Drayton, Michael

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.
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Drayton, Michael

Michael Drayton, 1563–1631, English poet. The son of a prosperous tradesman, he received his educational training in the house of Sir Henry Goodere, where he served as page. There he made a lasting friendship with Anne Goodere, the youngest daughter of Sir Henry, who became the "Idea" in his series of sonnets (1593–1619). His work reflects the many poetic fashions of the day. He wrote poems on English history and topography (England's Heroical Epistles, 1597–99; the 15,000-line panoramic Poly-Olbion, 1612–22; Mortimeriados, 1596, recast in The Barons' Wars, 1597); satires (The Owl, 1604, and "The Moon Calf," 1627); a Spenserian, though mock-heroic, fairyland poem (Nymphidia, 1627); and the idyllic Muses' Elysium (1630). He also wrote scriptural paraphrases, pastorals, popular ballads, myths, and collaborated on plays.

See his complete works (ed. by J. W. Hebel et al., 5 vol., 1931–41); studies by R. Hardin (1973), L. Westling (1974), S. Naqi Husain Jafri (1981), and J. R. Brink (1990).

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