1844 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

Samuel Rogers and Henry Sharpe, 1844; Clayden, Rogers and his Contemporaries (1889) 2:264.



I asked him what it was upon which Dryden's fame as a poet stood. He said upon his great command of language and the beauty of his versification. As he wrote a great deal, there were many faulty parts, but there were passages not to be equalled in any other author. "Men are but children of a larger growth," from one of his tragedies, was very happy. He quoted a stanza from Dryden's translation of the twenty-ninth ode of the first book of Horace, beginning "Happy the man and happy he alone," as excellent. If there had been no Dryden, there had been no Pope; Pope is full of lines copied from him. Fox was a great admirer of Dryden, and considered no expression could be correctly used in English composition which was not found in Dryden; you always found him with Dryden in his hand.