1694 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

John Dennis, "To Mr. Dryden, upon his Translation of the Third Book of Virgil's Georgicks. Pindarick Ode" The Annual Miscellany for the Year 1694 (1694) 160-63.



1.
While mounting with expanded Wings
The Mantuan Swan unbounded Heav'n explores;
While with Seraphick Sounds he Towring Sings,
Till to Divinity he Soars:
Mankind stands wond'ring at his Flight,
Charm'd with his Musick, and his Height:
Which both transcend our Praise,
Nay Gods incline their ravish'd Ears,
And tune their own harmonious Spheres
To his Melodious Lays.
Thou, Dryden, canst his Notes recite
In modern Numbers, which express
Their Musick, and their utmost Might:
Thou, wondrous Poet, with Success
Canst emulate his Flight.

2.
Sometimes of humble Rural Things,
Thy Muse, which keeps great Maro still in Sight,
In middle Air with varied Numbers Sings;
And sometimes her sonorous Flight
To Heav'n sublimely Wings.
But first takes time with Majesty to rise,
Then, without Pride, Divinely Great,
She Mounts her Native Skyes;
And, Goddess-like, retains her State
When down again she flyes.
Commands, which Judgment gives, she still obeys,
Both to depress her Flight, and raise.
Thus Mercury from Heav'n descends,
And to this under World his Journey bends,
When Jove his dread Command has giv'n.
But, still, Descending, Dignity maintains,
As much a God upon our humble Plains,
As when he Tow'ring, re-ascends to Heav'n.

3.
But when thy Goddess takes her Flight,
With so much Majesty, to such a Height
As can alone suffize to prove,
That she descends from mighty Jove:
Gods! how thy Thoughts then rise, and soar, and shine!
Immortal Spirit animates each Line,
Each with bright Flame that Fires our Souls is Crown'd,
Each has magnificence of Sound,
And Harmony Divine.
Thus the first Orbs in their high Rounds,
With Shining Pomp advance;
And to their own Celestial Sounds
Majestically Dance,
On, with eternal Sympathy they rowl,
Each turn'd in its harmonious Course,
And each inform'd, by the prodigious Force
Of an Empyreal Soul.