1712 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Cowley

Leonard Welsted, in Remarks on Longinus (1712) 170-71.



I think, I have heard it observ'd by You and Others, that Mr. Cowley delights in Turns of Nature. That great Poet had so luxuriant a Fancy, that I can compare him to nothing more properly than a too rich Soil, which breeds Flowers and Weeds promiscuously, and exerts it self with so great an Exuberance, that at length it becomes Barren thro' its Fertility: His Beauties crowd so thick one upon another, that they lose distinction: You there see Order it self in Anarchy: I am oppress'd with an Infinity of Sweets, and pleas'd against my Inclination. To say no more, what the fair Sex so generally approve, we ought in good Manners to admire. If Mr. Cowley falls short of Milton in the Sublime, he exceeds him in the Number of his Conceits: If he is not so strong, so just, so musical, as Dryden, he has greater Opulence and Variety.