Michael Drayton, The Poetry Of (Audiobook)
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Read by Richard Mitchley, Ghizela Rowe & Gideon Wagner (Unabridged: 1hr 2mins)

Michael Drayton was born in 1563 at Hartshill, near Nuneaton, Warwickshire, England. The facts of his early life remain unknown.

Drayton first published, in 1590, a volume of spiritual poems; The Harmony of the Church.  Ironically the Archbishop of Canterbury seized almost the entire edition and had it destroyed.

In 1593 he published Idea: The Shepherd's Garland, 9 pastorals celebrating his own love-sorrows under the poetic name of Rowland. This was later expanded to a 64 sonnet cycle.<p>With the publication of The Legend of Piers Gaveston, Matilda and Mortimeriados, later enlarged and re-published, in 1603, under the title of The Barons' Wars. His career began to gather interest and attention.

In 1596, The Legend of Robert, Duke of Normandy, another historical poem was published, followed in 1597 by England's Heroical Epistles, a series of historical studies, in imitation of those of Ovid. Written in the heroic couplet, they contain some of his finest writing.

Like other poets of his era, Drayton wrote for the theatre; but unlike Shakespeare, Jonson, or Samuel Daniel, he invested little of his art in the genre. Between 1597 and 1602, Drayton was a member of the stable of playwrights who worked for Philip Henslowe. Henslowe's Diary links Drayton's name with 23 plays from that period, and, for all but one unfinished work, in collaboration with others such as Thomas Dekker, Anthony Munday, and Henry Chettle. Only one play has survived; Part 1 of Sir John Oldcastle, which Drayton wrote with Munday, Robert Wilson, and Richard Hathwaye but little of Drayton can be seen in its pages.

By this time, as a poet, Drayton was well received and admired at the Court of Elizabeth 1st. If he hoped to continue that admiration with the accession of James 1st he thought wrong.  In 1603, he addressed a poem of compliment to James I, but it was ridiculed, and his services rudely rejected.

In 1605 Drayton reprinted his most important works; the historical poems and the Idea. Also published was a fantastic satire called The Man in the Moon and, for the for the first time the famous Ballad of Agincourt.

Since 1598 he had worked on Poly-Olbion, a work to celebrate all the points of topographical or antiquarian interest in Great Britain. Eighteen books in total, the first were published in 1614 and the last in 1622.

In 1627 he published another of his miscellaneous volumes.  In it Drayton printed The Battle of Agincourt (an historical poem but not to be confused with his ballad on the same subject), The Miseries of Queen Margaret, and the acclaimed Nimphidia, the Court of Faery, as well as several other important pieces.

Drayton last published in 1630 with The Muses' Elizium.

Michael Drayton died in London on December 23rd, 1631.  He was buried in Westminster Abbey, in Poets' Corner.  A monument was placed there with memorial lines attributed to Ben Jonson.


In this compilation - 

01 - The Poetry of Michael Drayton - An Introduction
02 - The Ballad of Agincourt by Michael Drayton
03 - To The Virginian Voyage by Michael Drayton
04 - Woodstock. Rosamond to King Henry by Michael Drayton
05 - Glastonbury from Poly-Olbion by Michael Drayton
06 - Idea LIII - To The River Ancor by Michael Drayton
07 - To The Reader of These Sonnets by Michael Drayton 
08 - How Many Paltry Foolish Painted Things by Michael Drayton
09 - Sonnet XII - Whilst Taking My Pen by Michael Drayton
10 - Sonnet XIII - Letters and Lines by Michael Drayton
11 - Sonnet XIV by Michael Drayton
12 - Noah Threatening God's Vengeance Upon the World Sonnet XIX by Michael Drayton
13 - Sonnet XX - An Evil Spirit by Michael Drayton
14 - Sonnet XLIII by Michael Drayton
15 - Sonnet XLIV - Whilst Thus My Pen by Michael Drayton
16 - Sonnet XLVII - In Pride of Wit by Michael Drayton
17 - Sonnet L - As In Some Countries by Michael Drayton
18 - Sonnet LI - Calling To Mind Since My First My Love Begun by Michael Drayton
19 - Sonnet LVII - Best Discerned by Michael Drayton
20 - Sonnet LVIII - In Former Times by Michael Drayton
21 - Sonnet LXI - Since There's No Help by Michael Drayton
22 - Amour VII by Michael Drayton
23 - Amour XXX Three Sorts of Serpents Do Resemble Thee by Michael Drayton
24 - From England's Helicon by Michael Drayton
25 - To His Coy Love by Michael Drayton
26 - Idea - Sonnet III by Michael Drayton
27 - Sirena by Michael Drayton
28 - Idea's Mirror Sonnet XXXVII - Dear Why Should You Command Me To My Rest by Michael Drayton
29 - To My Most Dearly Loved Friend Henry Reynolds Equire of Poets and Poesie by Michael Drayton