William Hole (?1588-1624)
Oxfordshyre; Buckinghamshyre; Barckshyre
Hand-coloured copper engraving.
From Michael Drayton,
Poly-Olbion, or a Chorographicall
Description of . . . Great Britain.
London: Lownes, Browne, Helme and Busbie, 1612
This map illustrates Song XV of Poly-Olbion, which describes the wedding of the rivers Isis, the “Cotswolds heire”, and the Tame, “old Chiltern’s son.” The preparations begin with an comic argument over wedding expenses between the Chiltern Hills and the Vale of Aylesbury, father and mother respectively of the bridegroom Tame. At Oxford, the Muses then greet the bride with a Prothalamion (nuptial song) and nymphs bedeck the couple with “English Field Flowers,” with Drayton listing their names and qualities in a tumbling litany of lost meadowland
and plantlore, continuing his discourse on the medicinal herbs of Arden in Song XIII.
The Cherwell River, wise for flowing beside the University, provides the entertainment for the wedding, a song in praise of rivers as a class opposed to hills, valleys, or forests. The
wedding eventually ends, and Thames, “got, borne, and bred, immediately doth flowe, / To Windsor-ward” (281-83).