1700 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Sir John Denham

Samuel Cobb, in Poetae Britannici (1700) 16-17.



But now my hasty Muse converts her Eye,
To see where Denham and Roscommon fly,
Cautiously daring, and correctly High.
Both chief in Honour, and in Learning's Grace,
Of ancient Spirit, and of ancient Race.
Who, when withdrawn from business and affairs,
Their Minds unloaded of tormenting cares,
With thoughts of Verse deceiv'd the sliding time,
And unrewarded sung in Noble Rhyme.
Not like those venal Bards, who write for Pence,
Above the Vulgar were their Names and Sense:
The Critick judges while the Muse indites,
And Rules for Dryden, like a Dryden Writes.
'Tis true their Lamps were of the smallest size,
But like the Stoick's of prodigious Price.
Roscommon's Rules shall o'er our Isle be read,
Nor dye, till Poetry it self be Dead.
Fam'd Cooper's Hill, shall like Parnassus stand,
And Denham reign, the Phoebus of the Land.
As long as Silver Thames shall flow, and joyn,
His blended Waters with the foamy Brine:
While his pure stream is so divinely Sung,
Be Thou, Great Poet, Father of our Tongue.