1682 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Richard Duke, "To the unknown Author of this admirable Poem" Dryden, Absalom and Achitophel (1682) sig. A3v.



I thought, forgive my Sin, the boasted fire
Of Poets Souls did long ago expire;
Of Folly or of Madness did accuse
The Wretch that thought himself possest with Muse;
Laugh'd at the God within, that did inspire
With more than humane thoughts the tuneful Quire;
But sure 'tis more than Fanfare, or the Dream
Of Rhimers slumbring by the Muses stream.
Some livelier Spark of Heav'n and more refin'd
From Earthly dross, fills the great Poet's Mind.
Witness these mighty and immortal Lines,
Through each of which th' informing Genius shines.
Scarce a diviner Flame inspir'd the King,
Of whom thy Muse does so sublimely sing.
Not David's self could in a nobler Verse
His gloriously offending Son rehearse,
Tho in his Breast the Prophet's Fury met
The Father's Fondness, and the Poet's wit.

Here all consent in Wonder and in Praise,
And to the Unknown Poet Altars raise.
Which thou must needs accept with equal joy,
As when Aeneas heard the Wars of Troy,
Wrapt up himself in darkness and unseen,
Extoll'd with Wonder by the Tyrian Queen.
Sure thou already art secure of Fame,
Nor want'st new Glories to exalt thy Name:
What Father else would have refus'd to own
So great a Son as God-like Absalon?
R. D.