1806 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

John Aikin, in Letters to a Young Lady (1806) 20.



The celebrated DRYDEN, a name scarcely second to any among the English poets, and the fertile author of compositions, many of which, from an unfortunate choice of topics, are from an unfortunate choice of topics, are almost sunk into oblivion, or are remembered chiefly by their titles. The seriousness of his temper, and strong party attachments, engaged him in political and religious controversy, and the necessities under which he laboured made him a venal trader in adulation. Hence he incurred a great waste of genius, and threw away upon temporary and unworthy topics, exertions which would have served to delight future ages.