1694 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Nathaniel Lee

John Dryden to John Dennis, 1694; in Letters, ed. Ward (1942) 72.



I remember poor Nat. Lee, who was then upon the Verge of Madness, yet made a Sober, and a Witty Answer to a Bad Poet, who told him, "It was an easie thing to write like a Madman: No, said he, 'tis very difficult to write like a Madman, but 'tis a very easie matter to write like a fool." Otway and He are safe by death from all Attacks, but we poor Poets Militant (to use Mr. Cowley's Expression) are at the Mercy of Wretched Scribblers: And when they cannot fasten upon our Verses, they fall upon our Morals, our Principles of State and Religion.