1700 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Cobb

W. Worts, "To my Friend, on his Characters of the English Poets" Cobb, Poetae Britannici (1700) sig. Av.



At last our English Tongue is happy made,
And our Wit's grown industrious as our Trade;
The Rev'rent Prophet now with joy may see,
The utmost of his wish fulfill'd in Thee,
All Foreign Wit in English dress display'd,
Without the help of any Foreign Aid:
Whatever Ancient Greece or Rome could Boast,
Is now Transported to the British Coast:
Now all their bright perfections scatter'd shine
In ev'ry Poem, but Unite in Thine;
So the Sun yields a double Heat and Light,
When in a Glass his scatter'd Beams Unite:

Maeon's Great Son, no longer shall confine,
To his fam'd Verse the force of Heat Divine:
Our Godlike Milton has as Nobly Wrote,
He Sings as boldly as his Angels fought!
Judicious Dryden, may with Virgil claim,
Of just, yet daring flights, the prudent Fame:
Waller in Verse as Tender as his Love,
Like soft Catullus, does our passions move:
To Horace and to Cowly does belong,
The Boundless Fancy of the Lyrick Song;
Bion and Congreve, shall in Mournful Swains,
Lament Untimely Fate to Weeping strains:
Brave Cutar, like Tyrtaeus, shall Engage
The Heroe's Courage, and the Poets Rage.
Oldham and Juvenal in keenest Rhimes,
Shall lash the Follies of Degenerate Times.

Whither does Fancy hurry me along?
To you (my Friend) this Province does belong.
Your copious Wit can only Theirs express,
For only Yours can Suit an equal dress.
Your flowing Numbers can above dispense,
The warmest Fancy with the coolest sense.
Your heat of Youth can Tow'r a Milton's flight,
And Judgment can like Virgil steer it Right.
Oh may some Genius like your self arise,
Whose Wit and Learning may the World Surprise!
As you have giv'n each Tuneful Bard his due,
May he confer the same Reward on you.