Nymphidia by Michael Drayton and Thomas Maybank

Nymphidia with subtitle The Court of Faery is an old mock-epic song written by Shakespear's contemporary and friend Michael Drayton(1562-1631) in 1627.

The very same poet is also credited as the man who coined the term nymphet.

If we stay at the title name for a bit, it's actually of a Greek origin, meaning 'bridal' (nymphe meaning bride), but later things changed, so nymphe started to being used for every young beautiful and even later as a maiden of kind of divine origin, so nymphidia changed meaning too (it can be translated as nymphet - little nymph).

Drayton's Nymphidia is a narrator of the story about Queen Man, King Oberon, Titania and other fairy people, among which most are known from Shakespeare's plays as well. Nymphidia has very mixed reviews as a literary work. For some time critics praised it as a masterpiece and the best of its genre in 17th century, but later it became 'just' an essential part of literary history and many contemporary readers openly hate it.

It looks the mocking tone didn't produce as much understanding among readers as the writer would like to achieve. But one thing is for sure. All eight drawings by Thomas Maybank (1869-1929) managed to catch the fairy atmosphere and we have a chance to admire his work in photogravure reproductions. In any case every fan of the fairies should at least take a look at presented illustrations!