1630
ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

The Muses Elizium X: The Tenth 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 nymphs see, and are at first frightened by an old satyr; and the reader (remembering Spenser's satyrs, or at the other extreme, Fletcher's) may at first expect conventional melodrama. But this satyr — who begins to seem 'not halfe so ugly' — is only an old weary refugee from Felicia, lamenting for its lost woodlands, and taking their destruction as an emblem of the general disrespect for antiquity" Works of Drayton, ed. Hebel (1931-61) 5:220.

Oliver Goldsmith: "As we walked along to a particular part of the temple, There, says the gentleman, pointing with his finger, that is the Poet's Corner; there you see the monuments of Shakespeare, and Milton, and Prior, and Drayton. Drayton! I replied, I never heard of him before; but I have been told of one Pope; is he there? It is time enough, replied my guide, these hundred years; he is not long dead; people have not done hating him yet" Citizen of the World (1762) in Works, ed. Cunningham (1854) 2:122.



NAIIS, CLAIA, CORBILUS, SATYRE.

A Satyre on Elizium lights,
Whose ugly shape the Nimphes affrights,
Yet when they heare his just complaint,
They make him an Elizian Saint.

CORBILUS.
What; breathles Nimphs? bright Virgins let me know
What suddaine cause constraines ye to this haste?
What have ye seene that should affright ye so?
What might it be from which ye flye so fast?
I see your faces full of pallid feare,
As though some perill followed on your flight;
Take breath a while, and quickly let me heare
Into what danger ye have lately light.

NAIIS.
Never were poore distressed Gerles so glad,
As when kinde, loved Corbilus we saw,
When our much haste us so much weakned had,
That scarcely we our wearied breathes could draw.

In this next Grove under an aged Tree,
So fell a monster lying there we found,
As till this day, our eyes did never see,
Nor ever came on the Elizian ground.
Halfe man, halfe Goat, he seem'd to us in show,
His upper parts our humane shape doth beare,
But he's a very perfect Goat below,
His crooked Cambrils arm'd with hoofe and hayre.

CLAIA
Through his leane Chops a chattering he doth make
Which stirres his staring beastly driveld Beard,
And his sharpe hornes he seem'd at us to shake,
Canst thou then blame us though we were afeard.

CORBILUS.
Surely it seemes some Satyre this should be,
Come and goe back and guide me to the place,
Be not affraid, ye are safe enough with me,
Silly and harmelesse be their Silvan Race.

CLAIA
How Corbilus; a Satyre doe you say?
How should he over high Parnassus hit?
Since to these Fields ther's none can finde the way,
But onely those the Muses will permit.

CORBILUS.
Tis true; but oft, the sacred Sisters grace
The silly Satyre, by whose plainesse, they
Are taught the worlds enormities to trace,
By beastly mens abhominable way;
Besyde he may be banisht his owne home
By this base time, or be so much distrest,
That he the craggy by-clift Hill hath clome
To finde out these more pleasant Fields of rest.

NAIIS.
Yonder he sits, and seemes himselfe to bow
At our approch, what doth our presence awe him?
Me thinks he seemes not halfe so ugly now,
As at the first, when I and Claia saw him.

CORBILUS.
Tis an old Satyre, Nimph, I now discerne,
Sadly he sits, as he were sick or lame,
His lookes would say, that we may easly learne
How, and from whence, he to Elizium came.
Satyre, these Fields, how cam'st thou first to finde?
What Fate first show'd thee this most happy shore?
When never any of thy Silvan kinde
Set foot on the Elizian earth before?

SATYRE.
O never aske, how I came to this place,
What cannot strong necessity finde out?
Rather bemoane my miserable case,
Constrain'd to wander the wide world about.
With wild Silvanus and his woody crue,
In Forrests I, at liberty and free,
Liv'd in such pleasure as the world ne'r knew,
Nor any rightly can conceive but we.
This jocond life we many a day enjoy'd,
Till this last age, those beastly men forth brought,
That all those great and goodly Woods destroy'd,
Whose growth their Grandsyres, with such sufferance sought,
That faire Felicia which was but of late,
Earth's Paradice, that never had her Peere,
Stands now in that most lamentable state,
That not a Silvan will inhabit there;
Where in the soft and most delicious shade,
In heat of Summer we were wont to play,
When the long day too short for us we made,
The slyding houres so slyly stole away;
By Cynthia's light, and on the pleasant Lawne,
The wanton Fayry we were wont to chase,
Which to the nimble cloven-footed Fawne,
Upon the plaine durst boldly bid the base.
The sportive Nimphes, with shouts and laughter shooke
The Hils and Valleyes in their wanton play,
Waking the Ecchoes, their last words that tooke,
Till at the last, they lowder were then they.
The lofty hie Wood, and the lower spring,
Sheltring the Deare, in many a suddaine shower;
Where Quires of Birds, oft wonted were to sing,
The flaming Furnace wholly doth devoure;
Once faire Felicia, but now quite defac'd,
Those Braveries gone wherein she did abound,
With dainty Groves, when she was highly grac'd
With goodly Oake, Ashe, Elme, and Beeches croun'd:
But that from heaven their judgement blinded is,
In humane Reason it could never be,
But that they might have cleerly seene by this,
Those plagues their next posterity shall see.
The little Infant on the mothers Lap
For want of fire shall be so sore distrest,
That whilst it drawes the lanke and empty Pap,
The tender lips shall freese unto the breast;
The quaking Cattle which their Warmstall want,
And with bleake winters Northerne winde opprest,
Their Browse and Stover waxing thin and scant,
The hungry Crowes shall with their Caryon feast.
Men wanting Timber wherewith they should build,
And not a Forrest in Felicia found,
Shall be enforc'd upon the open Field,
To dig them Caves for houses in the ground:
The Land thus rob'd, of all her rich Attyre,
Naked and bare her selfe to heaven doth show,
Begging from thence that Jove would dart his fire
Upon those wretches that disrob'd her so;
This beastly Brood by no meanes may abide
The name of their brave Ancestors to heare,
By whom their sordid slavery is descry'd,
So unlike them as though not theirs they were,
Nor yet they sense, nor understanding have,
Of those brave Muses that their Country song,
But with false Lips ignobly doe deprave
The right and honour that to them belong;
This cruell kinde thus Viper-like devoure
That fruitfull soyle which them too fully fed;
The earth doth curse the Age, and every houre
Againe, that it these viprous monsters bred.
I seeing the plagues that shortly are to come
Upon this people cleerely them forsooke:
And thus am light into Elizium,
To whose straite search I wholly me betooke.

NAIIS.
Poore silly creature, come along with us,
Thou shalt be free of the Elizian fields:
Be not dismaid, nor inly grieved thus,
This place content in all abundance yeelds.
We to the cheerefull presence will thee bring,
Of Joves deare Daughters, where in shades they sit,
Where thou shalt heare those sacred Sisters sing,
Most heavenly Hymnes, the strength and life of wit.

CLAIA
Where to the Delphian God upon their Lyres
His Priests seeme ravisht in his height of praise:
Whilst he is crowning his harmonious Quiers,
With circling Garlands of immortall Bayes.

CORBILUS.
Here live in blisse, till thou shalt see those slaves,
Who thus set vertue and desert at nought:
Some sacrific'd upon their Grandsires graves,
And some like beasts in markets sold and bought.
Of fooles and madmen leave thou then the care,
That have no understanding of their state:
For whom high heaven doth so just plagues prepare,
That they to pitty shall convert thy hate.
And to Elizium be thou welcome then,
Untill those base Felicians thou shalt heare,
By that vile nation captived againe,
That many a glorious age their captives were.

[pp. 81-85]