1769 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edmund Waller

James Granger, in Biographical History of England (1769; 1824) 3:125, 4:35.



Edmund Waller, sometimes styled "the English Tibullus," excelled all his predecessors, in harmonious versification. His love verses have all the tenderness and politeness of the Roman poet; and his panegryic on Cromwell has been ever esteemed a masterpiece in its kind. His vein is never redundant, like that of Cowley; we frequently wish he had said more, but never that he had said less. His personal qualities were as amiable as poetical, and he was equally formed to please the witty and the fair. He not only retained all his faculties, but retained much of his youthful vivacity at eighty years of age. Ob. 21 October, 1687.

EDMUND WALLER, in his famous Panegyric on Cromwell, has exceeded himself almost as much as the Protector did other men. His genteel reply to Charles II. in regard to his poem, is well known. It is also well known that the conquests of Charles were of a very different kind from those of Cromwell, and that they would have made a much worse figure in verse.