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admire, but little to approve. Still-however it is the work of Cowley, of a mindi capaciouş by nature, and replenished by study,
In the general: review. of Cowley's poetry it will be found, that he wrote. with abundant fertility, but negligent or. unskilful selection; with much thought, but with little imagery; that he is never. pathetick, and rarely sublime, but alwayseither ingenious or learned, either acute or profound, It is said by. Denham in his elegy, .
To him no author was unknown; is
Yet what he wřit was all his own. This wide position requires less limitation, when it is affirmed of Cowley than perhaps - of any other poet
He read' much, and yet borrowed little.. . ;
His character of writing was indeed not his own : he unhappily adopted that which was predominant. He saw a certain way to present praise, and not
fufficiently enquiring by what means the ancients have continued to delight through all the changes of human manners, he contented himself with a deciduous. laurel, of which the verdure in its spring was bright and gay, but which time has been continually stealing from his brows. . .
He was in his own time considered aş of unrivalled excellence. Clarendon represents him as having taken a flight beyond all that went before him; and
Milton is said to have declared, that the three greatest English poets were Spenser, Shakespeare, and Cowley. · His manner 'he had in common with others; but his sentiments were his own. Upon every subject he thought for himself; and such was his copiousness of knowledge, that something at once remote and applicable rushed into his mind; yet it is not likely that he always rejected a commodious idea merely because another had used it: his known wealth was. fo great, that he might have borrowed without loss of credit.
In his elegy on Sir Henry Wotton, the last lines have such resemblance to the noble epigrain of Grotius upon the death of Scaliger, that I cannot but think them copied from it, though they are copied by no fervile hand.
One paffage in his Mistress is so apparently borrowed from Donne, that he probably would not have written it, 'had it not mingled with his own thoughts, fo as that he did not perceive himself taking it from another. Altho’I think thou never found wilt be, Yēt I'm refoly'd to search for thee;
The search itself rewards the pains. So, tho' the chymic his great secret miss, (For neither it in Art nor Nature is) Yet things well worth his toil he gains:
And does his charge and labour pay With good unfought experiments by the way.
Some that have deeper digg'd Love's
mine than 1, Say, where his centric happiness doth
lie: I have lov'd, and got, and told; ... But should I love, get, tell, till I were
old, I should not find that hidden mystery ;*
Oh, 'tis imposture all :
But glorifies his pregnant pot,
If by the way to him befal Some odoriferous thing, or medicinal, So, lovers dream a rich and long delight, But get a winter-seeming summer's night,