1630
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Muses Elizium IX: The Ninth 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: "Apollo, although he has not been mentioned since the 3rd Nymphal, is the patron saint of the poem. The serious mythological learning in the Muses' hymn is Ovidian, but allusive and rapid" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:223.

W. W. Greg: "How is it that in spite of all this we still regard the Shepherd's Calender as serious literature; while with all its exquisite justness, as of ivory carved and tinted by the hand of a master and encrusted with the sparkle of a thousand gems, the Muses' Elizium remains a toy? It is not merely the prestige of the author's name: it is not merely that we tend to accept the work of each at its own valuation. We have to seek the explanation of the phenomenon in the fact that not only has the Shepherd's Calender behind it a vast tradition, reverend if somewhat otiose — the devotion of men counts for something — but also that, however stiffly laced in an unsuitable garb, it sought to deal with matters of real import to men, or at any rate with what man has held as such. It treated questions of religious policy which touched problems calculated to interest the mind of an age still tinged with medievalism; with philosophical theories of human and divine love. In other words, the Shepherd's Calender lay in the main stream of literature, and reflected the mind of the age, while the Muses' Elizium, in common with most pastoral work, did not. Are we to suppose that there is indeed a line of demarcation between great art and little art wholly independent of that which divides good art from bad art? Are we to go further, and assume that these two lines of division intersect, so that a work may be akin to great art though it be not good art, while, however perfect a work of art may be, it may remain little art for some wholly non-aesthetical reason? But we digress" Pastoral Poetry and Pastoral Drama (1906) 109-110.



The Muses spend their lofty layes,
Upon Apollo and his prayse;
The Nimphs with Gems his Alter build,
This Nimphall is with Phoebus fild.

MUSES and NIMPHS.
A Temple of exceeding state,
The Nimphes and Muses rearing,
Which they to Phoebus dedicate,
Elizium ever cheering:
These Muses, and those Nimphes contend
This Phane to Phoebus offring,
Which side the other should transcend,
These praise, those prizes proffering,
And at this long appointed day,
Each one their largesse bringing,
Those nine faire Sisters led the way
Thus to Apollo singing.

The MUSES.
Thou youthfull God that guid'st the howres,
The Muses thus implore thee,
By all those Names, due to thy powers,
By which we still adore thee.
Sol, Tytan, Delius, Cynthius, styles,
Much reverence that have wonne thee,
Deriv'd from Mountaines as from Iles
Where worship first was done thee.
Rich Delos brought thee forth divine,
Thy Mother thither driven,
At Delphos thy most sacred shrine,
Thy Oracles were given.
In thy swift course from East to West,
They minutes misse to finde thee,
That bear'st the morning on thy breast,
And leav'st the night behinde thee.
Up to Olimpus top so steepe,
Thy startling Coursers currying;
Thence downe to Neptunes vasty deepe,
Thy flaming Charriot hurrying.
Eos, Ethon, Phlegon, Pirois, proud,
Their lightning Maynes advancing:
Breathing forth fire on every cloud
Upon their Journey prancing.
Whose sparkling hoofes, with gold for speed
Are shod, to scape all dangers,
Where they upon Ambrosia feed,
In their celestiall Mangers.
Bright Colatina, that of hils
Is Goddesse, and hath keeping
Her Nimphes, the cleere Oreades wils
T' attend thee from thy sleeping.
Great Demogorgon feeles thy might,
His Mynes about him heating:
Who through his bosome dart'st thy light,
Within the Center sweating.
If thou but touch thy golden Lyre,
Thou Minos mov'st to heare thee:
The Rockes feele in themselves afire,
And rise up to come neere thee.
'Tis thou that Physicke didst devise
Hearbs by their natures calling:
Of which some opening at thy Rise,
And closing at thy falling.
Fayre Hyacinth thy most lov'd Lad,
That with the sledge thou sluest;
Hath in a flower the life he had,
Whose root thou still renewest,
Thy Daphne thy beloved Tree,
That scornes thy Fathers Thunder,
And thy deare Clitia yet we see,
Not time from thee can sunder;
From thy bright Bow that Arrow flew
(Snatcht from thy golden Quiver)
Which that fell Serpent Python slew,
Renowning thee for ever.
The Actian and the Pythian Games
Devised were to praise thee,
With all th' Apolinary names
That th' Ancients thought could raise thee.
A Shryne upon this Mountaine hie,
To thee we'll have erected,
Which thou the God of Poesie
Must care to have protected:
With thy lov'd Cinthus that shall share,
With all his shady Bowers,
Nor Licia's Cragus shall compare
With this, for thee, of ours.

Thus having sung, the Nimphish Crue
Thrust in amongst them thronging,
Desiring they might have the due
That was to them belonging.
Quoth they, ye Muses, as divine,
Are in his glories graced,
But it is we must build the Shryne
Wherein they must be placed;
Which of those precious Gemmes we'll make
That Nature can affoord us,
Which from that plenty we will take,
Wherewith we here have stor'd us:
O glorious Phoebus most divine,
Thine Altars then we hallow:
And with those stones we build a Shryne
To thee our wise Apollo.

The NIMPHS.
No Gem, from Rocks, Seas, running streames,
(Their numbers let us muster)
But hath from thy most powerfull beames
The Vertue and the Lustre;
The Diamond, the king of Gemmes,
The first is to be placed,
That glory is of Diadems,
Them gracing, by them graced:
In whom thy power the most is seene,
The raging fire refelling:
The Emerauld then, most deepely greene,
For beauty most excelling,
Resisting poyson often prov'd
By those about that beare it.
The cheerfull Ruby then, much lov'd,
That doth revive the spirit,
Whose kinde to large extensure growne
The colour so enflamed,
Is that admired mighty stone
The Carbunckle that's named,
Which from it such a flaming light
And radiency ejecteth,
That in the very dark'st of night
The eye to it directeth.
The yellow Jacynth, strengthning Sense,
Of which who hath the keeping,
No Thunder hurts nor Pestilence,
And much provoketh sleeping:
The Chrisolite, that doth resist
Thirst, proved, never failing,
The purple colored Amatist,
'Gainst strength of wine prevailing;
The verdant gay greene Smaragdus,
Most soveraine over passion:
The Sardonix, approv'd by us
To master Incantation.
Then that celestiall colored stone
The Saphyre, heavenly wholly,
Which worne, there wearinesse is none,
And cureth melancholly:
The Lazulus, whose pleasant blew
With golden vaines is graced;
The Jaspis, of so various hew,
Amongst our other placed;
The Onix, from the Ancients brought,
Of wondrous Estimation,
Shall in amongst the rest be wrought
Our sacred Shryne to fashion;
The Topas, we'll stick here and there,
And sea-greene colored Berill,
And Turkesse, which who haps to beare
Is often kept from perill.
The Selenite, of Cynthia's light,
So nam'd, with her still ranging,
Which as she wanes or waxeth bright
Its colours so are changing.
With Opalls, more then any one,
We'll deck thine Altar fuller,
For that of every precious stone,
It doth reteine some colour:
With bunches of Pearle Paragon
Thine Altar underpropping,
Whose base is the Cornelian,
Strong bleeding often stopping:
With th' Agot, very oft that is
Cut strangely in the Quarry,
As Nature ment to show in this,
How she her selfe can varry:
With worlds of Gems from Mines and Seas
Elizium well might store us,
But we content our selves with these
That readiest lye before us:
And thus O Phoebus most divine
Thine Altars still we hallow,
And to thy Godhead reare this Shryne,
Our onely wise Apollo.

[pp. 75-85]