1682 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Nathaniel Lee, "To the unknown Author of this excellent Poem" Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (1682) sig. A3.



Take it as Earnest of a Faith renew'd,
Your Theam is vast, your Verse divinely good:
Where, tho the Nine their beauteous stroaks repeat,
And the turn'd Lines on Golden Anvils beat,
It looks as if they strook 'em at a heat.
So all Serenely Great, so Just, refin'd,
Like Angels love to Humane Seed enclin'd,
It starts a Giant, and exalts the Kind.
'Tis Spirit seen, whose fiery Attoms roul,
So brightly fierce, each Syllable's a Soul.
'Tis minuture of Man, but he's all heart;
'Tis what the World would be, but wants the Art:
To whom ev'n the Phanaticks Altars raise,
Bow in their own despight, and grin your praise,
As if a Milton from the dead arose,
Fil'd off his Rust, and the right Party chose.
Nor, Sir, be shock'd at what the Gloomy say,
Turn not your feet too inward, nor too splay.
'Tis Gracious all, and Great: Push on your Theam,
Lean your griev'd head on David's Diadem.
David that rebel Israels envy mov'd,
David by God and all Good Men belov'd.

The beauties of your Absalom excel:
But more the Charms of Charming Annabel;
Chearful as Summer's Noon, and chast as Winter's Night.
Of Annabel the Muses dearest Theam,
Of Annabel the Angel of my dream.
Thus let a broken Eloquence attend,
And to your Master-piece these Shadows send.