1699 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

John Milton

Samuel Say to John Hughes, 11 January 1699; in John Duncombe, ed. Letters by Several Eminent Persons (1772; 1773) 1:23-24.



In the opinion of all posterity, a lewd and debauched Ovid did justly submit to the worth of a Virgil; and in future ages, a Dryden will never be compared to a Milton. In all times and in all places of the world, the moral poets have been ever the greatest, and as much superior to others in wit, as in virtue. Nor does this seem difficult to be accounted for, since the dignity of their subjects naturally raised their ideas, and gave a grandeur to their sentiments.