1700 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir Richard Blackmore

Samuel Wesley, in Epistle Concerning Poetry (1700) 20.



Ev'n Envy B—re's Subject must confess
Exact and rare, a curious Happiness,
Nor many could the Fable better dress:
Of Words what Compass, and how vast a Store!
His Courage and his Vertue's only more:
More various Scenes of Death his Fights display
Then Aghrim's Field or Landen's fatal Day:
Let beauteous Elda's Tears and Passion prove
His Soul is not unknowing how to love:
Disrob'd of Clouds he view'd the Stagyrite
As Nature he, confess'd to Human sight:
His Rules surveys, and traces to their Springs,
Where the blind Bard of flaming Ilium sings;
Thence with the Mantuan Swan in narrower Rings,
Tho more exact, he, stooping from his height,
Reviews the same fierce Wars, and Gods and Heroes fight:
That beauteous antient Palace he surveys
Which Maro's Hands had only Strength to raise,
Models from thence, and copies every Grace:
Each Page is big with Virgil's Manly Thought,
To follow him too near's a glorious Fault.
He dar'd be virtuous in the World's Despite,
While Dryden lives he dar'd a Modest Poem write.