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Written by Braga Lena
Thoughtless as monarch oaks, that shade the plain,
And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign.
Heywood and Shirley were but types of thee,
Thou last great prophet of tautology:
In the poem, the names of famous poets appear on numerous occasions thus proving that in the literary world, it is important to have a good reputation. A bad reputation will haunt a writer for the rest of his life and his work will also bear the stigma its writer had during his life. a bad reputation can destroy a man’s career and throughout the poem, Dryden focuses on the value a good reputation has and the consequences of taking decisions that prove to be harmful to one’s career.
Shadwell alone my perfect image bears,
Mature in dullness from his tender years.
Shadwell alone, of all my sons, is he
Who stands confirm'd in full stupidity.
The stanza appears in the beginning of the poem, when Mac Flecknoe thinks about who to name his next successor. Through this quote, Dryden expresses his thoughts about Shadwell and about his literary talent. The idea that Shadwell is stupid becomes a motif in the poem and one of the most used words to describe Shadwell. Apart from being dull, Shadwell is above all stupid and this characteristic is, in Dryden’s opinion, obvious from the way Shadwell writes.
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