The Wytham

Michael Drayton

“FROM Wytham, mine own town, first watered with my source,

As to the Eastern sea I hasten on my course,

Who sees so pleasant plains, or is of fairer seen,

Whose swains in shepherds’ gray, and girls in Lincoln green?

Whilst some the rings of bells, and some the bagpipes ply,   


Dance many a merry round, and many a hydegy.

I envy any brook should in my pleasure share,

Yet for my dainty pikes I am without compare.

No land floods can me force to over-proud a height;

Nor am I in my course too crooked or too streight:

My depths fall by descents, too long, nor yet too broad;

My fords with pebbles clear as orient pearls are strowed;

My gentle winding banks with sundry flowers are dressed,

The higher rising heaths hold distance with my breast.”

Thus to her proper song the burthen still she bare:

“Yet for my dainty pikes I am without compare.”


  By this to Lincoln come, upon whose lofty scite,

Whilst wistly Wytham looks with wonderful delight

Enamoured of the state and beauty of the place,

That her of all the rest especially doth grace,

Leaving her former course, in which she first set forth,

Which seemed to have been directly to the north,

She runs her silver front into the muddy fen,

Which lies into the east, in her deep journey, when

Clear Ban, a pretty brook, from Lindsey coming down,

Delicious Wytham leads to holy Botulph’s town,

Where proudly she puts in amongst the great resort,

That their appearance make in Neptune’s watery court.