1687 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Cowley

William Winstanley, Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687) 182-83.



This Gentleman was one, who may well be stil'd the glory of our Nation, both of the present and past ages, whose early Muse began to dawn at the Thirteenth year of his age, being then a Scholar at Westminster-School, which produc'd two little Poems, the one called Antonius and Melida, the other Pyramus and Thisbe; discovering in them a maturity of Sence far above the years that writ them; shewing by these his early Fruits, what in time his stock of worth would come to. And indeed Fame was not deceived in him of its Expectation, he having built a lasting Monument of his worth to posterity, in that compleat Volume of his Works, divided into four parts: His Mistress, being the amorous Prolusions of his youthful Muse; his Miscellanies, or Poems of various arguments; his most admired 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 from the Measure, in which he translated the first Ithmian and Nemean Odes, where as the form of those Odes in the Original is very different, yet so well were they approved by succeeding Authors, that our primest Wits have hitherto driven a notable Trade in Pindaric Odes. But besides these his English Poems, there is extant of his writing a Latine Volume by it self, containing a Poem of Herbs and Plants: Also he Translated two Books of his Davideis into Latine Verse, which is in the large Volume amongst the rest of his Works.