1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

William Hayley, in Essay on Epic Poetry (1782) 65-66.



Of humbler mien, but not of mortal race,
Ill-fated DRYDEN, with Imperial grace,
Gives to th' obedient lyre his rapid laws;
Tones yet unheard, with touch divine, he draws,
The melting fall, the rising swell sublime,
And all the magic of melodious rhyme.
See with proud joy Imagination spread
A wreath of honor round his aged head!
But two base Spectres, tho' of different hue,
The Bard unhappy in his march pursue;
Two vile disgraceful Fiends, of race accurst,
Conceiv'd by Spleen, by meagre Famine nurst,
Malignant Satire, mercenary Praise,
Shed their dark spots on his immortal bays.