1757 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Cowley

Richard Hurd, in Letter to Mr. Mason on the Marks of Imitation (1757) 29.



The natural unaffected turn of Mr. Cowley's manner, and the tender sensibility of his mind, are equally seen and loved in his prose-works, and in such of his poems as were written after a good model, or came from the heart. A clear sparkling fancy, softened with a shade of melancholly, made him, perhaps, of all our poets the most capable of excelling in the elegiac way, or of touching us in any way where a vein of easy language and moral sentiment is required. Who but laments then to see this fine genius perverted by the prevailing pedantry of his age, and carried away, against the bias of his nature, to an emulation of the rapturous, high-spirited Pindar?