1720 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Congreve

Giles Jacob, in Historical Account of the Lives and Writings of our most considerable English Poets (1720) 248-50.



The ingenious Mr. Congreve, besides his excellent Dramatick Works, has oblig'd the Publick with the following Poems and Translations.

I. An Epistle to the Right Honourable Charles Lord Halifax, &c. In this Poem the Author has these Verses to his Lordship:

O had your Genius been to Leisure born,
And not more bound to Aid us, than Adorn!
Albion in Verse with antient Greece had vy'd,
And gain'd alone a Fame, which, there, seven States divide.

II. The Mourning-Muse of Alexis. A Pastoral; lamenting the Death of Queen Mary. This Piece concludes with these admirable Lines:

See where Pastora lies it spreads around,
Showing all radiant bright the sacred Ground;
While from her Tomb, behold a Flame ascends
Of whitest Fire, whose Flight to Heav'n extends!
On flaky Wings it mounts, and quick as Sight
Cuts thro' the yielding Air, with Rays of Light.
'Till the blue Firmament at last it gains,
And, fixing there, a glorious Star remains:
Fairest it shines of all that light the Skies,
As once on Earth were seen PASTORA'S Eyes.

III. To the King, on the taking of Namur. IV. A Pindarique Ode on the Victories of the Duke of Marlborough, humbly offer'd to Queen Anne. This is an excellent Piece, and the Author's Discourse on Pindarique Ode, shews him to be perfectly accomplish'd in this way of writing. V. To the Right Honourable the Earl of Godolphin, Lord High Treasurer of Great Britain. Pindarique Ode. VI. The Tears of Amaryllis for Amyntas. A Pastoral on the Death of the Marquiss of Blandford. VII. The Birth of the Muse. To the Lord Halifax. This is an excellent Poem. VIII. Of Pleasing; an Epistle to Sir Richard Temple.

IX. To Sir Godfrey Kneller, occasion'd by L—y—s Picture. He has this Couplet in compliment to Sir Godfrey:

Thy lively Pictures, when once brought to view,
As once they're known, and seem to know us too.

X. To Mr. Dryden, on his Translation of Persius. XI. To Sleep. Elegy. XII. Epitaph upon Robert Huntington, Esq; and Robert his Son. XIII. To Cynthia, weeping. XIV. To a Candle. This is a Simile relating to Man's Life, &c. XV. Amoret. XVI. Doris. This Piece contains a fine Character of a Libertine Lady of Quality. XVII. On Mrs. Arabella Hunt, Singing. XVIII. A Hymn to Harmony. XIX. The Reconciliation. XX. Priam's Lamentation and Petition to Achilles for the Body of his Son Hector. XXI. Homer's Hymn to Venus. Translated into English Verse. This esteem'd is a very just and excellent Translation. XXII. An Imitation of Horace, Ode 9, &c. XXIII. The eleventh Satire of Juvenal. XXIV. Ovid's third Book of the Art of Love, Translated into English Verse. With several other small Pieces publish'd in the third Volume of his Works. Ovid (Publius Ovidius Naso) was born at Sulmo, about twenty Miles distant from Rome, in the second Year of the 184th Olympiad, one and forty Years before Christ. He spent his Youth in the Studies of the Law, and coming to Rome, he was once in great Favour with Augustus; but for some Freedom with his Daughter Julia, he banish'd him to Pontus, at fifty Years of Age; where, after eight Years and some Months, he died. He was a Poet of excelling Wit, and great Learning, and in his Works appears great Sweetness.