1680 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Earl of Rochester, in "An Allusion to Horace" Poems on Several Occasions (1680) 43.



D—, in vain try'd this nice way of wit,
For he to be a tearing Blade, thought fit,
But when he wou'd be sharp; he still was blunt,
To frisk his frollique fancy, he'd cry C—t,
Wou'd give the Ladies, a dry Bawdy bob,
And thus got the name of Poet Squab.
But to be just, 'twill to his praise be found,
His Excellencies more than faults abound,
Nor dare I from his sacred Temples tear,
That Lawrel, which he best deserves to wear,
But does not D—, find ev'n Johnson dull?
Fletcher and Beaumont, uncorrect, and full,
Of lewd Lines, as he calls 'em? Shake-spears stile
Stiff and affected; to his own the while,
Allowing all the justness that his Pride,
So Arrogantly had to these deny'd?
And may not I, have leave impartially,
To search, and censure D—, Works, and try,
If those gross faults, his choice Pen does commit,
Proceed from want of Judgment, or of Wit?
Or of his lumpish fancy, does refuse,
Spirit and Grace, to his loose slattern Muse?
Five hundred Verses, ev'ry Morning writ,
Proves you no more a Poet, than a Wit.