1638 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Davenant

Thomas Carew, "To Will. Davenant my Friend" Davenant, Madagascar and other Poems (1638) sig. A6v-A7.



When I behold, by warrant from thy Pen,
A Prince rigging our Fleets, arming our Men,
Conducing to remotest shores our force
(Without a Dido to retard his course)
And thence repelling in successe-full fight,
Th' ursurping Foe (whose strength was all his Right)
By two brave Heroes, (whom wee justly may
By Homer's Ajax or Achilles lay,)
I doubt the Author of the Tale of Troy,
With him, that makes his Fugitive enjoy
The Carthage Queene, and thinke thy Poem may
Impose upon Posteritie, as they
Have done on us: What though Romances lye
Thus blended with more faithfull Historie?
Wee, of th' adult'rate mixture not complaine,
But thence more Characters of Vertue gaine;
More pregnant Patterns, of transcendent Worth,
Than barren and insipid Truth brings forth:
So, oft the Bastard nobler fortune meets,
Than the dull Issue of the lawfull sheets.