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after long captivity, and their setting to work to build the Temple of Jerusalem.
292. 1. frequent trines. A trine, or conjunction of planets in the form of a triangle, was considered fortunate by astrologers : and Dryden adds to frequent trines another good omen, the planet Jupiter in ascension. Dryden was learned in astrology and a firm believer. He introduces trine as part of a happy omen in his Ode to the Memory of Mrs. Ann Killegrew:
*For sure the milder planets did combine
And even the most malicious were in trine.' Trine appears as a verb in Palamon and Arcite, Bk. iii. 1. 389, where there is a conjunction of the deities, Saturn, Venus, and Mars.
By fortune he was now to Venus trined
And with stern Mars in Capricorn was joined.' 4. work in original edition ; works in that of 1688, followed by subsequent editors.
succeed. The verb has here an active meaning, 'make to succeed.' So in Dryden's State of Innocence, Act iii. Sc. 1 : ‘Heaven your design succeed.'
295. 2. New deified. New is the reading of both the early editions. Derrick changed new into now; and now has appeared in subsequent editions, including Scott's.
299. 3. And Seine, that would with Belgian rivers join. This is an allusion to the designs of Louis XIV on Spanish Flanders, which soon broke out in an invasion.
303. The boastful prophecy of this stanza was soon falsified by the events of 1667, when the Dutch feet under De Ruyter entered the Thames, ascended to Chatham, and there burnt some of our ships. The close of the war was humiliating to England : begun in hot fury in 1665, it ended amid general dissatisfaction in England. Peace was concluded at Breda, July 31, 1667.
Absalom and Achitophel.
P. 85. 1. 5. Whig and Tory. These two names, so familiar to us, were new when Absalom and Achitophel was written. They were first applied in 1679 in the famous controversy about the Exclusion Bill. Whig is a word of Scotch origin, Tory of Irish. Whig is explained
in two ways: Roger North says that it meant corrupt and sour whey (Examen, p. 321); Bishop Burnet derives it from whiggamor, a driver, from whiggam, an exclamation in use in driving horses (Hist. of Own Time, 1. 43). Anyhow, the name of Whigs came to be given to the Scottish Covenanters. It was first applied in 1648 in Scotland. Tories, according to Roger North, were the most despicable savages among the wild Irish Irishmen, as Roman Catholics, were generally favourable to the Duke of York; thus his friends were called Tories. The opponents of the Court were Whigs.
P. 85. 1. 8. When Dryden wrote Papist, his editors, from Broughton downward, have printed Popish.
1. 11. Anti-Bromingham. “Bromingham' was a cant term of the time for a Whig. Birmingham was famous for base and counterfeit coinage ; a “Birmingham groat' was a current phrase for base coin. Roger North says that the Tories nicknamed their adversaries 'Bir. mingham Protestants, alluding to the false groats struck at that place.'
1. 13. a genius. Most editors, including Scott, have omitted the a, spoiling the sentence.
1. 23. rebating the satire. Rebate, an obsolete word, means to blunt. “The keener edge of battle to rebate.'
Palamon and Arcite, Bk. ii. 1. 502.
One who never feels
Let no defeat
Oldham, Satire iii.
1. 14. The fault on the right hand. Compare an error of the better hand,' in Cymon and Iphigenia, 237.
1. 33. composure here means "arrangement,'' reconciliation.' Dryden uses composure for composition' in his poem to Sir Robert Howard :
So in your verse a native sweetness dwells
Which shames composure and its art excels.' P. 87. 1. 9. Ense rescindendum. Ovid has'ense recidendum' (Metam. i. 191).
It will be most convenient for the reader to preface the notes to the poem with an alphabetical key to the names in the allegory. This key is part of the one published by Tonson, Dryden's publisher, as key to this poem and to the Second Part, the most of which was written by Nahum Tate in the Miscellany Poems, vol. ii. ed. 1716.
Abbethdin, Lord Chancellor.
1. 7. Charles II, who is David in this poem, is described as · Israel's monarch after Heaven's own heart,' as David is in Scripture. "The Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart.' (1 Sam. xiii. 14.) • I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil my will.' (Acts xiii. 22.) Charles had already been compared to David in Astræa Redux. 11. 79, 80.
1. 17. this, changed to the by Broughton, and the error copied by following editors, including Scott.
1. 18. Absalon. So spelt here and in line 221 for the rhyme, in the early editions; elsewhere always Absalom. The Duke of Monmouth, here called Absalom, was the son of Charles by Lucy Walters, and born at Rotterdam, April 9, 1649.
1. 19. inspired by. In the first edition it was with. 1. 30. Compare with this line Pope's
"And Paradise was opened in the wild.' Eloisa to Abelard, 133. 1. 34. Annabel, Duchess of Monmouth, was Countess of Buccleuch in her own right, and was married to Monmouth in 1665. The name of Scott was afterwards given to Monmouth, and he was created Duke of Buccleuch. The Duchess of Monmouth was an early patron and constant friend of Dryden. He dedicated to her the play of The Indian Emperor, published in 1667. In the Vindication of the Duke of Guise (1683) Dryden calls her the patroness of my unworthy poetry'; and in his Dedication of King Arthur to Lord Halifax, in 1691, he says that the Duchess of Monmouth had read the play in manuscript and recommended it to Queen Mary; and he calls the Duchess my first and best patroness.'
1. 39. Amnon's murder. This is probably a reference to an attack, which Monmouth was believed to have instigated, on Sir John Coventry in 1670, by some officers and men of Monmouth's troop of horseguards, in revenge for a sarcasm uttered in the House of Commons about the King's amours. Coventry's nose was slit with a penknife. The House of Commons took up the affair very warmly, and a new act was passed, making it a capital felony to wound with intention to maim or disfigure, which went by the name of the Coventry Act. There was indeed no murder in this case, but Dryden probably desired to avoid precise identification.
1. 43. sincerely blest. See note on Annus Mirabilis, stanza 209, on this use of sincerely, meaning 'without alloy,'
*11. 52–56. An allusion to the state of nature' which Hobbes and other political writers of the period supposed to have existed before states and commonwealths were founded. In this state of nature all men were equal, and there was no government, but a war of every one against every one else. There are many places,' says Hobbes, ' where they live so now. For the savage people in many places of America ... live at this day in that brutish manner.'
*l. 59. Hebron means Scotland. Charles II was crowned king in Scotland, Jan. 1, 1651; in England not till April, 1661. So David reigned first seven years and six months in Hebron, and then thirty-three years in Jerusalem. (2 Sam. v. 5.)
1. 65. State means here a republic.
1. 92. worn and weakened. and changed by Derrick to or; the error copied by following editors, including Scott.
1. 112. Not weighed or winnowed. Derrick substituted nor for or, which has been followed by most editors, including Scott.
1. 117. Compare the lines on the Popish Plot in The Hind and Panther, iii. 719-722.
1. 118. Egyptian rites. Egypt, in this poem, stands for France, and the Egyptian rites are the Roman Catholic rites prevailing in France.
1. 121. And in first edition, instead of As.
1. 150. Achitophel, Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury. Dryden's subsequent poem of The Medal, not included in this volume, should be read, for a longer and more elaborate and severe attack on Shaftesbury. He had been Lord Chancellor in 1672–73. Dismissed from the chancellorship in November 1673, he was made President of the Privy Council in April 1679, on the reorganization of that body by the King to conciliate the parliamentary opposition. He was, however, removed from that office a few months after. Shaftesbury was now in the Tower, on a charge of high treason: he was apprehended at his house in London, July 2, 1681. After many delays, his trial came on in November, a few days after the publication of this poem, and the grand jury threw out the bill.
* 11. 150–200. Coleridge in his Table Talk makes the following remarks on Dryden's method of drawing characters, 'You will find this a good gauge or criterion of genius,—whether it progresses and evolves, or only spins upon itself. Take Dryden's Achitophel and Zimri; every line adds to or modifies the character, which is, as it were, abuilding up to the very last verse; whereas in Pope's Timon, &c. the first two or three couplets contain all the pith of the character, and the twenty or thirty lines that follow are so much evidence or proof of overt acts of jealousy, or pride, or whatever it may be that is satirised.'
1. 152. counsel in first edition, instead of counsels.
11. 155-157. A correspondent of Notes and Queries, December 7, 1850 (vol. i, p. 468), has supplied the two following quotations in illustration of this triplet on Shaftesbury's fiery soul fretting his pigmy body