In Song 4, Drayton's second major treatment of bards describes the institution as it existed in Wales (171-90).
Bards are held up as the best illustration of the Britons' ability to survive the upheavals of Roman and Saxon marauders.
And yet the poet deflates these three encomia to the bards by following each one of them with a reminder that the notion of an uncorrupted bardie historical tradition was quite suspicious.
Two important factors in Drayton's pondering of this question were Taliesin and Merlin; Drayton shows himself quite interested in the two - or, more properly, three - bards.
For sixteenth-century monumental historians such as John Bale, John Leland, David Powel, Humphrey Lhuyd, and Thomas Churchyard,(18) these three bards presented an opportunity; named as poet/prophets, they could be reconceptualized into historians.
After reminding us of Caesar's statement about the druids and Greek letters, Price asserts that "Brytannis longe ante Caesaris tempora non desuerit literarum subsidium," and puts forward druids and bards as the purveyors of British history.