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And he has no peer as a writer of prose, especially literary criticism, and as a translator. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous. By John Dryden. This Flecknoe found, who, like Augustus, young.
Was call'd to empire, and had govern'd long:. In prose and verse, was own'd, without dispute. Through all the realms of Non-sense, absolute. Worn out with business, did at length debate. Cry'd, 'tis resolv'd; for nature pleads that he. The rest to some faint meaning make pretence,.
Thoughtless as monarch oaks, that shade the plain,. And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign. When thou on silver Thames did'st cut thy way,. With well tim'd oars before the royal barge,. Swell'd with the pride of thy celestial charge;. The like was ne'er in Epsom blankets toss'd. The lute still trembling underneath thy nail.
At thy well sharpen'd thumb from shore to shore. The treble squeaks for fear, the basses roar:. Thou wield'st thy papers in thy threshing hand. Andre's feet ne'er kept more equal time,. Not ev'n the feet of thy own Psyche's rhyme:. And vow'd he ne'er would act Villerius more. Here stopt the good old sire; and wept for joy. All arguments, but most his plays, persuade,. Close to the walls which fair Augusta bind,. An ancient fabric, rais'd t'inform the sight,.
A watch tower once; but now, so fate ordains,. Where their vast courts, the mother-strumpets keep,. And, undisturb'd by watch, in silence sleep. Where queens are form'd, and future heroes bred;. Where unfledg'd actors learn to laugh and cry,.
Great Fletcher never treads in buskins here,. Here Flecknoe, as a place to fame well known,. That in this pile should reign a mighty prince,. Born for a scourge of wit, and flail of sense:. To whom true dullness should some Psyches owe,. But worlds of Misers from his pen should flow;. Whole Raymond families, and tribes of Bruce. Now Empress Fame had publisht the renown,. From near Bun-Hill, and distant Watling-street.
But loads of Shadwell almost chok'd the way. Bilk'd stationers for yeoman stood prepar'd,. His brows thick fogs, instead of glories, grace,. And lambent dullness play'd around his face.
So Shadwell swore, nor should his vow be vain,. That he till death true dullness would maintain;. And in his father's right, and realm's defence,.
Ne'er to have peace with wit, nor truce with sense. Whose righteous lore the prince had practis'd young,. And from whose loins recorded Psyche sprung,. His temples last with poppies were o'er spread,. Just at that point of time, if fame not lie,. On his left hand twelve reverend owls did fly. Presage of sway from twice six vultures took. The sire then shook the honours of his head,. Heavens bless my son, from Ireland let him reign.
And greater than his father's be his throne. Beyond love's kingdom let him stretch his pen;. Pangs without birth, and fruitless industry. Let gentle George in triumph tread the stage,. Let Cully, Cockwood, Fopling, charm the pit,. Yet still thy fools shall stand in thy defence,. All full of thee, and differing but in name;. And when false flowers of rhetoric thou would'st cull,. But write thy best, and top; and in each line,. Sir Formal, though unsought, attends thy quill,.
Nor let false friends seduce thy mind to fame,. Let Father Flecknoe fire thy mind with praise,. Thou art my blood, where Jonson has no part;. Where made he love in Prince Nicander's vein,. Or swept the dust in Psyche's humble strain? Where sold he bargains, whip-stitch, kiss my arse,. When did his muse from Fletcher scenes purloin,. As thou whole Eth'ridge dost transfuse to thine?
This is thy province, this thy wondrous way,. By which one way, to dullness, 'tis inclin'd,. Which makes thy writings lean on one side still,. Thy Tragic Muse gives smiles, thy Comic sleep. With whate'er gall thou sett'st thy self to write,. Leave writing plays, and choose for thy command. There thou may'st wings display and altars raise,.
And torture one poor word ten thousand ways. Or if thou would'st thy diff'rent talents suit,. Set thy own songs, and sing them to thy lute. He said, but his last words were scarcely heard,. The mantle fell to the young prophet's part,. Mac Flecknoe. From Audio Poem of the Day April Read More. More Poems by John Dryden. Absalom and Achitophel. Song: Calm was the even, and clear was the sky. See All Poems by this Author. See a problem on this page?
And he has no peer as a writer of prose, especially literary criticism, and as a translator. Prose Home Harriet Blog. Visit Home Events Exhibitions Library. Newsletter Subscribe Give. Poetry Foundation. Back to Previous.
Mac Flecknoe Summary
Genre: Verse satire "Mac" , commendatory or "public" verse "Annus" , and prose essay. Form: rhyming couplets "heroic couplets," though "Mac" is " mock epic verse" , four-line stanzas of rough iambic pentameter rhyming abab "Annus" , and prose. For a modern parody of the "mock heroic" style, see "Al Pope"'s Ratiad Other characters represent contemporary or recent poets Heywood, Decker, Shirley, Fletcher , or they are allegorical, part of the epic "machinery of the gods" by which Dryden mocks Shadwell, making him inherit the throne of Nonsense.
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