1789 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Samuel Butler

Elizabeth Hands, "Critical Fragments on some of the Engish Poets" Hands, The Death of Amnon. A Poem (1789) 126-27.



MILTON, in pond'rous verse, moves greatly on,
Wielding his massy theme; with wond'rous strength
He labours forward.

SHAKESPEAR gently glides,
And, like a polish'd mirror, as he passes
Reflects all nature.

YOUNG, in thought profound,
Muses, contemplates, sees, and feels the woes
That clog his soul; yet with aspiring wing
Behold him 'rise majestically slow,
And like an eagle soar, and soar aloft:

But SWIFT delights as much to rout
I' th' dirt, and then to throw't about.

POPE sings a soft and sweet harmonious lay,
So mellow flutes in pleasant concert play.

MATT. PRIOR, like an easy horse,
Keeps ambling on, ne'er out of course:

But trotting BUTLER beats him hollow,
He leads a way that none can follow;
He dashes on through thick and thin,
Nor for the criticks cares a pin;
From censure he's receiv'd acquittal,
And grammar, metre, rhyme submit all.