1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

Giles Jacob, in Historical Account of the Lives and Writings of our most considerable English Poets (1720) 49.



A Poet, Mr. Winstanley tells us, who had Drank as deep of Helicon, as any of his time. He was born at Athelston in Warwickshire; and was a Person of a Pious temper, his Conscience having always the Command of his Fancy, which is no small Commendation to one of a Poetical Genius. He likewise lived very temperate and regular, (which is no less to be admired) and his Conversation was the most inoffensive. He had the Reputation of being little inferior, if not in some Instances equal to Spenser, or Sir Philip Sidney. His Works are the following:

I. POLY-OLBION, Being a Description of England.
II. The History of the Barons Wars.
III. England's Heroical Epistles. These were so well received, that they Entitled him to the appellation of the English-Ovid.
IV. Legends of ROBERT Duke of Normandy.
V. MATILDA.
VI. PIERCE GAVESTON.
VII. The Idea.
VIII. The Nymphs and Shepherds.
IX. The Court of Fayries.

He lies interred in Westminster-Abbey, near the South Door, by those two Eminent Poets Chaucer and Spenser, with this Inscription.

MICHAEL DRAITON, Esquire, a Memorable Poet of his Age, Exchanged his Laurel for a Crown of Glory, 1631.
Do, pious Marble, let thy Reader know
What they and what their Children owe
To Draiton's Name, whose Sacred Dust
We recommend unto thy Trust.
Protect his Memory, and preserve his Story,
Remain a lasting Monument of his Glory.
And when thy Ruins shall disclaim
To be the Treasurer of his Name,
His Name, that cannot fade, shall be
An everlasting Monument to Thee.