1687 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Oldham

William Winstanley, Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687) 212-13.



Mr. John Oldham, the delight of the Muses, and glory of those last Times; a Man utterly unknown to me but only by Works, which none can read but with Wonder and Admiration; So Pithy his Strains, so Sententious his Expressions, so Elegant his Oratory, so Swimming his Language, so Smooth his Lines, in Translating out-doing the Original, and in Invention matchless; whose praise my rude Pen is not able to Comprehend: Take therefore a small Draught of his Perfections in a Funeral Elegy, made by the Laureat of our Nation, Mr. John Dryden.

Farewell, too little and too lately known,
Whom I began to think and call my own;
For sure our Souls were near ally'd; and thine
Cast in the same Poetick Mould with mine (etc.)

This wittily learned Gentleman was of Edmund-Hall in Oxford, and dyed in the Earl of Kingston's Family in the prime of his Years; whose life had it been lengthened, might have produced as large a Volume of learned Works, as any this latter Age have brought forth.