1682 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Thomas Shadwell, in The Tory Poets (1682) 2-3.



The first they do Petition's Mr. Bays,
So much extoll'd by Fools and vulgar Praise;
By lewd lascivious Verses, bawdy Rhymes,
Dubb'd the sweet singing Poet of the times;
He the black Paths of Sin had travell'd o're
And found out Vices all unknown before,
To sins once hid in shades of gloomy Night,
He gave new Lustre and reduc'd to Light.
His Muse was prostitute upon the Stage,
And's Wife was Prostitute to all the age:
The Wife is Rich although the Husband Poor,
And he not honest, and she is a Whore,
An ill, deformed, senceless earthly load,
And he the Monster of the Muses road;
His shapeless Body hangs an hundred ways
The Poet looks just like a heap of Plays;
You shall not find through all the buzzing Town
So Ungentile, Unmannerly a Clown:
Though ugly, yet he vents a pleasing strain
For Nature never made a thing in vain.
If not for Priest, for States-man he may do
Bless us! are Poets Polititians too?
Or are the Muses mad and in their Heat
Send out their Poets Officers of State?
Or are the Lawyers Drunk and think it fit
That reason yeild to that lewd thing, a Wit?
But private factious Plotters never heed
If their designs go on, who do the deed:
So engine Bays, the Tory-Plot to save
He first turns Fool, and then commences Knave.