Michael Drayton



The Works of Michael Drayton, ed. J. William Hebel, Kathleen Tillotson, and Bernard H. Newdigate, 5 vols (Oxford, 1931-41; reprinted, with a new bibliography in Vol. V by B. Juel-Jensen, 1961).


Autograph Manuscripts

None of Drayton's poems is known to survive in an autograph manuscript and there are only a few extant specimens of his handwriting. The most notable is a single known autograph letter by him, sent to William Drummond in 1620 (*DrM 76). Other examples appear in inscribed exempla of printed works by him DrM 73-75) and yet others (DrM 77-80) in legal documents and in the so-called ‘Diary’ of Philip Henslowe at Dulwich College, or in the scattered slips of paper excised from it by John Payne Collier. What purports to be yet another autograph manuscript of Drayton is the inscription ‘Mi Drayton 1613’ on the verso of the title leaf of an exemplum of Spenser's The Faerie Queene (London, 1611-13), sold at Christie's in June 1980 (Arthur A. Houghton, Jr sale) lot 459, to Quaritch. As is stated in the sale catalogue, this inscription may well have been another of the forgeries of Collier, who once owned the volume.


Drayton's name is cited (but without his signature) in two legal documents. He was a witness to the will of the elder Sir Henry Goodyer (National Archives. Kew, PROB 10/158, proved May 1595), and he was one of the parties in a licence of alienation, of 1 November 1628, concerning land at Polesworth, Warton, and elsewhere (Birmingham Reference Library, No. 597244). For yet other notable documents relating to Drayton, see Bernard Capp, ‘The Poet and the Bawdy Court: Michael Drayton and the Lodging-House World in Early Stuart London’, Seventeenth Century, 11 (Spring 1995), 27-37.

The Canon

The canon accepted in the Index is based on Hebel. The only addition is the lyric If the deep signs of an afflicted breast (DrM 38-39), which is attributed to Drayton by several editors.

A number of printed exempla of works by Drayton contain minor manuscript corrections, some probably made by the printer. These are collated in Hebel and have not been given separate entries here.

Peter Beal