Page:Anne Bradstreet and her time.djvu/50

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34
ANNE BRADSTREET.

vinced France that no other poet had been before him, and that no successor could approach his power. He chose to study classical models rather than nature or life, and his most formidable poem, merely a beginning of some five or six thousand verses on "the race of French kings, descended from Francion, a child of Hector and a Trojan by birth," ended prematurely on the death of Charles IX, but served as a model for a generation of imitators.

What spell lay in the involved and interminable pages the modern reader cannot decide, but Milton studied them, and affirmed that they had aided in forming his style, and Spenser wrote of him —

"And after thee, (du Bellay) 'gins
Bartas hie to raise
His Heavenly muse, th' Almighty to adore.
Live, happy spirits! th' honor of your name,
And fill the world with never dying fame."

Dryden, too, shared the infatuation, and in the Epistle Dedicatory to "The Spanish Friar," wrote: "I remember when I was a boy, I thought inimitable Spenser a mean poet, in comparison of Sylvester's 'Dubartas, and was wrapt into an ecstasy when I read these lines:

"Now when the winter's keener breath began
To crystallize the Baltic ocean;
To glaze the lakes, to bridle up the floods,
And periwig with snow (wool) the bald-pate woods.

"I am much deceived if this be not abominable fustian." Van Lann stigmatizes this poem, Le Semaine ou Creation du Monde, as "the marriage-register of