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The Battaile of Agincourt   By: (1563-1631)

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[Transcriber's Note:

This e text comes in three different forms: unicode (UTF 8), Latin 1 and ASCII 7. Use the one that works best on your text reader.

If "oe" displays as a single character, and apostrophes and quotation marks are "curly" or angled, you have the utf 8 version (best). If any part of this paragraph displays as garbage, try changing your text reader's "character set" or "file encoding". If that doesn't work, proceed to: In the Latin 1 version, "oe" is two letters, but French words like "étude" have accents and "æ" is a single letter. Apostrophes and quotation marks will be straight ("typewriter" form). Again, if you see any garbage in this paragraph and can't get it to display properly, use: The ascii 7 or rock bottom version. All necessary text will still be there; it just won't be as pretty.

In the main text, stanza numbers were added by the transcriber to aid in cross references to the Notes. They are not present in the original. Stanzas 64 78 (pages 29 33) have labeled notes instead of the regular full stanza sidenotes. The identifying letters are unchanged; the notes are placed at the end of each stanza, instead of at the beginning like the sidenotes.

Errors and inconsistencies are listed at the end of the text, along with a few lines containing characters that may not display correctly on your text reader.]

[ The portrait of Michael Drayton given here as a frontispiece is from a picture, taken at the age of sixty five (three years before he died), in the Cartwright Collection at the Dulwich Gallery. The name of the painter is not known, but the picture is signed "An^o 1628." ]

[Illustration: Michael Drayton]


[Illustration: Publisher's Device]



Introduction vii Drayton's Dedication 3 Upon the Battaile of Agincourt, by I. Vaughan 5 Sonnet to Michael Drayton, By John Reynolds 7 The Vision of Ben Jonson on the Muses of his Friend M. Drayton 9 The Battaile of Agincourt 13 To my Frinds the Camber Britans and theyr Harp 93 Illustrative Notes 101


All civilized nations possessing a history which they contemplate with pride endeavour to present that history in an epic form. In their initial stages of culture the vehicles of expression are ballads like the constituents of the Spanish Romanceros and chronicles like Joinville's and Froissart's. With literary refinement comes the distinct literary purpose, and the poet appears who is also more or less of an artist. The number of Spanish and Portuguese national epics, from the Lusiad downwards, during the sixteenth and the first half of the seventeenth centuries, is astonishing; and it was impossible that English authorship, rapidly acquiring a perception of literary form under classical and foreign influences, should not be powerfully affected by the example of its neighbours.

A remarkable circumstance, nevertheless, while encouraging this epical impulse, deprived its most important creations of the external epical form. The age of awakened national self consciousness was also the age of drama. The greatest poetical genius of that or any age, and his associates, were playwrights first and poets afterwards. The torrent of inspiration rushed mainly to the stage. Hence the old experience was reversed, and whereas Æschylus described himself and his fellow dramatists as subsisting on scraps filched from the great banquet of Homer, our English epic poets could but follow humbly in the wake of the dramatists, the alchemy of whose genius had already turned the dross of ancient chronicles to gold... Continue reading book >>

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