1669 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Edward Howard

John Denham, "To the honourable Edward Howard Esq. upon his Poem of the British Princes" in Howard, British Princes (1669) sig. a4-a5.



What mighty Gale hath rais'd a flight so strong?
So high above all vulgar eyes? so long?
One single rapture, scarce it self confines,
Within the limits, of four thousand lines,
And yet I hope to see this noble heat
Continue, till it makes the piece compleat,
That to the latter Age it may descend,
And to the end of time, its beams extend,
When Poesie, joyns profit, with delight,
Her Images, should be most exquisite,
Since man to that perfection cannot rise,
Of always vir'tous, fortunate, and wise:
Therefore, the patterns man should imitate,
Above the life our Masters should create.
Herein, if we consult with Greece, and Rome,
Greece (as in warre) by Rome was overcome,
Though mighty raptures, we in Homer find,
Yet like himself, his Characters were blind:
Virgil's sublimed eyes not only gaz'd,
But his sublimed thoughts to heaven were rais'd.
Who reads the Honors, which he paid the Gods
Would think he had behold their blest abodes.
And that his Hero, might accomplisht be,
From divine blood, he draws his Pedigree,
From that great Judge your Judgment takes its law,
And by the best Original, does draw
Bonduca's Honor, with those Heroes time
Had in oblivion wrapt, his sawcy crime,
To them and to your Nation you are just,
In raising up their glories from the dust,
And to Old England, you that right have doubt,
To shew, no story nobler, than her own.