1675 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Cowley

Edward Phillips, in Theatrum Poetarum (1675) 2:1-3.



Abraham Cowly, the most applauded Poet of our Nation both of the present and past Ages; his early Muse began to dawn at the Thirteenth Year of his Age, he being then a Scholar at Westminster School, in Two little Poems Antonius and Melida, and Pyramus and Thisbe; which discovering a Maturity of sence above the Years that writ them, were thought worthy to be then publisht, though not to be inserted into the now compleated Editions of his Works, divided into 4 parts, his Mistress being the amorous prolusions of his Youthful Muse, his Miscellanies or Poems of various Arguments, his most admir'd Heroick Poem Davideis, the first Books whereof he Compos'd, while but a young Student at Trinity Colledge in Cambridge; and lastly that is in order of time though not of place, his Pindaric Odes, so call'd, I suppose, from the measure in which he Translated the first Ithmian and Nemean Odes, whereas the form of those Odes in the Original is very different, and yet in Imitation of him, 'tis pleasant to observe what a notable Trade hath been driven of late in Pindaric Odes: Besides these Poems of his in English, there is Extant of his writing in a Volume by it self a Latin Poem of Herbs and Plants; also he hath Translated Two Books of his Davideis into Latin Verse, which are in the large Volume among the rest of his Works.