1687 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Francis Beaumont

William Winstanley, in Lives of the Most Famous English Poets (1687) 128.



Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher. These two joyned together, made one of the happy Triumvirate (the other two being Johnson and Shakespear) of the chief Dramatick Poets of our Nation, in the last foregoing Age; among whom there might be said to be a symmetry of perfection, while each excelled in his peculiar way: Ben Johnson in his elaborate pains and knowledge of Authors, Shakespear in his pure vein of wit, and natural Poetick height; Fletcher in a Courtly Elegance and Gentile Familiarity of Style, and withal a Wit and Invention so overflowing, that the luxuriant Branches thereof were frequently thought convenient to be lopt off by Mr. Beaumont; which two joyned together, like Castor and Pollux, (most happy when in conjunction) raised the English to equal the Athenian and Roman Theaters; Beaumont bringing the Ballast of Judgement, Fletcher the Sail of Phantasie, but compounding a Poet to admiration.