Michael Drayton (1563-1631) combined a sort of literary professionalism with more traditional poetic ambitions (a mixture extraordinary in his age). He was a friend of Francis Beaumont, William Browne, and Drummond of Hawthornden, all of them nothing as poets if not respectable. He also acquired the services of the antiquary Selden as commentator on his Poly-Olbion. In the circumstances, he could have hitched his wagon to no better star than Spenser's. I have included in this section passages from Selden's notes to Poly-Olbion.
(a) From The Third Eclog in Idea. The Shepheards Garland (1593), p. 13; repr. in Works, ed. J.W. Hebel (Oxford, 1931-41), I. 55:
In thy sweete son so blessed may'st thou bee,
For learned Collin laies his pipes to gage,
And is to fayrie gone a Pilgrimage:
the more our mone.
(b) From Endimion and Phoebe. Ideas Latamus (1595), sig. Gv; repr. Hebel, I. 155:
Deare Collin, let my Muse excused be,
Which rudely thus presumes to sing by thee,
Although her straines be harsh untun'd & ill,
Nor can attayne to thy divinest skill.
(c) From the epistle To the Reader in The Barrons Wars in the raigne o Edward the second (1603), sig. A3v; repr. Hebel, II. 5:
The Italians vse Cantos, & so our first late great Reformer Ma. Spenser, that I assume another name for the sections in this volum cannot be disgratious, nor vnauowable.
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Publication information: Book title: Edmund Spenser, the Critical Heritage. Contributors: R. M.Cummings - Editor. Publisher: Routledge. Place of publication: London. Publication year: 1995. Page number: 78.
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