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allowed, you are no freeborn subjects. If God has not blessed you with the talent of rhyming, make use of my poor stock and welcome : let your verses run upon my feet; and, for the utmost refuge of notorious blockheads, reduced to the last extremity of sense, turn my own lines upon me ; and, in utter despair of your own satire, make me satirize myself. Some of you have been driven to this bay already ; but, above all the rest, commend me to the Nonconformist parson, who writ the “ Whip and Key."* I am afraid it is not read so much as the piece deserves, because the bookseller is every week crying help at the end of his gazette, to get it off. You see I am charitable enough to do him a kindness, that it may be published as well as printed ; and that so much skill in Hebrew derivations may not lie for waste-paper in the shop. Yet I half suspect he went no farther for his learning, than the index of Hebrew names and etymologies, which are printed at the end of some English Bibles. If Achitophel signify the brother of a fool, the author of that poem will pass with his readers for the next of kin. And perhaps 'tis the relation that makes the kindness. Whatever the verses are, buy 'em up, I beseech you, out of pity; for I hear the conventicle is shut up, and the brother of Achitophel out of service.

Now footmen, you know, have the generosity to make a purse for a member of their society, who has had his livery pulled over his ears ; and even Protestant socks are bought up among you out of veneration to the name. A dissenter in poetry from sense and English will make as good a Protestant rhymer, as a dissenter from the Church of England a Protestant parson. Besides, if you encourage a young beginner, who knows but he may elevate his style a little above the vulgar epithets of profane, and saucy Jack, and atheistic scribbler, with which he treats me, when the fit of enthusiasm is strong upon him ; by which well-mannered and charitable expressions I was certain of his sect before I knew his name. What would you have more of a man? He has damned me in your cause from Genesis to the Revelations, and has half the texts of both the Testaments against me, if you will be so civil to yourselves as to take him for your interpreter, and not to take them for Irish witnesses. After all, perhaps you will tell me, that you retained him only for the opening of your cause, and that your main lawyer is yet behind. Now if it so happen he meet with no more reply than his predecessors, you may either conclude that I trust to the goodness of my cause, or fear my adversary, or disdain him, or what you please, for the short on't is, 'tis indifferent to your humble servant, whatever your party says or thinks of him.

*Among the answers to " Absalom and Achitophel" was a pamphlet called "A Whip for the Fool's Back," written by a Nonconformist clergyman whose name is not known, and who further published "A Key with the Whip, to open the Mystery and Iniquity of the Poem called Absalom and Achitophel."

+ "Derrick," says Scott, who is not often so severe and whose severity on this occasion is certainly not unwarranted, "is pleased to explain the brother of Achitophel' by favouring us with an account of Shaftesbury's brother, George Cooper, Esq. This is a remarkable instance of a knavish speech sleeping in a foolish ear. For the benefit of any person of equally obtuse intellects,

e necessary to say that the Nonconformist parson is the party meant, whom Dryden styles brother to Achitophel,' if Achitophel according to his own derivation be brother to a fool; and truly the commentator seems to have been of the kindred." A recent editor, Mr. R. Bell, has repeated Derrick's blunder. "Two other notes of Mr. Bell's on this poem are hardly less ludicrous. He thinks that Dryden "leads us to infer" that he had never seen Shaftesbury, from his saying in this Preface, “though he sat not five times to me, as he did to B., &c.;" and he interprets literally the description of the two Sheriffs as “ two such gouty hands" for the " loyal head," the Lord Mayor (line 182), observing, “They were not the only gouty members of the Whig party. Shaftesb'iry was a martyr to gout. The malady was strictly impartial, for Dryden himself sank under it." But for such a note, it would have been difficult to think it necessary to explain that Dryden. did not mean that the Sheriffs were sufferers from gout; and it may be taken for granted that Dryden had seen Shaftesbury very often, though Shaftesbury had not sat to him five times for the portrait of the following poem.



Of all our antic sights and pageantry
Which English idiots run in crowds to see,
The Polish Medal bears the prize alone;
A monster, more the favourite of the town
Than either fairs or theatres have shown.
Never did art so well with nature strive,
Nor ever idol seemed so much alive ;
So like the man, so golden to the sight,
So base within, so counterfeit and light.
One side is filled with file and with face ;
And, lest the king should want a regal place,
On the reverse a tower the town surveys,
O'er which our mounting sun his beams displays.
The word, pronounced aloud by shrieval voice,
Lætamur, which in Polish is Rejoice,
The day, month, year, to the great act are joined,
And a new canting holiday designed.
Five days he sate for every cast and look,
Four more than God to finish Adam took.
But who can tell what essence angels are
Or how long Heaven was making Lucifer?.
Oh, could the style that copied every grace
And ploughed such furrows for an eunuch face,
Could it have formed his ever-changing will,
The various piece had tired the graver's skill !
A martial hero first, with early care
Blown, like a pigmy by the winds, to war;
A beardless chief, a rebel ere a man,
So young his hatred to his Prince began.*
Next this, (how wildly will ambition steer!)
A vermin wriggling in the usurper's ear,
Bartering his venal wit for sums of gold,
He cast himself into the saint-like mould ; t

* Shaftesbury had begun on the King's side. In 1643, when he was already twenty-two, he raised a regiment of foot and a troop of horse at his own charge for the King, from whom he received commissions to be colonel of the first, captain of the second, and governor of Weymouth and Portland; he was also in that year appointed Sheriff of Dorsetshire for the King. In the beginning of the following year he went over to the side of the Parliament. This “rebel ere a man" of twenty-three then performed military services in the West of England, under those early chiefs of the Parliament who had not proceeded against the King vigorously enough to please Dryden, when he sung the praises of Cromwell before the Restoration. See stanza ii of the poem on Oliver Cromwell

Shaftesbury, then Sir Anthony Ashley Cooper, was appointed a member of the Council of

Groaned, sighed, and prayed, while godliness was gain,
The loudest bag-pipe of the squeaking train.
But, as 'tis hard to cheat a juggler's eyes,
His open lewdness he could ne'er disguise.
There split the saint; for hypocritic zeal,
Allows 10 sins but those it can conceal.
Whoring to scandal gives too large a scope ;
Saints must not trade, but they may interlope.
The ungodly principle was all the same ;
But a gross cheat betrays his partner's game.
Besides, their pace was formal, grave, and slack ;
His nimble wit outran the heavy pack.
Yet still he found his fortune at a stay,
Whole droves of blockheads choking up his way ;
They took, but not rewarded, his advice;
Villain and wit exact a double price.
Power was his aim ; but thrown from that pretence,
The wretch turned loyal in his own defence,
And malice reconciled him to his Prine
Him in the anguish of his soul he
Rewarded faster still than he deser
Behold him now exalted into trust,
His counsels oft convenient, seldom just ;
Even in the most sincere advice he gave
He had a grudging still to be a knave.
The frauds he learnt in his fanatic years
Made him uneasy in his lawful gears.
At best, as little honest as he could,
And, like white witches, mischievously good.
To his first bias longingly he leans
And rather would be great by wicked means.
Thus framed for ill, he loosed our triple hold, *
(Advice unsafe, precipitous, and bold.)

State after the dissolution of the Barebone's parliament in July 1653. and he continued to sit as member of this Council until December 1654, when he ceased to attend ; and after this he was estranged from Cromwell, why is not known. The salary of each member of this Council was 1000l. a year, but a paper printed in Thurloe's State Papers (it. 581) shows that Cooper never received any salary. A statement made by Shaftesbury himself after the Restoration, that he might freely speak because he never received any salary" (Parl. Hist. iv. 63. is thus by accident effectually confirmed. There is no authority, and probably no foundation, for the charge of bartering

Nor is there any truth in the imputation of his identifying himself with the “saints," because he was a member of the Barebone's parliament. He was an active member of a numerous moderate party in that assembly, which included Lord Lisle, Algernon Sydney's elder brother, afterwards earl of Leicester and a friend of Dryden; Edward Montagu, afterwards earl of Sandwich: Charles Howard, afterwards earl of Carlisle ; Rouse, the provost of Eton ; Sir Charles Wolseley, and several officers of the army: and this party ultimately prevailed over the fanatics. Bishop Burnet says of Shaftesbury that he was of great use to Cromwell “in withstanding the enthusiasts of that time" (Own Time, i. 165). The insinuation that Shaftesbury's licentiousness was the cause of his separation from the saints is also without authority, and the charge of licentiousness itself, as applied to Shaftesbury at that early period of his life. is probably without foundation ; while, as regards his later years, it may be safely said that the same accusation, grossly made by many revilers, one copying another, was a great exaggeration.

* See note on line 175 of "Absalom and Achitophel" for Dryden's former laudations of the policy here denounced, and of Lord Clifford, one of its chief promoters.

From hence those tears, that Ilium of our woe :
Who helps a powerful friend forearms a foe. .
What wonder if the waves prevail so far,
When he cut down the banks that made the bar ?
Seas follow but their nature to invade ;
But he by art our native strength betrayed.
So Samson to his foe his force confest,
And to be shorn lay slumbering on her breast.
But when this fatal counsel, found too late,
Exposed its author to the public hate,
When his just sovereign by no impious way
Could be seduced to arbitrary sway,
Forsaken of that hope, * he shists his sail,
Drives down the current with a popular gale,
And shows the fiend confessed without a veil.
He preaches to the crowd that power is lent,
But not conveyed to kingły government,
That claims successive bear no binding force,
That coronation oaths are things of course;
Maintains the multitude can never err,
And sets the people in the papal chair.
The reason's obvious, interest never lies ;
The most have still their interest in their eyes,
The power is always theirs, and power is ever wise.
Almighty crowd! thou shortenest all dispute,
Power is thy essence, wit thy attribute !
Nor faith nor reason make thee at a stay,
Thou leapst o'er all eternal truths in thy Pindaric way! +
Athens, no doubt, did righteously decide,
When Phocion and when Socrates were tried ;
As righteously they did those dooms repent;
Still they were wise, whatever way they went.
Crowds err not, though to both extremes they run ;'
To kill the father and recall the son.
Some think the fools were most, as times went then,
But now the world's o'erstocked with prudent men.
The common cry is even religion's test;
The Turk's is at Constantinople best,
Idols in India, Popery at Rome,
And our own worship only true at home,
And true but for the time; 'tis hard to know
How long we please it shall continue so ;
This side to-day, and that to-morrow burns ;
So all are God Almighties in their turns.
A tempting doctrine, plausible and new;
What fools our fathers were, if this be true !


Forsaken of that hope;" a Gallicism. So in "Absalom and Achitophel," 568, in the de. scription of Buckingham :

“He left not faction, but of that was left.” + An Alexandrine of seven feet; Alexandrines of six feet are to be found in lines 90, 166, 262, and 305, and there is one in “ Absalom and Achitophel," line 851. This long Alexandrine of seven feet has been ridiculed by some of Dryden's detractors; but ridicule in this instance is not reason,


I 20



Who, to destroy the seeds of civil war,
Inherent right in monarchs did declare ;
And, that a lawful power might never cease,
Secured succession to secure our peace.
Thus property and sovereign sway at last
In equal balances were justly cast;
But this new Jehu spurs the hot-mouthed horse,
Instructs the beast to know his native force,
To take the bit between his teeth and fly
To the next headlong steep of anarchy.
Too happy England, if our good we knew,
Would we possess the freedom we pursue !
The lavish government can give no more ;
Yet we repine, and plenty makes us poor.
God tried us once ; our rebel fathers fought ;
He glutted them with all the power they sought,
Till, mastered by their own usurping brave,
The free-born subject sunk into a slave.
We loathe our manna, and we long for quails ;
Ah! what is man, when his own wish prevails !
How rash, how swift to plunge himself in ill,
Proud of his power and boundless in his will !
That kings can do no wrong we must believe ;
None can they do, and must they all receive ?
Help, Heaven, or sadly we shall see an hour
When neither wrong nor right are in their power !
Already they have lost their best defence,
The benefit of laws which they dispense.
No justice to their righteous cause allowed,
But baffled by an arbitrary crowd ;
And medals graved, their conquest to record,
The stamp and coin of their adopted lord.

The man who laughed but once, to see an ass
Mumbling to make the cross-grained thistles pass, f
Might laugh again to see a jury chaw I
The prickles of unpalatable law.




* This substantive, brate, taken from the French, a favourite word with Dryden, has not survived in our language; it has been superseded by bravo. “The people's brave, the politician's tool."

Absalom and Achitophel, 367. It occurs frequently in Dryden's plays : “Morat's too insolent, too much a brave."

Aurengzebe, act 1, sc. 1. + This refers to Marcus Licinius Crassus (grandson of the wealthy Crassus who acquired the name of Dives, and grandfather of the celebrated Triumvir, who was called Agelastus, because he never laughed (Plin. Hist. Nat. vii. 19). Cicero de Finibus, v. 30 says that he laughed once in his life, but does not mention the cause of his one laugh. Tertullian, in his Treatise on the Soul, says that Crassus died from a fit of laughter, and later writers give as the cause of his laughter that mentioned by Dryden.

Both forms chaw and chew occur in the early editions of Dryden's works. This rhyme occurs again in Drvden's Translation of the Seventh Eclogue of Virgil, 60 :

“Deformed like him who chaws Sardinian herbage to contract his jaws."

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