1694 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Cowley

Joseph Addison, in "Account of the Greatest English Poets" Miscellany Poems the Fourth Part (1694) 319-20.



Great Cowley then (a mighty Genius) wrote;
O'er-run with Wit, and lavish of his Thought:
His Turns too closely on the Reader press;
He more had pleas'd us, had he pleas'd us less.
One glitt'ring Thought no sooner strikes our Eyes
With silent wonder, but new wonders rise.
As in the Milky way a shining White,
O'er-flows the Heav'ns, with one continu'd Light;
That not a single Star can shew his Rays,
Whilst joyntly all promote the Common-Blaze.
Pardon, Great Poet, that I dare to name
Th' unnumber'd Beauties of thy Verse with blame;
Thy fault is only Wit in its Excess,
But Wit like thine in any shape will please.
What Muse but thine cou'd equal Hints inspire,
And fit the Deep-Mouth'd Pindar to thy Lyre:
Pindar, whom others in a Labour'd strain
And forc'd Expression, imitate in vain?
Well-pleas'd in thee he Soars with new delight,
And Plays in more unbounded Verse, and takes a nobler flight.