Born to a family of Warwickshire gentry and reared as a page, Drayton was a poet whose career spanned both Elizabethan and Jacobean eras. Like Spenser (whom he admired greatly), he wrote in a variety of genres, according to the Vergilian pastoral-to-epic trajectory of the civic poet (he also wrote for the stage). Some of his most interesting poetry takes up historical subjects, often of a notorious exemplarity: His Heroicall Epistles (1597) are versified imaginary love letters of the amours of English monarchs, and his Barons Warres (1603) (first published as Mortimeradios in 1596) views the history of Edward II from the usurper's vantage point. Drayton's longest poem is the chorographical epic Poly-Olbion (1613, 1622, with annotations by the lawyer John Selden), in which Drayton attempts to provide a vocabulary of national identity in his description of the geographical features of Britain.
Elizabethan Sonnet Cycles: Idea: Fidesa and Chloris