1738 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Thomas Shadwell

Anonymous, in "The Apotheosis of Milton" Gentleman's Magazine 8 (May 1738) 235.



That venerable Personage, said he, who has now taken his Seat, is the Immortal Dryden: If you were near enough to view him more narrowly, you might perceive in his Eye a noble Indignation, mixed with a deep Concern, and on his Brow a generous Disdain of an ungrateful— Here my Conductor was interrupted by an Indignant Murmur, which run through the whole Company, who turned their Eyes towards the Door. Soon I perceiv'd a bloated Figure enter, who seemed rather to be fit for a Midnight Revel, than to be a Member of that august Body. He used a thousand ridiculous Gestures, sometimes he affected a polite, easy Air, sometimes he appeared to aim at the French Grimace; but all was forced, unnatural, and, ungraceful, soon he relapsed into his Bacchanalian Fits, and it appeared, that the nauseous Part cost him nothing: He wore on his Brow a Branch of withered ivy, bound up in form of a Garland, which seemed to be pulled down from the Door of an Alehouse: When he came up to take his Seat, all the Assembly looked at him with a contemptuous Eye, especially when, with an Air of Triumph, he seated himself opposite to Dryden. That Person so unlike the other awful Form, said my Guide, is Shadwell; he has a Seat here by the Indulgence of a Tasteless Court, who bestowed on him the Laurel in prejudice of the Great Dryden.