1598 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

Francis Meres, in Palladis Tamia (1598) fols 281-281v.



As Virgil doth imitate Catullus in ye like matter of Ariadne for his story of Queene Dido: so Michael Drayton doth imitate Ovid in his Englands Heroical Epistles.

As Sophocles was called a Bee for the sweetnes of his tongue: so in Charles Fitz-Jefferies Drake, Drayton is termed Golden-mouth'd, for the purity and pretiousnesse of his stile and phrase.

As Accius, M. Attilius and Milithus were called Tragoediographi, because they writ Tragedies: so may wee truly terme Michael Drayton Tragoediographus, for his passionate penning the downfall of valiant Robert of Normandy, chast Matilda, and great Gaveston.

As Ioan. Honterus in Latine verse writ 3. Bookes of Cosmography with Geographicall tables: so Michael Drayton is now in penning in English verse a Poem called Poly-olbion Geographical and Hydrographicall of all the forests, woods, mountaines, fountaines, rivers, lakes, flouds, bathes and springs that be in England.

As Aulus Persius Flaccus is reported among al writers to be of an honest life and upright conversation: so Michael Drayton (que toties honoris & amoris causa nomino) among schollers, souldiours, Poets, and all sorts of people, is helde for a man of vertuous disposition, honest conversation, and wel governed cariage, which is almost miraculous among good wits in these declining and corrupt times, when there is nothing but rogery in villanous man, and when cheating and craftines is counted the cleanest wit and soundest wisedome.