1700 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

William Congreve

Samuel Wesley, in Epistle Concerning Poetry (1700) 19.



CONGREVE from Ireland wond'ring we receive,
Would he the Town's loose way of Writing leave,
More Worth than all their Forfeit Lands will give:
Justness of Thought, a Courtly Style, and clear,
And well-wrought Passions in his Works appear:
None knows with finer Strokes our Souls to move,
And as he please we smile, or weep, or love.
When Dryden goes, 'tis he must fill the Chair,
With Congreve only Congreve can compare.
Yet, tho he natural is as untaught Loves,
His Style as smooth as Cytherea's Doves,
When e'er unbyass'd Judges read him o'er,
He sometimes nodds, as Homer did before:
Some Lines his most Admirers scarce would please,
Nor Blackmore's Verse alone could raise Disease.