'Doe pious marble let thy readers
know what they and what their children owe to Draiton's
name; whose sacred dust wee recommend unto thy trust:
protect his memry, and preserve his storye: remaine a
lastinge monument of his glorye; and when thy ruines shall
disclame to be the treas'rer of his name; his name, that
cannot fade, shall be an everlasting monument to thee'
|Michael Drayton is buried in Poets' Corner, Westminster
Abbey, London, England.
Tomb of Michael Drayton
Portrait of MIchael Drayton by
|Drayton was born at Hartshill near Nuneaton in
Warwickshire. However, little is known about his early life
- though he may have spent time in the service of Sir Henry
Goodere of Polesworth. He may also have studied at Oxford
but again this is not known for certain. He moved to London
His first book The Harmonie of the
Church appeared in 1591 - followed by The
Shepheards Garland in 1593 which was a series of
eclogues in the style of Spenser:
the third of which praised Queen Elizabeth and the fourth
lamented the death of Sir Philip Sidney.
A sonnet sequence entitled Ideas Mirrour followed
in 1594 which included the famous sonnet: 'Since there's no
help, come let us kiss and part'. (See below.)
Drayton found favour at the court of Queen Elizabeth but did
not fare so well under James I when a poem, written to
celebrate the king's accession, was ridiculed.
many poets of his age, Drayton also wrote for the theatre -
collaborating with others to produce plays for Philip
Henslowe. Only one of his (23) plays survives today and is
entitled Sir John Oldcastle (Part 1). It is not
very characteristic of Drayton's style - again suggesting a
Drayton's most famous line
comes from his historical poem The Battaile of Agincourt
(1627): 'Fayre stood the winde for France/ When we our
Drayton definitely corresponded with
Ben Jonson and may have been a friend of
Shakespeare. It is alledged
that the three writers engaged in a heavy drinking session
shortly before Shakespeare contracted a fever and died.
Drayton was a prolific poet - writing religious, love
and historical verse. His most ambitious project was
Poly-Olbion, completed in 1622, which was an epic
topographical poem about England. He died in poverty but
Lady Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset paid for his
monument. The memorial lines are atrributed to Ben
Jonson and the monument was made by Edward Marshall. (Lady
Anne Clifford also paid for Spenser's original monument.)
Since there's no help, come,
let us kiss and part,
Nay, I have done, you get no more
And I am glad, yea, glad with all my heart,
That thus so cleanly I myself can free.
Shake hands for
ever, cancel all our vows,
And when we meet at any time
Be it not seen in either of our brows
one jot of former love retain.
Now at the last gasp of
Love's latest breath,
When, his pulse failing, Passion
When Faith is kneeling by his bed of
And Innocence is closing up his eyes,
thou wouldst, when all have giv'n him over,
to life thou might'st him yet recover.