« PreviousContinue »
Éxcutere nudos hæc ad ufque furfures,
in filiam mare.
Mr.Sellen in his preface to Drayton's Polyollion. See
Glof. to Ur. in Dulcarnon.
Sir John Denham on Mr. Abrah. Cowley, in bis Works, printed 1709, p.
Milton in his poem entituled Il Penferofo.
Dr. Sprat (iate Bishop of Rochester ) in bis Hilory of the
Royal Society, printed 1668, p. 41, 42. The truth is, it (the English language) has been hitherto too carelesly handled, and I think has had less labour spent about its polishing than it deserves : till the time of King Henry the Eighth there was scarce any man regarded it but Chaucer, and nothing was written in it which one would be willing to read twice but some of his poetry; but then it began to raise itself a little, and to found tolerably well.
Dr. Skinner in the preface to his Etymologicon Lingua An
glicanæ, P.S. CHAUCERUS poeta, pessimo exemplo, integris vocum plauftris ex eadem sallia in noftrani linguam invectis, eam, nimis antea à Normannorum victoria adulteratam, omni fere nativa gratia & nitore spoliavit, pro genuinus coloribus fucum illinens, pro vera facie larvam induens.
Sir Richard Baker in the History of England, printed 1684,
p. 134. Sur Geoffry Chaucher,the Homer of our nation, found as sweet a Muse in the groves of Woodstock as the Ancients did upon the banks of Helicon.
And p. 167. The next place is justly due to Geoffrey Chaucer and John Gower, two famous poets in this time (of Henry IV.) and the fathers of English poets in all the times after,
Peacham's Compleat Gentleman, printed 1661, chap. X.
of poetry, p. 94. Or English poets of our own nation esteem Sir Jeoffrey Chaucer the Father; altho'che style for the antiquity may distaste you, yet, as under a bitter and rough rinde, there lieth a delicate kernell of conceit and sweet invention. What examples, fimilitudes, times, places, and above all persons with their speeches
and attributes do (as in his Canterbury Tales, like the threads of gold, the rich arras) beautify his work quite through! And albeit divers of his works are bit meerly translations out of Latin and French, yet he hath handled them so artificially, that thereby he hath made them his own. In brief, account him among the best of your English books in your library.
Wm. Winjianley in bis England's Worthies, printed 1684,
p. 117, (taken out of Mr. Beaumont's letter to Mr. Spegbt.]
-Or whom (Chaucer) for the sweetness of his poe. try, may be said that which is reported of Stesichorus; and as Cethegus was tearmed Suada Medulla, so may Chaucer be rightly called the pith and sinews of eloquence, and the very life it self of all mirth and pleafant writing: besides, one gift he had above all other authors, and that is, by the excellencies of his descriptions to poffesshis readers with a ftronger imagination of seeing that done before their eyes which they read, than any other that ever writ in any tongue.
Edw. Phillips in the preface to his Theatrum Portarum,
p. 13, 14.
True it is that the style of poetry till Henry Vill's time, and partly also within his reign, may very well
appear uncouth, strange, and unpleasant, to those that are affected only with what is familiar,andaccustomed to them; not but there were even before those times some that had their poetical excellencies, if well examined, and chiefly among the rest Chancer, who thro' all the neglect of former-aged poetsstill keepsa name, being by fome few admired for his real worth, to others not unpleasing for his facetious way, 6o.
The fame author in the second part of that book, p. 5c, st. Sir Geoffrey Chaucer, the prince and Coryphæus (generally so reputed till this age) of our English poets, and as much as we triumph over his old fafhioned phrase and obsolete words one of the firal refiners of the English language, &c.
Sir Tho. Pope Blount in his charačiers and cenfures of the
most considerable poets, 1694, p. 41. This is agreed upon by all hands, that he (Chaucer] was counted the chief of the English poets, not only of his time, but continued to be fo esteemed till this
Mr. Rymer's Short View of Tragedy, 1693, P 78. They who attempted verse in English dow!? till Chaucer's time made an heavy pudder, arid are always miserably put to't for a word to clirik, which