1630
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Muses Elizium II: The Second Nimphall.

The Muses Elizium, lately discovered, by a new way over Parnassus. The Passages therein, being the Subject of ten sundry Nymphalls, leading three Divine Poemes, Noahs Floud. Moses, his Birth and Miracles. David and Golia. By Michael Drayton Esquire.

Michael Drayton


Tillotson and Newdigate: "The courtship of a nymph by two shepherds who bring rival gifts is less common in pastoral than the straightforward singing-match, in which the rivals often describe their mistresses and their possessions. The singing-match is often treated humorously; cf. Theocritus, Idyll V, Virgil, Ecl. III, SC May, and the Nico-and-Pas dialogue in Arcadia Bk II, ch. 29. But Drayton's delicacy of detail recalls rather Herrick, or Marlowe's Come live with me; and he may also have remembered Polyphemus's wooing of Galatea (Met. XIII, 755ff)" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:221.

Henry Headley: "While his contemporary, Jonson, studied away his fancy, and, unable to digest the mass of his reading, peopled his pages with the heathen mythology, and gave our language new idioms by the introduction of Latinisms; Drayton adopted a style that, with a few exceptions, the present age may peruse without difficulty, and not unfrequently mistake for its own offspring" Specimens of Ancient English Poetry (1787; 1810) xlix-l.

Thomas Campbell: "Drayton and Daniel, though the most opposite in the cast of their genius, are pre-eminent in the second poetical class of their age, for their common merit of clear and harmonious diction. Drayton is prone to Ovidian conceits, but he plays with them so gaily, that they almost seem to become him as if natural. His feeling is neither deep, nor is the happiness of his fancy of long continuance, but its short April gleams are very beautiful" Specimens of the British Poets (1819; 1841) lxv.



The Muse new Courtship doth devise,
By Natures strange Varieties,
Whose Rarieties she here relates,
And gives you Pastorall Delicates.

LALUS. CLEON. LIROPE.

Lalus a Jolly youthfull Lad,
With Cleon, no lesse crown'd
With vertues; both their beings had
On the Elizian ground.
Both having parts so excellent,
That it a question was,
Which should be the most eminent,
Or did in ought surpasse.
This Cleon was a Mountaineer,
And of the wilder kinde,
And from his birth had many a yeere
Bin nurst up by a Hinde:
And as the sequell well did show,
It very well might be;
For never Hart, nor Hare, nor Roe,
Were halfe so swift as he.
But Lalus in the Vale was bred,
Amongst the Sheepe and Neate,
And by those Nimphes there choicly fed,
With Hony, Milke, and Wheate;
Of Stature goodly, faire of speech,
And of behaviour mylde,
Like those there in the Valley rich,
That bred him of a chyld.
Of Falconry they had the skill,
Their Halkes to feed and flye,
No better Hunters ere clome Hill,
Nor hollowed to a Cry:
In Dingles deepe, and Mountains hore,
Oft with the bearded Speare
They cumbated the tusky Boare,
And slew the angry Beare.
In Musicke they were wondrous quaint,
Fine Aers they could devise;
They very curiously could Paint,
And neatly Poetize;
That wagers many time were laid
On Questions that arose,
Which Song the witty Lalus made,
Which Cleon should compose.
The stately Steed they manag'd well,
Of Fence the art they knew,
For Dansing they did all excell
The Gerles that to them drew;
To throw the Sledge, to pitch the Barre,
To wrestle and to Run,
They all the Youth exceld so farre,
That still the Prize they wonne.
These sprightly Gallants lov'd a Lasse,
Cald Lirope the bright,
In the whole world there scarcely was
So delicate a Wight,
There was no Beauty so divine
That ever Nimph did grace,
But it beyond it selfe did shine
In her more hevenly face:
What forme she pleasd each thing would take
That ere she did behold,
Of Pebbles she could Diamonds make,
Grosse Iron turne to Gold:
Such power there with her presence came
Sterne Tempests she alayd,
The cruell Tigar she could tame,
She raging Torrents staid,
She chid, she cherisht, she gave life,
Againe she made to dye,
She raisd a warre, apeasd a Strife,
With turning of her eye.
Some said a God did her beget,
But much deceiv'd were they,
Her Father was a Rivelet,
Her Mother was a Fay.
Her Lineaments so fine that were,
She from the Fayrie tooke,
Her Beauties and Complection cleere,
By nature from the Brooke.
These Ryvalls wayting for the houre
(The weather calme and faire)
When as she us'd to leave her Bower
To take the pleasant ayre,
Acosting her; their complement
To her their Goddesse done;
By gifts they tempt her to consent,
When Lalus thus begun.

LALUS.
Sweet Lirope I have a Lambe
Newly wayned from the Damme,
Of the right kinde, it is notted,
Naturally with purple spotted,
Into laughter it will put you,
To see how prettily 'twill But you;
When on sporting it is set,
It will beate you a Corvet,
And at every nimble bound
Turne it selfe above the ground;
When tis hungry it will bleate,
From your hand to have its meate,
And when it hath fully fed,
It will fetch Jumpes above your head,
As innocently to expresse
Its silly sheepish thankfullnesse,
When you bid it, it will play,
Be it either night or day,
This Lirope I have for thee,
So thou alone wilt live with me.

CLEON.
From him O turne thine eare away,
And heare me my lov'd Lirope,
I have a Kid as white as milke,
His skin as soft as Naples silke,
His hornes in length are wondrous even,
And curiously by nature writhen;
It is of th' Arcadian kinde,
Ther's not the like twixt either Inde;
If you walke, 'twill walke you by,
If you sit downe, it downe will lye,
It with gesture will you wooe,
And counterfeit those things you doe;
Ore each Hillock it will vault,
And nimbly doe the Summer-sault,
Upon the hinder Legs 'twill goe,
And follow you a furlong so,
And if by chance a Tune you roate,
'Twill foote it finely to your note,
Seeke the world and you may misse
To finde out such a thing as this;
This my love I have for thee
So thou'lt leave him and goe with me.

LIROPE.
Beleeve me Youths your gifts are rare,
And you offer wondrous faire;
Lalus for Lambe, Cleon for Kyd,
'Tis hard to judge which most doth bid,
And have you two such things in store,
And I n'er knew of them before?
Well yet I dare a Wager lay
That Brag my litle Dog shall play,
As dainty tricks when I shall bid,
As Lalus Lambe, or Cleons Kid.
But t'may fall out that I may need them
Till when yee may doe well to feed them;
Your Goate and Mutton pretty be
But Youths these are noe bayts for me,
Alasse good men, in vaine ye wooe,
'Tis not your Lambe nor Kid will doe.

LALUS.
I have two Sparrowes white as Snow,
Whose pretty eyes like sparkes doe show;
In her Bosome Venus hatcht them
Where her little Cupid watcht them,
Till they too fledge their Nests forsooke
Themselves and to the Fields betooke,
Where by chance a Fowler caught them
Of whom I full dearely bought them;
They'll fetch you Conserve from the Hip,
And lay it softly on your Lip,
Through their nibling bills they'll Chirup
And flutering feed you with the Sirup,
And if thence you put them by
They to your white necke will flye,
And if you expulse them there
They'll hang upon your braded Hayre;
You so long shall see them prattle
Till at length they'll fall to battle,
And when they have fought their fill,
You will smile to see them bill.
These Birds my Lirope's shall be
So thou'llt leave him and goe with me.

CLEON.
His Sparrowes are not worth a rush
I'le finde as good in every bush,
Of Doves I have a dainty paire
Which when you please to take the Aier,
About your head shall gently hover
Your Cleere browe from the Sunne to cover,
And with their nimble wings shall fan you,
That neither Cold nor Heate shall tan you,
And like Umbrellas with their feathers
Sheeld you in all sorts of weathers:
They be most dainty Coloured things,
They have Damask backs and Chequerd wings,
Their neckes more Various Cullours showe
Then there be mixed in the Bowe;
Venus saw the lesser Dove
And therewith was farre in Love,
Offering for't her goulden Ball
For her Sonne to play withall;
These my Liropes shall be
So shee'll leave him and goe with me.

LIROPE.
Then for Sparrowes, and for Doves
I am fitted twixt my Loves,
But Lalus, I take noe delight
In Sparowes, for they'll scratch and bite
And though joynd, they are ever wooing
Alwayes billing if not doeing,
Twixt Venus breasts if they have lyen
I much feare they'll infect myne;
Cleon your Doves are very dainty,
Tame Pidgeons else you knowe are plenty,
These may winne some of your Marrowes
I am not caught with Doves, nor Sparrowes,
I thanke ye kindly for your Coste,
Yet your labour is but loste.

LALUS.
With full-leav'd Lillies I will stick
Thy braded hayre all o'r so thick,
That from it a Light shall throw
Like the Sunnes upon the Snow.
Thy Mantle shall be Violet Leaves,
With the fin'st the Silkeworme weaves
As finly Woven; whose rich smell
The Ayre about thee so shall swell
That it shall have no power to moove.
A Ruffe of Pinkes thy Robe above
About thy necke so neatly set
That Art it cannot counterfet,
Which still shall looke so Fresh and new,
As if upon their Roots they grew:
And for thy head Ile have a Tyer
Of netting, made of Strawbery wyer,
And in each knot that doth compose
A Mesh, shall stick a halfe blowne Rose,
Red, damaske, white, in order set
About the sides, shall run a Fret
Of Primroses, the Tyer throughout
With Thrift and Daysyes frindgd about;
All this faire Nimph Ile doe for thee,
So thou'lt leave him and goe with me.

CLEON.
These be but weeds and Trash he brings,
Ile give thee solid, costly things,
His will whither and be gone
Before thou well canst put them on;
With Currall I will have thee Crown'd,
Whose Branches intricatly wound
Shall girt thy Temples every way;
And on the top of every Spray
Shall stick a Pearle orient and great,
Which so the wandring Birds shall cheat,
That some shall stoope to looke for Cheries,
As other for tralucent Berries.
And wondring, caught e'r they be ware
In the curld Tramels of thy hayre:
And for thy necke a Christall Chaine
Whose lincks shapt like to drops of Raine,
Upon thy panting Breast depending,
Shall seeme as they were still descending,
And as thy breath doth come and goe,
So seeming still to ebbe and flow:
With Amber Bracelets cut like Bees,
Whose strange transparancy who sees,
With Silke small as the Spiders Twist
Doubled so oft about thy Wrist,
Would surely thinke alive they were,
From Lillies gathering hony there.
Thy Buskins Ivory, carv'd like Shels
Of Scallope, which as little Bels
Made hollow, with the Ayre shall Chime,
And to thy steps shall keepe the time:
Leave Lalus, Lirope for me
And these shall thy rich dowry be.

LIROPE.
Lalus for Flowers Cleon for Jemmes,
For Garlands and for Diadems,
I shall be sped, why this is brave,
What Nimph can choicer Presents have,
With dressing, brading, frowncing, flowring,
All your Jewels on me powring,
In this bravery being drest,
To the ground I shall be prest,
That I doubt the Nimphes will feare me,
Nor will venture to come neare me;
Never Lady of the May,
To this houre was halfe so gay;
All in flowers, all so sweet,
From the Crowne, beneath the Feet,
Amber, Currall, Ivory, Pearle,
If this cannot winne a Gerle,
Thers nothing can, and this ye wooe me,
Give me your hands and trust ye to me,
(Yet to tell ye I am loth)
That I'le have neither of you both.

LALUS.
When thou shalt please to stem the flood,
(As thou art of the watry brood)
I'le have twelve Swannes more white then Snow,
Yokd for the purpose two and two,
To drawe thy Barge wrought of fine Reed
So well that it nought else shall need,
The Traces by which they shall hayle
Thy Barge; shall be the winding trayle
Of woodbynd; whose brave Tasseld Flowers
(The Sweetnesse of the Woodnimphs Bowres)
Shall be the Trappings to adorne,
The Swannes, by which thy Barge is borne,
Of flowred Flags I'le rob the banke
Of water-Cans and King-cups ranck
To be the Covering of thy Boate,
And on the Streame as thou do'st Floate,
The Naiades that haunt the deepe,
Themselves about thy Barge shall keepe,
Recording most delightfull Layes,
By Sea Gods written in thy prayse.
And in what place thou hapst to land,
There the gentle Silvery sand,
Shall soften, curled with the Aier
As sensible of thy repayre:
This my deare love I'le doe for thee,
So Thou'lt leave him and goe with me:

CLEON.
Tush Nimphe his Swannes will prove but Geese,
His Barge drinke water like a Fleece;
A Boat is base, I'le thee provide,
A Chariot, wherein Jove may ride;
In which when bravely thou art borne,
Thou shalt looke like the gloryous morne
Ushering the Sunne, and such a one
As to this day was never none,
Of the Rarest Indian Gummes,
More pretious then your Balsamummes
Which I by Art have made so hard,
That they with Tooles may well be Carv'd
To make a Coach of: which shall be
Materyalls of this one for thee,
And of thy Chariot each small peece
Shall inlayd be with Amber Greece,
And guilded with the Yellow ore
Produc'd from Tagus wealthy shore;
In which along the pleasant Lawne,
With twelve white Stags thou shalt be drawne,
Whose brancht palmes of a stately height,
With severall nosegayes shall be dight;
And as thou ryd'st, thy Coach about,
For thy strong guard shall runne a Rout,
Of Estriges; whose Curled plumes,
Sen'sd with thy Chariots rich perfumes,
The scent into the Aier shall throw;
Whose naked Thyes shall grace the show;
Whilst the Woodnimphs and those bred
Upon the mountayns, o'r thy head
Shall beare a Canopy of flowers,
Tinseld with drops of Aprill showers,
Which shall make more glorious showes
Then spangles, or your silver Oas;
This bright nimph I'le doe for thee
So thou'lt leave him and goe with me.

LIROPE.
Vie and revie, like Chapmen profer'd,
Would't be receaved what you have offer'd;
Ye greater honour cannot doe me,
If not building Altars to me:
Both by Water and by Land,
Bardge and Chariot at command;
Swans upon the Streame to tawe me,
Stags upon the Land to draw me,
In all this Pompe should I be seene,
What a pore thing were a Queene:
All delights in such excesse,
As but yee, who can expresse:
Thus mounted should the Nimphes me see,
All the troope would follow me,
Thinking by this state that I
Would asume a Deitie.
There be some in love have bin,
And I may commit that sinne,
And if e'r I be in love,
With one of you I feare twill prove,
But with which I cannot tell,
So my gallant Youths farewell.

[pp. 10-20]