Michael Drayton (1563 - 1631 / Warwickshire / England)
Biography of Michael Drayton
Drayton was born at Hartshill in Warwickshire and as a youth he became page to Sir Henry Goodere of Polesworth. He fell in love with Sir Henry's daughter, Anne, and worshipped her as 'Idea' in his poetry. Even after her marriage to Sir Henry Rainford he continued to celebrate her charms in verse, and he never married.
He had wanted to be a poet from the age of ten, and achieved his ambition through hard work and a succession of noble patrons, in spite of some ill-fortune. His first work was a verse paraphrase of parts of the Old Testament and Apocrypha, The Harmony of the Church. Ironically, the Harmony caused offence among the authorities and was banned. When James I became king in 1603 Drayton angled for royal favour with To the Majesty of King James: a Gratulatory Poem. Unfortunately he omitted to include the customary tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth, and this gaffe probably cost him an appointment at court.
In spite of this setback, Drayton had a fairly successful career as a poet, and he counted Ben Jonson and William Drummond of Hawthornden among his friends.
- Endimion and Phoebe (excerpts)
- How Many Paltry Foolish Painted Things
- Idea LI: Calling to mind since first my ...
- Idea LIII: To the River Ancor
- Idea XX: An evil spirit, your beauty, ha...
- Idea XXXVII: Dear, why should you comman...
- Noah's Flood (excerpts)
- Nymphidia, The Court Of Fairy (excerpts)
- Ode to the Cambro-Britons and their Harp...
- Sonnet I: Like an Advent'rous Seafarer
- Sonnet II: My Heart Was Slain
Sonnet LIII: Clear Anker
Another to the River Anker
Clear Anker, on whose silver-sanded shore
My soul-shrin'd saint, my fair Idea, lies,
O blessed brook, whose milk-white swans adore
The crystal stream refined by her eyes,
Where sweet myrrh-breathing Zephyr in the Spring
Gently distils his nectar-dropping showers,
Where nightingales in Arden sit and sing