1683 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir William Davenant

John Dryden, in William Soame, trans., Art of Poetry (1683) 8.



Spencer did next in Pastorals excel,
And taught the Noble Art of Writing well:
To stricter Rules the Stanza did restrain,
And found for Poetry a richer Veine.
Then D'Avenant came; who, with a new found Art,
Chang'd all, spoil'd all, and had his way apart:
His haughty Muse all others did despise,
And thought in Triumph to bear off the Prize,
Till the Sharp-sighted Critics of the times
In their Mock-Gondibert expos'd his Rhimes;
The Lawrels he pretended did refuse,
And dash'd the hopes of his aspiring Muse.
This head-strong Writer, falling from on high,
Made following Authors take less Liberty.
Waller came last, but was the first whose Art
Just Weight and Measure did to Verse impart.