Extracts & Full Text

One the first, very basic problems in accessing Drayton’s Poly-Olbion is finding an accurate, affordable copy of the text.

The last scholarly edition of the poem, the Shakespeare Head Press five-volume set of his complete works begun by the American academic William Hebel and completed by Kathleen Tillotson (1931-41), has been out of print for many years and is prohibitively expensive. Cheaper print-on-demand versions are often of later, innaccurate or abridged copies: none contain the Hole maps. However, as part of our wider AHRC-funded Poly-Olbion project, an Exeter University team, led by Professor Andrew McRae, will be producing a new edition in 2018.  Interactive text from that project will be made available here over the next  couple of years.

Until then,  the best place to access the poem is the Early English Books Online (EEBO) website  which has made searchable transcriptions, without the maps or illustrations, of volumes one and two of Poly-Olbion, publically available, with no cost.

The full collection of Hole’s maps are also now available in our newly published 4-volume book, Albions Glorious Ile, which is available from the Flash of Splendour shop from 15 October 2015, and from online (Amazon link here), high-street and independent bookshops  from the beginning of November.

Read more about the Exeter University scholary edition

Read extracts from Poly-Olbion