1630
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Muses Elizium III: The Third 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


Michael Drayton makes use of Spenser's name "Florimel," though her character appears to be drawn after Shakespeare's Jacques.

British Lady's Magazine: "Who without a smile can call to mind the artificial letter of Pope in the Guardian, in which he so adroitly manages to prefer his own pastorals to those of Ambrose Philips, when they reflect how several unnoticed predecessors, Drayton, P. Fletcher, and Wm. Browne, for instance, left them both far behind. Looking a few days ago over the Nymphals of DRAYTON, we were particularly pleased with the following passage: — Florimel, an accomplished young nymph, is requested by her companions to sing, which she declining, they thus conjure her — 'Chloris. — Sing, Florimel, O sing! and we | OUr whole wealth will give to thee; | We'll rob the brim of every fountain, | Strip the sweets from every mountain'" 4 (September 1816) 191.

Oliver Elton: "Mirtilla.... She with her brothers, Thirsis and Palmeo lives in cliffy Charnwood by the Soar. Mr. Fleay says, 'certainly Elizabeth, John, and Francis Beaumont, Francis being the celebrated dramatist, and John the poet" Introduction to Michael Drayton (1895) 58.

W. W. Greg: "Naiis sings, roguishly enough, in the martial meter of Agincourt: 'Cloe, I scorne my Rime | Should observe feet or time'" Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906) 107.

Tillotson and Newdigate: "This Nymphal uses the pastoral cliches of festival and singing match with a difference. The emphasis on Apollo and the Muses keeps the setting 'ideal'; and there is a strain of burlesque in the songs, notably in the 'stoundly liquord' mock-heroics of Doron and Dorilus" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:221.



Poetick Raptures, sacred fires,
With which, Apollo his inspires,
This Nimphall gives you; and withall
Observes the Muses Festivall.

DORON. DORILUS.
NAIIS. CLOE.
CLORIS. MERTILLA.
CLAIA. FLORIMEL,
With Nimphes and Forresters.

Amongst th' Elizians many mirthfull Feasts,
At which the Muses are the certaine guests,
Th' observe one Day with most Emperiall state,
To wise Apollo which they dedicate,
The Poets God, and to his Alters bring
Th' enaml'd Bravery of the beauteous spring,
And strew their Bowers with every precious sweet,
Which still wax fresh, most trod on with their feet;
With most choice flowers each Nimph doth brade her hayre,
And not the mean'st but bauldrick wise doth weare
Some goodly Garland, and the most renown'd
With curious Roseat Anadems are crown'd.
These being come into the place where they
Yearely observe the Orgies to that day,
The Muses from their Heliconian spring
Their brimfull Mazers to the feasting bring:
When with deepe Draughts out of those plenteous Bowles,
The jocond Youth have swild their thirsty soules,
They fall enraged with a sacred heat,
And when their braines doe once begin to sweat
They into brave and Stately numbers breake,
And not a word that any one doth speake
But tis Prophetick, and so strangely farre
In their high fury they transported are,
As there's not one, on any thing can straine,
But by another answred is againe
In the same Rapture, which all sit to heare;
When as two Youths that soundly liquord were,
Dorilus and Doron, two as noble swayns
As ever kept on the Elizian playns,
First by their signes attention having woonne,
Thus they the Revels frolikly begunne:

DORON.
Come Dorilus, let us be brave,
In lofty numbers let us rave,
With Rymes I will inrich thee.

DORILUS.
Content say I, then bid the base,
Our wits shall runne the Wildgoose chase,
Spurre up, or I will swich thee.

DORON.
The Sunne out of the East doth peepe,
And now the day begins to creepe,
Upon the world at leasure.

DORILUS.
The Ayre enamor'd of the Greaves,
The West winde stroaks the velvit leaves
And kisses them at pleasure.

DORON.
The Spinners webs twixt spray and spray,
The top of every bush make gay,
By filmy coards there dangling.

DORILUS.
For now the last dayes evening dew
Even to the full it selfe doth shew,
Each bough with Pearle bespangling.

DORON.
O Boy how thy abundant vaine
Even like a Flood breaks from thy braine,
Nor can thy Muse be gaged.

DORILUS.
Why nature forth did never bring
A man that like to me can sing,
If once I be enraged.

DORON.
Why Dorilus I in my skill
Can make the swiftest Streame stand still,
Nay beare back to his springing.

DORILUS.
And I into a Trance most deepe
Can cast the Birds that they shall sleepe
When fain'st they would be singing.

DORON.
Why Dorilus thou mak'st me mad,
And now my wits begin to gad,
But sure I know not whither.

DORILUS.
O Doron let me hug thee then,
There never was two madder men,
Then let us on together.

DORON.
Hermes the winged Horse bestrid,
And thorow thick and thin he rid,
And floundred throw the Fountaine.

DORILUS.
He spurd the Tit untill he bled,
So that at last he ran his head
Against the forked Mountaine,

DORON.
How sayst thou, but pyde Iris got,
Into great Junos Chariot,
I spake with one that saw her.

DORILUS.
And there the pert and sawcy Elfe
Behav'd her as twere Juno's selfe,
And made the Peacoks draw her.

DORON.
Ile borrow Phoebus fiery Jades,
With which about the world he trades,
And put them in my Plow.

DORILUS.
O thou most perfect frantique man,
Yet let thy rage be what it can,
Ile be as mad as thou.

DORON.
Ile to great Jove, hap good, hap ill,
Though he with Thunder threat to kill,
And beg of him a boone.

DORILUS.
To swerve up one of Cynthias beames,
And there to bath thee in the streames,
Discoverd in the Moone.

DORON.
Come frolick Youth and follow me,
My frantique boy, and Ile show thee
The Countrey of the Fayries.

DORILUS.
The fleshy Mandrake where't doth grow
In noonshade of the Mistletow,
And where the Phoenix Aryes.

DORON.
Nay more, the Swallowes winter bed,
The Caverns where the Winds are bred,
Since thus thou talkst of showing.

DORILUS.
And to those Indraughts Ile thee bring,
That wondrous and eternall spring
Whence th' Ocean hath its flowing.

DORON.
We'll downe to the darke house of sleepe,
Where snoring Morpheus doth keepe,
And wake the drowsy Groome.

DORILUS.
Downe shall the Dores and Windowes goe,
The Stooles upon the Floare we'll throw,
And roare about the Roome.

The Muses here commanded them to stay,
Commending much the caridge of their Lay
As greatly pleasd at this their madding Bout,
To heare how bravely they had borne it out
From first to the last, of which they were right glad,
By this they found that Helicon still had
That vertue it did anciently retaine
When Orpheus, Lynus and th' Ascrean Swaine
Tooke lusty Rowses, which hath made their Rimes,
To last so long to all succeeding times.
And now amongst this beauteous Beavie here,
Two wanton Nimphes, though dainty ones they were,
Naiis and Cloe in their female fits
Longing to show the sharpnesse of their wits,
Of the nine Sisters speciall leave doe crave
That the next Bout they two might freely have,
Who having got the suffrages of all,
Thus to their Rimeing instantly they fall.

NAIIS.
Amongst you all let us see
Who ist opposes mee,
Come on the proudest she
To answere my dittye.

CLOE.
Why Naiis, that am I,
Who dares thy pride defie?
And that we soone shall try
Though thou be witty.

NAIIS.
Cloe I scorne my Rime
Should observe feet or time,
Now I fall, then I clime,
What is't I dare not.

CLOE.
Give thy Invention wing,
And let her flert and fling,
Till downe the Rocks she ding,
For that I care not.

NAIIS.
This presence delights me,
My freedome invites me,
The Season excytes me,
In Rime to be merry.

CLOE.
And I beyond measure,
Am ravisht with pleasure,
To answer each Ceasure,
Untill thou beist weary.

NAIIS.
Behold the Rosye Dawne,
Rises in Tinsild Lawne,
And smiling seemes to fawne,
Upon the mountaines.

CLOE.
Awaked from her Dreames
Shooting foorth goulden Beames
Dansing upon the Streames
Courting the Fountaines.

NAIIS.
These more then sweet Showrets,
Intice up these Flowrets,
To trim up our Bowrets,
Perfuming our Coats.

CLOE.
Whilst the Birds billing
Each one with his Dilling
The thickets still filling
With Amorous Noets.

NAIIS.
The Bees up in hony rould,
More then their thighes can hould,
Lapt in their liquid gould,
Their Treasure us bringing.

CLOE.
To these Rillets purling
Upon the stones Curling,
And oft about wherling,
Dance tow'ard their springing.

NAIIS.
The Wood-Nimphes sit singing,
Each Grove with notes ringing
Whilst fresh Ver is flinging,
Her Bounties abroad.

CLOE.
So much as the Turtle,
Upon the low Mertle,
To the meads fertle,
Her Cares doth unload.

NAIIS.
Nay 'tis a world to see,
In every bush and Tree,
The Birds with mirth and glee,
Woo'd as they woe.

CLOE.
The Robin and the Wren,
Every Cocke with his Hen,
Why should not we and men,
Doe as they doe.

NAIIS.
The Fairies are hopping,
The small Flowers cropping,
And with dew dropping,
Skip thorow the Greaves.

CLOE.
At Barly-breake they play
Merrily all the day,
At night themselves they lay
Upon the soft leaves.

NAIIS.
The gentle winds sally
Upon every Valley,
And many times dally
And wantonly sport.

CLOE.
About the fields tracing,
Each other in chasing,
And often imbracing,
In amorous sort.

NAIIS.
And Eccho oft doth tell
Wondrous things from her Cell,
As her what chance befell,
Learning to prattle.

CLOE.
And now she sits and mocks
The Shepherds and their flocks,
And the Heards from the Rocks
Keeping their Cattle.

When to these Maids the Muses silence cry,
For twas th' opinion of the Company,
That were not these two taken of, that they
Would in their Conflict wholly spend the day.
When as the Turne to Florimel next came,
A Nimph for Beauty of especiall name,
Yet was she not so Jolly as the rest:
And though she were by her companions prest,
Yet she by no intreaty would be wrought
To sing, as by th' Elizian Lawes she ought:
When two bright Nimphes that her companions were,
And of all other onely held her deare,
Mild Cloris and Mertilla, with faire speech
Their most beloved Florimel beseech,
T' observe the Muses, and the more to wooe her,
They take their turnes, and thus they sing unto her.

CLORIS.
Sing Florimel, O sing, and wee
Our whole wealth will give to thee,
We'll rob the brim of every Fountaine,
Strip the sweets from every Mountaine,
We will sweepe the curled valleys,
Brush the bancks that mound our allyes,
We will muster natures dainties
When she wallowes in her plentyes,
The lushyous smell of every flower
New washt by an Aprill shower,
The Mistresse of her store we'll make thee
That she for her selfe shall take thee;
Can there be a dainty thing,
That's not thine if thou wilt sing.

MERTILLA.
When the dew in May distilleth,
And the Earths rich bosome filleth,
And with Pearle embrouds each Meadow,
We will make them like a widow,
And in all their Beauties dresse thee,
And of all their spoiles possesse thee,
With all the bounties Zephyre brings,
Breathing on the yearely springs,
The gaudy bloomes of every Tree
In their most Beauty when they be,
What is here that may delight thee,
Or to pleasure may excite thee,
Can there be a dainty thing
That's not thine if thou wilt sing.

But Florimel still sullenly replyes
I will not sing at all, let that suffice:
When as a Nimph one of the merry ging
Seeing she no way could be wonne to sing;
Come, come, quoth she, ye utterly undoe her
With your intreaties, and your reverence to her;
For praise nor prayers, she careth not a pin;
They that our froward Florimel would winne,
Must worke another way, let me come to her,
Either Ile make her sing, or Ile undoe her.

CLAIA.
Florimel I thus conjure thee,
Since their gifts cannot alure thee;
By stampt Garlick, that doth stink
Worse then common Sewer, or Sink,
By Henbane, Dogsbane, Woolfsbane, sweet
As any Clownes or Carriers feet,
By stinging Nettles, pricking Teasels
Raysing blisters like the measels,
By the rough Burbreeding docks,
Rancker then the oldest Fox,
By filthy Hemblock, poysning more
Then any ulcer or old sore,
By the Cockle in the corne
That smels farre worse then doth burnt horne,
By Hempe in water that hath layne,
By whose stench the Fish are slayne,
By Toadflax which your Nose may tast,
If you have a minde to cast,
May all filthy stinking Weeds
That e'r bore leafe, or e'r had seeds,
Florimel be given to thee,
If thou'lt not sing as well as wee.

At which the Nimphs to open laughter fell,
Amongst the rest the beauteous Florimel,
(Pleasd with the spell from Claia that came,
A mirthfull Gerle and given to sport and game)
As gamesome growes as any of them all,
And to this ditty instantly doth fall.

FLORIMEL.
How in my thoughts should I contrive
The Image I am framing,
Which is so farre superlative,
As tis beyond all naming;
I would Jove of my counsell make,
And have his judgement in it,
But that I doubt he would mistake
How rightly to begin it:
It must be builded in the Ayre,
And tis my thoughts must doe it,
And onely they must be the stayre
From earth to mount me to it,
For of my Sex I frame my Lay,
Each houre, our selves forsaking,
How should I then finde out the way
To this my undertaking,
When our weake Fancies working still,
Yet changing every minnit,
Will show that it requires some skill,
Such difficulty's in it.
We would things, yet we know not what,
And let our will be granted,
Yet instantly we finde in that
Something unthought of wanted:
Our joyes and hopes such shadowes are,
As with our motions varry,
Which when we oft have fetcht from farre,
With us they never tarry:
Some worldly crosse doth still attend,
What long we have bin spinning,
And e'r we fully get the end
We lose of our beginning.
Our pollicies so peevish are,
That with themselves they wrangle,
And many times become the snare
That soonest us intangle;
For that the Love we beare our Friends
Though nere so strongly grounded,
Hath in it certaine oblique ends,
If to the bottome sounded:
Our owne well wishing making it,
A pardonable Treason;
For that it is derivd from witt,
And underpropt with reason.
For our Deare selves beloved sake
(Even in the depth of passion)
Our Center though our selves we make,
Yet is not that our station;
For whilst our Browes ambitious be
And youth at hand awayts us,
It is a pretty thing to see
How finely Beautie cheats us
And whylst with tyme we tryfling stand
To practise Antique graces
Age with a pale and witherd hand
Drawes Furowes in our faces.

When they which so desirous were before
To hear her sing; desirous are far more
To have her cease; and call to have her stayd
For she to much alredy had bewray'd.
And as the thrice three Sisters thus had grac'd
Their Celebration, and themselves had plac'd
Upon a Violet banck, in order all
Where they at will might view the Festifall
The Nimphs and all the lusty youth that were
At this brave Nimphall, by them honored there,
To Gratifie the heavenly Gerles againe
Lastly prepare in state to entertaine
Those sacred Sisters, fairely and confer,
On each of them, their prayse particular;
And thus the Nimphes to the nine Muses sung,
When as the Youth and Forresters among
That well prepared for this businesse were,
Become the Chorus, and thus sung they there.

NIMPHES.
Clio thou first of those Celestiall nine
That daily offer to the sacred shryne,
Of wise Apollo; Queene of Stories,
Thou that vindicat'st the glories
Of passed ages, and renewst
Their acts which every day thou viewst,
And from a lethargy dost keepe
Old nodding time, else prone to sleepe.

CHORUS.
Clio O crave of Phoebus to inspire
Us, for his Altars with his holiest fire,
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

NIMPHES.
Melpomine thou melancholly Maid
Next, to wise Phoebus we invoke thy ayd,
In Buskins that dost stride the Stage,
And in thy deepe distracted rage,
In blood-shed that dost take delight,
Thy object the most fearfull sight,
That lovest the sighes, the shreekes, and sounds
Of horrors, that arise from wounds.

CHORUS.
Sad Muse, O crave of Phoebus to inspire
Us for his Altars, with his holiest fire,
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

NIMPHES.
Comick Thalia then we come to thee,
Thou mirthfull Mayden, onely that in glee
And in loves deceits, thy pleasure tak'st,
Of which thy varying Scene thou mak'st
And in thy nimble Sock do'st stirre
Loude laughter through the Theater,
That with the Peasant mak'st thee sport,
As well as with the better sort.

CHORUS.
Thalia crave of Phebus to inspire,
Us for his Alters with his holyest fier;
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes
Give life, and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

NIMPHES.
Euterpe next to thee we will proceed,
That first found'st out the Musick on the Reed,
With breath and fingers giving life,
To the shrill Cornet and the Fyfe,
Teaching every stop and kaye,
To those upon the Pipe that playe,
Those which Wind-Instruments we call
Or soft, or lowd, or greate, or small.

CHORUS.
Euterpe aske of Phebus to inspire,
Us for his Alters with his holyest fire
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

NIMPHES.
Terpsichore thou of the Lute and Lyre,
And Instruments that sound with Cords and Wyere,
That art the Mistres, to commaund
The touch of the most Curious hand,
When every Quaver doth Imbrace
His like, in a true Diapase,
And every string his sound doth fill
Toucht with the Finger or the Quill.

CHORUS.
Terpsichore, crave Phebus to inspire
Us for his Alters with his holyest fier
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

NIMPHES.
Then Erato wise muse on thee we call
In Lynes to us that do'st demonstrate all,
Which neatly, with thy Staffe and Bowe,
Do'st measure, and proportion showe;
Motion and Gesture that dost teach
That every height and depth canst reach,
And do'st demonstrate by thy Art
What nature else would not Impart.

CHORUS.
Deare Erato crave Phebus to inspire
Us for his Alters with his holyest fire,
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes,
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

NIMPHES.
To thee then brave Caliope we come
Thou that maintain'st, the Trumpet, and the Drum;
The neighing Steed that lovest to heare,
Clashing of Armes doth please thine eare,
In lofty Lines that do'st rehearse
Things worthy of a thundring verse,
And at no tyme art heard to straine,
On ought, that suits a Common vayne.

CHORUS.
Caliope, crave Phebus to inspire,
Us for his Alters, with his holyest fier,
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes,
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

NIMPHES.
Then Polyhymnia most delicious Mayd,
In Rhetoricks Flowers that art arayd,
In Tropes and Figures, richly drest,
The Fyled Phrase that lovest best,
That art all Elocution, and
The first that gav'st to understand
The force of wordes in order plac'd
And with a sweet delivery grac'd.

CHORUS.
Sweet Muse perswade our Phoebus to inspire
Us for his Altars, with his holiest fire,
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

NIMPHES.
Lofty Urania then we call to thee,
To whom the Heavens for ever opened be,
Thou th' Asterismes by name dost call,
And shewst when they doe rise and fall,
Each Planets force, and dost divine
His working, seated in his Signe,
And how the starry Frame still roules
Betwixt the fixed stedfast Poles.

CHORUS.
Urania aske of Phoebus to inspire
Us for his Altars with his holiest fire,
And let his glorious ever-shining Rayes
Give life and growth to our Elizian Bayes.

[pp. 21-36]