1700 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Samuel Wesley, in Epistle Concerning Poetry (1700) 17-18.



Of matchless DRYDEN only Dryden's Skill
Could justly say enough, — of Good or Ill.
Envy must own he has our Tongue refin'd,
And manly Sense with tend'rest Softness join'd:
His Verse would Stones and Trees with Soul inspire,
As did the Theban and the Thracian Lyre:
His youthful Fire within, like Etna, glows,
Tho Venerable Age around his Temples snows:
If from the modern or the antient Store
He borrows ought, he always pays 'em more:
So much improv'd, each Thought, so fine appears,
WALLER or OVID scarce durst own 'em theirs.
The Learned Goth has scowr'd all Europe's Plains,
France, Spain, and fruitful Italy he drains,
From every Realm and every Language gains:
His Gains a Conquest are, and not a Theft;
He wishes still new Worlds of Wit were left.