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Howe'er encumbered with a viler pair
Than Ziph or Shimei, * to assist the chair;
Vet Ziloah's loyal labours so prevailed
That faction at the next election failed, +
When even the common cry did justice sound,
And merit by the multitude was crowned :
With David then was Israel's peace restored,
Crowds mourned their crror and obeyed their lord.


edition it is surges, which seems the proper reading. To stem sedition's surges is intelligible ; to stem sedition's syrtes, hardly so.

*“ Ziph or Shimei." "Ziph and Shimei” would be better; but or is in all the editions. The two sheriffs were Thomas Pilkington and Samuel Shute, and they are described as a viler pair than Ziph and Shimei, Richard Cornish and Slingsby Bethel, the sheriffs of the preceding year.

+ The Lord Mayor Moore managed by most unscrupulous proceedings, in which he was backed with all the power of the Court, to effect, in September 1682, the election of two Tory sheriffs, North and Rich. This election of Tory sheriffs was followed by the election of a Tory Lord Mayor, Pritchard, to succeed Moore, also brought about by unscrupulous proceedings. These elections gave the Court complete ascendency in the City.


(From Vol. II. of Miscellany Poems, edition of 1716.)

Abbethdin . . Lord Chancellor.
Abdael ... Duke of Albemarle.
Absalom .. Duke of Monmouth.
Achitophel. Lord Shaftesbury.
Adriel ... Earl of Mulgrave.
Agag.. Sir E. B. Godfrey.
Amiel ..MrSeymour, Speaker.
Amri ... Lord Chancellor Finch.
Annabel.Duchess of Monmouth.
Arod . . . Sir W. Waller.
Asaph... Mr. Dryden.
Balaam . Earl of Huntingdon
Balak ... Burnet.
Barzillai . . Duke of Ormond.
Bathsheba . . Duchess of Portsmouth,
Benaiah .. General Sackville.
Ben Jochanan Johnson.
Besaliel . Duke of Beaufort.
Caleb... Lord Grey
Corah ... Dr. Oates.
David . . . King Charles II.
Doeg. ... Settle.
Egypt ... France.
Eliab ... Earl of Arlington.
Ethnic Plot . Popish Plot.
Hebrew Priests s Church of England Minis-
Hebron ... Scotland.
Helon ... Lord Feversham.
Hushai. . . Earl of Rochester, Hyde.
Isbosheth.. Richard Cromwell.

Ishban ... Sir R. Clayton.
Israel ... England.
Issachar .. T. Thin, Esq.
Fobusites . . Papists.
Jerusalem London.
Jonas ... Sir W. Jones.
Fotham .. Marquis of Halifax.
Jothran .. Lord Dartmouth.
Judas ... Ferguson.
Mephibosheth. Pordage.
Michal . . . Queen Katharine.
Nadab ... Lord Howard of Escrick.
Og ... Shadwell.
Othniel.. Duke of Grafton.
Pharaoh, French king.
Phaleg ... Forbes.
Rabshakeh Sir Thomas Player.
Sagan of Jeru-Bishop of London.

salem. .
Sanhedrim . Parliament,
Saul. ... Oliver.
Sheva ... Sir R. L'Estrange.
Shimei... Sheriff Bethel.
Solymean Rout London Rebels.
Tyre ..Holland.
Uzza ... J. H.
Western Dome Dolben.
Zadoch... Archbishop Sancroft.
Zaken ... Parliament-man.
Ziloah... Sir J. Moor.
Zimri... Duke of Buckingham.







"Ornari res ipsa negat, contenta doceri."

MANILIUS, Astronom, iii. 39.


The publication of "Religio Laiciquickly followed the last of Dryden's rapid succession of political and personal satires. It appeared in November 1682, almost simultancously with the Second part of " Absalom and Achitophel.The fierce antagonist of that party which sought to exclude the Duke of York from the throne, from fears of Popery, now came forward as a theologian in verse to proclaim himself a Protestant of the Church of England. The vigour and skill of Dryden's satires are not more remarkable than the beauty of his poetical exposition and argument in this theological poem. Scott says of "Religio Laici,that it is one of the most admirable poems in the language.Dr. Johnson said of it that metre has neither. weakened the force nor clouded the perspicuity of argument.A poetical contemporary and friend and a competent judge, Roscommon, wrote on this poem :

" Let free impartial men from Dryden learn

Mysterious secrets of a high concern,
And weighty truths, solid convincing sense,
Explained by unaffected eloquence,"

Dryden mentions in the Preface that the poem was addressed to a young gentleman, the translator of Simon's " Critical History of the Old Testament,and that the style is therefore epistolary. But it was called on the title-page "a poem,not " an epistle.A mistake has arisen about the person who received this honour from Dryden; Derrick said that it was Richard Hampden. It was a young gentleman of the name of Henry Dickinson. See note in p. 191.

This poem was quickly reprinted in 1682, and a third edition appeared in 1683 and the poem was not then again reprinted till it appeared in Tonson's folio edition o Drydon's Poems, published in 1701, soon after Dryden's death. The marginal notes are Dryden's, and the words printed with capital letters were so printed by him.


A POEM with so bold a title, and a name prefixed from which the handling of so serious a subject would not be expected, may reasonably oblige the author to say somewhat in defence both of himself and of his undertaking. In the first place, ir it be objected to me that, being a layman, 1 ought not to have concerned myself with speculations which belong to the profession of Divinity, I could answer that perhaps laymen, with equal advantages of parts and knowledge, are not the most incompetent judges of sacred things; but in the due sense of my own weakness and want of learning I plead not this; I pretend not to make myself a judge of faith in others, but only to make a confession of my own. I lay no unhallowed hand upon the Ark, but wait on it with the reverence that becomes me at a distance. In the next place I will ingenuously confess, that the helps I have used in this small Treatise were many of them taken from the works of our own reverend divines of the Church of England ; so that the weapons with which I combat irreligion are already consecrated, though I suppose they may be taken down as lawfully as the sword of Goliah was by David, when they are to be employed for the common cause against the enemies of piety. I intend not by this to entitle them to any of my errors, which yet I hope are only those of charity to mankind; and such as my own charity has caused me to commit, that of others may more easily excuse. Being naturally inclined to scepticism in philosophy, I have no reason to impose my opinions in a subject which is above it; but, whatever they are, I submit them with all reverence to my mother Church, accounting them no farther mine, than as they are authorized or at least uncondemned by her. And, indeed, to secure myself on this side, I have used the necessary precaution of showing this paper, before it was published, to a judicious and learned friend, a man indefatigably zealous in the service of the Church and State, and whose writings have highly deserved of both. He was pleased to approve the body of the discourse, and I hope he is more my friend than to do it out of complaisance; 'tis true he had too good a taste to like it all; and amongst some other faults recommended to my second view what I have written perhaps too boldly on St. Athanasius, which he advised me wholly to omit. I am sensible enough that I had done more prudently to have followed his opinion ; but then I could not have satisfied myself that I had done honestly not to have written what was my own. It has always been my thought, that heathens who never did, nor without miracle could, hear of the name of Christ, were yet in a possibility of salvation. Neither will it enter easily into my belief, that before the coming of our Saviour the whole world, excepting only the Jewish nation, should lie under the inevitable necessity of everlasting punishment, for want of that Revelation, which was confined to so small a spot of ground as that of Palestine. Among the sons of Noah i we read of one only who was accursed ; and if a blessing in the ripeness of time was reserved for Japhet (of whose progeny we are), it seems unaccountable to me, why so many generations of the same offspring as preceded our Saviour in the flesh should be all involved in one common condemnation, and yet that their

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