1683 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Richard Flecknoe

John Dryden, in William Soame, trans., The Art of Poetry (1683) 6.



The dull Burlesque appear'd with impudence,
And pleas'd by Novelty, in Spite of Sence.
All, except trivial points, grew out of date;
Parnassus spoke the Cant of Belingsgate:
Boundless and Mad, disorder'd Rhyme was seen:
Disguis'd Apollo chang'd to Harlequin.
This Plague, which first in Country Towns began,
Cities and Kingdoms quickly over-ran;
The dullest Scriblers some Admirers found,
And the Mock-Tempest was a while renown'd:
But this low stuff the Town at last despis'd,
And scorn'd the Folly that they once had pris'd;
Distinguish'd Dull, from Natural and Plain,
And left the Villages to Fleckno's Reign.
Let not so mean a Stile your Muse debase;
But learn from Butler the Buffooning grace: