Elizabethan Sonnet Cycles: Idea, Fidesa and Chloris
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This is a biographical book. The true story of the life of Michael Drayton might be told to, vindicate the poetic traditions of the olden time. A child-poet wandering in fay-haunted Arden, or listening to the harper that frequented the fireside of Polesworth Hall where the boy was a petted page, later the honoured almoner of the bounty of many patrons, one who 'not unworthily', as Tofte said, 'beareth the name of the chiefest archangel, singing after this soule - ravishing manner', yet leaving but five pounds lying by him at his death, which was satis viatici ad cœlum'—is not this the panorama of a poetic career? But above all, to complete the picture of the ideal poet, he worshipped, and hopelessly, from youth to age the image of one, woman. He never married, and while many patronesses were honoured with his poetic addresses, there was one fair dame to whom he never offered dedicatory sonnet, a silence that is full of meaning. Yet the praises of Idea, his poetic name for the lady of his admiration and love, are written all over the pages of his voluminous lyrical and chorographical and historical poems, and her very name is quaintly revealed to us.