1693 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Congreve

Bevil Higgons, "To Mr. Congreve, on his Play, called The Old Batchelour" Congreve, The Old Batchelour (1693) sigs A4v-a.



Wit, like true Gold, refin'd from all Allay,
Immortal is, and never can decay:
'Tis in all Times and Languages the same;
Nor can an ill Translation quench the Flame:
For, tho' the Form and Fashion don't remain,
Th' intrinsick value still it will retain.
Then let each studied Scene be writ with Art;
And Judgment sweat to form the labour'd Part:
Each Character be just, and Nature seem;
Without th' Ingredient, Wit, 'tis all but Phlegm:
For that's the Soul, which all the Mass must move,
And wake our Passions into Grief, or Love.
But you, too Bounteous, sow your Wit so thick,
We are surpriz'd, and know not where to pick:
And while our Clapping does you Justice do,
Our selves we injure, and lose something new.
What may'nt we then, great Youth, of thee presage,
Whose Art and Wit so much transcend the Age?
How wilt thou shine at thy Meridian height?
Who, at thy rising, give so vast a Light.
When DRYDEN dying, shall the World deceive,
Whom we Immortal, as his Works, believe;
Thou shalt succeed, the Glory of the Stage,
Adorn and entertain the coming Age.