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ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

To his Friend the Author.

Britannia's Pastorals. [Book I.]

Michael Drayton


In prefatory verses praising William Browne of Tavistock, Michael Drayton takes aim at a younger generation of poets who were neglecting Spenser and pastoral — presumably Daniel, Donne, and Jonson: "those Pines the neighb'ring Groves among, | (Now utterly neglected in these dayes), | Our Garlands, Pipes, and Cornamutes were hong, | The monuments of our deserved praise."

1748 editor: "In his Epistolary Poem to Mr. William Brown, who seems to have been his Companion in Misfortune, he sooths his Discontent by shewing him the Follies and Vices of those Times in which they had been shipwreck'd, and generously concludes, that to suffer in such an Age was to triumph" Works of Drayton (1748) 10.



Drive forth thy Flocke, young Pastor, to that Plaine,
Where our old Shepheards wont their flocks to feed;
To those cleare walkes, where many a skillful Swaine
To'ards the calme ev'ning, tun'd his pleasant Reede.
Those, to the Muses once so sacred, Downes,
As no rude foote might there presume to stand:
(Now made the way of the unworthiest Clownes,
Dig'd and plow'd up with each unhallow'd hand)
If possible thou canst, redeeme those places,
Where, by the brim of many a silver Spring,
The learned Maydens, and delightful Graces
Often have sate to heare our Shepheards sing:
Where on those Pines the neighb'ring Groves among,
(Now utterly neglected in these dayes),
Our Garlands, Pipes, and Cornamutes were hong,
The monuments of our deserved praise.
So may thy Sheepe like, so thy Lambes increase,
And from the Wolfe feede ever safe and free!
So maist thou thrive, among the learned prease,
As thou, young Shepheard, art belov'd of me!

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