1700 ca. ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Elizabeth Thomas

Charles Dryden to Elizabeth Thomas, 1700 ca.; Miscellania. In Two Volumes (1727) 1:1564-55.



Madam,
Notwithstanding I have been seized with a Fever ever since I saw you last, I have this Afternoon endeavoured to do my self the Honour of obeying my Lady Chudleigh's Commands. My Fever is still increasing, and I beg you to peruse the following Verses according to your own Sense and Discretion, which far surpasses mine in all Respects. In a small Time of Intermission from my Illness I wrote the following.

Madam,
How happy is our British Isle to bear
Such Crops of Wit and Beauty to the Fair?
A female Muse each vieing Age has blest;
And the last Phoenix still excels the rest:
But you, such solid Learning add to Rhymes,
Your Sense looks fatal to succeeding Times;
Which rais'd to such a Pitch, o'erflows like Nile,
And with an after Dearth must seize our Isle.
Alone of all your Sex, without the Rules,
Of formal Pedants, or the noisy Schools.
(What Nature has bestow'd will Art supply)
Have trac'd the various Tracts of dark Philosophy.
What happy Days had wise AURELIUS seen,
If for FAUSTINA, you hid Wife had been!
No jarring Nonsense had his Soul opprest;
For he, with all he wish'd for, had been blest.

Be pleased to tell me what you find amiss, or correct it yourself, and excuse this Trouble from,
Madam,
Your most humble and
most obedient Servant,
CHARLES DRYDEN.