1645 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

George Wither, in Great Assises holden upon Parnassus (1645) 36-37.



Thus spake the Spye, and still would have proceeded
If that Apollo had not him impeded.
I thinke through th' insolence of these (said hee)
And our remissnesse: we this Barr shall see
Become a stage of the Old Comedye,
How boldly hath this proud traduceing Spye,
And his Comrades, our honest Poets checkt,
Who from the best have ever found respect:
Nor can smooth Drayton scape their censures sharp
But at his workes this busy Spye must carp:
Drayton, whose Sonnets sweet of Love heroicke
May melt th' Essaean, or the rigid Stoicke
To amorous Leanders, and them move
Through Seas of teares, to swim to her they love.
This Swanne of ours, that impure Zoylus blots
With scandalls foule: But as the Ermines spotts
Adde price and estimation to his Furre,
Soe the reproofes of this invective curre
Give light, and lustre unto Draytons worth,
And with advantage set his merit forth:
Drayton, who doth, in such magnificke sort
Delineate Valour in his Agincourte,
That this illustr'ous poeme, doth inspire
Even courages of ice, with warlike fire.
His Tragicke Legends are with force endu'd,
To soften Scythyans, and Tartars rude,
Yea with pathetick Fancies to enchant
Obdurate mindes: and hearts of Adamant,
His vertue's so sublime, that even as soon,
The Savage Negro's darts may peirce the Moone,
As the invectives of this froward Spye,
A drachme of worth, take from his merit high.
Thus spake Apollo: while old Drayton smil'd
To see him curb'd that had him thus revil'd.