1717 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

William Congreve, in Dramatick Works of John Dryden (1717); John Dryden: The Critical Heritage (1971) 264-65.



As his Reading had been very extensive, so was he very happy in a Memory tenacious of every thing that he had read. He was not more possess'd of Knowledge than he was Communicative of it. But then his Communication of it was by no means pedantick, or impos'd upon the Conversation; but just such, and went so far as by the natural Turns of the Discourse in which he was engag'd it was necessarily promoted or required. He was extream ready and gentle in his Correction of the Errors of any Writer, who thought fit to consult him; and full as ready and patient to admit of the Reprehension of others in respect of his own Oversight or Mistakes. He was of very easy, I may say of very pleasing Access: But something slow, and as it were diffident in his Advances to others. He had something in his Nature that abhorr'd Intrusion into any Society whatsoever. Indeed it is to be regretted, that he was rather blameable in the other Extream: For by that means, he was Personally less known, and consequently his Character might become liable both to Misapprehensions and Misrepresentations.