Page images
PDF
EPUB

SYREN. That doth opinion only cause,

That's out of custom bred;
Which makes us many other laws,

Than ever Nature did.
No widows wail for our delights,

Our sports are without blood ;
The world we see by warlike wights

Receives more hurt than good.

ULYSSES.

But yet the state of things require

These motions of unrest. And these great spirits of high desire

Seem born to turn them best :
To purge the mischiefs, that increase,

And all good order mar:
For oft we see a wicked peace,

To be well chang'd for war.

SYREN.

Well, well, Ulysses, then I see

I shall not have thee here;
And therefore I will come to thee,

And take my fortune there.
I must be won that cannot win,

Yet lost were I not won;
For beauty hath created been

Tundo, or be undone.

SELECT POEMS

OF

MICHAEL DRAYTON

WITH

A LIFE OF THE AUTHOR,

BY

EZEKIEL SANFORD.

LIFE OF DRAYTON.

MICHAEL DRAYTON, the descendant of an ancient family, in Drayton, Leicestershire, and the son of a butcher, according to Aubrey, was born at Atherton, in Warwickshire, about the year 1563. It appears from his Epistle to Henry Reynold, Esq. that, at the age of ten, he was a considerable proficient in the Latin, and a page to a person of quality. We find it stated, in Sir Aston Cockayne's Choice Poems, that he was, for some time, a student at Oxford; but, if he had completed his education at either University, he would have been noticed by Wood. He is said to have shown an early predisposition to poetry; and, though the time of his first publication is not exactly determined, it is agreed by all, that the greater part of his poems were given to the world before his thirtieth year.

His chief patrons were Sir Henry Gooden, and Sir Walter Aston; the first of whom gave him a great part of his education; and the second supported him for many years. In 1593, he published his pastoral Ideas ; and, not long after, the Baron's Wars, Hergical Epistles, and Legends. In 1603, he

printed his 'congratulatory poem' on King James's accession to the British throne; but it does not appear, that he ever published the verses, in which he condescends to extol, as a poet and a hero, a man who was alike devoid of fancy and of courage. In 1612, he printed the first part of the Poly-Olbion, in eighteen books; and, ten years afterwards, the second part, in twelve books. In 1619, the first volume of his poems were published: in 1626, he was made Poet Laureat: in 1627, he printed a second volume of poems, containing the Battle of Agincourt, Miseries of Queen Margaret, Nymphidea, the Court of Faeyne, Queen of Cynthia, Shepherd: Sirena, Elegies, and the Moon-Calf; and, three years afterwards, the third appeared, under the title of the Muses Elysium, together with the three Divine Poems, Noah's Flood, Birth and Miracles, and David and Goliah. He died in 1631; and was buried among the poets in Westminster Abbey. A table monument of blue marble, adorned with his laurelled bust, was erected over his grave by the Countess of Dorset; who did a similar honour to Spenser and Daniel. Some pains have been taken to ascertain the author of the inscription. It was at first attributed to Jonson; but it is given to Quarles, in Aubrey's MSS; and surely no one would wish to take from either, the credit of describing the death of a Poet Laureat as the exchange of his official laurel for a crown of glory; or that of telling the pious marble' to be a monument to his name, till it was in ruins; and adding, by way of consolation, that the name should, as in duty bound, be thenceforward a monument to the marble. This is justice, whether it be poetry or not.

MICHAEL DRAYTON, ESQUIRE,

A memorable poet of his age,
Exchang'd his laurel for a crown of glory,

1631,

« PreviousContinue »