1756 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Michael Drayton

Joseph Warton, in Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (1756; 1782) 1:374-75.



The ancients constantly availed themselves of the mention of particular mountains, rivers, and other objects of nature; and indeed almost confine themselves to the tales and traditions of their respective countries: whereas we have been strangely neglectful in celebrating our own SEVERN, THAMES, or MALVERN, and have therefore fallen into trite repetitions of classical images, as well as classical names. Our muses have seldom been

—playing on the steep
Where our old bards, the famous Druids lie,
Nor on the shaggy top of Mona high,
Nor yet where Deva spreads her wisard stream.
Lycidas, Ver. 55.

Milton, we see, was sensible of the force of such imagery, as we may gather from this short, but exquisite passage; and so were Drayton and Spenser.