1706 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Dryden

P. C., "On the great Preparations for the Funeral of Mr. Dryden" Diverting Post (February 1706) 6.



Of Living Wits, all Nations else are fond,
And like Augustus, proud to correspond;
And as the Greatness of their Souls they find,
They strive to raise their Fortunes to their Mind.
So the fam'd Dame, that o'er the Waves does ride,
And laughs at all the Insults of the Tide,
Gave a young Author for his first Essay
Enough to keep him his Life's longest Day:
His Country's Fame in Recompense he sung,
And Venice now's immortal by his Tongue.
But wiser we (who all such Precepts scorn,
And act without the Prospect of Return)
Let starve the Poet, and caress his Urn.
To a Dead Author wonderfully kind,
But rank the Living with the Lame and Blind:
Like David while the Infant liv'd we weep,
Sack-cloth and Pray'rs, and solemn Fasts we keep.

But when the joyful News is, he is Dead,
We feast the Body, and adorn the Head;
With Songs and Dances follow to the Grave,
Whom just before we branded for a Slave:
So Rome the great Ventidius once decried,
Rail'd at him while he liv'd, Entomb'd him when he Died.