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(this is the spelling of the 1st edn), the most ambitious work of Drayton. It was written between 1598 and 1622 and consists of thirty ‘Songs’ each of 300–500 lines, in hexameter couplets, in which the author endeavours to awaken his readers to the beauties and glories of their country.

During his travels he describes the principal topographical features of the country, interspersing in the appropriate places legends, fragments of history, catalogues of British saints and hermits, of great discoverers, of birds, fishes, and plants with their properties. The word ‘poly‐olbion’ (from the Greek) means ‘having many blessings’.

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries

Michael Drayton (1563—1631) poet