Old Hampshire Mapped

Drayton's Hampshire

Drayton's map of Dorset and Hampshire was published in:-
Drayton, Michael: 1613: Polyolbion: (London)
This is a series of songs describing the country. An edition of the text may be found in:-
Hooper, Richard, Rev: 1876: Complete Works of Michael Drayton, The: Smith, John Russell (Soho Square, London)
It is the 'second song' which accompanies the map of, roughly, Dorset and Hampshire. In the transcription below the Dorset parts of the song are not included. The text of the song used is Hooper's, which probably has some spelling changes from the original.
frontispiece The frontispiece of the 'atlas' includes a description of its own picture:-
THrough a Triumphant Arch, see Albion plas't,
In Happy sight, in Neptune's armes embras't,
In Power and Plenty, on hir Cleevy Throne
Circled with Nature's Ghirlands, being alone
Stil'd th'Oceans Island. On the Columnes beene
(As Trophies raiz'd) what Princes Time hath seene
Ambitious of her. In hir yonger years.
Vast Earth-bread Giants woo'd her: but, who bears
In Golden field the Lion passant red,
AEneas Nephew (Brute) them conquered.
Next Laureate Caesar, as a Philtre, brings,
On's shield his Grandame Venus: Him hir Kings
Withstood. At length, the Roman, by long sute,
Gain'd her (most Part) from th'ancient race of Brute.
Divors't from Him, the Saxon sable Horse,
Borne by Sterne Hengist, wins her: but through force
Garding the Norman Leopards bathed in Gules,
She chang'd hir Love to Him, whose Line yet Rules.
title The title page of the atlas reads:-
POLY-OLBION / GREAT BRITAINE / By / Michael Drayton / Esq[i]: / London printed for M Lownes, I Browne, I Helme, I Busbie / Ingrave by W Hole
and the following page:-
POLYOLBION. / Or / A Chorographicall Description of Tracts, Rivers, / Mountaines, Forests, and other Parts of this renowned Isle / of Great Britaine, / With intermixture of the most remarquable Stories, Antiquities, Wonders, / Rarityes, Pleasures, and Commodities of / the same: / Digested in a Poem / By / MICHAEL DRAYTON, / Esq. / With a Table added, for direction to those occurrences of Stories and Antiquitie, / whereunto the Course of the Volume easily leades not.

LONDON. / Printed by H. L. for Mathew Lownes: I. Browne,

I. Helme, / and I. Busbie. 1613.
introduction The introduction, taken from Hooper, reads:-

IN publishing this Essay of my Poem, there is this great disadvantage against me; that it cometh out at this time, when verses are wholly deduced to chambers, and nothing esteemed in this lunatic Age but what is kept in cabinets, and must only pass by transcription. In such a season, when the idle humorous world must hear of nothing that either savours of antiquity, or may awake it to seek after more than dull and slothful ignorance may easily reach unto, these, I say, make much against me; and especially in a Poem, from any example, either of Ancient or Modern, that have proved in this kind, whose unusual tract may perhaps seem difficult to the female sex; yea, and, I fear, to some that think themselves not meanly learned, being not rightly inspired by the Muses: such I mean, as had rather read the fantasies of foreign inventions, than to see the Rarities and History of their own Country delivered by a true native Muse. Then, whosoever thou be, possest with such stupidity and dulness, that, rather than thou wilt take pain to search into ancient and noble things, chosest to remain in the thick fogs and mists of ignorance, as near the common lay-stall of a city, refusing to walk forth into the Tempe and field of the Muses, where through most delightful groves the angelic harmony of birds shall steal thee to the top of an easy hill, where, in artificial caves, cut out of the most natural rock, thou shalt see the ancient people of this Isle deliver thee in their lively images: from whose height thou mayest behold both the old and later times, as in thy prospect, lying far under thee; then conveying thee down by a soul-pleasing descent through delicate embrodered Meadows, often veined with gentle gliding Brooks; in which thou mayest fully view the dainty Nymphs in their simple naked beauties, bathing them in crystalline streams; which shall lead thee to most pleasant Downs, where harmless Shepherds are, some exercising their pipes, some singing roundelays to their grazing flocks. If, as I say, thou hadst rather (because it asks thy labour) remain where thou wert, than strain thyself to walk forth with the Muses, the fault proceeds from thy idleness, not from any want in my industry. And to any that shall demand wherefore having promised this Poem of the general Island so many years, I now publish only this part of it; I plainly answer that many times I have determined with myself to have left it off, and have neglected my papers sometimes two years together, finding the times since his Majesty's happy coming-in to fall so heavily upon my distressed fortunes, after my zealous soul had laboured so long in that which, with the general happiness of the kingdom, seemed not then impossible somewhat also to have advanced me. But I instantly saw all my long-nourished hopes even buried alive before my face: so uncertain (in this world) be the ends of our clearest endeavours. And whatever is herein that tastes of a free spirit, I thankfully confess it to proceed from the continual bounty of my truly noble friend Sir Walter Aston; which hath given me the best of those hours, whose leisure hath effected this which I now publish. Sundry other Songs I have also, though not yet so perfect that I dare commit them to public censure; and the rest I determine to go forward with, God enabling me, may I find means to assist my endeavour. Now, Reader, for the further understanding of my Poem, thou hast three especial helps: First, the Argument to direct thee still where thou art, and through what Shires the Muse makes her journey, and what she chiefly handles in the Song thereto belonging. Next, the Map, lively delineating to thee every Mountain, Forest, River, and Valley; expressing, in their sundry postures, their loves, delights, and natural situations. Then hast thou the illustration of this learned Gentleman, my friend, to explain every hard matter of history, that, lying far from the way of common reading, may (without question) seem difficult unto thee. Thus wishing thee thy heart's desire, and committing my Poem to thy charitable censure, I take my leave.

Thine, as thou art mine,


(Hooper's text)

Line numbering is given by Hooper; there are marks (we've used *) which indicate where a relevant explanatory 'note' may be found at the end of the song; footnotes in Hooper are lifted into the song at the line below their number marker. Eg:-
195 Clear Avon coming in, her sister Stour doth call, * And at New-forest's foot into the sea do fall,
There will be found at the end a note for line 196.
Where, for their goddess, me the Dryads shall adore,
[Dryads - Nymphs that live and die with oaks.]
Dryads has a superscript 2 and footnote 2 is inserted after the line (it is not counted in the line numbering).

argument THE ARGUMENT.

The Muse from Marshwood way commands,
Along the shore throuh Chesill's sands:
Where, overtoil'd, her heat to cool,
She bathes her in the pleasant Poole:
5 Thence, over-land again doth scour,
To fetch in Froome, and bring down Stoure;
Falls with New-forest, as she sings
The wanton Wood-Nymphs' revellings.
Whilst Itchin, in her lofty lays,
10 Chants Bevis of South-hampton's praise,
She Southward with her active flight
Is wafted to the Isle of Wight,
To see the rutte the Sea-gods keep:
There swaggering in the Solent deep.
15 Thence Hampshire-ward her way she bends;
And visiting her Forest-friends,
Near Salisbury her rest doth take:
Which she her second pause doth make.

2nd song 1 MARCH strongly forth my Muse, whilst yet the temperate air
Invites us, eas'ly on to hasten our repair.
Thou powerful God of flames (in verse divinely great)
Touch my invention so with thy true genuine heat,
That high and noble things I slightly may not tell,
Nor light and idle toys my lines may vainly swell;
But as my subject serves, so high or low to strain,
And to the varying earth so suit my varying vein,
That Nature in my work thou may'st thy power avow;
10 That as thou first found'st Art, and didst her rules allow,
So I, to thine own self that gladly near would be,
May here in do the best, in imitating thee:
As thou hast here a hill, a vale there, there a flood,
A mead here, there a heath, and now and then a wood,
15 These things so in my Song I naturally may show;
Now, as the mountain high; then, as the valley low;
Here, fruitful as the mead; there as the heath be bare;
Then, as the gloomy wood, I may be rough, though rare.

[Dorset parts]

... When down from Sarum's Plains
195 Clear Avon coming in, her sister Stour doth call,
* And at New-forest's foot into the sea do fall,
Which every day bewail that deed so full of dread
Whereby she (now so proud) became first forested:
She now who for her sight even boundless seem'd to lie,
200 * Her being that receiv'd by William's tyranny;
Providing laws to keep those beasts here planted then,
Whose lawless will from hence before had driven men;
That where the hearth was warm'd with Winter's feasting fires,
The melancholy hare is form'd in brakes and briars:
205 The aged ranpick trunk where plow-men cast their seed,
And churches overwhelm'd with nettles, fern, and weed,
By Conquering William first cut off from every trade,
That here the Norman still might enter to invade;
That on this vacant place, and unfrequented shore,
210 New forces still might land, to aid those here before.
But she, as by a King and Conqueror made so great,
By whom she was allow'd and limited her seat,
Into her own-self praise most insolently brake,
And her less fellow-Nymphs, New-forest thus bespake:
215 Thou Buckholt, bow to me, so let thy sister Bere;
[The forests of Hampshire with their situations.]
Chute, kneel thou at my name on this side of the Shiere:
Where, for their goddess, me the Dryads shall adore,
[Dryads - Nymphs that live and die with oaks.]
With Waltham, and the Bere, that on the sea-worn shore,
See at the Southern Isles the tides at tilt to run;
220 And Woolmer placed hence upon the rising sun,
With Ashholt thine ally (my Wood-Nymphs) and with you,
Proud Pamber tow'rds the North ascribe me worship due.
Before my princely state let your poor greatness fall;
And vail your tops to me, your Sov'reign of you all.
225 Amongst the Rivers, so, great discontent there fell.
Th'efficient cause whereof (as loud report doth tell)
Was, that the sprightly Test arising up in Chute,
To Itchin, her ally, great weakness should impute,
That she, to her own wrong, and every other's grief,
230 Would needs be telling things exceeding all belief:
For, she had given it out South-Hampton should not lose
* Her famous Bevis so, wer't in her power to choose;
* And, for great Arthur's seat, her Winchester prefers,
Whose old Round-table yet she vaunteth to be hers:
235 And swore, th'inglorious time should bereave her right:
But what it could obscure, she would reduce to light.
For, from that wondrous Pond whence she derives her head,
[A pool near unto Alresford, yielding an unusual
abundance of water.]
And places by the way, by which she's honored;
(Old Winchester, that stands near in her middle way,
240 And Hampton, at her fall into the Solent sea)
She thinks in all the Isle not any such as she,
And for a demi-god she would related be.
Sweet sister mine (quoth Test) advise you what you do;
Think this: For each of us, the Forests here are two:
245 Who, if you speak a thing whereof they hold can take,
Be't little, or be't much, they double will it make:
Whom Hamble helpeth out; a handsome proper Flood,
In courtesy well-skill'd, and one that knew her good.
Consider, quoth this Nymph, the times be curious now,
250 And nothing of that kind will any way allow.
Besides, the Muse hath next the British cause in hand,
About things later done that now she cannot stand.
The more they her persuade, the more she doth persist;
Let them say what they will, she will do what she list.
255 She styles herself their Chief, and swears she will command;
And, whatsoe'er she saith, for oracles must stand.
Which when the Rivers heard, they further speech forbare.
And she (to please herself that only seem'd to care)
To sing th' achievement great of Bevis thus began:
260 Redoubted Knight (quoth she); O most renowned man!
Who, when thou wert but young, thy mother durst reprove
(Most wickedly seduc'd by the unlawful love
Of Mordure, at that time the Almain Emperor's son)
That she thy sire to death disloyally had done.
265 Each circumstance whereof she largely did relate;
Then, in her song persu'd his mother's deadly hate;
And how (by Saber's hand) when she suppos'd him dead,
Where long upon the Downs a shepherd's life he lead;
Till by the great recourse, he came at length to know
270 The country there-about could hardly hold the show
His mother's marriage to fair South-hampton drew,
Being wedded to that lord who late her husband slew:
Into his noble breast which pierc'd so wondrous deep,
The (in the poor attire he us'd to tend the sheep,
275 And in his hand his hook) unto the town he went;
As having in his heart a resolute intent
Or manfully to die, or to revenge his wrong:
Where pressing at the gate the multitude among,
The porter at that place his entrance that forbad
280 (supposing him some swain, some boist'rous country-lad)
Upon the head he lent so violent a stroke,
That the poor empty skull some thin potsherd broke,
The brains and mingled blood were spertled on the wall.
Then hasting on he came into the upper hall,
285 Where murderous Mordure sate embraced by his bride:
Who (guilty in himself) had not he Bevis spied,
His bones had with a blow been shatt'red: but, by chance
(He shifting from his place, while Bevis did advance
His hand, with greater strength his deadly foe to hit,
290 And missing him) his chair he all to shivers split:
Which strook his mother's breast with strange and sundry fears,
That Bevis, being then but of tender years,
Durst yet attempt a thing so full of death and doubt.
And, once before deceiv'd, she newly cast about
295 To rid him out of sight; and, with a mighty wage,
Won such, themselves by oath as deeply durst ingage,
To execute her will: who shipping him away
(And making forth their course into the mid-land sea)
As they had got before, so now again for gold
300 To an Armenian there that young Alcides sold:
Of all his gotten prize, who (as the worthiest thing,
And fittest where-withal to gratify his king)
Presented that brave youth; the splendour of whose eye
A wondrous mixture show'd of grace and majesty:
305 Whose more than man-like shape, and matchless stature, took
The king; and often us'd with great delight to look
Upon that English Earl. But though the love he bore
To Bevis might be much, his daughter ten times more
Admir'd the god-like man: who, from the hour that first
310 His beauty she beheld, felt her soft bossom pierc'd
With Cupid's deadliest shaft; that Josian, to her guest,
Already had resign'd possession of her breast.
Then sang she; in the fields how as he went to sport,
And those damn'd Paynims heard, who in despiteful sort
315 Derided Christ the Lord; for his Redeemer's sake
He on those heathen hounds did there such slaughter make,
That whilst in their black mouths their blasphemies they drew,
They headlong went to hell. As also how he slew
That cruel Boar, whose tusks turn'd up whole fields of grain,
320 (And, rooting, raised hills upon the level plain;
Digg'd caverns in the earth so dark and wond'rous deep
As that, into whose mouth the desperate Roman leap):
[Roman - Curtius, that for his country's sake so lavished his life.]
And cutting off his head, a trophy thence to bear;
The forester that came to intercept it there,
325 How he their scalps and trunks in chips and pieces cleft,
And in the fields (like beasts) their mangled bodies left.
As to his further praise, how for that dangerous fight
The great Armenian King made noble Bevis Knight:
And having raised pow'r, Damascus to invade,
330 The General of his force this English hero made.
Then, how fair Josian gave him Arundell his steed,
And Morglay his good sword, in many a gallant deed
Which manfully he tried. Next, in a buskin'd strain,
[buskin'd - lofty]
Sung how himself he bore upon Damascus' Plain
335 (That dreadful battle) where the Bradamond he fought;
And with his sword and steed such earthly wonders wrought,
As even amongst his foes him admiration won;
Incount'ring in the throng with mighty Radison;
And lopping off his arms, th' imperial standard took.
340 At whose prodigious fall, the conquer'd foe forsook
The field; where, in one day so many peers they lost,
So brave commanders, and so absolute an host,
As to the humbled earth took proud Damascus down,
Then tributary made to the Armenian Crown.
345 And how at his return, the king (for service done,
The honour to his reign, and to Armenia won)
In marriage to this Earl the Princess Josian gave;
As into what distress him Fortune after drave,
To great Damascus sent ambassador again;
350 When, in revenge of theirs, before by Bevis slain,
(And now, at his return, for that he so despis'd
Those idols unto whom they daily sacrific'd:
Which he to pieces hew'd and scatt'red in the dust)
They, rising, him by strength into a dungeon thrust;
355 In whose black bottom, long two serpents had remain'd
(Bred in the common sewer that all the city drain'd)
Empois'ning with their smell; which seiz'd him for their prey:
With whom in struggling long (besmear'd with blood and clay)
He rent their squalid chaps, and from the prison 'scap'd.
360 As how adult'rous Joure, the king of Mambrant, rap'd
Fair Josian his dear love, his noble sword and steed:
Which afterward by craft, he in a palmer's weed
Recover'd, and with him from Mambrant bare away.
And with two lions how he held a desperate fray,
365 Assailing him at once, that fiercely on him flew:
Which first he tam'd with wounds, then by the necks them drew,
And 'gainst the hard'ned earth their jaws and shoulders burst;
And that (Goliah-like) great Ascupart inforc'd
To serve him for a slave, and by his horse to run.
370 At Colcin as again the glory that he won
On that huge Dragon, like the country to destroy;
Whose sting strook like a lance: whose venom did destroy
As doth a general plague: his scales like shields of brass;
His body, when he mov'd, like some unwieldy mass,
375 Even bruis'd the solid earth. Which boldy having song,
With all the sundry turns that might thereto belong,
Whilst yet she shapes her course how he came back to show
What pow'rs he got abroad, how them he did bestow;
In England here again, how he by dint of sword
380 Unto his ancient lands and titles was restor'd,
New-forest cried, enough: and Waltham with the Bere,
Both bade her hold her peace; for they no more would hear.
And for she was a flood, her fellows naught would say;
But slipping to their banks, slid silently away.
385 When as the pliant Muse, with fair and even flight,
Betwixt her silver wings is wafted to the Wight:
That Isle, which jutting out into the sea so far,
Her offspring traineth up in exercise of war;
Those pirates to put back that oft purloin her trade,
390 Or Spaniards, or the French attempting to invade.
Of all the Southern Isles she holds the highest place,
And ever more hath been the great'st in Britain's grace:
Not one of all her Nymphs her sov'reign favoreth thus,
Imbraced in the arms of old Oceanus.
395 For none of her account so near her bosom stand,
'Twixt Penwith's furthest point ad Goodwin's queachy sand,
[Penwith/Goodwin - the forelands of Cornwall and Kent.]
Both for her seat and soil, that far before the other,
Most justly may account great Britain for her mother.
A finer fleece than hers not Lemster's self can boast,
400 Nor Newport for her mart, o'er match'd by any coast.
To these, the gentle South, with kisses smooth and soft,
Doth in her bosom breath, and seems to court her oft.
Besides, her little rills, her in-lands that do feed,
Which with their lavish streams do furnish every need:
405 And meads, that with their fine soft grassy towels stand
To wipe away the drops and moisture from her hand,
And to the North, betwixt the fore-land and the firm,
She hath that narrow Sea, which we the Solent term:
Where those rough ireful tides, as in her straits they meet,
410 With boist'rous shocks and roars each other rudely greet:
Which fiercely when they charge, and sadly make retreat,
Upon the bulwark'd forts of Hurst and Calshot beat,
[Two castles in the sea]
Then to South-hampton run: which by her shores supplied
(As Portsmouth by her strength) doth vilify their pride;
415 Both roads that with our best may boldly hold their plea,
Nor Plimmouth's self hath borne more braver ships than they;
That from their anchoring bays have travailed to find
Large China's wealthy realms, and view'd the either Ind,
The pearly rich Peru; and with as prosperous fate,
Have borne their full-spread sails upon the streams of Plate:
421 Whose pleasant harbours oft the seaman's hope renew,
To rig his late-craz'd bark, to spread a wanton clue;
Where they with lusty sack, and mirthful sailors' songs,
Defy their passed storms, and laugh at Neptune's wrongs:
425 The danger quite forgot wherein they were of late;
Who half so merry now as master and his mate?
And victualling again, with brave and man-like minds
To seaward cast their eyes, and pray for happy winds.
But, partly by the floods sent hither from the shore,
430 And Islands that are set the bord'ring coast before:
As one amongst the rest, a brave and lusty dame
Call'd Portsey, whence that Bay of Portsmouth hath her name:
By her, two little Isles, her handmaids (which compar'd
With those within the Poole, for deftness not out-dar'd)
435 The greater Hayling hight: and fairest though by much,
Yet Thorney very well, but somewhat rough in touch.
Whose beauties far and near divulged by report,
And by the Tritons told in mighty Neptune's court,
[Tritons - Neptune's Trumpeters.]
Old Proteus hath been known to leave his finny herd,
[Proteus, a Sea-god, changing himself into any shape.]
440 And in their sight to sponge his foam-bespawled beard
The sea-gods, which about the wat'ry kingdom keep,
Have often for their sakes abandoned the deep;
That Thetis many a time to Neptune hath complain'd,
How for those wanton Nymphs her ladies were disdain'd:
445 And there arose such rut th' unruly rout among,
That soon the noise thereof through all the ocean rong.
* When Portsey, weighing well the ill to her might grow,
In that their mighty stirs might be her overthrow,
She strongly strait'neth-in the entrance to her Bay;
450 That, of their haunt debarr'd, and shut out to the sea
[A poetical description of the Solent Sea.]
(Each small conceived wrong helps on distemper'd rage.)
No counsel could be heard their choler to assuage:
When every one suspects the next that is in place
To be the only cause and means of his disgrace.
455 Some coming from the East, some from the setting sun,
The liquid mountains still together mainly run;
Wave woundeth wave again; and billow billow gores;
And topsy-turvy so, fly tumbling to the shores.
From hence the Solent sea, as some men thought, might stand
Amongst those things which we call Wonders of our Land.
461 When towing up that stream, so negligent of fame,
[that stream - Tichfield River.]
As till this very day she yet concealed her name;
By Bert (sic) and Waltham both that's equally imbrac'd,
And lastly, at her fall, by Tichfield highly grac'd.
465 Whence, from old Windsor hill, and from the aged Stone,
[Stone - Another little hill in Hampshire.]
The Muse those Countries sieze, which call her to be gone.
The Forest took their leave: Bere, Chute, and Buckholt, bid
Adieu; so Wolmer, and so Ashholt, kindly did.
And Pamber shook her head, as grieved at the heart;
470 When far upon her way, and ready to depart,
As now the wand'ring Muse so sadly went along,
To her last farewell, the goodly Forests sung.
Dear Muse, to plead our right, whom time at last hath brought,
Which else forlorn had lain, and banish'd every thought,
When thou ascend'st the hills, and from their rising shrouds
476 Our sisters shalt command, whose tops once touch'd the clouds;
Old Arden when thou meet'st, or dost fair Sherwood see,
[Arden - The great and ancient forest of Warwickshire.]
[Sherwood - The goodly Forest by Nottingham.]
Tell them, that as they waste, so every day do we:
Wish them, we of our griefs may be each other's heirs;
480 Let them lament our fall, and we will mourn for theirs.
Then turning from the South which lies in public view,
The Muse an oblique course doth seriously pursue:
And pointing to the Plains, she thither takes her way;
For which, to gain her breath she makes a little stay.

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