See headnote to No. III.
(a) From Preface to the Reader in The Brittish Princes: An Heroick Poem (1669), sigs. A5v-A6:
And now to pay a due esteem to such Poets of our own Country, who are justly dignified by the Heroick muse…yet have these our Native Poets deservedly merited esteem, perhaps above those any other Nation has produced in the times they lived; and of these the most considerable, I think must be granted our famous Spencer, and the late Sir William Davenant, (not considering Daniel, Drayton, and the like, rather Historians than Epicke Poets) the first of whom is by many granted a parallel to most of the Antients, whose genius was in all degrees proportion'd for the work he accomplished, or for whatsoever structures his Muse had thought fit to raise, whose thoughts were like so many nerves and sinews ready with due motion and strength to actuate the body he produced; nor was the success of his Poem less worthy of Admiration, which notwithstanding it be frequent in words of obsolete signification, had the good fortune to have a reception suitable to its desert, which tells us the age he writ in, had a value for sense above words, though perhaps he may have received deservedly some censure in that particular, since our Language (when he writ) was held much improved, that it has been the wonder as well as the pity of some, that so famous a Poet should so much obscure the glory of his thoughts, wrapt up in words and expressions, which time and use had well nigh exploded: And though words serve our uses but like Counters or numbers to summe our intellectual Products, yet they must be currant as the money of the Age, or they will hardly pass: Nor is it less ridiculous to see a man confidently walk in the antiquated and mothy Garments of his Predecessors, out of an obstinate contempt of the present Mode, than to imitate the expressions of obsolete