, Noah's Flood, Moses his Birth and Miracles, and David and Goliah. In these volumes, if certain faculties have faded, new ones have been born. The torch of the old man's passion is low, he has begun to forget what he once felt; the high oratorical tones of the Epistles are gone. Over the weightier compositions, excepting the Epistle to Reynolds and some other "elegies," lies the weight of that dulness, which in the Poly-Olbion had been practised with a kind of conscience. The most spirited of them — for the Miseries of Margaret is an exercise of the old kindis the Battle of Agincourt. But the energy, which in the Ballad on the same subject is concentrated to a glow, is here frittered over pages. Of the Ballad, not the Battle, Jonson should have written:
I hear again thy drum to beat
a better cause, and strike the bravest heat
that ever yet did fire an English blood.
The Mooncalf is a rank satire of the old Juvenalian stamp, containing amidst its splutter against the court some quaint documents of corrupt manners. The Mooncalf, bastard of the world and the devil, represents the ignorant sot, in youth a wanton, but rising on the strength of his vices to place and consideration above the good. There are strong lines, but the style is turbid. Of the scriptural poems, the history of Moses (the work of 1604 altered) is stolidly enough expanded from the original, but has a touch of Drayton's human and compassionate temper. The joy of the mother of Moses when the princess unwittingly calls on her to tend her own child, like the scene of the parting of kindred in the Battle of Agincourt, refreshes the wastes of narrative. Of David and Goliah there is little to say: but the overture to Noah's Flood deserves to be known for its dignity, its confused presentiment of a greater sacred diction than Drayton's
O let thy glorious angel which since kept
that gorgeous Eden, where once Adam slept,
when tempting Eve was taken from his side,
let him, great God, not only be my guide,
but with his fiery fauchion still be nigh,
to keep affliction far from me, that I
with a free soul thy wondrous works may shew.
Then like that deluge shall my numbers flow,
telling the state wherein the earth then stood,
the giant race, the universal flood.
In these final poems such music is rare enough but one class of them discovers not so much a renewal of youthful grace as an unsealing in the old poet's spirit of fresh, sweet, and unsuspected sources. Certain late lyrics of Landor and Tennyson, and the Sad Shepherd of Ben Jonson, will occur as parallels. The fragment of Jonson, indeed, is the closest of all; for it was now the second age of pastoral, when the direct influence of Spenser was beginning to confine itself to a caste or school, and was losing that wide predominance which had marked it for thirty years after the Calendar. The pastoral dramas of Italy, which had lain on the desks of Jonson and of Fletcher, had inspired, not merely, a preference for the theatrical form, but a change of the ruling motives in pastoral; or, say rather, a kind of even and pure elegance, with a marked absence of those allusions to the poet's loyalty, assurance of immortality, and personal pride, which had marked the earlier eclogues, and Drayton's, as we have seen, among them. We cannot assert that Drayton had read Tasso or Guarini; neither did he pass beyond the simple familiar form of dialogue in song. But comparing the Shepherd's Garland with The Muses' Elizium, we feel that the first is an Elizabethan poem, while the second is a Caroline poem, written under the same class of influences, with the same flow and rich tones, as the verse of Carew.
O let not those life-lightening eyes
in this sad veil be shrouded,
which into mourning puts the skies
to see them ever clouded.
O my Myrtilla, do not praise
these lamps so dimly burning:
such sad and sullen lights as these
were only made for mourning!
The Shepherd's Sirena, The Quest of Cynthia, and The Muses' Elizium are all in this style. Over Drayton's pastoral has come a light playfulness, sensible to us as much in the tendency to tripping rhyme as in anything else. The eighth eclogue, like the lyrical part of a masque, describes a fairy wedding, and links the whole collection with the best of all seventeenth century fantasies, Nymphidia. To conceive common things wholly in miniature, fitted to the miniature needs of an elf; to plant the faintest sting of satire in a gay parody of the well-nigh forgotten chivalrous ballads; to carry the vein of Sir Thopas into the world of Oberon; all this is done, and done without one touch of the suffusing imagination of Shakspere's Dream, with which Drayton was plainly familiar. The Nymphidia does not move in the land of dreams at all, their wings do not brush it. The smallest objects described are in distinct light. But the verses are kept fresh by the nicety of their cutting. This poem was a favourite in the mid-seventeenth century, unlike most of Drayton's works, and was often reprinted later. A loan is gracefully levied on it, not only by Herrick, but perhaps in Margaret, Duchess of Newcastle's lines, in her Poems and Fancies, 1653, on the Pastime and Recreation of the Queen of Fairies.
The so-called "Elegies" are all in couplets, and are very unequal. To the last Drayton kept his exacting standard of what the treatment of the poet ought to be, and also his convention, a little blind and unfounded, of what it actually was. Two of these pieces, addressed to Sandys and to William Browne, touch on the dubious old text of the neglect awarded to verse. Sounder, and less ponderous than the rest of the Elegies, is the well-known Epistle to my friend Henry Reynolds, Esq., of Poets and Poesy, which condenses the writer's judgments upon past and living "makers" of his country. His too tepid lines on Shakspere, and his omissions of singers like Campion and Giles Fletcher and Donne, of dramatists like Webster and Middleton, have often been contrasted with the apt and splendid tributes paid to Chaucer and to Nashe, and to Marlowe as a lyrist. By the favour of friendship, he warmly salutes Sandys, whose clear-cut couplets may have been touched in form by his own, and that "man of men," Sir William Alexander. Drummond receives his tribute; but three other poets, "my dear companions whom I freely chose my bosom friends," are particularly named, who must, unlike Drummond, have been personal associates. One was Francis Beaumont ; the second was Sir John Beaumont, whose death in 1627 led Drayton to offer desolately, in the prefatory verses to Bosworth Field, "this poor branch of my withering bays;" the third was William Browne, who repeatedly names Drayton with regard. We know little else about Drayton's dealings with other men of letters. With the dictator, Jonson, who survived him six years, his relations were cordial. The somewhat stilted, but essentially hearty epistle, prefixed by the great man in 1627 to Drayton's folio, may be taken to efface his remark (thrown out years before over Drummond's table, and sedulously chronicled) that "Drayton feared him, and he [Jonson] esteemed not of him." Energy, hatred of sham, a tendency to shout too loud, some lack of the finer vision, a manly, almost heroic, acceptance of life; these qualities were common to both men, and stayed with both to the end.
Drayton's last patronage came from the Earl and Countess of Dorset (born Mary Clifford). We do not know when they began to favour him; but in the dedication to the Earl, prefixed to The Muses' Elizium, he states that "the durableness of your favours hath now made me one of the family." The "Divine Poems" in the same volume are addressed to "your religious Countess." There is reason to suppose that whatever support could thus be given was needed, and that Drayton died in poor circumstances. Not only the deed of administration quoted below, but a curious independent notice, confirms this tradition. According to an obscure contemporary writer, "Honest Mr. Michael Drayton had about some five pounds lying by him at his death, which was "satis viatici ad caelum." With friends to bury him, this, or a little more, was enough for a bachelor.
Drayton died at the end of 1631; there is no contemporary evidence for the month or day, even in the registers of the Abbey, where he was buried. Our only account of his end is from Aubrey, who says: "He lived at the bay window next the cast end of St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet St. Sepult. in North of Westminster Abbey. The Countess of Dorset (Clifford) gave his monument. Mr. Marshall the stone-cutter who made it told it me." Aubrey then quotes the inscription, "Do pious Marble, etc.," commonly put down to Jonson, and states, on the dubious authority of the same Mr. Marshall, that the verses were "made by Mr. Francis Quarles." There is a corroboration of Aubrey's statement that Drayton was not buried in Poet's Corner, where his bust, by an unknown hand, stands crowned with laurel and inscribed with the tributary verses. The Appeal of Injured Innocence, 1639, printed at the end of Fuller's Church History, is cast in the form of a dialogue between Heylin and Fuller. Fuller names the resting-place of the poet; and Heylin then answers that "Drayton is not buried in the south aisle of that [Westminster] Church, but under the North wall and in the main body of it, not far from the little door that opens into one of the prebends' houses ... though, since, his Statue hath been set up in the other place." Heylin adds that he is sure of this, because he happened to be bidden to the funeral. Fuller asks, "Have then stones learnt to lie, and must there needs be a fiction in the epitaph of a poet?"
The funeral, in the case of a person so notable, may well have been semi-public and well-attended. It is likely that the Dorsets bore its charges. For, as has been said, Drayton did not die rich. He did not even leave a will. In default of it, his brother Edmund, who lived on till 1644, took out letters of administration which were granted 17 January, 1632. They are to the effect that the poet died, as Aubrey implies, in St. Dunstan's parish; that administration was granted to his lawful brother Edmund; that the final formalities were to be completed next Ascension; and that his effects were valued at a little under £25.
The Bibliography in this volume, though not including modern criticisms, will give some intimation of Drayton's vogue. The labours of recent scholars like Collier, Hooper, Bullen, and Fleay, need no further testimony. They are partly the fruit of that enthusiasm of sixty or seventy years ago which took an Elizabethan like Lamb back to the new treasures of old poetry. But the work of excavation, in which Lamb took a noble part, had been begun, at least for Chaucer, Spenser, and the folk ballad, during the latter half of the eighteenth century, by scholars whose services to succeeding men of letters have often been scarcely acknowledged. Drayton had his share in that revival. The edition of 1748, though partial and ill-informed, was remarkable considering its date, and had some value. Together with the life by Oldys in the Biographia Britannica two years later, it was the first substantial sign of interest in the poet, that, so far as my knowledge goes, had been shown for a century.
For Drayton, what with his artistic weaknesses, what with living till the bitter end, or after it, of a great patriotic age, and what with surviving into one of different poetical interests, left no school, exercised little authority, and soon barely remained in the educated mind as one of the secondary Elizabethans famous in their day. The reason for this neglect is to be found not merely in his over-production, in his acres of verbiage; there is also the character of his talent. He is too strong to be called an imitator; but he tried to absorb too much, he had a vast appetite for facts, and he was for ever exercising himself on models. Hence he seldom reacted enough upon the gathered masses of material, to present them perfectly in new and imposing forms. In his opus magnum he attempted so much, that it is hard to obtain popularity for its noble episodes. The successful Epistles were indeed a new kind, but not one of high or lasting value. His most original and impregnable verse is, I believe, to be found in his handful of Odes. There is little doubt about the fate of a poet of fitful executive talent, encumbered in all these ways.
But the change of poetical taste also unduly marred his fame. He, much more than Milton, who is often loosely so styled, was the last real Elizabethan. He sounded the great bugle-calls of the older generation; he sang of fervent chivalrous love, hope of immortal verse, passion for the land and its ancient things. In the middle of the seventeenth century, the themes, whether of Milton or of smaller men, were, as every one knows, quite different. The Caroline fragments which Drayton wrote in his later years were lost in the crowd of similar works. Hence he was forgotten for some things and overshadowed in others. There had been greater sonneteers, greater poets dealing with our history. But take his whole range, travel with him over his ground, and he is seen to stand not quite among the authentic gods, hardly indeed among the mightier demi-gods, but as an athlete of commanding stature, and of power to lift, or nearly lift, weighty burdens; not without a sturdy dignified beauty of his own, and often a soft musical grace; speaking, too, now and then with something like the real divine accent. Alike for humanity and strength he ranks among the men of intellectual muscle, Jonson, Selden, Chapman: and he is one of those on whom the old enemy he so often challenged has wrought unmerited mischief.