1882 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

Edmund Gosse, in "Essay on Pastoral Poetry" Complete Works of Spenser, ed. Grosart (1882-84) 3:xxv.



Drayton is the next pastoral poet in date of publication. His Idea: Shepherd's Garland bears the date 1593, but was probably written much earlier. In 1595 the same poet produced an Endymion and Phoebe, which was the least happy of his works, and Drayton turned his fluent pen to the other branches of poetic literature, all of which he learned to cultivate in the course of his active career. After more than thirty years, at the very close of his life, he returned to this early love, and published in 1627 two pastorals, The Quest of Cinthia and The Shepherd's Sirena. The general character of all these pieces is rich, vague, and unimpassioned. They are much more fervid in style than most of Drayton's work, but must on the whole be considered as uncharacteristic of his genius.