1712 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Cowley

Bezaleel Morrice, in Essay on the Poets (1712) 21-23.



Regard the solitary Cowley claims;
Who often, nor successless, nobly aims:
But, as the Greyhound's free and active Force
Gives mod'rate Pastime in the speedy Course;
And what in little Time and Space is done,
Is finish'd allmost when and where begun,
Whereas the Beagle (that in slower Pace
With Scent and Cry pursues the distant Chace)
By much-extending both the Time and Bounds,
Thro' various pleasing Scenes, with chearful Sounds,
O'er Mountains and thro' echoing Vales and Fields
Conveying — choicer Recreation yields;
So Cowley do's too hasty Vigour use,
And Fancy's, Game too rapidly pursues:
His eager Starts baffle the Mind's Desire,
And the more settled Expectation tire:
Nay, to be just, tho' seemingly severe,
Sometimes Propriety is wanting — here;
And whilst his roving Thoughts in Mazes fly;
Now too remote, now as obscurely high,
Low and ill-manag'd his Expressions lye:
With Him, most Poets of the former Age,
Highly indulgent to their Fancies Rage,
In Words, and Numbers too remiss appear;
And whilst they sooth the Mind, disgust the Ear.