Abraham Cowley

Richard Cattermole, in Sacred Poetry of the Seventeenth Century (1836) 2:290.

COWLEY is commonly cited as having carried to their highest point the peculiarities of that class of poets — disciples of the school of Petrarch — who sought to be remarkable rather for refinement than good sense, and made the expression of natural feeling secondary to the sparkling of elaborate wit, and the windings of perplexed ingenuity. His native powers were, notwithstanding, such as to afford his works a fair chance of regaining, from time to time, among the fluctuations of the public taste, considerable share of their great original popularity. If, as has been asserted, Cowley's genius was "a meteor," it at least shone with an intense light; nor will its reflection wholly pass away from the poetical heavens. He had a vivid imagination, a clear intellect, and a rich command of language. His prose essays are, perhaps, the most valuable of what he gave to the world and the least esteemed are his dramas. Cowley was distinguished by a love of virtue; and a disposition to those retired and meditative habits which are favourable to piety and the acquisition of truth, appears conspicuous its his writings.