1824 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

William Hazlitt, in Select British Poets (1824) in Works, ed. Howe (1932) 9:238.



DRYDEN stands nearly at the head of the second class of English poets, viz. the artificial, or those who describe the mixed modes of artificial life, and convey general precepts and abstract ideas. He had invention in the plan of his Satires, very little fancy, not much wit, no humour, immense strength of character, elegance, masterly ease, indignant contempt approaching to the sublime, not a particle of tenderness, but eloquent declamation, the perfection of uncorrupted English style, and of sounding, vehement, varied versification. The Alexander's Feast, his Fables and Satires, are his standard and lasting works.