Carrol Cox wrote of Ovid:

> He was perhaps the favorite poet (though of course
> they would have said Virgil or Homer) of Milton, Dryden, and Pope.
> Pope's friend Spence regarded Pope's liking for Ovid as curious (I
> forget his exact word); less than a generation later, someone -- I think
> Warton -- thought Pope's liking was simple bad taste. (All this learning
> is from my quite distant past, before I turned my attention from Pope to
> Milton; hence the vagueness.)

Dear Carrol,

I don't know about Dryden's favorite, but he spends years translating all of
Virgil and can't keep him out of his prefaces.  In the preface to his final work
(_Fables Ancient and Modern_) Dryden was more subtle than to announce a
favorite, characterizing the poets by talent and temperament, and arranging the
generations into “lineal descents and clans.”  Homer and Virgil represent two
families of poetry to Dryden.  Ovid has a great influence on the nature of the

Why "of course" would they have lied about their favorite?  Do you really think
poets have to have a favorite other poet, rather than having poems that are
important and/or pleasing to them?