1782 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Abraham Cowley

Joseph Warton, in Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope (1782) 2:43-44.



It is painful to censure a writer of so amiable a mind, such integrity of manners, and such sweetness of temper. His fancy was brilliant, strong, and sprightly; but his taste false and unclassical, even though he had much learning. In his latin compositions, his six books on plants, where the subject might have led him to a contrary practice, he imitates Martial rather than Virgil, and has given us more Epigrams than Descriptions. I do not remember to have seen it enough observed, that Cowley had a most happy talent of imitating Horace's epistolary writings; I must therefore insert a specimen of this, his excellence.... His prose works give us the most amiable idea both of his abilities and his heart. His Pindaric odes cannot be perused with common patience by a lover of antiquity.