Verse > Anthologies > T. H. Ward, ed. > The English Poets > Vol. II. Ben Jonson to Dryden
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Thomas Humphry Ward, ed.  The English Poets.  1880–1918.
Vol. II. The Seventeenth Century: Ben Jonson to Dryden
 
Lines Printed under the Engraved Portrait of Milton
By John Dryden (1631–1700)
 
In Tonson’s Folio Edition of the ‘Paradise Lost,’ 1688. 1

THREE poets, in three distant ages born,
Greece, Italy, and England did adorn.
The first in loftiness of thought surpassed,
The next in majesty, in both the last.
The force of Nature could no farther go;        5
To make a third she joined the former two.
 
Note 1. Malone has suggested that these lines are an amplification of a distich addressed to Milton when at Rome by Salvaggi (otherwise unknown to fame):
  ‘Græcia Mæonidem. jactet sibi Roma Maronem,
      Anglia Miltonum jactat utrique parem.’
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